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  • Writer's pictureJosie Cray

Let The Games Begin

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

Going in, I knew the interior of N9384J would need some work. The seats were shredding apart, the front panel was original, the undiagnosable and partially working radio was 40ish years old and my sentiments on this have been aired. What I wasn’t expecting since the annual inspection was completed 2 months prior, was to be hit immediately with an inoperable fuel gauge. I was and am a new plane owner and I didn’t have my license yet, but I do know ATOMATOFLAMES - the required equipment for day VFR flying. And guess what the “F” stands for? Yup, you guessed it, fuel gauges. Haven’t had the plane for a month yet and I was already calling the mechanic.

Our mechanic is a hard working, knowledgeable, kind of rough around the edges middle aged man from West Virginia with an awesome and loyal dog. Picture a chain smoker who engages in a little of what my spouse and I call “pot-kettlin’” when he accuses others of running their mouths or talking too much while nary taking a breath. Essentially, he’s the best and wormed his way into my hard to obtain good graces through this experience. Specifically when my phone rang at 6:30 am one morning and I was greeted with “Hey little lady, time to get up. I’m already at the airport, let’s get this thing done!” I am neither a little lady nor one to be up for anything at that ungodly hour. Thank goodness we live about 3 miles or 9 minutes from the airport and there’s no grooming requirements to work on an airplane. What I didn't know at the time is that this is now the norm when working with my friend the mechanic. Anyone willing to let me help and learn while they work on the plane is a good and patient soul and I will begrudgingly get up early.

But I digress, back to the fuel gauge. That first early morning with the mechanic we looked at some wiring on the cluster, and checked the fuel tanks. He decided we needed to get a sending unit for the right fuel tank so I ordered one and we called it a day. Guess how much a right sending unit costs? At the shop we called in PA they cost $500, not including shipping. Air planes truly are money pits.

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