Saturday, March 12, 2011

Changing of a bulb

What was that joke.....How many regulations does it take to change a light bulb?  Ok, well it went something like that. No, do not replace regs with pilots. 

Instead of flying this weekend I updated my nav data card in the Garmin 530 and changed out a  navigation tail light, the second since our purchase.  I am really itching to fly so any time around the plane does help.

I had my Dunkin Donuts hot tea extra sugar in hand along with a snap-on phillips screw driver and step stool for todays play time.  The data card is an easy deal, plug and play.  Check to make sure the prop area is clear, just in case, and turn on the battery and avionics switches to verify the data is correct on the 530.  Like I said, that was painless.  Avionics switch off, battery switch off and a quick slide of the finger across the battery, avionics and alternator to confirm the off positions. 

A few sips of hot tea and some chat time with Dan who is flying my former club plane ride, Archer 679er.  Dan and his wife are headed to Easton to meet a rescue dog they are thinking about adopting, very cool!  I mention MAESSR and the rescue flights Mary and I do with our Sundowner. They get ready to start up and I wander back across the ramp enjoying the sun and play time on the ramp amongst the various aircraft.

I set up the kitchen step stool and remove the tail navigation light. Two screws, very simple and follow with the removal of the bayonet type bulb, a GE 307.  I button back up and jump in the SUV to make a call to Cecil Aero taking a chance they may be open today.  I catch Roger at the shop and he is just getting ready to bring a Bonanza up to Wilmington.  What timing! I asked if he could grab a GE307 bulb and I would meet up with him. The plan is set, we will meet at the West T-Hangars.

I have my flight bag and radio which was tuned into the tower frequency.  I heard Rogers distinctive voice  as he requested a long landing on runway two seven for the T's.  I sat and watched him taxi by in a gorgeous Bo, then got out of the truck to walk over to the hangar where he had shut down. Roger was out of the plane and dug out the new bulb from his pocket. I was soon a few bucks ligter in the pocket but happy to have the new bulb in hand.  The GE307 has been replaced by the Sylvania 1665, both bulbs are for the 24 volt system so I was good to go. I jumped back in the SUV, exited the west T's and drove around the airport to re-enter at Red Eagle. I once again set up the step stool and begin the remove and replace process.

As pilots, most of us are not mechanics by training or occupation, yet many of us derive satisfaction from tinkering with mechanical things, especially aircraft. By performing routine maintenance on our own aircraft we not only gain personal satisfaction but also become better educated about the equipment we fly, making us better and safer pilots. The opportunity also exists to save a substantial percentage of the annual maintenance costs associated with aircraft ownership by participating in the owner assisted annual.

Many aircraft owners, however, never attempt to work on their aircraft for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's a general sense of intimidation by the complexity of the airplane. Another is the fear of doing something wrong, potentially jeopardizing the pilot’s own safety and that of passengers at some future date.  There is a specific list of Items Permitted Under the Privileges of Preventive Maintenance.

Appendix A to Part 43—Major Alterations, Major Repairs, and Preventive Maintenance

FAR Part 43, Appendix A, Paragraph C

(c) Preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is limited to the following work, provided it does not involve complex assembly operations:

17. Replacing bulbs, reflectors, and lenses of position and landing lights.
  • Replacement is allowed in these two systems as well as in the anticollision lighting system.
Here is a sample preventive maintenance entry:

(DATE) Total time__________hours. Navigation Tail bulb replaced in accordance with (manufacturer) maintenance manual,Chapter____, page____.
___________________  -   ____________________

Pilot Signature Rating - Certificate Number

I guess it's another one of my long winded posts but this is a topic that owners struggle with. I am fortunate to have a great shop that I trust. Cecil Aero is a short hop by plane and 40 minutes by car. The best part is that I know that Roger and the guys are but a phone call away! 


Rob Schaffer said...

Didn't do the dog run this past weekend?

Gary said...

No, didn't have a right seat pilot for the ride, although Vince was available I wanted a pilot just in case. I also didn't get a confirmation call back from the rescue folks. Maybe this weekend from SBY to OFP.