Monday, August 14, 2006

Boatloads of Cussing. No Flying Involved...

When we acquired Mike Hotel, MS and the IFR Pilot still hadn't disposed of their interest in 78S. Since we couldn't park Mike Hotel in the old hangar, we had to find a new home for him. We lucked out, found a nice hangar on the field, near the middle of the lone runway. It's at the end of the row, which means it's T-shaped on only one end. Gives us a bit of extra room in the back corner. There's a nice long apron, which gives us a great place to set up the BBQ and lawn chairs and grade the performance of other pilots.

Now, the old hangar was "new." It had only been built a few years previously. The original owner, who perished in the SwissAir 111 accident a few years ago, had epoxied the floor and otherwise done some improvements on the structure. (JS was kind enough to use his construction skills to finish the ceiling insulation.)

On the other hand, the new hangar is "old." Not as old as some of the hangars on the field, but certainly not of recent vintage. It's not entirely airtight, as evidenced by the substantial amount of grass clippings that invade the hangar when the grass gets mowed. There's bare sheathing and framing visible on most of the walls, and there's no ceiling at all. We have a wonderful view of the rafters. (Perhaps we should add a skylight....)

But there's one really, really big difference. The old hangar had a wonderful Schewiss bi-fold electric door. You'd arrive, undo the two locking handles, push a button, and the machines did the rest of the work. Pull 78S out, hit another button, and everything closed up. The only real trick was remembering to lock the access door before raising the hangar door -- otherwise the door would come swinging down as the hangar door was raised.

The new hangar has no such fancy gizmos. It has two generic garage doors, and a mechanical crank is used to raise the center post out of the way, once the doors have been raised. Depending on who's counting, it's either 64 or 68 turns of the handle to move the post. When you consider that you have to do this four times for each flight (unless you're being lazy and leave the doors open while your punching holes in the clouds), that's a whole lotta handle turning.

We'd been discussing swapping the manual crank out for a winch for some time, more aggressively since we learned that we were going to be purchasing the hangar. (Ownership = equity = good; leasing = rent = wasting money.) MS called Friday after turning the crank 240+ times in his wool dress suit and fancy tie to announce that we were proceeding with the Great Winch Upgrade Project (tm), 2:00 on Sunday.

So, after spending close to $200 dollars for the winch, new steel cable and accessories, and -- of course -- the necessary tools (anyone want a wire cutter that's only been used twice? or a ferrule crimper that's only crimped two ferrules?), we got the electric winch installed.

Highlights from the project:

1. MS smashing his finger while using a piece of 2 x 4 as a hammer.

2. MS smashing his finger again, because he never learns his lessons the first time.

3. The IFR Pilot stepping into some used aviation oil that was being used to lubricate the drill bit. Then gingerly moving around the hangar, trying to clean his new Nike Air Waubesa sandal, with unshoed foot on which he had just the day before smashed the little toe, which now looks like a purple magic marker.

4. MS, frustrated beyond belief during the drive to Home Depot for more supplies, "No one should be allowed to drive on roads but me! This is why I have no use for humanity." My co-owner truly has a sunny disposition.

5. MS's repeated use of the word "fulcrum."

6. Concrete anchors sometimes don't. This can make it very difficult to tighten the nuts that are going to secure your winch to the floor.

7. A metal cookie tin does not keep honey roasted peanuts airtight. Less than airtight peanuts have the consistency of bad gum. Really, really bad gum.

8. When you think that you are 90% done with a simple little home hangar improvement project, it will only take another 2+ hours to finish.

9. It's a sign of lacking confidence in your work when neither of you will stand anywhere near the center post as it is electrically winched up.

10. All of the foregoing will inspire strings of cusswords that would make even the most seasoned Bosun's Mate blush.

Here's to you, MS. You perserved in the face of incredible obstacles just so that you never have to sweat in your dress shirt and wool suit again!

1 comment:

John said...

Ah, a &*(%#} labor of love if ever I heard of one.

Stupid, crummy winch!