Trip Update, Day 9.

Day 9.

   The takeoff from Riyadh looked like it would be a piece of cake.  It was a little hazy but the sun was shining, sort of, there was a nice breeze right down the runway and it was hot.  Being hot wasn’t one of the things that was going make the takeoff easy, it actually would make getting off the ground harder but when you’re flying in Saudi Arabia the fact that it’s hot can’t be ignored, because it’s hot, hot, HOT!  Did I mention it was hot?  After a bit of confusion taxiing to the runway I stopped the Navajo at the hold short line for a quick run up before letting the tower know I was ready to go, and the left engine quit.  That got my attention because that was the first time on the trip that that had happened.  I quickly re-started the engine but the incident made me a little nervous.  After takeoff I started a slow climb to keep the engines cool and quickly found myself in instrument conditions.  The haze I’d seen from the ground turned out to be a thick layer of dust that was exactly like flying in the clouds with no horizon at all.  I wasn’t super happy about this because the day before one of the vacuum pumps that run the flight instruments had failed leaving only one functioning.  If the other one failed I’d be in a dicey situation flying on instruments with most of my instruments inop.  But what are the chances of that happening?

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