Friday, March 31, 2006

Last Day Prank

I apparently have a reputation for snagging airplanes (reporting them defective) right before our maintenance staff is scheduled to go home. They come in before the pilots do in the morning, ensure everything is airworthy for the day, and then go home for beer. I stand accused of regularly throwing a wrench in that routine.

I think I snag airplanes any time of the day that they are broken, but they just notice when I'm keeping them from their beer. They aren't trivial snags. Uncommanded gear extension, alternator failure, tachometer failure, things like that. I'm not one of those pilots who writes up "funny noise" snags. But in appreciation of all the times they stayed late so I could do another flight, I had a stunt for them.

I went out to the most expensive airplane in the fleet, made a few arrangements, and then asked the dispatcher for the journey log. I opened it up and wrote carefully and legibly "Left pilot seat will not slide back on rails." I signed it and added my licence number, all according to procedure. And then I had an intermediary call maintenance to tell them to come out to the line. After a short pause, the dispatch phone rang. The dispatcher, in on the prank, told them, yes, we need the airplane tonight. The head of maintenance and another AME came out of the hangar with "some idiot pilot has dropped a pen in the seat rails" looks on their faces. We watched from the window as they opened the airplane.

No wonder the seat wouldn't slide: I'd wedged a case of beer under it. They came back in with the beer and a grin. I gestured to the journey log, wondering what the rectification would be. I think the official document reads, "Cardboard removed from seat rails. Checks ok," with the signature and licence number of the head of maintenance all in the correct places.


Greybeard said...

Hope you get to keep the "journey log"! What a neat memory/souvenir of your time there!

And good for you with the case of beer.
The Fixed Wing business is much bigger than the fling-wing biz, but I bet you'll cross paths with some of these folks again someday, and the wonderful gesture will hold you in good stead!

Tailwinds, girl!

Anonymous said...

Nicelt done!! Two thumnbs up! :D

GC said...

What kind of beer was it?

Dave Starr said...

Your gesture was a classy one and will be long remembered. Good on you.

In the Lockheed C-141 there are two full-length crew rest bunks across the rear of the flight deck. Many moons ago when I fixed 'snags' on Starlifters at McGuire Airplane Patch, a crew member wrote and entry in the maintenance log at the end of a long mission, "Upper crew rest mattress lumpy". One of my colleagues found a replacement at the supply warehouse and laid it in its place on the crew bed. He could not, however, resist the temptation to sign off the defect as: "Operationally checked mattress for 8 hours, no lumps noted."

My friend didn't know the full colonel Chief of Maintenance made a practice of reading each and every corrective action logged each morning. His promotion wasn't withheld too many months ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a nice gesture!

Sam Weigel said...

Heh, that's awesome Trix. Very cool gesture.

Anonymous said...

Leaving a job with a class gesture like yours pleases the Gods Of The Wild Blue and tempers turbulence. Fly safe.

Anonymous said...

Respect!! well done!
Bangkok Food