For best results, read Clunk, Part I first.
There continue to be no control difficulties, engine changes, or airframe flutter and I decide against an immediate precautionary landing. Or maybe I just haven't decided to make one yet. Absence of a decision is a decision, after all. There are as many good sites to land ahead as there are in the immediate vicinity, and the larger airport at our intended destination is in a larger town, with more resources, if we need anything. I'm trying to think of the most dire thing that this could be. Parts falling off are going to make a distant and inaudible thud or splash, not a clunk. And the moving parts on this bird are mostly fabric. They simply aren't heavy enough to clunk.
I know that there are some springs securing the rear of the exhaust system to the front of the exhaust system, and that they are a bit of a weak point. While Lite Flyer was up on her test flight at the manufacturer's I had a look at their demo plane, and noticed that it had a one-piece exhaust system. "There are no springs on this one," I said to the wiring expert who was with me.
"Yeah, springs break and go through propellers," he said. "This is the new improved kind."
The springs on this one are all safety wired and have that orange gunk on them that you use to tell if a nut is starting to back off a bolt. They were all intact and wired down before this flight. But maybe under the right conditions a spring can make a heavy clunk. Aviatrix, who knows perfectly well that springs go sproing tries to rationalize. If something had hit the delicate little composite propeller I'd expect an engine vibration. If I really thought it was a spring, I'd be landing already, because if one goes, then there's more strain on the others.
While I'm thinking, I reach in the side pocket by my seat for my water bottle. I heard once that even two per cent dehydration has a measurable effect on cognitive ability. But damn: my water bottle is not there. Did I leave it in the FBO when I refilled it? No I didn't. I reach down behind my seat, down in front of the fuel tank. I find my water bottle. You might recall from an earlier posting that I eschew plastic water bottles and have invested in metal ones. The kind that go clunk when you drop them against a fibreglass-kevlar hull. "Listen to this," I say to Lite Flyer, and I drop the water bottle again.
Mystery solved. In the best possible way. My mouth went dry because while I can reach my hand back there and grab the water bottle, the space my hand goes through isn't big enough to pull the water bottle out through. It's like trying to get a pop out of an old fashioned ice-chest style pop machine where you have to pull it along to the right spot after you put the coins in.
I could tell you about the rest of that flight, but it would be an anti-climax, wouldn't it. And you've probably stopped reading already to berate me for stringing you along. So I'll wrap it up quickly. New Hampshire became Maine under our wings, and other than finally descending to a right-way altitude of 3500', we stayed high because there are a large number of very tall towers in that part of Maine. We tuned up the ASOS for KLEW and it favoured a landing on the small cross runway, but there was a lot of traffic on a crossing runway, which curiously is zero four. I say curiously, because this is still the United States and these are American accents in US-registered airplanes, but they are saying "zero four" not just four. Everyone is doing it. Must be the Canadian influence. I don't believe the US has decided to conform to ICAO runway numbering overnight.
I hear student pilot radio voices and instructor radio voices. Three airplanes are doing continuous circuits and other traffic is departing and arriving, probably from the local practice area. While I could arrange our approach to go under the downwind, it could be tricky to coordinate crossing an active runway with different speed traffic. With it being busy and having students around i want to do the most expected thing. I direct Lite Flyer to fly towards a point that will allow us to join "downwind on the forty-five," the most common US pattern entry. I think she is confused why I am sending her the wrong way, but I don't spend the words explaining, because I am listening to overly verbose student pilot radio calls, and looking out for traffic, trying to make sure I don't cut anyone off. We join, fly a close-in circuit and I take control to sideslip us in and clear the runway. There are a lot of GA aircraft here and I park in an unoccupied space and then go back to the flying school to confirm we're okay there overnight.
We take on the usual division of labour, with me securing and inspecting the airplane while Lite Flyer goes to convince strangers to help her get mogas. She's good at that.