CO in CA

(I wrote this for my weekly real estate blog post tonight and decided it might be worth sharing it to the boomer group).

As I descended something didn't seem quite right.  I felt like I wanted to just drift.  But that's not the smart way to fly a plane.  I knew it - but it was hard to get a grip on my thinking.

I'd been flying one of the tow planes, hauling gliders into the wild blue yonder on a busy day at Sky Sailing Airport in Fremont, CA.  I was fortunate to be able to jump between motor-powered and non-powered aircraft throughout the day, depending on my teaching schedule.

Once the sailplane released the towline it was 'get the tow plane down and get the next glider up.' In order to avoid having the engine cool too quickly we made descents at high power settings (not to be confused with high speeds) so we wouldn't crack the hot cylinder heads due to quick cooling temperature changes.

As I circled in a spiral, first in one direction and then another, losing altitude as planned, all systems were go for a landing.  When it all worked just right, the approach to land was perfectly timed with the appropriate airspeed and power setting coming together, resulting in either in a full stall landing or a wheel landing, depending on the pilot's preference.

We had to kind of drop the plane in, instead of dragging it in so the loose end of the tow rope would get a bit of a whip upward, thus clearing the fence.  Wrapping that line around the fence and pulling it up behind the plane into the staging area was not what any pilot wanted to be known for.

This time, as I lined the plane up for the final approach I just couldn't figure out what was wrong...oh well, maybe it didn't matter.  I struggled to keep things together and made the landing.  I'm not sure how good it was but as they say "any landing you walk away from is a good one."  But we were pretty good pilots and excellence was the standard on any day.  I just didn't care.

I taxied to the tie down area and popped open the flapped doors.  Nearly falling out of the plane I suddenly felt like a huge bucket of ice water had been thrown on me.  I started to wake up.

Almost immediately I knew what had happened.  I had just experienced Carbon Monoxide poisoning and I said so to those around me.  Sure enough, when a mechanic came over to check things out, some part of the exhaust system ceased to vent out away from the cockpit, and the hose was pumping the fumes right into the cockpit.

And that was it for that plane for the day.   And I stopped flying for rest of that afternoon.

The ads are right.  You don't know that a device or appliance may be leaking the stuff,  unless you have an operating CO detector.  So get it/them installed.  And as of this past July in CA it's the law.  Typical of the morons that wrote the law, they don't say how it's to be enforced.  Add to that, the manufacturers have dramatically increased the number of units AND locations they recommend using/having them.  Predictable for profits.

That aside, maybe logic will kick in and these alarms may help prevent some sleeping deaths.

LIVE!  richly,
take time to reflect,
make your peace.   marilyn


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