Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stretching Capabilities

The FSS guy last night said "well you've seen the facilities, we can't really handle much." An example is the long term parking ramp. There's a narrow taxiway leading from the main apron to a long narrow apron in front of the Red Deer Flying Club. There one finds a few aged picnic tables and a row of tiedowns on the grass, because the apron isn't wide enough for taxiing and parking. To the airport's credit the grass is kept mowed neatly and the ground is very level and seemed to be free of stones. I walked it, thinking I might have to taxi off the main apron across the grass to get here. But there aren't any spare tie-down spots.

Further down that apron there may be a place I could park. There seem to be some old freighters, airplanes I don't recognize with all their windows panelled over. And there's someone's DC-3 collection there too. I'll have to bring my camera out to show you. I asked one of the pilots who was tying down the tail on his fastback Cessna about the DC-3s, but he didn't know anything about them. I think the ramp effectively ended for him at the end of that row of aircraft. His was the third from the end and he asked me "are you a one-fifty-two pilot or a helicopter pilot?" his query matching the only two aircraft beyond his in that line-up.

I don't really want to park in the long term tie down area, what I want is access to the electrical power there. The August weather is plenty warm enough for the engines overnight, but there is some electrical equipment onboard that the client wants plugged in overnight. That's why I'm out here today, not to fly but to move the airplane to where I can get power. The customer loaned me his truck to come out.

The end of the tiedown row is about thirty metres from the edge of the pavement on the main apron. I start the engines and repark the airplane so that my left tire is right on the edge of the pavement and my electrical receptacle is as close as it can get to the plug in post without my parking on the grass. Now extension cords. I should have two 15 metre cords and some shorter ones. I imagine the guys in the tower cab are watching me, because traffic is pretty quiet. So they see this pilot open all the cargo hatches in the airplane looking for something. There are no cords in the nose, but there's some Febreeze. I'm going to use that, because the carpet stinks. There's a really long red and black cord in the left wing locker, along with the Y-spliced cord for the engine block heaters and a shorter heavy duty cord. I hook those three together, but that leaves me about three metres short. Another search through everything. I thought I had another cord. It must be in a maintenance hangar somewhere.

It's late, the stores will all be closed so I can't buy one tonight and they want it plugged in tonight. I'll have to park on the grass. Unless ...

I call the client and ask if he has an extension cord. He initially says no and then remembers that he has one in his truck to plug in his block heater. In the truck I have, so I don't even have to drive back into town for it. It just fits. But my coworker will laugh in the morning when she sees the crazy daisy chain of cords I have used to get the job done. I drive back to town and put the airplane keys under her door with a note promising to buy a proper cord before she lands back here tomorrow.

4 comments:

Exyqfer said...

From the airport website:
Parking - can accommodate 200 vehicles - partially paved with plug-ins available ...

Oh wait a minute - that would be cars! The site says nothing about the airside facilities - say no more...

http://www.reddeerregionalairport.com/Services.htm

rw2 said...

Glad to see you back. Was worried you were giving up based on your entry before disappearing for a while.

zb said...

Electrical!

I am still pretty curious what that part was that got the repair done a short while ago... It must have a name in addition to its order #.

Jim said...

The DC-3 collection belongs to Buffalo Joe. The inside of his hanger is a virtual treasure trove of super rare parts. His hanger is the next one east of Tippitinas BTW.

All the other weird and wonderful transport aircraft belong to AirSpray (next past Joe's). Fire suppression projects perhaps? Pretty impressive to see four Electras and a dozen birddogs lined up in their hanger when I was there...