Learning Experiences

February 2013 Issue


It was a beautiful July afternoon in Illinois. I was flying a Piper Arrow at 8500 feet msl, with no worries in the world. Weather was CAVU, and the outside-air temperature about 70 degrees F at this altitude. Yet, I noticed the engine’s rpm would not stay where I set it. Airspeed also decreased accordingly. In response and mildly annoyed, I kept pushing up the power. It didn’t help. I also tried tightening the throttle quadrant’s friction lock, but that didn’t help, either. Meanwhile, I was safe, still flying, and able stay at altitude and airspeed with throttle control. Then, the “Red Flag” popped up, and the lightbulb in my brain came on! Induction blockage! Mr. Piper’s Arrow is powered by a fuel-injected Lycoming engine. We’ve all been told one of the advantages of fuel injection is eliminating the possibility of carburetor ice. But just because an airframe/engine combination doesn’t have a carburetor doesn’t mean it can’t suffer an induction-system blockage.

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