Fuel Cap Mishap

"I need a destination.
That's what Rusty said to help me understand why he wasn't good with just going up and flying around the area for practice and staying current.

Sulphur Springs, TX has an airport right next to a small lake. Across the street from the FBO is a restaurant. We have a destination!

Rusty was going to be the pilot-in-command to Sulphur Springs, I would fly us home. So my job during the preflight prep at Addison was to safety brief  the boys and get them settled into the back. While we waited to taxi around a construction zone, I noticed the gas cap on my side was lifted a bit. I noted it to Rusty and at the run up area near the runway I hopped out to settle it back on.

After the rest of our run up, we took off. I snapped a few pictures of the boys and us:

"What do you call a pig who knows karate? Pork chop!"
Waiting to taxi at ADS
Addison's tower during take-off
Josh checking out the city from 2,000 feet up

Then I saw this and panicked briefly. "Oh [expletive]! We need to land! The fuel cap is off again. We can go back to Addison, or land at Rockwall."

Gotta love the wire that keeps the cap from falling away.
This also affirms my love for low wing.

Rusty thought about this for a second then decided on Rockwall. "Where is Rockwall?"
"Just past that bridge over the lake," I pointed. He hates Rockwall, but I guess that seemed better than Addison in that moment.

Rockwall Municipal Airport has a couple hazards to know about. High electric lines run perpendicular to the runway so you have to see them, come in higher than you normally might for a runway, then descend quicker than you normally might. The runway is short with a raised middle. And there's full grown trees at the other end of the runway. It's a real joy of an airport if you're into that sort of thing.

Rusty landed us safely at Rockwall. Along the taxi way, I hopped out again to secure the cap, this time tugging on it and testing it thoroughly before getting back in.

No fuel was lost in the incident.

Rusty inquired about a caution light that was on. I noted the Alt switch was off. I'm not sure if it had been off the whole time or inadvertently en route. Either way, we flipped it on and the caution light went away. We continued our flight to Sulphur Springs without issue. Elliot fell asleep so soundly, he missed the second landing and parking!

Elliot is our Sleeping Beauty

We ate at the Red Barn Restaurant. It was OK food, but nothing to write home about.

I was pilot-in-command going back home. We had trouble starting the engine. Either I flooded it by advancing the mixture too soon (most likely) or there's some electric issue. It finally caught to everyone's relief. The flight home was fast. Along the way, Rusty noticed volts were measuring low. I landed fine and taxied us to parking.

We've decided to have the alternator looked at this week by the mechanics at US Sport Aircraft. We now know something is not just right. So we'll have that looked at and hopefully it will be a simple fix.

Lesson Learned
We practiced extensively for emergency situations. Having the fuel cap off during the flight surprised me but I kept my wits and knew what we needed to do. Even though we didn't need to land off of an airport, my first reaction was to look around for a spot just in case.



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