July 15, 9pm CST:
The pilots have returned safely to Brisbane due to a failure in the primary alternator.
They will be taking off again shortly for a quick 30 minute flight to Toowoomba, using the backup alternator (provides 20 amps of power) and conserving as much power as possible during the flight.
They're going to work through this issue with the US certified aircraft technician in Toowoomba. We'll update further whenever we know more.
- Kris O.
July 15, 11pm CST: Everything was going well until about an hour and a half in to the flight when we were showing a large amperage discharge for our Alternator. I tried several things to determine the problem and nothing made it better. I told Peter I felt that we needed to turn back to Brisbane, and he readily agreed. By this point we had shut down the primary alternator and turned on the backup.
We now had the capacity of 20 Amps for our entire electrical load, instead of 60. We needed to shut down some of the electrical systems that we used to navigate and communicate. So, we turned off the number 2 Navigation and Communication system, the Auto pilot, the electric trim, all of the lights, and the pitot heat. With this arrangement we could still generate the amperage & voltage we needed to safely fly the airplane.
We wanted to just head back to the shop in Toowoomba, but we needed to land and clear customs in Brisbane. Everything about the return trip and landing at Brisbane was uneventful. After a short discussion with the folks at Brisbane we were cleared to fly the short trip back to Toowoomba.
Prior to starting the engine I opened the engine cowling to do an inspection of the alternator to see what was wrong and ensure that it was safe to fly back to the shop. I quickly determined the problem to be a primary wire that had loosened up and caused enough heat to burn the power cable. I taped this wire to make it safe and secured it to a frame member. We then headed to Toowoomba with no other issues.
Al McVinish was waiting for us when we landed. He quickly figured out what was needed to repair the issues and within an hour he had the system repaired with some new parts, and more reliable than before.
We are now back in the same hotel we were in for the last week. We are planning to depart here about 6AM local time. We need to go back to Brisbane to once again clear Customs, then head for New Caledonia. We should be there by mid afternoon. -------
Thank you to everyone at Brisbane and Toowoomba for all of your care, concern and help for the pilots! - Kris O.
Photos from Peter: