A few days ago Roselyn and I decided to make a snap decision to fly from Moorabbin down to Phillip Island just south-east of Melbourne to visit some friends. Since it was at the last minute the place I normally higher my aircraft from didn’t have any available so I ended up sourcing an old Piper Archer elsewhere.
We arrived to pick up the plane and found that the daily inspection hadn’t been signed off despite the plane being taken up earlier in the morning. After sorting this out I did my normal checks and discovered that one of the fuel tanks was almost bone dry while the other was half full. So much for fuel management by the previous pilot!
We had the plane refueled, drained the tanks and all was OK so in we jumped to head down to Phillip Island. Being an old plane I soon discovered that there were things in it that were, well, old! For example, other than turning the second radio off I couldn’t work out how to actually stop listening to it. This was highly annoying while listening to take-off clearances etc.
Since the plane was so old you could no longer read what half the switches were marked as and the controls felt incredibly loose compared to the 2003 models I was used to flying. Not to mention the fact that our son Timothy jumped in the back and had his headphones ready to plug in only to discover there was nothing to plug into. Oh well, it was only a 30 minute flight.
After run-ups we followed another plane to the holding point and sat and sat and sat waiting for the pilot in front to do his read call. It got to the point where I was wondering if I should turn off my engine while I waited for him to get read! Finally he made his call was given take-off clearance and the tower asked me to immediately follow him (I think that they were a bit frustrated with the pilot’s delay as well)....