There's low cloud in the morning, then rain, then snow. And of course that's the point at which the client needs me to run the airplane for another computer upgrade. We go out to the airplane. The engines were run for about ten hours yesterday (yes, my co-worker worked his tail off), so after I pull off the engine tents I check the oil. And indeed it's down a quart each side. I grab a couple of bottles and a funnel out of the nose compartment. The wind is making it really cold out here. And it's ironic that two days ago in 25 degree weather I was running less viscous 15W50 oil, but now that it's minus five or so, before the wind chill, I'm trying to get W100 to run out of the little bottle into the crankcase. As I hold the bottle and wish the oil would hurry up, the wind is driving snow into my face.
After I've added a litre to each engine and removed the engine plugs, there is snow and ice caked on my toque and gloves. I pull them off after I climb on board to start up. I can't run the combustion heater on the ground for extended periods, so I'm running an electric heater plugged into the aircraft AC. It's a perfectly normal socket, like the ones in your wall if you're in the US or Canada, but it only works when the airplane is on the ground plugged into an extension cord. It is, but after forty-five minutes or so (yeah, this upgrade isn't going well) that plug comes out and it starts to cool off in here. Plus after another half hour goes by (did I mention that the upgrade is not going well) I run into another problem: I'm running out of fuel.
My co-worker landed last night with minimum legal fuel, and then ran the aircraft on the ground for an hour, and now I've run it for more than another hour. Fuel consumption is less on the ground than at cruise, but it's not none. And I have to run it higher than idle to meet the power needs. They aren't finished yet, but I have to shut down and refuel. There's another reason why I want to refuel sooner rather than later, and that's that the fuel tanks are due to be refuelled today, and we won't be able to buy fuel during that transfer. The FBO manager is here, so he fuels. I don't really have to, but I stand out in the snow with him as a gesture of solidarity. I also want to be here to see how much goes in each tank. I confirm that they were all almost dry after running that long.
He pushes the plane back into its space and I reconnect the heater for another marathon session of wrestling with the computer. There's a bad smell from the heater, though, so we disconnect it. While we're doing this, a tanker truck arrives to refill the avgas tank. We got ours just in time. It finishes and moves on to the Jet A tank and finally I'm cleared to shut down.
As we're on our way back through the FBO to the parking, the tanker truck driver is billing the FBO. I ask how much fuel went into the avgas tank and it's about a week's worth for us. The manager knows this, so it isn't very difficult to get free hangarage for a couple of days. That saves us from having to worry about the computers freezing.