Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires (Not)

In Texas, there is an old saying, "If you don't like the weather, just wait and it will change." While I suspect that many other places have the same saying, it is certainly true here, where the land is very flat and weather can quickly blow in from great distances.

When the seasons change, it is not unusual for the temperature (day to day high, or low) to change by as much as 22C (40F). The day we flew to Gainesville for the MOH parade, we had a 60mph tailwind from the South (at altitude) and by afternoon it was "short sleeve" weather. In this picture, one day later, we had 30+ mph winds at the surface, from the North and it was cold.

Knowing Jon, I am sure he is thinking to himself, "I moved to Texas to get away from this".

The saying "kick the tires and light the fires" Is a reference to the poor habit of cursorily checking an aircraft, then hopping in and starting the engine(s) to go flying. While this may work for cars, where you can pull over to the side of the road if something goes wrong, it is not recommended for a long and successful flying career. The Mi-24, because of its size and complexity, is very much a crew-served aircraft. Before each operation a number of items must be serviced and checked.

When the aircraft was parked the day before, it was facing South, into the wind. Before starting on this day, it had to be moved around to again face into the wind, this time to the North.

One advantage to the Mi-24's size is the availability of the crew compartment. With the wind blocked off by the fuselage and with fresh hot coffee available, the crew takes a break before "lighting the fires"

The purpose of this test run was to check that both generators would come on line together. A faulty circuit breaker had been identified and replaced. The repair was a success.

The "Gate Guardian", Bord 122 can be seen at the North end of the airport behind Bord 118.