After resolving an engine problem following his departure from Hamilton, New Zealand, Texas radio amateur and pilot Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, hopes to resume his commemorative Amelia Earhart round-the-world flight on July 22. Lloyd was on his way to Pago Pago, American Samoa, on July 15, when the engine in his airplane Spirit began to surge, run roughly, and then cut out altogether.
“I turned for Great Barrier Island and got close enough that it was clear I was going to be able to make a precautionary landing,” Lloyd said on his Facebook page earlier this month. “With a landing site assured I was able to spend some time troubleshooting.” He had already radioed Air Traffic Control, which gave him priority clearance.
Lloyd went to a lower altitude, switched in his “high-boost” fuel pump and, with “a bit of fiddling with the throttle and mixture controls,” was able to get the engine to run normally. At that point, he decided to return to Hamilton, where an aircraft shop could repair the problem, which turned out to be vapor lock, something motorists occasionally encounter, when the fuel vaporizes in the fuel line. At a lower altitude, cooler, and with the electric fuel pump running, the vapor lock disappeared, and the engine ran normally again. A partially clogged fuel filter also contributed to the problem. Lloyd checked out the aircraft during a test flight this week.
The 62-year old Texan will drop a commemorative floral wreath on Howland Island, where the Earhart flight is believed to have ended in 1937. That is planned for July 23. He is hoping to be back in Texas on July 29.He has been operating SSB on 17, 20, and 40 meters (18.117, 14.210, 14.346, and 7.130 MHz). — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC