11/20 This was my last solo cross-country, destination KCUL. The plan was simple, the flight straightforward - take off & fly to KCUL, getting flight following from KEVV & transitioning the Charlie airspace, and do the same on the way back to KHNB, which if the winds were as forecast and close to what DUATS was estimating, should put me just over the 1.9 hours of solo time I needed.
Well, I could make this a long post about every detail of the flight, but honestly it was pretty cut and dry. I landed at KCUL and checked the Hobbs. I was less than halfway, still needing 1.2 hours. I made better ground speed than I'd estimated. With a tail wind on the way back, I made even better time. I did a couple touch-and-gos before my full-stop landing to get a little more time in, not knowing if anyone had the plane after me, but in the end I was 0.2 hours short.
The line worker directed me to park near the pumps so he could refuel her. After shut down I gathered my things and headed inside to fill out the tach sheet. I called my CFI and let him know I was a bit shy of the needed time. He said no one had the plane, so I should just go back up and work on landings or whatever I wanted to.
So I went back out to the hangar & had the line worker pull her back out (he'd even closed the door). After she was back out, he closed the door again and let me know he was heading to lunch.
I did another preflight, climbed back up in the seat, continued my checklist, and got ready to start. I yelled, "clear," and turned the key. I was greeted with silence. I tried again, thinking maybe I didn't push the ignition in far enough, & verified I'd turned the Master switches on. Nothing. A third attempt, and I was greeted with a strange, high-pitched moan from under the cowling. That was enough to tell me I wouldn't be getting my .2 hours in today.
I called my CFI back, and let him know I couldn't get it started. He said he was afraid I might have trouble with it, they'd been having problems with it the last few days. That would have been good information to have before I made my cross-country flight, I honestly might have called no-go. But , at any rate, I was that much closer to being done with all of my requirements.
So, we made plans to meet the following week if the plane was repaired in time. I would do a few minutes of solo flight then pick him up and we'd work on accuracy landings and stalls.
Oh and he called me back later in the evening. Turns out the starter was complete toast. They had to order a new one, and it should be in by Tuesday. Great, maybe the photon torpedoes will be on board by then as well.
Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.