Saturday, October 24, 2009

About Last Night...

I took note previously of the TFR attendant to the President's visit to Stamford, CT. For my departure from KBDR (which was in the area covered by the "outer ring" TFR but outside the core "no-fly" area), the whole thing was pretty much transparent to the IFR user. The only change from usual practices occurred when Clearance Delivery asked that I give them a "heads-up" call five minutes before I was ready to taxi so that they could coordinate the departure. That's not normally needed.

After departure everything proceeded as usual. I did hear one conversation wherein ATC was helping a pilot who'd intended to go to KHPN figure out where he wanted to land to wait for that airport to open to General Aviation traffic. (White Plains was in the area of the "core" TFR.)

With the approach of the cold front (something that seems to be happening on a seven-day cycle timed to provide the week's most interesting weather on Friday evening), I got to fly through the schmoo over most of eastern Pennsylvania and on down to Baltimore.

Just past KBWI at 6000 feet, N631S and I flew through a rather small but fairly intense piece of weather isolated from the bulk of the stuff, with about three minutes of moderate precip and light-to-moderate turbulence. Scanning the dials, I noticed a loss of air speed. Glancing over at the manifold pressure gage, I saw that it was down to about 18 inches instead of the 22 or so I'd expect at that altitude. Aha! Carburetor icing! The carb inlet air temp gage was just below the top of the yellow arc at about 4 degrees C. I immediately applied full carb heat. The engine went a little bit rough and there was one "hiccup" as, presumably, a piece of ice broke loose and passed through the engine as a slug of water. But in less than a minute the manifold pressure was back to expected levels and the aircraft accelerated to the speed I'd been getting before. I reduced the carb heat to just the amount needed to keep the gage out of the yellow and had no further issue.

The good news is that the area right around home had good VMC, so the visual approach into KVKX was on offer. As a minor complication to end my day, the Potomac Approach controller needed to keep me high until quite close in and I wound up with a "slam-dunk" approach. From 2000 feet and 2+ miles out, I wasn't able to get down for a normal approach to landing so I wound up executing a go-around. Good practice.

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