So, last night Team #99 was having dinner and feeling very good about ourselves. We had the plane assembled very quickly, the new telemetry camera equipment was wired in, and we were enjoying a seamless start to the first race.
I made a comment about how we were “firing on all cylinders”. Our technician Dennis Sawyer then says, “Be quiet” the airplane can hear you. Don’t jinx us.”
Sure enough, we walk into the hangar this morning and no sooner do we get the canopy cover off that we get a HUGE whiff of 100LL fuel. We all look at each other and say, “UH OH, what’s that smell?” Dennis and I have been around the block long enough to know what it means, a fuel leak.
I stick my head inside the cockpit and immediately see a puddle of fuel in the belly. What do we do now? We’re only about 1 1/2 hours away from our first training flight of the day.
Well, we ripped the plane apart and immediately saw the culprit. A loose fitting in the header tank (that’s the tank that feeds fuel to the engine and is also the heart of the inverted fuel system). We immediately drained the fuel, removed the main fuel tank, snaked the header tank up through the tubing of the cockpit where the main tank was and started to work on the problem.
Dennis and Brad worked some of that technician magic and before we knew it, the tank was going back in. We made it into the grid with about 5 minutes to spare.
So, in the future, I will refrain from talking about how “smooth” our team is running. I think the plane really might be listening.
Ahhhhhhh, the stress of competing. Gotta love it!!!!!!