The hotel we stayed in has a really nice pool, so we go for a swim before I volunteer to drive back for the part. My coworker did all the driving for the previous trips, so I figure she should get to sit around a bit today.
I'm not actually picking up the part from the Fed Ex office: I'm picking it up from the part retailer who get it couriered to them, so what I collect is just the paperwork and the part, in its plastic baggie. Today's part is about the size of the last joint of my little finger. It's an electronic component. I don't know if it has a name or just a part number, but apparently it is responsible for the last two day's trouble. I drive back. They install it. They test it. It works.
We load our bags. We run up. We take off. I raise the gear. It starts goes up. The green lights go out and a red light goes on. The gear clunks into the belly and wings. The hydraulic cycle completes and the red light goes off. A glance in the mirror shows that the nosewheel is stowed.
I reduce the power from the take-off setting to the climb setting. I get distracted by a very odd indication on the panel and reduce the power too much. My coworker is reading the paper but this gets her attention and I show her that the flap indicator shows full down. They're not down even a little bit and the indication was correct on the ground. Flap indicators can be wonky. This one always indicates full down when electrical power is removed. Not all of them do that. Often cycling the flaps will fix an indication problem, but when selected down, they don't budge. I inspect the obvious culprit. Yep, the circuit breaker is popped. "I'll reset it once," I say and push on it, but it doesn't go in. She doesn't believe me and reaches over and tries it herself. I forgive her for thinking I'm too stupid to reset a CB, after my power setting stunt. It doesn't reset for her either.
We almost got out of there, too.
I'm in the U-turn, thinking about the short runway. I don't have flapless landing performance charts. There's still some wind, but not a whole lot. I consider going to the larger airport. That would allow a larger margin of safety, but it would introduce a lot of operational difficulties. A lot of people think that being a professional pilot is all about always making the safest decision. It's not. It's about making the decision that will come closest to achieving the operational objective while still remaining safe. Is it safe to land this airplane on this runway, at this weight, in only this much wind? In my judgement yes. And there's nothing to hit at the other end. Not even a fence.
I fly a long final to compensate for the fact that the flapless approach profile is less familiar. I want to land at the very beginning of the runway, and I want to do it with as little speed as is safe, so as to have less speed to kill by braking. Gear down and take a couple of extra inches of power off. Over the threshold, power idle, brakes ... and without jamming them on we almost make the centre taxiway.
My coworker has already texted the engineer about our issue. The popped circuit break is for the starter solenoid, flaps and right emergency fuel pump. Weird combination. Weirder are the combinations required to start it again. With the master off, the CB resets. They have me do various combinations of starting engines, operating the flaps and turning on the fuel pump. Sometimes it pops and sometimes it doesn't. The engineer and one of the apprentices work on the problem. We go inside and chat to the other apprentice, who is also a student pilot. We tell her that if we stay the night again, as it looks like we will, she can come to the excellent hotel pool as our guest. We aviatrices have to stick together.
So what do you think? Are we going to spend another night here? Will we go back to the parts distributor in the morning? Will they fix the airplane and see us on our way tonight? If it's of any help to your guess there is a ridge of high pressure over western Canada leaving it clear all the way to destination.