Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Billings, MT

About an hour out of Bozeman, I noticed my oil temps were slowly but steadily rising, and my oil pressure very gently declining. Having just changed the oil, this worried me. So, I set down in Columbus, MT. There, I found an IA to talk to about operating temps and pressures for my engine... for 4400 feet above the sea, when it is 96 degrees in the shade. Long story short, the engine's fine. By the way, Woltermann Memorial Airport has an awesome pilot cabin with couches, microwave, shower, bathroom, even towels and a stocked bookcase. It's all built and maintained by volunteers, and funded by donations.

While talking to the IA, we noticed an airplane circling overhead. Neither of us recognized it, but we both recognized the sound of a sick engine. The airplane turned out to be a beautiful DeHavilland Chipmunk, with a sick carburetor. ATC (Billings Approach) called the IA to see if he'd gotten in safely, as there is no tower. As the pilot had to go to Billings to catch a commercial flight back to Idaho and retrieve another carb, and I was headed near Billings, I gave him a ride in.

Once on the ground, thunderstorms set in, and I spent the rest of the afternoon circling the radar updates and calling weather briefers until giving up for the night. By the time I had the airplane ready to go this morning, the sky was bright cloudless blue... and the wind kicked up strong. By the time I got the aircraft back into a tiedown and ties firmly down, it was 24 gusting 30 knots.

So, a beautiful day for Sudoku puzzles and tea in the FBO!


  1. You are having such a wonderful adventure - I'm jealous. And glad that you have a nice place to wait on favorable conditions.

  2. Keep being smart Wing, gethomeitis is NOT what you need or we want at this point.