Sunday, August 12, 2012

Whale Sharks 2012 is here...

Whale sharks 2012 is here! Well, I’m here in Seychelles which is what we are sure about at least. As far as the sharks are concerned we can only guess - lets hope they too know it is that time of the year!

It is the first week and as usual it’s all about maintenance of our beautiful little orange plane. Getting it serviced and airworthied is priority no 1.  Strangely the first job we tackled (That’s David Daniel and I - David is here to do the inspection on the plane) was replacing the worn tires on EPE. It seems we do not just fly long distances - all the taxy-ing on the rather long International runway has taken its toll on our tiny wheels too.

Ironically this job – as all mirco-light pilots know is a pain – the tires weld themselves onto the rim wall and often trying to remove them results in breaking the rim. When ordering new tires, many pilots just orders a new rim at the same time too.

And it is a dirty job. And it is a tedious job - replacing three tires can take all day...

First you split the rim by undoing the three bolts that hold the two halves together. And that's the easy part done Then you try and use every trick in the book to remove the tyre from the half of the rim. (I tell you every time pilots do this they invent new ones too – as one pilot did after two hours of struggling with one he just used a three pound hammer. He was done in less than thirty minutes after that - of course he had to use the new rim too.)
So we split the rim and sitting opposite each other on our haunches with the tire flat on the floor between us we ponder the heavy dilemma ahead of us.

David prods down hard on the tire. Then I grab the half rim and pull up. To our utter amazement it lifts clear of the tire! Mouths ajar we gasp at each other.
“No ways!”
“That’s not possible!”
“something is wrong…” and even before we can finish there is a clang and the bottom half of the rim clangs to the hangar floor – without any prodding or pulling from us. We are gobsmacked! How the he..?

Let’s hope the rest of the season is just as easy…

Wish you were here!


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