Saturday, November 13, 2010

Catch-22 Squared

The next scheduled maintenance task to come due will be a longer than usual one, just based on the hours the airplane has flown, not counting anything that may turn up to have gone wrong out of schedule. The flap wiring is due to be changed, for example, and that's a complex task, because once they take it apart it may turn out that some of the parts that don't have to be changed based on age or wear have to be changed because they are no longer compatible with the replacement parts, and so on for the parts they interact with, for a couple of iterations. We can't just take the system apart to check if that will be the case because, (a) it's almost as much work as changing them anyway, and (b) on account of (a) there's a rule that if the system is taken apart and the wear is beyond a certain point--that it's almost certainly beyond, seeing as they're due to be changed and we often operate the flaps in cruise--then they're required to be changed. At least that's my understanding of my remembrance of the explanation. We can't see if they need to be changed because then they'd need to be changed.

None of this is due for a few hours yet, but the unsuitable weather is forecast to persist, so we're possibly going to take the airplane to another airport to get at least some of the scheduled work done early. There there will be additional maintenance personnel available and more sophisticated equipment. Plus we can get the HSI repaired without having to ship it twice.

We don't need two pilots to ferry the airplane, and the other one needs to do some banking that can't be done here. There's no reason for me to go to, so I'll be alone here without an airplane for a few days while she and the aircraft are away. It's a good plan, but it doesn't work out. The morning she is supposed to leave, the weather is too bad to go VFR, but she can't go IFR because the HSI isn't working. So we can't regain the ability to fly in IFR because we can't fly in IFR.

When the weather improves, it has improved so much that the client no longer agrees to release the airplane for maintenance. They want us to stay and try to do some actual work tomorrow morning. So we're together for another night, with the AME. It's Half-Price Pasta Tuesday at Boston Pizza, so that's where we go for dinner. The AME spots an engagement ring on the finger of one of the servers and declares it to be a fake. We tease him for his long-distance gem evaluation skills until he flags another server and grills him on the relationship status of the server with the ring. He's right: it's a fake to keep customers from hitting on her. Too bad she didn't arrange to have her co-workers corroborate the story her finger tells. If I recall correctly, the AME didn't hit on her anyway.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Sounds like your flaps (and associated wiring and fittings and nuts and bolts and pins and levers and gizmos) suffer from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle