I feel like an idiot, so here's a riddle about an airplane issue

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by shouldaknown, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. shouldaknown

    shouldaknown Guest

    Flying along in my Cessna 172 and I can't shake the feeling something is wrong. The last two times there was a faint smell in the cockpit, but not like exhaust, not like fuel, but something rather important. Important enough to cancel any future flights that involved passengers. So it smelled of something familiar, like butane or kerosene.
    Anyone guess what it was?
    There's no crazy modifications or anything out of the ordinary in the plane.
    I actually can't believe I didn't know immediately.
     
  2. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Compass leak.??
     
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  3. shouldaknown

    shouldaknown Guest

    BAM!!
    that's it.
    Man I tell ya' , while you're in the air with a buddy and his two kids and you can't figure out what the heck that smell is...nerve racking.
    What makes the story even funnier- I specifically remember looking at the compass and saying to myself " I don't remember this being so tough to read" with the fluid being half empty I didn't put 2 and 2 together.
     
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  4. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    Once again we all relearn the lesson that any change, no matter how seemingly insignificant, might turn out to be vitally important once airborne.

    Thanks for posting!
     
  5. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That has happened to me, but the culprit was obvious, as it leaked on to the dash.
     
  6. PaulMillner

    PaulMillner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    On the stock Cardinal, compass leaks drip onto the fuel selector well on the floor.

    So if you reach for the fuel selector, and encounter a puddle... voila, compass leak!

    Paul
     
  7. Shouldaknown

    Shouldaknown Guest

    Yeah, I've got a leak just slow enough to give that very faint smell. That "almost" alarming smell, but not quite...
    I'll be installing a compass card . Way better anyhow. No magnetic drift when turning, no reverse azimuth to worry about. Etc.
     
  8. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    I had his happen in the 150 I used to rent, however it was such a slow leak and so hot in Florida that it would drip onto the dash and then evaporate. You could smell it but the leak was very hard to detect until I caught a drop falling from the compass. Amazing how it can stump you though if you haven't encountered that smell in a plane before.
     
  9. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I had a gel-filled ear cushion on a headset let go once. It made a gooey mess, fortunately on the carpet of a rental plane. :eek:
     
  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    My first guess was going to be someone was eating a chicken salad sandwich......
     
  11. korben88

    korben88 Line Up and Wait

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    So what does compass smell like?
     
  12. problematique

    problematique Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Smells like exactly what the fluid is inside of it.... typically it's kerosene.
     
  13. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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    That's where the term "Whiskey Compass" comes from. They could be filled with alcohol, kerosene, oil...
     
  14. arnoha

    arnoha Line Up and Wait

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    Is it? I always was told it was for Wet Compass, though, admittedly, Whiskey Compass is hardly an abbreviation.
     
  15. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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    I cut my teeth on F-4 Phantom instruments in the '70's. That is where I learned "Whiskey Compass".

    Why would "Magnetic Compass" or "Standby Compass" require to be abbreviated if termed something other? Mag and Stby are common abbreviations.

    FYI, Bent/McKinley, Aircraft Maintenance and Repair, Fourth Edition, page 479, states: Magnetic Compass... The moveable assembly is contained in a compass bowl filled with a light petroleum oil which dampens out oscillations and lubricates the pivot bearings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  16. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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  17. pmanton

    pmanton Line Up and Wait

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    My wife complained of a familiar but bad smell in the cockpit. It turned out that my Depends were leaking.
     
  18. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My Warrior whiskey compass let go on me during my PP solo long XC. I figured "it was OK when I left". I'm pretty sure it leaked all over my right leg/ankle area -- I remember a warm, wet feeling on my leg and was hoping it was mechanical and not biological.

    VORs and pilotage saved the day!! I'd hate to think I'd still be flying around south central KS looking for an airport after all these years. The compass still worked, sort of, but it sure wasn't floating very well.