Is there anyone else feeling like January is finally here? Despite the weather, January is when I can finally breathe. The transition of fall is over; I survived again. It was an eventful fall.
My First “Emergency” Landing
I was flying to Savannah, Illinois for a hike at Mississippi Palisades, a state park on the shore of the Mississippi River. The winds were calm and the air was smooth. I was prepared for the parachute jumping radio calls over Rochelle, Illinois, directly on my route. I radioed my position outside Rochelle and when I knew I was clear, I looked down at my engine controls. There were yellow lights flashing. This is not a good sign. The alternator, a main electrical component, was not functioning. I immediately said to my co-pilot husband, “We have an hour.” Our emergency back up battery would last one hour, not enough time to get back home.
My husband immediately read the emergency checklist out loud. “Land as soon as practicable.” Just south of us was Dixon, Illinois, home of the Embezzler Mayor. She stole millions of dollars over 20 years from this sleeply Illinois town, childhood home of Ronald Regan. The Dixon airport was not as close as Rochelle, but I did not have to avoid parachutes. I changed our flight plan and made an emergency landing at Dixon. On the ground we started to troubleshoot but could not recreate the problem. The alternator was working normally. I decided to try and fly home. The LaSalle-Peru airport, a 15- minute flight, was my back up airport. I took off, and headed home, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, within 10 minutes the alternator failed again. I headed to LaSalle-Peru and once again, radioed in an emergency landing. We landed safely. There is a great mechanic on the field who agreed to fix the problem. This was September. It is now January and the plane is still at the mechanics. It has been a no-fly fall, sadly.