Flying Friday: the time I lost the keys

Recently Matt and I went on a jaunt back to Ohio. We flew from KDCU to 1G0, with a quick bathroom stop en route, and that went really well. Our visit with friends in Perrysburg was splendid, and I got to run the Boy Scout Half Marathon as a bonus. The plan was then to fly from 1G0 to Cleveland for the Cleveland National Air Show, departing Sunday morning for a noon show start, then to fly home. That all went really well, and we flew to and landed at Cuyahoga County Airport (KCGF), where the line crew at Cleveland Jet Center promptly and courteously got us parked and fueled. We went to the air show and had a great time watching the Blue Angels. (I got some great pictures that I’ll post on Flickr, eventually.) Thanks to the Cleveland Police Department, we had a long, hot walk to the nearest area where an Uber driver could pick us up, but soon enough we were back at the airport, whereupon I discovered that I had lost the key. It was on a keyfob, which I would have thought would render it unlosable, but no.

A quick visit with the mechanics at the FBO revealed that they had a box full of keys for other people’s airplanes. Little-known true aviation fact: there are relatively few different key patterns for light aircraft, so one airplane’s key can often be used to open the door or start the ignition of another airplane from the same manufacturer. With a little trial and error, we found a Piper key that would turn the ignition switch.. but I still needed to get a replacement made. On Sunday afternoon.

The FBO folks equipped me with a Cadillac SRX and Matt and I went in search of a hardware store. We found a nearby Ace Hardware, screeched into the parking lot 2 minutes before closing time, and walked out 3 minutes later with two replacement keys. Once back at the airport, I was delighted to find that they also turned the ignition switch, so we packed up, started up, and took off, only about an hour behind schedule. That was actually a good thing, as we got to enjoy a gloriously starry and clear night on our way home (with a stop at LEX for cookies and diet Coke).

Thanks to Cleveland Jet Center for helping us not be stranded!

(and yes, I now have a couple of spare keys stashed in strategic places… just in case.)

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