Thanksgiving: It started okay...

My wife and I cranked up the airplane and took off for Colorado yesterday morning. Leaving from Wisconsin for a gas stop in Omaha, NE (Eppley Airfield). 35kts on the nose at 6,000 ft. I wanted to go higher but the winds were even stronger. 3.5 hours later we landed. Smooth trip, just slow. We gassed up at TacAir and took off for Colorado. We climbed to 10,000 and bang! Severe engine vibration. Pulled the throttle back, mixture rich, prop forward, fuel pump on low, switch tanks, alternate air on. No change. Turned off left mag, smoothed right out. Turned on left mag, rough again. Turned it off and smooth. I started a turn back to Omaha and called ATC. No emergency, at least not yet. We landed 20 mins later, uneventful. No mechanics at Eppley airport. We called across the river to Council Bluffs airport in Iowa. Excellent maintenance manager, Ron, sent a guy out right away. 20 mins later he showed up and pulled the mag. He opened it and it had self destructed on the inside. He had access to parts for my mag (unbelievable) and had it repaired in an hour. We parked the plane, got a hotel and had a nice dinner in old world Omaha (at the Omaha Steak House, 5-stars). Next morning we came back to TacAir and looked at the weather. Total change from the day before. It was now moderate icing surface to 11,000 ft for 400 miles into Colorado. We could have climbed on top, no problem, but the idea of a 20 minute descent through ice didn't appeal to me so we flew home. I miss my son greatly but it was too much risk. We'll Zoom tomorrow. Not as good, but it will have to do.
Happy Thanksgiving, fly safe.

Scott Sherer
Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

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