Author Question - 170 Plane Problems

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Re: Author Question - 170 Plane Problems

Postby hilltop170 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:33 am

One other problem that won’t automatically require an immediate emergency landing but will if the pilot does the wrong thing is if the outer housing on the throttle cable breaks, the throttle can be reduced but once reduced cannot be increased.

This actually happened to me years ago on a ferry flight in a Cessna 182 about half-way thru “the trench” which is a 400 mile long valley in a very remote portion of British Columbia and Yukon with no good landing spots between Prince George and Watson Lake. I had descended a few thousand feet with the usual increase of manifold pressure. Reducing throttle slightly to adjust the manifold pressure back into cruise range felt very different than it had on the rest of the trip, no resistance. I then tried to increase throttle and noticed there was no response. I reduced throttle gently just a little and it did respond in decreasing but again no response even when the throttle was pushed all the way in. At that point I knew something was bad wrong but I didn’t know what. So I locked the throttle tightly and did not touch it again.

After about two nervous hours I arrived at Watson Lake with another dilemma. How do I land this airplane at cruise power that I’m not willing to reduce by pulling back on the throttle? I had had two hours to think about it and had come up with the idea that I could reduce power simply by carefully leaning the mixture and if I needed to increase power enriching the mixture would bring it back up to cruise power.

So that is what I did, leaned the mixture until the engine power fell off enough to make a stabilized descent allowing a normal landing. Once on the ground it was easy to taxi to the maintenance shop by slightly increasing the mixture.

The problem was obvious once the cowling was removed, the throttle cable had been rerouted incorrectly after replacing the generator belt at the pre-purchase annual done in Texas right before I left on the ferry flight. Instead of running the cable under the generator bracket, it was run over the top of the bracket which caused a kink where it contacted the bracket. After about 20 hours of flying time the outer housing of the throttle broke. If throttle was reduced, the broken ends would come together and reduce the throttle. But when throttle was increased, the broken ends would separate spreading the housing apart and the throttle arm on the carburetor would not move.

The local mechanic saw me take the cowl off and came out to see what was happening. I asked if he had a throttle cable and he said he could get one in about 3 or 4 days. Seeing my lack of enthusiasm about the thought of 3 or 4 days in the Indian village of Watson Lake, Yukon, he turned and walked back to his shop. I tied the plane down and was getting my bags out of the plane when about 10 minutes later he came back to the plane and said, hold out your hand. I did and he dropped two small hose clamps and a short length of copper tubing sawed in half lengthwise. I looked at it and quickly realized it was a field splice. I asked him if he would install it and he said no, he could not legally install it but I could. :D

About twenty minutes later, the 182 was refueled and taxiing out for takeoff to Whitehorse and Anchorage. About 3 months later I asked the new owner of the 182 if he had replaced the throttle cable and he said, why should I it’s working fine like it is. 8O

Like Bruce said, in Alaska, even with a good radio there is no guarantee you can make radio contact with anyone from the ground in most parts of Alaska. The only hope is to contact another plane that just happens to be flying within range and just happens to be monitoring the exact frequency you are transmitting on. That could take days, or never in some cases depending on where you are. Not everyone monitors the emergency frequency, 121.5.
Richard Pulley
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Re: Author Question - 170 Plane Problems

Postby n2582d » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:21 am

Airliners typically monitor 121.5 on their second radio. Dunno how much airline traffic one can expect over isolated parts of Alaska though ...
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Re: Author Question - 170 Plane Problems

Postby GAHorn » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:33 pm

Anytime I’m flying with a second comm radio ...or when even when equipped with only one radio..... if I’m flying along not talking to anyone in particular.... it’s tuned to 121.5 Mhz... monitoring that freq once saved me from my own stoopidity when I nearly wandered into a TFR... I’d forgotten about and ATC called in the blind to the aircraft at “3500 northbound” to “turn West IMMEDIATELY” ... and I turned to Jamie and remarked, “Some idiot is about to find out why it’s important to get pre-flight briefings”... then realized I was at 3500’ northbound. 8O

(I turned SOUTHwest and flew along a few miles, then turned north again and called ATC and “innocently” inquired if the MOA was “hot”.... 8)

Moral: Monitor 121.5
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