Today we got up ready for the day! Feeling refreshed and ready for the day we set off for the airport. Once we arrived we again went through the normal routine of checking documents, doing preflight and compressor wash. I got up in my seat, connected external power, checked the warning alarms and voltage and got ready for the compressor wash. First, turn both fuel tanks on, fuel boost normal and then on, battery on, external power to starter, go through my last flows, call out clear prop, timer start and then starter to motor (rotates the compressor/prop with starter motor. At 5% Ng I gave the signal to introduce the water, 5 seconds late Hadi, our mechanic, shouted to me to stop. I immediately stopped the motoring of the engine. I asked what the problem was and he (Hadi) told me he saw smoke coming from the starter/gen (this works as a starter below 46% Ng and a generator above that). We turned everything off, called the engineer and inspected the starter/gen. Hadi undid the screws and on removal of the cover we saw that wires had shorted. This was enough to ground the whole aircraft for the day until the engineer could get here and fix or install a new part.
So the day ended before it really started. Things like this happen, machines are not perfect and unfortunately break, luckily this was extremely minor and on the ground at our home base.
Have a good day!
Hey Mike what would have happen if you a problem like this in one of the remote airstrips?
It would depend on when the problem happened. If we noticed something in flight, possible a generator failure, we would probably turn around and go home. Because we don’t do compressor wash at remote strips we would have the cowling closed and possibly wouldn’t notice the smoke. The best case would that we just get a gen failure and not a fire. If it was only a gen failure and we had the engine running I would fly back to maintenance base.
In the end there are so many variables to consider before making the decision though, so I can’t say for certain.
thank you for the answer Mike, what about a failure that doesn’t allow you guys to take off from that remote airstrip. Do you guys wait for a
Mechanic to fix the problem and leave the airplane behind, or what is the process? I’m curious about that kind of scenario.
Thank you again for answering.
Yes, if that had happened at a remote airstrip we would wait for an engineer to come and fix it. We would normally dispatch a second plane with engineer and parts to our location. It has happened before and we would have to stay overnight at these locations… Not always that comfortable. It has happened to me once so far because of a punctured tyre.
So would you sleep in the plane or would the locals offer you a place to stay? Also, do you interact with the local people or do you just do your job and go?