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Alternator Failure in IMC

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Active Member
Apr 15, 2010
Reaction score
So it finally happened today.

I've flown C-GPZT for nearly 1,000 hours with nairy a problem (at least if you don't count the little transponder failure earlier this year).

But here I was at 7,000 ft in solid cloud and heavy rain (big time plane wash!) en route from Toronto Buttonville back home to Pembroke after my attending my daughter's convocation, doing an extened scan and the ammeter was at zero. It's a sticky ammeter so a couple of taps but no change.

I have a very nice little OAT/voltage indicator in the panel which was a big help. Normally it runs at about 13.9V when on charge and about 12.6V on first turn-on of the master. So it was a comfort to see 12.5/12.6 for quite while into the Problem. No Emergency, of course, but Montreal Centre was very helpful with suggestions for alternates (nothing as good as Pembroke though at 5,000') but I kept with the plan for Pembroke for the following reasons:
- The engine didn't know or care about the alternator failure and I still had 4 hours of fuel
- The vacuum instruments were still happy
- My yoke monted G496 has a 5-hr battery life and can display a simulated 6-pack if really necessary
- I carry a hand-held NAV/COM if and when the battery finally gives out (it was charged - I checked!)

Of course I landed OK at Pembroke (crappy weather but just above minimum) so what's the take-home message?

Only one: Get and keep the maximum backup and redundancy into your cockpit,.

You'll never regret it!

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