Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Weekend on the Golf Course

Remembering that the inspector from my company was turned back at the border, you may be able to understand the level of stress in my boss when it transpired that the inspector from this company was also unavailable. I found a third company that had an available inspector and was willing to do the work in our hangar. This resulted before the end of the day in a beautifully itemized list of sixty-two items that need to be attended to.

A good portion have already been done, as part of the routine servicing, although the inspector says one engine is two quarts low on oil. Many of the ADs were simply items to be inspected, so the act of inspecting them has completed them. There are a number of trivial items, like the fact that the lens on my cockpit dome light has a crack in it, as does the plexiglass cover over my left nav light. They've both been there since before my time, possibly since before I learned to fly. The former was probably a result of someone struggling with the chinese puzzle of removing seats from the cockpit without violating the Pauli exclusion principle, and the latter is a stop-drilled crack in the edge, maybe a combination of ultraviolet brittling and a sometime-overtightened screw. A number of lines are written up as chafing. They've noticed a missing instrument in my panel. I smile at that one. It's not as if it fell out en route. It was a radar altimeter, not required by my operating certificate, but nice to have. The tone was working, but the needle was stuck, so company pulled it to see if it could be repaired. The hole in the panel is glaring at first, then you stop seeing it.

Here's an odd one, a leaking turbo clamp. A leaking clamp? I usually think of clamps as things that retain rigid solid objects, and leaking as something that fluids do. The guys show me where very hot gases are escaping from it and the subsequent damage on surrounding components. I take a few pictures to e-mail, and then fax the 62-item document to my company's PRM (Person Responsible for Maintenance).

I don't know how long it will take my company to comment on the list, so I go through it myself to give them a start. The customer is now alternating with the boss calling me to find out when it will be done, so I tell them to ignore everything cosmetic, defer what can be safely left for another month, and do anything that they aren't willing to release the airplane without. Kind of a no-brainer. I defer the marginal stuff to the PRM, who calls and discusses it all.

I checked the oil in the low engine and it turned out to be right on the usual fill level, if you look at the correct side of the dipstick. I feel a little smug that the inspector made the same error that I did the very first time I inspected one of these airplanes for a preflight. it's very easy to have a moment of left/right confusion while facing the airplane sideways. I spent most of the day there, but I'm not sure that I really accomplished anything, aside from reassuring boss and customer that the airplane was being worked on. Also I bought a copy of Fred and Ted Like to Fly which pretty much matched my intellectual level by the end of the day. My favourite part was where Fred installs a new propeller on his green airplane in the time it takes Ted to check the oil on his.


hawk205 said...

Off topic but germaine.
I was passing a bews stand the other day and saw on the cover
Cockpit Conversations Oh My God has avatrix gone big media on us!?
Oh wait it says Conversions.

Keep up your excellent writings. The old Flying mag would have been glad to publish you

Head in the Clouds said...

I recently gave Fred and Ted Like to Fly to a friend's little girl. Hopefully she'll find it amusing!