Sunday night was a beautiful night for flying. No clouds, no wind, and a full moon rising over the horizon. I invited a friend from church out for a night flight and we drove out to the airport, arriving at about 10:00PM. The place was empty and quiet, and after I coded us through the security gate, we were the only people on the field with the exception of a few military police way over on the Air Force side. I untied the aircraft and did my pre-flight by flashlight, then got my passenger all seated and briefed. Switching the power on, I started the engine, all set for an hour's flying. Then I reached down and switched on the Taxi light. Nothing. Landing light was out, too. Dammit!
Without those lights, trying to taxi and park--and land--would be akin to driving a car with no headlights. I apologized to my friend as I shut the aircraft back down and began to re-secure it. There would be no flight this night.
Today I went out to remedy the situation. I went over to my A&P shop and bought the requisite lights--a bargain at only sixty bucks for two bulbs. (The high price is pretty much just because the boxes have the word "aircraft" on them.) Then I went over and started taking the cover off of the light housing.
I got the new bulbs in and tested them.
I put the cover back on, then noticed how dirty it was on the inside and took it back off again for a good cleaning. Then I locked it down with it's 18 screws and I'm all set for more night flight.
And as I was grumbling over my being targeted by aircraft gremlins quite a bit recently, I watched an Air Force C-5 leave their ramp and proceed to the departure end of the runway. "At least someone's flying today," I thought. The C-5 began it's run-up checks and I stopped to watch it's take-off because they're just so damned cool. But then suddenly the C-5's engines dropped back down to idle and it turned back around and trundled back to the ramp and shut down. I guess that sometimes the gremlins even get the big guys.