Thursday, October 18, 2012

A (Longer Than Expected) Weekend in LA – Part Three


After a wonderful day spent at Manhattan Beach, it was time to grab the trolley back to the Marriott Courtyard to eat some dinner and get my luggage. Isn’t LAX beautiful at sunset?


The hotel had a little café, so I grabbed a quick bite for dinner before I left for the airport. I had a chicken pesto grilled sandwich on ciabata bread. Yummy!


I stayed just across the street from this iconic airport sign. This was my view from the FBO shuttle back to the airport tonight.


Since we weren’t leaving until midnight, I didn’t arrive at the FBO until about 8:30 PM. I got Gladys ready for our hour-long flight home (are there enough sodas on ice?), then sat in the lobby to read a book.


I loved the view out of the giant windows. I got to watch airplanes at the busy LAX airport while I read a good book. Can it get any better than this?!


Gladys was parked next to the private MD-80 in the number-two staging spot. We were in the number-one spot. I love when we are so close to the door. It makes it easy for my passengers to get on and go!


We don’t get to fly at night very often, so I went a little overboard with some night pictures this evening. Hey, I thought that I was going home in a few hours! Who knew how wrong that I was…


Have I mentioned that I am rather partial to this airplane? What beautiful lines and a swanky paint job! I am so in love with my job. It’s a little bit alarming.


I loved being so close to this big guy.


OK. So you probably noticed that we went from late-night pictures to midday pictures…all while still being on the ramp at Los Angeles International Airport. I’ve alluded to it over the past few days…but we obviously didn’t leave last night as planned.

Gladys broke.


Gladys has a gust lock control pin that is inserted into the control yoke. This is a mechanical pin that sends an electrical signal to an actuator in the tail of the airplane. The actuator extends a pin into the rudder to lock it in place, which prevents the rudder from being affected from wind gusts while parked on the ground.

On this particular evening when trying to fly home at midnight with five passengers…the gust lock pin wouldn’t electrically release when we took it out. To make it simple…we had no rudder. And you can’t fly without a rudder.

Despite some calls at midnight to maintenance back home, we couldn’t get any help until morning.


What a terrible feeling buying tickets for my passengers on an airliner home early the next morning. We stayed behind with the airplane until it got fixed, not knowing how long that would take.


Miraculously, the quick-and-easy fix was simply to remove the actuator in the tail that was locking the rudder in place. Two mechanics worked on it all Sunday morning to remove the actuator. We then got a Letter of Authorization to fly home without it. Maintenance will get to replace it when we arrive home later today.


We were in the air by around 5:00 PM, but it was a day later than our passengers needed. It was so frustrating to not get them home when they wanted to be home. They were very understanding and didn’t yell at us, like my former boss would have done. But I was bummed that we couldn’t fly them home because of a tiny pin not releasing in the tail.


Catalina Island was pretty on our flight home this afternoon.


And this was about as exciting as the weather got for us, thank goodness. I couldn’t stand anything else to go wrong for our weekend!


The southern California desert is really pretty. But it probably would have been prettier the night before around midnight.


Instead of having five fun passengers in back for the flight home, we were empty. It was way too quiet back there. Crickets, I tell you.


This is the control yoke on the copilot side of the cockpit. The culprit gust lock pin goes into the Captain’s yoke. Needless to say, we don’t use it any more.


OK, so there was one good thing about not leaving the night before. With no passengers in back for our flight home, I decided to wear shorts to work today.



This city coming into view never felt so good. I had missed being in church the past four weeks because of multiple weekend trips. I almost switched someone for my lesson last week to today, but something kept me from doing it. Maybe I’m psychic!

Maybe I just knew that we were going to break down in Los Angeles, and that I wouldn’t be home in time to teach in church!


Some pretty sun rays came down on me for our landing at home. It feels great to be here at last.


Cleared to land, Runway 21.


I was a little upset at Gladys for breaking down on us, but she is probably glad to be home, too.


At least I had air conditioning in Pearl for my drive home after work. This was my first time coming home to her waiting for me in the parking lot. At least that put a smile on my face! Breaking down in LA certainly didn’t!

1 comment:

  1. All's well that ends well!



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