Learning Experiences

April 2000 Issue

Heavy Metal

‘I clearly had been foolish to embark on the long cross-country flight’

Last year, my wife and I were flying our newly acquired Piper Cherokee 235 cross-country from Virginia to Oregon, where we planned to help my parents celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.

After dodging late-summer thunderstorms over Indiana and enjoying big, thick steaks in Grand Island, Neb., we departed for our next refueling stop in Rock Springs, Wyo. We climbed to 10,000 feet and cruised IFR above a low cloud deck. On the airway between North Platte and Scottsbluff, I noticed the oil pressure was beginning to fluctuate slightly.

The big Lycoming O-540 was roaring along and hadn’t missed a beat, and the oil temperature was steady and in the green. A few miles later, the fluctu...

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