Dermatology 101

There I was…  Thursday morning, halfway through an annual inspection on one of Mr. Piper’s finest designs when I find a couple of worn parts on both main landing gear.  Not a surprise and I expected to find some wear.  Off I head to our ace parts department with part numbers and vendor info in hand.  I do try to make their lives easier, really.  I even tell them I don’t need the parts till Monday. Maybe I shouldn’t have said Monday, cause, ya know, deadlines are just a suggestion.

So here it is, Monday, and I’m still waiting on the parts I need to fix the gear and finish the inspection.  Ya see, I can’t operationally check the gear without fixing them first.  I can, but it doesn’t make sense cause I’ll have to do the same checks after I replace the worn out parts.  To fill the time while our ace parts department gets their poop in a group,  I’m playing dermatologist.

We fly into and out of a lot of gravel airstrips.  That’s just a fact of life up here.  It’s not a bad thing if the aircraft you’re flying are set up to fly into unimproved places, but our Pipers were originally designed to haul Dr. Feelgood and his cronies to the Hampton’s for the weekend.  In fact, John Kennedy, Jr. piled the same type of airplane into the drink.

Anyway, the bellies of our planes get beat up pretty badly, the dirt and grime from the exhaust gets into the chips in the paint caused by flying rocks and things start to corrode.  Every now and then guys like me get to roll around on a creeper grinding the corrosion off the plane’s skin.  Eventually I’ll have to replace the skin, but for now my tummy tuck will take care of this one.  A fun day on my back getting covered in aluminum dust because our ace parts department doesn’t get that Monday means MONDAY.


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