Melted Wires

9 September 2013

In June, I wrote a post about the wires that I was working with in one of our Cessna 206s. The wires were scrambled spaghetti and pretty messy. Over the past two months, I've been working on installing some new equipment, adding wires to the bundle, and getting everything back together again. Last week though, I had a bit of a set back.

I had finished installing the radio racks, circuit breakers, switches, and had even put on two panels with the pitot/static instruments. I was leak checking the pitot/static system to make sure every thing was sealed properly. The pitot/static instruments provide vital information to the pilots such as air speed, altitude, and vertical climb/descend rates.

Burned Wires

One of my last checks was to make sure that the heater in the pitot tube was working. Under the right conditions, ice can build up in this tube which is on the leading edge of the wing and disrupt the pitot/static system, so it's important to have a heater on this tube. Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 due in part to a frozen pitot tube.

To check the heater, I applied power to the airplane with our ground power cart, and within seconds, the cockpit of the plane was filled with smoke. Before I could remove power, one of the main power wires was glowing bright red and was melting everything around it. In less than five seconds, I had destroyed weeks worth of work installing wires and bundling everything neatly together. Only one wire had a problem, but it affected about thirty other wires in the bundle, melting their insulation as well.

More Burned Wires

As I started pulling everything back apart so I could replace the burned wires, I kept thinking of multiple parallel situations that we encounter on daily basis (one bad apple spoils the barrel, etc). However, what I kept coming back to was Philippians 1:6: "For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

No matter how often the airplane gets messed up, I'm going to kept working on it until it is completed. What a blessing it is to know that no matter how often we mess up, God is still working in our lives, and will continue until we are complete, just the way He wants us. I also had several opportunities to fix other little mistakes. So take joy in the troubles that come your way, knowing that God is using them to shape you into the person He wants.