I came up the this morning to take another friend flying. The preflight went well, so to speed things up later, I decided to fire up the plane and get the engine warm.
It fired up easily enough, but was idling low (700 RPM) so I advanced the throttle… Nothing… Thinking I had maybe some contaminated fuel (water or something), I shut it down and re-dipped the tanks etc. Finding nothing and just hoping it was maybe some water in the fuel that needed to be pulled through, I hopped back in and fired it back up. Same low idle, but it seemed a bit higher and smoother. I let off the brakes and slowly (very slowly) crept down towards the fuel pumps. I would need to fill it up anyway, so maybe full tanks of clean fresh fuel would help?
After topping off the header tank, I tried again, but still very low idle and no throttle response. Some locals offered some advice, but clearly I wasn’t flying today, so I called and cancelled my friend’s flight, saving them a drive up from Victoria. The idle was so low that I wasn’t able to take it back up the slight hill towards our hangar. So a long process of pulling the plane up the hill a few feet, resting, and repeat took place.
Back in our hangar, I took the cowlings off and with my son manipulating the throttle in the cockpit, I watched the carburetor and nothing was moving at the other end of the throttle cable. Clearly the throttle cable had snapped somewhere between my cockpit and the engine 🙁
Out came the wrenches and I dove in. The cable came out easily enough, and indeed, it had snapped just forward of the front cockpit’s throttle control which is where the actual flexible cable starts. Time to order a new one and get it installed properly.
The real scary thing was that the cable was working perfectly as we landed yesterday after a very fun and long day of flying. The airstrip here in Duncan isn’t all that forgiving, if the cable had severed on short final and I needed to go around, the outcome would have been … less than ideal. No doubt God was holding that cable together for us last night as nothing happened to cause any kind of failure like this…