I’m in the midst of a horrible travel phase of five weeks on the road out of seven weeks. I was in Germany last week, and will be in Montreal all next week, doing some avionics testing in the simulator, finishing at 5 AM most days. The paying customers get the civilised sim slots. So my only hope to do any flying for much of the next few weeks is on the weekends.

I headed out to the hangar mid-morning, intending to do a bit of maintenance, and then go flying. I pulled the cowling, screwed the oil pressure adjustment screw in one turn, and looked for oil leaks or other issues. Everything looked good, so I started to put the cowling back on. But, my master plan fell apart when I tried to open the forward baggage bay door, so I could push the upper right side of the firewall a bit forward, so that hinge pin would slip in place (that part of the firewall has no fore and aft support, so it tends to move around a bit, until it is held in place by the upper cowling). The door latching mechanism has always been a bit tight - I left it as it was, expecting that the holes in the latch blocks would wear a bit, loosening things up. Well, it was hard enough to turn that today I broke the key off in the lock. Drat.

I eventually managed to get the lock in the closed position again, and extracted the remains of the key. But, I needed to get that door open to reinstall the cowling, and to chase down a wiring snag behind the instrument panel, but my spare keys were at home. Blast. I gave up in disgust and went home. No flying today. Drat and double drat.

Looking at my collection of baggage bay door keys - I see that the original key blank is about 20% thicker than the blanks used to make my spare keys. It was one of the spare keys that I broke off today. I suspect I would not have broken off the original key. I went to Home Depot, to see if they had any thicker key blanks, but no luck. I’ll need to try a locksmith, or maybe order some key blanks from Aircraft Spruce.