Monday evening, all went well until it was just about time to pull Mike Hotel out and fire up the engine. Next thing you know, it's freezing rain outside. Mind you, a full weather briefing had been obtained and there was no rain forecast until well into Tuesday morning. Oh well, at least it started raining before we were in the air.
Wednesday evening, the IFR Pilot was confounded by what appears to have been a frozen door lock. For the life of me, I couldn't get the key into the lock. I could unlock the upper deadbolt, but not the lower door knob. Tried to warm it but didn't have the right equipment in the flight bag, nor did any of the airport bums, so I swore and went home with my tail between my legs. There is now a bottle of lock deicer in my flight bag.
Saturday, Mike Hotel heads in to the shop for a WAAS upgrade. Hopefully, everything will be back in time for a scheduled trip to the Southern Methodist University Air and Space Law Symposium, which begins February 21. If you're in the metro Dallas area and want to grab an adult beverage around that time frame, shoot me an e-mail and we'll see if we make it happen.
Finally, be careful about what writing implements you bring aboard, they could cause lots of consternation. From a NASA ASRS form:
Level at 33,000 feet...a strong odor similar to paint thinner was detected by both pilots. Cockpit crew initiated a fume checklist. After securing mask and goggles, cockpit crew established communications with flight attendants. The number one flight attendant reported that he also smelled a strong odor and a flight attendant in the aft of the aircraft also reported an odor. Since we were not able to determine the source of the strong odor, and considering that all of the flight crew reported noticing the smell, the flight crew determined that an emergency should be declared, followed by a divert to ZZZ. After declaring the emergency, ATC cleared the flight to turn 180 degrees for vectors toward ZZZ. As the aircraft was in the turn, the number one flight attendant called the cockpit and informed the crew that the source of the fume-like odor was identified. Apparently, two children sitting in First Class had just begun to color with ink markers. The flight attendant reported, without a doubt, that the smell was coming from the ink being applied to the paper. This was verified by the other flight attendants working the flight, as well as by a pilot in uniform commuting to work. The number one flight attendant reported that the marker is printed with a warning to avoid use of the marker at high altitudes, or in confined spaces....(From Callback Issue 337.)
ATC was then informed that we discovered the source of the unusual odor, and that the situation was now safe and under control. We rescinded the emergency declaration and requested vectors to continue the flight on to our destination. We landed on time, without incident.