“What time is Tyler’s graduation?” asked Jean as we boarded the Flying Carpet.
“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.
“We need to start driving now!” said Jean. However, it was now 2½ hours to graduation, and the drive would take over three. I wondered aloud whether a battery might be had in Prescott.
“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.)
3 thoughts on ““Diné Graduation,” Greg’s October column”
Great column as always, Greg! I would love to have seen Jean making Navajo bread — I’m sure that was quite a sight. 🙂
Another very enjoyable article. Your relationship with Tyler is great. You may not know this but we are raising three Native kids, so all things Navajo are of great personal interest. Someday I hope to fly our kids up to the rez and maybe even give them some yoke time in a few years.
BTW, I bought one of those big yellow jump plugs for my Skylane. It saved my bacon two years agos and got to me to Prescott for my annual. I also got a BatteryMinder for my new Gil. It brought it back to like-new cranking power in just a few days of trickle charging.
Thank you, Bruce! And I’ll check out those jump plugs. Hope you’ve been flying a lot!