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Thread: Would you gut my Cessna?

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    Question Would you gut my Cessna?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a writer, never flew an aircraft and never tried to gut one, but I need the main character in my next science fiction to do it right. I hope someone here can help.

    Location/Time/ect: Not too-distant future, Bear Island (south of Svalbard), mid-April, sea ice still intact

    Aircraft: Imagine a cross between a Cessna and the Solar Impulse 2. It's a trycicyle, high-wing, powered by supercapacitators that convert solar energy to hydrogen to be used in the combustion engines (2 engines).

    Problem: Food ran out (the two main characters are already eating a guy one of them shot on Svalbard), one of them has a head wound (tangential gunshot wound) and now develops brain hernia that's going to kill him if he's not treated properly. They need to get to the Norwegian mainland NOW. But a storm has prevented takeoff and the production of hydrogen through solar power, so far. Fuel is at 9% and that's what they need to get the one-tonne aircraft off the ground (read: ice). They can re-charge their hydrogen stores once they are above the clouds, but would need 12-14% of power for that.

    Solution: Gut that aircraft to make it lighter.

    More problems: There's no toolkit on board. The MC had to cut slots into the socket screws that hold 4 passenger seats to the floor panels to unscrew them with her knife and toss them out. But that's a bit trivial. I want to remove everything that's not absolutely essential for flying.
    Think The Martian (maybe you saw the movie or read the book, they go totally overboard with gutting a spacecraft) but with a small aircraft in the artic.

    Any and all (crazy!) input is much appreciated.

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    Why not just invent something preposterous? There's so many more problems than making the aircraft lighter nothing will be remotely believable.

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    The seats would be a substantial weight, depending upon which type. The front two seats would be about 20 pounds ( 9 kilos ) per seat. if the back seat was a Cessna style bench seat it would be about 8 kilos. Of course your M/C would then have to sit on top of the wounded person to fly the plane. So you would have to leave at least the pilots seat mostly in place.
    Things like floor mats and interior panels do not weight much. Maybe 8 pounds ( 4 kilos) Radios and electronic gear are only 3-4 kilos for a full panel of various gear. There are a dozen or so access panels under most floor mats in aircraft, but even all of those together would only be a half kilo at most.
    You boxed yourself into a corner with the NO-TOOL Kit idea. A small tool kit would leave many more options. Plus some survival gear. ( Did you know a survival wire saw will cut metal?)
    For instance, altering the make-believe landing gear on the fictitious aircraft so that it is only held in place while the plane is grounded, but most of it will fall away once airborne. The landing gear ( skis or tires), to include the gear legs and struts are a substantial weight, at least 75 kilos combined. This would leave your M/C with the suspense of only ONE take-off that could not be botched. Plus there would be only one crash landing. Thus it would need to work perfectly or everyone dies.
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    Thank you, Float Pilot! Ripping out the front seats is a good idea. They are too heavy, luxury butt warmers and can be replaced by a light, makeshift hammock seat. It's good to box the MCs into a corner, though, because it creates tension. And I need lots of that for a dystopian story.
    Thank you for helping!
    Annelie

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    Wink

    Careful, you might give pilots, who want to place higher in next year's Valdez take-off & landing competition, some crazy ideas?
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Cool

    I'm all for crazy ideas

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    Is your pilot experienced or was the aircraft already used in arctic conditions previous to the island incident? I am a person who reads, ( a lot) and I tend to home-in upon items or issues that show the author has no idea about a certain subject. For instance I like Philip Kerr's work in the Berlin Noir series and the follow-on books about Berlin detective Bernie Gunther. But Kerr has very limited knowledge of firearms and it really shows. Unfortunately he tends to ramble-on when talking about them, and he only makes it worse.
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    We ( my ship and helo-crew) used to track Soviet Submarines around that area back in the late 70s and early 80s. I remember Bear island as having huge cliffs & rock mountains on the south end and some big lakes (mostly frozen) on the north end. We could see some old roads or paths that had grown over with moss. ( when we flew over the island) . There must have been something there 50-100 years ago, maybe mining or whaling.
    Back in those days (early 80s) there was a weather station on the north end of the inland with maybe 10 people working there. It must have been horrible duty and they must have been homicidal by the time they leave. It must be around 300 nautical miles to Tromso Norway from Bear Island. So your pilot would have a long over-water flight...
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    Aircraft weight issues aside, consider the affect of altitude on your gentleman with the closed head injury. Any altitude gain is going to significantly exacerbate his condition. Climbing above the cloud deck for the flight to the mainland will likely kill him in short order. ....Perhaps his partner should consider fashioning a hole saw from a piece of that aircraft's frame tubing to bore a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure.
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    Or kill him, eat him and leave on a nice sunny day with a lighter aircraft.
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    Hi Float Pilot,
    my pilot is totally unexperienced. She stole her first solar plane and crashed it. This is the second solar plane she stole, and the second time she flies one. She stole it on Svalbard, so it's been used in artic conditions. She bungles a LOT and swear like a sailor.
    This is the series I'm writing right now:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CLMQJ4N
    If you like, I can send you a copy.

    And yes! Bear Island is more a rock that an island. Great surfing there, I heard. Some of my ex-collegues spent time on and around Svalbard, doing research. I always wanted to go, but then ended up on the Mid Atlantic Ridge instead

    Ha! I was considering briefly whether to kill the poor guy

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    Hi iofthetaiga,
    the low pressure at high altitude to make everything worse is part of my plot. I want him to nearly die, so the pilot has to land in a place she REALLY doesn't want to. That's the fun part with writing this series. ALL the ****s hit ALL the fans ALL the time.
    Side note: one can treat brain herniation with a dose of 7.5 % NaCl at 4ml per kg body weight if one doesn't have the right drill bit

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    Annelie, I donít have much to offer on your writing but I have spent some time on Svalbard in years past! Looking forward to reading it when itís done! Greg

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    Thank you, Greg

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