You read that right, an Air Force North American L-17B attacked a Ryan Navion A! This attack in particular just happened to be self sabotage… The relatively simple ferry flight from Columbus to Saint Louis was complicated by a partial power loss and precautionary landing near Cincinnati.
Okay, so why was this plane attacking itself? And why did I land early? Both of these are better questions answered on the ground. My issue in flight was noticed by increasing fuel pressure as well as increasing exhaust gas temperature. Initially, the increasing fuel pressure occurred about 5 minutes after the aircraft was cruised out rich of peak. No other indications of issues were observed so I decided to continue the flight thinking the gauge or connection was faulty but monitored for signs of other issues.
Another 10 minutes or so went by and Cincinnati was due South. This is when I began to notice EGT’s rising and the fuel pressure was still green but also rising un-commanded. Thinking deeper about why the temperature would be rising with pressure, it came to me that, since I was running rich of peak, rising EGT’s relate to a reduction of fuel getting to the engine while approaching peak. Put these together and the engine is working harder for more fuel but receiving less. She’s sick. Time to land.
Diverting into Hillenbrand Airport turned out to be a double edged sward. There is a long runway but this “public” airport isn’t home to any fuel for piston aircraft and no services to accompany it. Thankfully, friends from playing in the Midwest Brush were able to help secure and store the airplane until the previous and new owner were able to drive together and inspect the airplane. It turns out, the Gami Fuel Injectors on this Navion’s IO-520 had been contaminated. With the lines cleaned out and reinstalled, the aircraft received through runups and I was able to come out the following weekend to finish the flight.
With all of the testing needed and fuel used, I was no longer able to make St Louis. With Hillenbrand a Jet-A only airport, I hoped over to North Vernon to fill up and knock out a short test flight before completing the final leg for this Navion’s new home.