Decisions, decisions….

I want to fly Laura back to school this Sunday. Right now, there are two planes available in Schedule Master: our Warrior, which is slow, cramped, and doesn’t have much useful load, or the Lance, which is fast, roomy (relatively) and with enough useful load that she could be bringing bricks with her and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Oh, and the Warrior doesn’t have an autopilot either. I’m not even sure it has a heading bug. The Lance, on the other hand, has an HSI which is a god-send for instrument flying.

Normally this would be a no-brainer, but currently the Lance is sitting there with a totally flat nose gear strut, red oil streaks all over the cowl, and more worryingly, there is one streak of oil coming up through the spinner right where the leaky side of the prop comes through. (The prop has a tiny leak, and for the last couple of years our mechanic has said “that’s normal, but keep an eye on it”.) Obviously, the nose gear needs a new o-ring to keep the hydraulic fluid in, but there is also a small possibility that the prop needs a complete overhaul. The nose gear thing is a small job and if that’s all there is, it shouldn’t take more than a day to fix. But the prop thing could be a big job – if I book the Lance and it ends up grounded, there is a good possibility that the Warrior won’t be available if I need it. On the other hand, if I book the Warrior, I might end up flying in the Warrior when I could have taken the Lance.

The Maintenance Coordinator for the Lance says he’s taking the Lance to Batavia for our mechanic to look it over tomorrow. He was supposed to take it today but he got busy with something else, and didn’t bother to call me in spite of me being the Assistant Maintenance Coordinator.

The bane of my existance

One of the worst tasks I’ve had at this job is working on the automatic upgrader. I hate doing it, because it’s not so much “programming” as it’s “cobbling together a bunch of system administration stuff”. I got it working as well as I can, but there are some various flakey problems in the way RedHat/CentOS works, as well as some dodgy Dell hardware, that I can’t make it work 100% of the time. I’ve written about it before. I get called in whenever something fails to try and forensically engineer what went wrong. Today’s fuckup was very similar to the one in that linked article – somebody started the upgrade before they went home at night, and somebody else came in in the morning and started it again. That left some things half installed and half upgraded, and some of the “cp” machines decided that they were being “plex built” (built from scratch in the manufacturing area) rather than upgraded, so they all made themselves into FRU (field replacement units) and shut down. Of course it took me nearly an hour to figure out what the idiots had done and how to fix it. And the upshot is that because these machines are now “bare” and physically powered down, somebody has to go out to the site and set them up. Oh, did I mention that the fuckup also caused all copies of the saved configuration for the entire site to be lost?