Arizona to New Jersey Cross Country Trip 2004
Aug 5, 2004 - Day 3:
We got to the airport in Greenville, TN at 6:30am and I proceeded to take off the instrument cover. During the night before I had come to the conclusion that the problem was most likely in the wiring from the Main Buss to the Essential Buss. Starting with the easy stuff, I also removed the rear firewall panel to check the battery connections and starter solenoid. Everything looked good and tight and I then checked the fuses on the Battery Buss. Hmmm, A fuse was blown on the Essential Buss alternate feed switch. For whatever reason, it was a 3 amp fuse which is way too small for the entire Essential Buss. I must have inadvertently put a 3 amp fuse in the slot instead of the correct value. I replace the fuse with a 25 amp and closed up the panel. I then checked all the fuses on the Main and Essential Busses. No problems as expected. I then checked to make sure the wires connecting the two busses were in good condition. The crimp connectors were tight and the wires were not loose in any way. I then checked the diode bridge which allows current to pass from the Main to the Essential Buss by way of the battery solenoid but isolates the Main Buss from the Essential Buss when the alternate feed switch is on allowing current to flow directly from the battery. While the electrical connections were all good the diode bridge was loose on its heat sink. Hmmm, since this guy gets hot enough to require a heat sink and if the heat sink is loose, then the device could overheat and trip until it cools off. This is exactly what was happening. There is enough cool air blowing over the device in flight that the loose heat sink was not a factor. But once the plane is on the ground the device heats up sufficiently to thermally trip. This has the effect of not allowing any current to flow from the Main Buss to the Essential Buss and that was what I was experiencing. After the device cooled sufficiently it would again allow current to flow to the Essential Buss. So I tightened the device to the heat sink until it was good and snug. I re-installed the instrument panel cover and then loaded our stuff in the plane.
Unfortunately, the sky was overcast and ceilings were low. We wouldn't be leaving anytime soon. At 7am the FBO opened up and I was able to check the weather. Not good. Storms stretched all up and down the Appalachian range from Tennessee to Pennsylvania and extended to the coastline. I made a call to my wife who arrived the night before in NJ and told her we would be delayed for a while due to weather. She commented that it was cloudy where she was at and that the weather reports were predicting clouds but no rain. Oh, well. I'm not heading into a band of heavy rain. So we waited. And waited. And we waited some more. The weather was slow moving between TN and NJ but looked like by afternoon might move off enough to the east that we could go around it to the west.
Between rain showers in Greenville I would take walks around the airport to see what was going on. About noon a Falcon Jet landed that we learned belonged to the Krispy Kreme Donut Corporation. Pretty cool - it was called "Donut One" and yes, I'm serious - it was painted right on the side of the plane! I guess it comes into Greenville a few times each month because someone way up the Coprorate food chain married someone from Greenville. That was a nice little diversion!
Along about 4:00pm we decided the rain had cleared out enough to attempt the trip on into NJ. A couple of guys hanging around the FBO all day took up a Cessna and after landing said the cloud tops were 6500 ft and it was clear above that.
Alyssa and I loaded up and said goodbye to our friends in Greenville and proceeded to climb through a whole in the clouds. At 6500 feet it was obvious the tops were much higher so we kept climbing. Finally at 10,500 feet we were able to level off and stay on top. The trip would take us north until just east of Gettysburg, PA. We would go around the Camp David Prohibited area and then squeeze our way in between the Philadelphia Class B and Baltimore/Washington DC Class B areas as we headed into NJ. We crossed the Delaware river and dialed up Millville (KMIV) UNICOM. It was just about 7:30pm when we finally landed in Millville to a group of about 15 people, mostly my wife and her family, who had gathered to watch us land. What an adventure! And we were only half way done - we still had the return trip the following week. After shutting down the plane, getting it parked, taking some pictures and having a few of the welcome committee try the plane on for size, we called it a night and drove on to Elmer, NJ to spend the week with my wife's parents. For a play by play of the return trip, follow the Day 4 link.
Here is the anxious welcome committee scanning the skies for the Cozy in Millville. Everyone was concerned except my two youngest daughters who appear to be more fascinated by their reflections!
Finally here! Alyssa and I taxi up to the tie down spot in Millville, NJ.
The guy from the FBO was the first one out to check out the plane while I tried to get it tied down.
My big helper - Alyssa with a look of relief on her face after landing in Millville.
I'm unloading bags while my wife Susan and her mom get the play-by-play from Alyssa.
Everyone wanted to check out the plane, so my wife (far right) got the task of carrying the luggage to the car. She's a doll!