Monday, March 24, 2008

Second Try

I get a phone call informing me that the autopilot works, this time, and to book a flight. We reassemble in the big city of ... oh I'll let you figure it out, to once again try to renew our PPCs in a functional airplane.

We're staying across the street from the airport, in a big hotel with one elevator that appears to be afraid of the lobby. When you get in the elevator and select lobby, sometimes it goes almost to the lobby, then reverses direction and goes back up to some higher floor. Sometimes it stops on the first or second floor. (That is, sometimes it stops on one and sometimes it stops on the other, not a concession to the fact that different countries call the same floor "first" and "second." In that debate Canada comes down firmly on the fence. Consequently the only way to know what floor something is on here is to look at the labels.) And sometimes our frightened elevator gets almost to the lobby then freezes in terror and you have to press the door open button to persuade it to let you out.

We head out to the airplane, which is still in the back of a maintenance hangar. Apparently they won't be taking it out today because they are still waiting for a part. When we climb into the cockpit to do drills, there is an empty space in the console where the autopilot controls normally are. I wonder to myself how well the autopilot works, but we shall see. We take the aircraft manuals back to the hotel to study.

Next morning our airplane isn't ready to go, but our little inspection revealed a missing valve cap for the nosewheel tire inflation valve and a missing wingnut on the emergency gear extension compartment cover. We take the gear cover and one of the other valve caps and task ourselves with finding the missing parts. The valve cap is easy, and only costs $3. That's only triple what we could get it for at Canadian Tire. But before we can get the wingnut, we need a part number. We bring our quest to a company that operates the same type. "What is the aircraft serial number?" we're asked. I recite it cheerfully from memory. My co-workers turn and gape at me. This is the chick who made it a priority to get business cards because she could never remember her own cellphone number. I just smile. I had to check the serial number in order to determine which set of performance charts to use, and it happened to be a concatenation of a couple of numbers that had more significance to me than my cellphone number. And my airplane is of greater importance to me than my cellphone, anyway.

We find the part number. It turns out we're missing two parts: the one that we came in search of, and the one that was supposed to prevent it falling off in the first place. Each has its own alphanumeric identifier, but is not available today.

At the end of the day we've done a scavenger hunt all over the airport, but not gone flying. I try to salvage the day with an accomplishment, "At least snow won't get into the valve stem now."

"I forgot to put it on!" says my co-worker, producing the valve cap from his pocket. Good grief. At least tomorrow we'll go flying.

Your identify-the-airport clue for today is that there is an eating establishment here named after a runway that no longer exists.


Anonymous said...


david said...

Runway 29 Pub, Edmonton. I bet the name seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anonymous said...

Building 18? The curtains were a nice clue. Apparently there was a 3rd runway until the late 60's 25/07 which is now a taxiway at CYXD.