When I first got into this hobby (Model A) I used to worry about every little noise, but then I got a Model T and learnt some noises need to be ignored.
In moderns you can just turn up the stereo. In a T the various sounds helps determine what speed you are traveling
In the aviation world, we have this interesting phenomenon known as "Automatic Engine-Rough." It takes place whenever a single-engine airplane ventures out over inhospitable terrain such mountains or large bodies of water, where, in the event of an engine failure, gliding down to a forced landing from which the occupants of the aircraft could walk away would be an event unlikely to take place.
This reliable peculiarity is strictly psychological and is sort of related to the unease the pubescent feel when, immediately after viewing a slasher movie, it becomes necessary to fetch something from the cellar—at night.
In the cockpit, one learns to stress the intellectual and believe the engine gauges instead of listening to what the gut says about the machine’s every little hiccup. But the gut isn't always wrong and we know it, so “Automatic Engine-Rough" becomes an unwelcome guest with whom we must learn to coexist—or quit flying. Oddly enough, after a few years, the very fact that it makes its appearance exactly on cue becomes in itself a reassurance. Go figure.
Now, I'm intimately familiar with every groan and creak of my Tin Lizzy. For the last couple of weeks, the weather in my neck of the woods has been absolutely lovely and I've been driving the Model T just about every day and that makes for a lot of opportunity to hear new things. Hm—I don’t like that odd, rhythmic click that sounds like it’s coming from the driver’s-side front wheel—and suddenly, there’s the action-packed, mental image of spokes shattering and the car tumbling end-over-end, which would be a very bad thing for an occupant whose spine is held together with titanium rods and screws. Hm—those floorboards feel hot; am I overheating? Hm—does the steering feel a little funny today? Hm—that occasional grinding squeak sounds painful. And so on.
I know that driving a century-old automobile in Noo Yawk traffic is unavoidably hazardous and when so doing, though I may feel comfortable, I’m never actually relaxed. Goes with the territory, I guess.
Well I know that most have heard the saying "The difference between a Rattlesnake and Model T is you can count the rattles on the snake but not on the Model T". That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Bob, obviously you are a pilot. Did you ever read an article by Gordon Baxter called "When things go bump in the night"? I have been the places you mention, in a small plane, single pilot, night time, IFR. That's when things go bump in the night, just like a Model T when you are on a 2 lane road with a line of cars behind. But ain't it fun?
If the critical engine on a single engine plane quits at night, turn on the landing light when you get down low. If you see a place to land, go ahead. If you don't see a place to land, turn the light back off.
That was me! How true it is! The noise in the A now could be more serious....or I could just wait and see what flies off!! I like my T better!!!
One of the things I appreciated about Gordon Baxter was his ferocious loyalty to the VFR segment of aviation. He liked old airplanes with round engines and as folks who appreciate the kind of historical hardware that comes with seats and hand-levers, we can sympathize. He had the soul of a poet.