“Four o’clock,” I said. “After landing we’ll have two hours to check in at the motel, change, and relax before his Aunt Terri picks us up.” I buckled in, donned my headset, and flipped the master switch. After confirming round-trip fuel for Flagstaff to Window Rock, I ran the checklist and turned the key.
“What’s that ticking noise?” asked Jean. My unprintable answer may loosely be translated as, “Are you kidding? Nothing’s gone wrong for a whole year since my last must-go mission to see Tyler, and now something breaks again!” (See last month’s column, Sage advice.)
No way should the battery be low — I’d flown the plane twice this week. Although the engine could be safely started, we dared not risk a dead battery at unattended Window Rock Airport, especially on a holiday weekend. After checking components and connections, Wiseman Aviation mechanic Rory Goforth diagnosed the likely culprit as a weak battery. Unfortunately, they stocked no replacement.
“But that’s in the other direction!” said Jean.
I explained that at 30 minutes to Prescott and 90 from there to Window Rock, a quick battery swap might enable us to make it. If not, we were already out of luck…
Read the whole story in this month’s Flying Carpet column, “Diné Graduation.” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)
Top photo: Tyler and his friend Dylan celebrate graduation. Lower photo: A young relative models Tyler’s graduation T-shirt. See more photos here.
©2013 Gregory N.Brown (This column first appeared in the October, 2013 AOPA Flight Training magazine.)