AIF, 83.5 hours (2.1 hours last flight)

It was time to head back to Stephenville for some Hard 8 BBQ!  Boy, it was a hot one on the ground on Saturday, but a pleasant 55 degrees at 8,500.  I got to fly N12180, which while recently back from the paint shop, had some pretty significant electrical problems that didn’t fully make themselves known until we were flying inside Class Bravo airspace.  No two flights are the same!

Takeoff from KDTO was uneventful, though I input the tower frequency incorrectly so it took a double check on the radio with ground to make sure things were working well.  I received a report from ground initially that I was having audio issues.  Anyway, takeoff, and hand off to regional approach.  From there, cleared into Class Bravo.

On the climb out, two things started happening that derailed us a bit.  The first was an electrical problem that caused our Garmin 430 to go on the fritz.  The backlight was not working, and it also housed our primary navigation and radio control.  I quickly switched that off and went on backups, so no real issues there.  We did have some feedback issues with the primary radio, so I completely turned it off (as opposed to keeping the mic on COM2 and listening to audio on COM1/COM2). While this felt like a short or grounding issue, it also popped the main alternator breaker which basically stopped it from charging the battery while in flight.  While the ammeter was indicating a slow drain, we had most of the electrical systems off and it wasn’t until we were doing some radio transmitting (outside of Class Bravo) and flap adjustments that I noticed how serious the issue was.

A quick pop of the breaker back in and careful monitoring of the electrical systems showed that things were at least operating within tolerances, so we left it.

The second issue was carburetor icing in my climb out, which I have experienced only once before.  Yes, icing can occur in a carburetor when the temperature is as high as 70 degrees and it is humid outside.  We had both during our climb.  So we had to halt the climb while I turned on the carb heat to melt the ice.  It melted, we resumed our climb, and didn’t have any more problems once at cruise.

The landing at KSEP was by far my smoothest landing, ever.  I call it luck more than skill, but wow.  We parked and had Hard 8 pick us up.  We had a tight timeline, so it was a quick lunch and then back in the air.  Thankfully we the engine was not too cold and we had sufficient power to crank it over.  Takeoff and the return flight was uneventful.  TOO quiet.  I even called a normally busy regional approach controller just to make sure my radio was still working—a frequency that is usually very busy was dead quiet for a good ten minutes.

Landed and had the thing turned off with a good ten minutes to spare!  Though, crippled.

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