It Was a Simple Job…


I was just looking for one wire—one measly wire that I knew was excess, something I had installed years ago in order to test a new piece of avionics. I figured it was time to take it out because I wanted to hardwire in a different bit of avionics I had been testing (and liked) – so why not kill two birds with one stone and get rid of a mystery wire that had no purpose. Well, of course, that was bundled in with something else, and it was hard to trace, so I needed more room to work, so out came the interior. And then I wasn’t sure (the nature of testing, lots of things are temporary…) why I had four wires in a cable instead of the two I expected, so I had to remove the panel to find out. Then it was odd that the wire in question seemed to be powered from the battery instead of the master—so I had to open up the electrical distribution panel as well to fin out…

Next thing I know, the airplane is opened up far more than it needs to be for an annual, and yeah, I had been meaning to replace that gunky flap tape, so since the side panels are off, dropping the flaps is easy… and yeah, I had been meaning to do some wheel pant repair, which I can do while waiting on ACS to deliver that special connector I needed for the first job… and the next thing you know, the Valkyrie is spread all over the shop for what we can call a “heavy maintenance interval.”

It starts out simple, and creeps up on you—I was just looking for that one wire!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.



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