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Funny Story about Active Noise Cancelling (ANR) Causing an Emergency Landing.

When I was training to be a pilot I purchased a nice pair of Lightspeed Zulu headsets. I spent a lot of money for these and I was excited to use them.

For those of you who may not be aware of what ANR headsets are, they are a headset that uses electronics to listen to the noise frequency outside the headphones and emits a frequency to cancel out that noise inside the headphones. It is really quiet when the noise canceling is turned on. It also typically requires batteries to operate. This is crucial to my story.

The Preflight

So one bright sunny day, I chose to go flying on a cross country trip. I did my preflight inspection and fueled the plane. I started it up and it couldn't have been a better day to fly. I took off bound for Traverse City.

The Cross Country

I was cruising along at 3500 feet and talking with air traffic control. The plane felt great and sounded great. There wasn't a bump in the sky and I just thought to myself that this is the most peaceful flying I have over done. I timed my checkpoints out well and it was a great time.

The Emergency

I was over the Cadillac area when all of a sudden the sound of the engine completely changed on an instance. I had no warning. It would from a light hum to a fairly loud roaring sound. My heart jumped out of my chest and I was certain that something just happened to my engine. I pointed directly to the nearest airport to get this plane on the ground. If you know that area you know it is super woodsy up there and there wasn't a ton of options for me to land. I was certain I was losing my engine at any moment. I was prepared to glide if I lost my engine. You see that was the weird thing to me. I still had engine power. I was just praying I could maintain altitude the entire way. I was able to fly the plane and make a nonscheduled precautionary landing.

The Diagnosis

I had a team of maintenance guys look over the plane. Everything seemed to test out just fine. Spark plugs were good. Compression on all cylinders was fine. Exhaust was in tact with no cracks. They started it up and ran it and it seemed fine. I was scratching my head at the time. Then I looked down at my headset. My batteries were dead and I needed new batteries. Well son of a gun. I found out that my batteries died while flying and the noise canceling turned off causing the change in the noise of the engine. I panicked during that. It was simply that my batteries died in my headphones.

My Takeaways

First, I can never fly to that airport again out of shear embarrassment. Second, bring extra batteries for your noise cancelling. Third, no what it is like when your noise cancelling turns off.

I hope you enjoyed that. Follow us and read my blogs. Let me know in the comments what I should write about next.

Keep the Sunny Side Up and the Airspeed in the Green.


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