Long story short, halfway between the East Coast and Iceland one, and then both, engines cut out. They had just a couple of minutes to figure out what had gone wrong before they ditched. And given the temp of the water that was very likely to be a death sentence.
With less than 10k feet to go, they noticed the fuel tanks in the back were buckled inward. They weren't vented properly. A pocket knife solved the problem and a few seconds later the engines restarted.
SOP for ferrying a small plane across the Atlantic is to install "external" fuel tanks in the space normally used for passengers. Whoever installed them in Maine didn't vent them.
The punchline was that he and his copilot were (at the time) both smokers. After that ordeal, they both wanted nothing more than to light up. But the cabin was full of gas fumes, so lighting a lighter was likely to blow up the airplane.
Oddly enough, I just talked to my father for the first time in years. It's amazing how faulty memory narrates.
It was a Cessna 421 and the tanks were vented, but the vents had frozen over because of a heater failure. The temp was 42F below zero. They didn't puncture the tanks, just unscrewed the caps.
The craziest part, which I had forgotten, wasn't the problem with smoking. Their nav equipment had failed after the engines quit. They had to dead reckon to Iceland. They were much closer than halfway, but were still navigating blind.
Needless to say they sighted Iceland and found the airport.
Inertial Navigation System... a mechanical system which maintains position by double integrating acceleration, which means infinitesimal errors grow to dominate over time, and so need to be recalibrated often.
a, v0 maybe vectors; x maybe a point insead of a number
x(t) = a(t)*t^2 + v0*t + x0
What is interesting is that given that I read HN for both knowledge and entertainment the edit didn't even matter. The story was still interesting even if the facts were off.
I had read about dead reckoning as a kid in some book, but forgot or didn't know what it meant. Looked it up:
Both that and the related idea of inertial navigation systems are interesting:
Someone well-meaning recommends someone to cherish their parent(s) and maintain contact with them, and gets checked by people telling them that not all parent-child relationships and interactions are pleasant or desired.
Are many people here estranged from their parents?
I too have seen my biological father barely 10 times in my entire life, but I have had other father figures in my life, uncles and aunts and other adults that raised me and guided me, and regrettably passed away too soon because I could pay them back, or even show them my appreciation enough.
There are still people from my childhood who still help me and whom I wish I could get along with, but there is also a lot of friction between us and I regret that, because they are at the end of their lifespans and I would like to part on a better note if possible.
People only live once and there is never anyone else exactly like someone. Even if you despise your close relations on a personal level, in the interest of "science" I think you could still try to gain their insights and record their experiences, document their history, before they cease to exist. Especially if you are the best or only person in the position to do that.
"If you do end up in the water, the important thing is to get into your life raft but also I have a thick neoprene survival suit, which completely encloses the body and you've probably got a few hours survival in that."
He knows of other ferry pilots who have landed in the sea and survived, but admits it's not something he cares to dwell on.
I'm confused what altitude were they at then that they had only 10K feet left? From the article:
>"Because most small light aircraft are unpressurised, it's not advisable to fly above 10,000ft."
We took off at about 3AM, and I fell asleep immediately. Woke up somewhere well above 10K, dizzy as hell and realized what I'd done. I put in the cannula and the dizziness left within a few minutes iirc.
>"they noticed the fuel tanks in the back were buckled inward. They weren't vented properly. A pocket knife solved the problem"
This males me think it was something much smaller that would have fuel takes within arms reach or not much further away.