Saturday, October 31, 2009

At the Pumps

We're at the fuel pumps, after the flight. I've already described the broken bonding strap, and when the Thanksgiving long weekend is over I will call the owner and get the darned thing fixed. There's another source of silliness on this pump. Here's the routine.

  1. Park aircraft, set brakes
  2. Run bonding strap out to aircraft, wrap it around something and clip it awkwardly in place
  3. Take fuelling nozzle off pump and run hose out to aircraft.
  4. Swipe credit card at kiosk. It asks which pump: select #1. It doesn't ask how much fuel, it just automatically authorizes for 250 L. Wait until authorization is complete and kiosk displays "approved."
  5. Go to pump, turn fuel valve on.
  6. Pump fuel into aircraft hoping to fill tank before fuel flow cuts off at 250 L
  7. Go back to pump, turn valve off.
  8. Go back to kiosk, insert credit card. Kiosk asks "print receipt?" -- answer yes. Wait for receipt to print. Take receipt.
  9. Wait for machine to stop beeping and displaying "print receipt."
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 8 until all fuel tanks are full.
  11. Stow fuel nozzle. Attach hand crank to reel and manually rewind hose
  12. Unclip bonding line and manually rewind bonding strap

This account omits mention of the subroutines involved in taking winter gloves on and off in order to manipulate pockets, fuel caps and credit card kiosks. There's a sign on the fuel pump saying that the preapproved amount can be reset remotely for amounts over 1000 L. We fall into the inconvenient range of more than 250 but just less than a thousand. This should be the last time we fuel here, anyway. And it's Thanksgiving Day, so good luck getting a hold of someone.

While we're taxiing back to parking from the pumps an inbound aircraft calls the aerodrome radio operator and asks him to pass a message to the FBO. "What's there to pass?" he asks bluntly. "It's self serve cardlock fuel."

There's a pause during which I imagine one member of the inbound crew calling the other an idiot. "Okay. Thanks for that," they reply to the CARS. We giggle and surmise they are not from the north.

We've been joking about dining tonight on one of the local turkey-sized ravens, but one of the hotels is hosting a surprisingly good buffet thanksgiving dinner, with turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes with cranberry sauce and more gravy than I've ever seen in one place in my life. We're north of sixty, but not far north enough for $200 turkeys.

And yes I know it's Hallowe'en today not Thanksgiving. But it happened on Thanksgiving (regular Thanksgiving, not American Thanksgiving) and I'm typing it the week before Hallowe'en. You'll find out what happens to me on Hallowe'en sometime around American Thanksgiving. I'll find out for myself on Hallowe'en.


Jimmy said...

I feel for you on the pump shuffle. I hate those amount limited units designed for small GA aircraft. They should have designed more flexability into a system installed in a location such as yours...

LOL at the turkey Raven. At least you were thinking of eating it. The last one I saw stalked me all over town. I was pretty such he was thinking of eating me. I wasn't that sure I could have defended myself with the Leatherman. Impressive birds those Ravens.

Jimmy said...

Sorry for the double-tap, but I forgot something important regarding an earlier post of yours...

You can carry Type I de-ice fluid on your aircraft now apparently. I complained about not being able to my (really nice) TC DG inspector on her last visit. She provided me with a letter that stated it was exempt because it is required for safety reasons (much like flares in a survival kit). She might just like me, but you should be able to get a similar letter.

Talk to the DG people directly. Even my Ops inspector said they couldn't carry it on the King Air anymore when I asked her about it. It is a real pain to de-ice without it as you well know. My sympathies. I had to de-ice the Navajo with my Costco card in YDL a few years back. Trashed the card and wasted almost two hours of my life. Not good times..

Geekzilla said...

Hey! Stop picking on us Americans! :-P

Aviatrix said...

Geekzilla, in this context, "north" means north of a line running through Prince George, Slave Lake, Prince Albert, Timmins: anywhere that commercial pilots look really silly in shiny shoes. Canadians who live in places like Edmonton or Saskatoon don't consider themselves to be from the "north." I'm pretty sure the crew in question was Canadian.

Or am I picking on you for having your Thanksgiving in November? Crazy Americans!