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Yesterday looked like the best chance to get the RV–8 flying again, so I took a day off work and headed to the hangar. It was very cold overnight, with a low temperature of –27°C, and it had been cold for the last several days, so I was expecting it to be miserably cold in the hangar. But, the hangar seemed to have retained some of the heat from the last warm spell we had, so it wasn’t too bad as I did a final inspection of the new exhaust system installation and reinstalled the cowling. Then while the engine was preheating I cleared the snow from in front of the hangar and had lunch.

After lunch the temperature was coming up nicely to –18°C and climbing, so I started the aircraft up, taxied to the gas pump and filled up. After refueling I climbed in, but flooded the engine when I attempted to restart it. I got it to fire once, but never managed to get it running before the battery quickly ran down. Drat!!

This latest Odyssey PC–680 battery doesn’t seem to have nearly the capacity of the previous two I had. I’m not the only one who has noticed, as many RV flyers are complaining that the recent Odyssey batteries aren’t nearly as good as the ones from a few years ago. Several owners have had good success desulfating the batteries using a desulfating procedure published by Odyssey, so I’ll look at refreshing the last battery I pulled out. I only replaced the last battery as Bob Nuckolls recommended annual replacement if you weren’t doing regular capacity checks. I’m wishing I had left it in now.

I pushed the aircraft back to the hangar, into the stiff wind, and over the patchy packed snow on the taxiway, uphill both ways. I was pretty bushed by the time I got it back in the hangar and on the battery charger. I left it on the battery charger for an hour, then it started right up. The wind was really stating to pick up by the time I got airborne, with the wind stock straight out (which suggests 25 kt or more), about 45 degrees to the left of the runway. I did a short flight, with two touch and goes then a full stop. The aircraft worked well, and it felt great to get it flying again for the first time in over a month. I’ll pull the cowling for an inspection before the next flight.

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