Sleep tight…

Long weekend of stress relief in the form of a splitting maul and a bonfire.  What couldn’t be salvaged for the wood stove this winter went up in smoke.  Managed to get a whole heapin’ pile of scrap and branches vanished.  I’m a little beat up, but it was worth it in the end.

Another day of fixing the issues with the bugmasher that’s in inspection.  After cussing the “brilliant” engineer who designed the propeller spinner backing plate as a single piece unit, I got the two pair of loose prop bolts safety wired again.  Safety wire, for those of you outside of the exciting and glamorous world of aviation, is used to keep stuff in place.  Airplanes vibrate a lot when they’re running or flying.  That vibration makes things move when it shouldn’t and some of those things, if they come off at the wrong time, can really ruin your day.  So we mechanics tie the whole thing together with stainless steel wire of varying diameters, usually .032 or .041 of an inch.  You’ve heard the old adage “held together with bailing wire and spit”?  That bailing wire was the original safety wire.  Safety wiring  is an art and, like all arts, is never really mastered no matter how many times you do it.  If I had a nickel for every safety I’ve put in backwards and had to reaccomplish, I’d be doing something other than safety wiring.  Like hanging out in Monaco…

 Every now and then, our glorious governing body, the Federal Aviation Administration (Motto: We’re not happy till you’re not happy.) sees fit to issue what’s known as an Airworthiness Directive (AD).  Think recall.  These things are spit out of the infernal machine when someone at my level finds a flaw with an airplane that could cause irreparable damage, serious injury, or loss of life.  (Yes, aviation is inherently hazardous.  Just be glad there are guys like me who look out for this stuff.)  For example, the FAA kicked out an AD on the little bugmasher I have in the hangar.  Seems someone found a part that had a hole drilled in it at the wrong spot.  Actually there were two parts found like that.  Out of 41,000 plus airplanes built, each with two of these parts in them.  So out of all  the parts originally installed at the factory, plus all the replacements over the years, a grand total of two bad parts.  I guess that’s enough for the feds to panic.  

I got to take the thing apart, measure a distance of less than 3/16th’s of an inch, and put it all together again.  Twice. Oh yeah,  did I mention this particular part is up under the dash where you can only get to it if you have elbows that bend in four directions,  a light on each finger, and a hammer on the second thumb of your third hand.  I have three more airplanes to do.  Sleep tight tonight.  Your friendly local airplane mechanic is awake, keeping you safe, and cussing yet another engineer.


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