Monday, August 01, 2005

The pleasures of aircraft ownership (and the nature of love)

After the pass
Originally uploaded by Skymaster.
All right, yes, flying the flight levels is wonderful in central Mexico where every VFR flight is mountain flying. Enter the violent summer and high altitude airports (I operate in a region where every airport is more that 8,000 ft) and you get the idea. You need a turbocharged animal to really have a chance. But the big toys like the Skymaster comes with a price... Sometimes two. I like planes in perfect shape, and certainly the XB-IXP is close to that, so you can imagine my disbelief at FL190 when a magneto started a sputtering concert in my front engine... right after the 4,000+ annual! You want to blame the mechanic, the wrong synergy of the planets and even the bad weather that made you climb that high. But the simple truth is that airplanes are like this. After a while the problem subsided and the trip back home at 14000 ft was unevenful, but the flight levels will have to wait for my mechanic dismounting the magnetos and a 1 to 2 thousand extra bills of my pocket. You wanted to climb high...
But I should not be complaining. For one thing the flight at 19,000 ft put us above the bumpy weather below and the pilot I was testing for the plane did score very well so I can now trust someone else with the missions the 337 gets. He is a nice young guy that used to instruct a lot in the USA. He liked the T337. Also, I should not be complainig because sometimes the failures in these complex planes are not this cheap or benign. A friend´s Skymaster just had to land gear up after a door actuator failure. He is fine and the gear-up landing was a nonevent (In part, according to him, due to the excellent characteristicas of the plane) but it is still tens of thousands of dollars from flying again and my friend will have to play golf more often now. My wife said it well: "you want a beautiful girl, it costs like a beautiful girl". She is right.
I kissed her. And my friend and I still love our 337´s.


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