Friday, October 02, 2009

Other Duties as Assigned

The PRM (Person Responsible for Maintenance) has a vehicle and he takes me for lunch. More free food. Pilots love that. I also like the fact that he has come out to find what the heck is going on with this airplane. He vows that we aren't going to have maintenance done at random shops all over the continent anymore, but will always send someone we know to supervise. He asks them to replace the other propeller cable right away and I keep hearing him say "order a new one" a lot as the solution to various problems.

I mention that a customer complained about the condition of the carpet, and he points out that keeping the airplane clean is the pilots' responsibility. It's true, and I do wash the plane and vacuum the carpet when I get the opportunity, but this carpet has reached a stage where mere vacuuming is not enough. I can't steam clean it because of all the electronic equipment in the airplane, and I doubt that steam cleaning would do much for it either. It's better to demonstrate than whine, though, so I get approval from the engineer to remove the carpet. I can lay it out on the hangar floor and then rent a steam cleaner, with the end result being one of (a) a clean carpet, (b) no carpet at all, because it was held together only by the dirt, or (c) a clear demonstration that, despite my best efforts, the carpet is beyond rescue. I'm expecting outcome c, but I'm secretly rooting for b. It would be funnier. Before I can remove the carpet I have to remove all the hardware that is bolted down through it. I save all the screws and fittings in a box.

As I tear out the carpet, ceding the limited workspace to the engineer or apprentices whenever they need it, I realize that this is really not a large quantity of carpet. It's in strips, between the seat rails, and could easily be patched together from remnants. Unfortunately this is an airplane, so I can't just go down to the local Wacky Wally's World of Discount Flooring and pick out a colour I like. I need super-duper FAA-approved aviation grade carpeting. It needs to have a very low flammability and when exposed to high temperatures it has to not exude noxious substances that will kill everyone on board before landing. Which seems reasonable.

It appears that I've called the PRM's bluff by actually going to work on the carpet, or maybe he has called mine by getting me to do so. At any rate he turns up with a brand new roll of linoleum-like aviation-grade flooring material. It has an FAA approval number on it and will be easier to clean than the carpet, but it can't be velcroed together in separate strips like the carpet. I'll have to cut it in one big piece that fits the rear entry area and has the strips between the seat rails connected to it, running forward like fingers. I check and it's just wide enough, and plenty long enough, to work. I'll have to cut it tomorrow, because maintenance stops work at 5 p.m. sharp. They're turning out the lights on me as I try to tidy up my work area before I go.


Jimmy said...

I have a roll of Boeing surplus carpet the boss got many years back. Great stuff. Tight pile so great wear resistance.

Sounds like the lino will work better for all the cargo swaps. Much easier to clean. If its the stuff I've seen it has little raised circles on it.

If I had the choice I took the lino equipped planes for the pax runs too. Much easier to deal with the aftermath of reverse peristalsis in rough weather...

Cirrocumulus said...

You-all are trying to buy the aircraft's affection with new parts and overdue TLC. Beware of a machine that has shown you who's boss and suspects you don't really love it!

Verification word: flopsy!
Sounds like a big stupid dog. You could name the aircraft Flopsy.

Anonymous said...

cirrocumulus but where are mopsie and cotton tail?

Aviatrix said...

It's not overdue! It was almost five hours early, and the only thing that had been deferred from the previous maintenance cycle was the vibrating right tach, deferred because the electronic tachs were on order already, and it was still in working condition on arrival at the hangar.

Everything else broke in the last two or three flights before maintenance.

We know it will never love us. The best we can hope for is a kind of grudging obedience.