Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Back to School - Night Three

It was a bit of a rush to get from the airport to class on time as my flight back from a business meeting in Dallas didn't land until after 4:30 and class starts at 6:00. The topics of discussion tonight were still tools. Tonight we talked about wrenches, including torque wrenchs.

The lab work tonight started with the proper way to remove screws. Like I said before: you probably think you know how to remove a screw, but you might be surprised at some of the things you've been doing wrong, at least as far as the FAA is concerned. For example, I didn't know that the proper way to remove a screw involves turning the screwdriver so that the teeth are engaged, then starting out with a sharp rotation. This is as opposed to a smooth application of torque. The idea is to break the screw loose before it has a chance to round the slots. The same method is used, albeit with a wrench, to remove a spark plug. I got to remove the bottom plug from cylinder one of an IO-540 that they have on a test stand. It was pretty easy, probably because that plug gets removed roughly 30 times a month.

From there we moved on to safety wiring. On this topic I thought I was on a pretty solid footing, considering that I had been trained by the Air Force to do saftey wiring on the SR-71. Still, there was a new twist. (Pun intended. HA! I just crack me up!!) Rather than jump right in and use safety wire pliers, we did the first few by hand. I had never done that before, and truth be told, I hope never to do it again. It's not much fun to do by hand, and doing so certainly convinced me that a good pair of safety wire pliers are by no means a luxury tool. I consider them a must-have. Which, of course, begs the question of why the school doesn't have any! Good thing I stopped by the hangar and picked mine up!

No school again until next Wednesday. Hopefully I'll get some flying done in the meantime. This mechanic stuff is fun, but I still miss flying.

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