Saturday, April 28, 2007

One. I flew a B-58 Baron for a few years in Goderich, Ontario. The company had a contract with UPS to fly road grader parts from Goderich to Hamilton 5 nights a week, and the loads mostly consisted of a few boxes weighing maybe 50 pounds total.

I took Lisa flying with me one night, and on the way there I decided to demonstrate the zero-G manoeuvre by pulling the nose up and then pushing it over so we could float for a few seconds. It was pretty fun, and after that we went on our way to Hamilton to drop the freight off. We landed and taxiied into the UPS ramp, and presently were greeted by a crew of baggage handlers. I walked to the nose of the Baron and unlocked it, as that's where the freight was. But when I showed off to Lisa with the zero-G trick, the freight in the nose shifted and wedged the door shut. We tried for at least 40 minutes before I ended up putting my tail between my legs and flying home. Our AME got the cargo door open with a crowbar the next day and told me his theory about how it got jammed "You jackass, you were trying to impress your girl. That took me an hour to jimmy open, and I'm billing $80 for my labour." I confessed to the Operations Manager the next day, but escaped with a light spanking and a bill. I still thought it was pretty good though. You should have seen the look on Lisa's face when we were floating in the sky. Best eighty bucks I ever spent.

Two. Years ago, when I flew the MU-2, one of my captains knew this guy, a pilot for another medevac company. He was captain on a PA-31 Navajo, and maybe a f/o on a turboprop, I forget. Anyhoo, one day we were in Sault St. Marie and happened to bump into this guy, and he told us a fairly amazing story about what happened to him in the Navajo a few days before. So here's what he said:

"We had landed and done a quickturn, then fuelled up and departed for Thunder Bay. I was on the takeoff roll and the first officer had just called blueline when ATC called us and said we were trailing smoke from both engines. I looked over and saw the cylinder head temperatures were pegged at the top of the scale, and we couldn't get any power. We were departing to the west so that meant we were over the water as soon as we were airborne. I called an emergency and started a 180 back to the runway. I tried pulling back on the power so the temps would come down but the engines had no power anyway and we were unable to climb. We weren't more than 50 feet off the water for the entire time we were airborne. As we turned around and I saw that we were going to make the runway, I knew what I was going to ask the fueller when we returned. So we taxi back, and the f/o is scared and our medic in the back is having kittens, saying "what the hell was that" and saying he's gonna quit and stuff. And we shut down and we tell the firetrucks they can stand down and I get out and go over to the fueller and ask him if he had just started working at the airport. He said yeah and I told him that's probably why he put jet fuel in my Navajo instead of avgas. He got really upset and said he saw a decal on the side of the Navajo that said "turbocharged" and thought that it must use turbo fuel, which is Jet-A, otherwise known as kerosene. (Note by Sully - Some jet engines can operate on piston engine fuel for a brief time, but nearly no piston engines are certified to operate on jet fuel). I felt bad for the guy so I didn't give him a hard time, even though we nearly ditched into the lake during the turn back to the runway, and we all know you wouldn't last 5 minutes in that cold water. I should have been there for the fueling process but I had to take a leak."

And there you have it. I thought that was a bad one. Oh wait, the other bad part came later, when he told us this story. So we asked him, what happens to the plane now? He said his company mechanics flew in, drained the tanks of jet fuel and filled them with avgas, then ran the engines for a while and found no fault with them. So he was in town to pick up the plane and do some more medevacs. Oh, and it was a hard IFR day in Sault St. Marie when we met him and he told us this story. It scared me, but he assured us he would be just fine. As it turned out, he departed that day and carried out his flights uneventfully. Even so, I felt pretty bad for the guy.

Three. You know what's weird? What I find s strange is what I saw on the news this evening. How the hell does Paris Hilton's name keep coming up? Why is it that I could probably pick her out of a police lineup even though I have never met the woman? It's just an example, there are a thousand other stupid things we focus on rather than deal with important issues, like how to sustain life on the planet. I hate stuff like what we saw on tv tonight; information I wish I could un-learn, so as to make space for other information that might actually be useful to me one day, like how to deal with a cranky fuel control unit, or a cranky passenger. But who can think at a time like this, when Katie is so unhappy with Tom, and it looks like Jen and Vince might get back together....

Epi. A decent amount of flying coming up next week, so that's cool. More pics and random comments shall ensue...


Anonymous said...

Oh I get it!!! The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly....Dah Took me a while. Clint should have been the giveaway.

Jim Howard said...

I think the FAA put out an AD ordering those kind of decals removed.