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I’m owed several days of compensatory leave to make up for overtime I’ve worked in the past year, and yesterday was forecast to be unseasonably warm, so I used one of those days. I got the repaired plenum chamber mounting flange reinstalled. I had hoped at one point to also get a flight off yesterday, but it snowed off and on all day, so that was not possible.

Today was forecast to be clear and cold, with very light winds, so I took another day off. The runway is almost 100% ice covered, from the freezing rain we got a couple of weeks ago, so I only dare fly when there is minimal crosswind. They were still clearing yesterday’s snow off the runway when I arrived, so I had to wait until after lunch. The first trick was getting the Mooney that was by the door of the hangar out of the way, which means pulling it out onto the taxiway.

Sitting Pretty in the Snow and Sun

 The Mooney is too heavy for me to push it around by hand, so I used the gas powered PowerTow tug that connects to the nose wheel. It usually works very well, but the combination of a bit of crown on the taxiway plus the ice was more than it could handle. All it would do was spin its wheel. James and Floyd spotted my struggle from the club house, and graciously drove down to lend a hand. The three of us pushing were just enough to get the Mooney in and out, so the RV–8 could escape the hangar. Thanks guys!

The delay while the runway was cleared and I fought with the ice meant that the engine had been preheated a lot longer than I anticipated. I failed to appreciate the implications as I attempted a start, and I primed the engine as if it was quite cold. I didn’t fire, so I primed it some more. I realize now that I had almost certainly overprimed it and flooded it, but I didn’t figure this out until I had ran the battery down. Back in the hangar for two hours on the battery charger, then it started right up (with a lot less priming). It was great to finally get flying.

The wind stayed down while I was flying, which was a relief. It slid around a bit during the landing roll, but a quick touch of rudder got the nose pointed back in the right direction again, and I was very happy when it finally rolled to a stop, still on the runway.

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