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Flight: LTG-2012-0621-1 in N12556 (Penny) for $
KCXY - KSFZ (flying time 1:30)
Continuing on our Boston trip. After Laura's leg from ROA and an overnight, we're ready for our last leg from CXY to SFZ, and I get to fly again!
From KCXY (Capital City Airport) 2012-06-21 15:59:11 to KSFZ (North Central State Airport) 2012-06-21 18:40:01 [01:30:00] with 0 day and 0 night landings.
David Thorburn-Gundlach (pilot-R) / Laura Thorburn-Gundlach (PIC-legal) / Madi Thorburn-Gundlach (safety) / Quin Thorburn-Gundlach (safety) /
Laura filed IFR again (this time after planning, as out of ROA the day before), and I flew right seat. Interestingly, I found it very easy to confuse altitude correction with direction correction; I frequently found myself, for instance, countering descent with a right turn -- even after I had I had identified the phenomenon! That was both weird and delightful :-)
It's a good thing we had two pilots, because we were *BUSY* the whole way. We originally had a route that took us west and north of the whole JFK/LGA/NWK adventure, but that wasn't enough to let us be left alone. We were rerouted three times, and it almost became a running joke that every time we'd change sectors and check in we'd have the pen ready. So Laura was constantly busy folding and refolding charts trying to figure out where they were pointing us (and it is *very* interesting to try to find your way around on a map that is not North-oriented; it just doesn't work!) while I flew, mostly ran the radios, and occasionally updated the handheld GPS with our new clearance. [Oh, and even though we are /U we kept getting 'direct to such-and-such' clearances, which we couldn't accept because we aren't IFR-GPS-equipped. Weird...]
Meanwhile, I was somewhat horrified about 45 minutes before arrival to see that our fuel gauges were on the shy side of the half mark. Whoa; we shouldn't be that low! Yes, we had flown 3 hours just yesterday (and 2.6 on my first leg out); yes, we flew about 3 hours for Laura's long XC; yes, half tanks in a 172 is a lot more than half tanks in a Skipper -- BUT IT SHOULDN'T BE THAT LOW! I quietly panicked for about two minutes before doing the math in my head that a *quarter* of a tank is 4 or 5 gallons, which even at a very pessimistic 8 or 10 gph gives us an hour to fly, and we definitely weren't that far out anyway, AND there were lots of airports around where we could refuel, so we wouldn't fall out of the sky (again). Then I could sit back and look at things and see that we were certainly closer to half than quarter.
All of this came into play about 15 minutes later when Laura commented on the gauges. I was able to calmly :-) reply that I'd been watching them, and was moderately concerned, but comfortable with our current ETA and fuel. With that, we stuck with our plan and finished a smooth flight to KSFZ and the outbound portion of our awesome trip. We ended up with 5 + 7 = 12g of fuel, or about an hour and a half at 8gph (which, it turns out, is what we burned; I should have been riding the mixture better after Laura handed over to me), which is right at my comfortable minimum (and twice what is required). I'm glad, too, to treat that as 'empty' and plan to stay well above it, or at least until we get a proper engine analyzer and fuel flow meter someday.
BTW, they finally had oil, too, although only through the mechanic on the field, so we bought three quarts and put one in to bring us back up to 'full'. NEVER AGAIN.