It’s a funny old place, Cape Breton. We stopped into Port Hawkesbury airport on Monday to show the boys some airplanes and chatted to the owner for a bit before bumping into a friend from Mabou market, who was servicing the tractor they use for maintenance around the place. I mentioned to him that I was trained as a mechanic twenty odd years ago but had foresaken the black-handed art for a career in IT. He promised to dig up some numbers of friends who work in IT, just in case I wanted to moonlight on the old farm chores. We bade him farewell and on the way out I offered to help around the place, mow the lawn or paint the shed or something, just because it’s cool to hang out at small airports and get to watch the planes being planes.
Well I had a call yesterday, which I missed but it resulted in a Very Exciting Voicemessage, and you know you don’t get many of them. It was Alan, who runs the airport, saying they were doing an inspection on one of the planes and asking if I wanted to come down, give them a hand or just hang out. Laura had to talk me out of the car and back into the house as I was fully set on driving down there and camping out, just so I’d be there when they opened up in the morning.
I’ve had one of the coolest days ever. Ever. I turned up just before a Citation jet did, which was picking up a private charter and needed refueling. I got to help re-fuel it. Seriously, me, jet, jet fuel, pilot, chatting about how the snows cleared up. Next to a JET… … … This jet! –>
Then we went back into the hangar where we spent the day dismantling and cleaning up a Lycoming engine from an Apache twin-prop whose piston rings cracked through cold shock on a descent through clouds last December.
And it re-kindled a love of mechanics that had been lost from countless snapped studs, stripped nuts and subsequent bloodied knuckles on rusting hunks of crap that would struggle at a roadside inspection let alone it’s next MoT. Airplanes are clean, everything is ordered, colour coded, torqued correctly… if we had just spent a day in a hangar – any day of that whole two-year mechanics course I did when I was 17 – my life, all of the lives of my course mates no doubt, would have been vastly different. Airplanes are a mechanics nirvana.