Sunday, July 08, 2012

Maintenance Day

I left you in a cab on a way to a hotel. I asked the desk clerk if there was some place I could get a good vegetarian meal in town. (I'm not, but that's what I was in the mood for). He asked if sushi was vegetarian, so I didn't hold out high hopes for his next recommendation, but it turned out to be a restaurant that handed me a separate vegetarian menu when I asked. The fare on that menu was mainly "vegetarian meats," you know soy 'chicken' and the like. What I was really in the mood for was a hearty meal in the style of a culture that doesn't find it necessary to base a meal around meat, fake or otherwise, and I convinced them to do me a vegetarian version of a prawn curry dish from the regular menu. It was delicious, and they did artful things with asparagus in lieu of the prawns.

The mechanic told me last night that they start work around here at seven a.m. I left the aircraft keys with him, but planned to be in at seven anyway ... and you know what. I've been trying to tell you things day by day but it's just not working. It's just before six now and my alarm that tells me to get up and check out of the hotel is going off in a few minutes, so I'll cut to the highlights and stop trying to do all-day entries. I just don't have the time anymore.

The cable broke as the mechanic moved the controls to see the problem I was describing, so there was no question on how to proceed. It took all morning to figure out how to and remove the cable. It involved removing the foam sealant from the nosewheel gear door bay and removing almost every cowling on the airplane. I downloaded a maintenance manual and went through it. The only reference I could find to engine control cable installation was with reference to installing the wings, leading me to suspect that if the manufacturer thought about replacing those cables at all, they intended the wing to be taken off for the job. At one point the mechanic was removing a small bolt, blind using two pairs of long pliers. The old cable was out just before noon, which is when I picked up the new one from the express courier office.

It was installed, with no less trouble than the removal. On departure the next morning we had to make a quick return to have the transponder reconnected and later discovered the OAT gauge was similarly inoperative. They had to take that airplane to bits to get that cable in. And there's my alarm. Time to file a flight plan. And screw blogger for killing all my paragraph breaks lately.


Anonymous said...

Like the com radio in the old F4C,
The rear ejection seat had to come out to change it.--

Tyler Hoppenfeld said...

For focus's sake I've started writing my blog posts with a markdown editor. Then I just copy/past the HTML and blogger likes it.

Wayne Farmer said...

Why wasn't it possible to thread a new mixture cable through the conduit for the old one?

Anonymous said...

There is a good chance the conduit is 'grooved' or damaged internally. My thoughts anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes, vegetarian food. I had a yen for some last Friday and went to a veggie restaurant. For some reason, 90% of the items on the menu were fake stuff: soy beef, soy chicken, soy shrimp. I just wanted a nice dish of well prepared, tasty vegetables. They had a pad thai that sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the veggies were prepared to varying degrees of doneness, the noodles glumped together and the sauce had little flavor. The Thai iced tea was good, though. What a disappointment. I'm with you. Why all the substitute stuff? Why not simple, good veggies?

Love your blog. Keep it up.


DataPilot said...

It's a good thing that you didn't push your luck with that mixture cable. Wowsers.

Anonymous said...

Like the com radio in the old F4C,
The rear ejection seat had to come out to change it.--

I had car like that back in my college days! The mechanic had to pull the engine just to replace the wiper motor. Seriously. When he went to replace the motor, the housing broke; then there were frozen bolts and other assorted broken stuff, and he had to fabricate a replacement for some mystery widget. Fortunately, the mechanic was a good friend of my Dad's, and he didn't charge me for all of that extra labor.

Once he got the car put back together, the radio (which had been broken for years) worked again.

zb said...

I'm glad they made a real vegetarian meal, and you didn't have to go with what a friend of mine once called side dish vegetarianism - you know, the type of vegetarian food you stick with when you ask for something with no meat and they recommend you have their Schinkennudeln (roughly similar to ham and eggs), assuming the cut-up ham is no real meat.

For someone who is on tour as much as you are, I think I can appreciate how much of an effort it often is to eat something nice.

We just had homemade gnocchi and chard from our neighbors' garden yesterday and pasta with more chard today. Yay vitamin K!

Michael5000 said...

Does "The cable broke as the mechanic moved the controls to see the problem I was describing" imply that you were about one flight from a potentially extremely exciting in-flight incident?

Aviatrix said...

Nope, Michael, it means I was one power adjustment away from said excitement. But preflight consultation with a number of professionals had established that said excitement would not be beyond my power to safely complete the flight.