Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 Daddy Daughter Dance

Our Town hosts a Daddy Daughter dance pretty much annually and we decided to go this year and last night was the night.

This year was a tad different as Abby decided she didn't want to go. 13 and too cool for it, I suppose. Ah, well, they are growing up fast.

So it was just Leah and me for the night out.

I got her a corsage for the special occasion and off we went dressed in our best. On receiving the corsage she pronounced it to be "All that and a bag of chips!", which means she was very happy with it.

We did the obligatory picture after entering the Country Club where it was being hosted and then got to a table. On heading over to the dinner line we ran into a friend of hers and her dad and invited them to sit with us. A few other Dads and daughters also sat at our table and we had quite a range in ages from I'd guess 4 up to 10.

Dinner was very nice with picks of salads and hot dishes including a meat serving table with slices cut as you waited. Good stuff, and chocolate cake to finish it off.

Then there was plenty of dancing.

For slow dances, apparently Leah and kids her age as she wasn't the only one have a concept that standing on their father's shoes while slow dancing is mandatory and how it is supposed to be done. Me and my aching toes.

After a number of dances it was time to head back home to get her enough sleep to be ready for school today.

A very nice event with everyone having a good time and another moment to treasure and remember.

Good Samartians Stepped Up To Help A Trooper By The Roadside

A Michigan State Police officer stops a motorcyclist on what turns out to be a stolen motorcycle. He then get physically ambushed by the driver of the cycle and the driver's brother who was in an accompanying car.

Two men stopped and assisted the trooper, and the attackers are in custody and facing some serious felony charges.

The Detroit News: Two help MSP trooper being attacked at side of road

An excellent job to both Trooper Guild, and to a 50-year-old man from Plainwell and Jerry Burnham of Berrien Springs who stopped and assisted him. Kudos to all of you gentlemen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ones and Zeroes

Looked down and my odometer after hitting 100,000 miles, decided to roll over all binary on this fine day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Now That's Some Flying!

Take two high performance aerobatic planes, two pilots with ice in their veins, and an airplane hangar:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sometimes You Really Can Blame The Salmon

Facebook sometimes compresses posts just right:

The image of a deadly salmon serial killer slaughtering Aztecs wholesale appealed to my Monday sense of humor.

You can just see this being discussed by SyFy Channel producers:

"Hmm, Deadly Salmon killed the Aztecs..."

"I know, we'll do a movie with archeologists opening an ancient Aztec box, causing Deadly Salmon to fall on New York and start wiping it out...we'll call it Salmonado!"

"The hero can be a Japanese Sushi Chef!"

"That's gold Jerry! Gold!"

Mondays...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Flying Lesson #101 - It's The Archer Not The Arrow

In this case a Pa-28-181 Archer II to be exact.

My first flying Lesson at DCT.

I got there and after a short wait met up with Ray and went off to preflight N1896H. It's a bit ironic or satisfying, take your pick, that Lesson #101 is not with Flight 101.

Anyways the preflight on an Archer is pretty similar to that of a Skyhawk with a few little differences, as is starting the plane due to the fuel pump and some other minor differences, including how you hold the throttle.

The manually controlled flaps were quite interesting to use and takeoff is done with 10 degrees of flaps.

The Archer feels more stable than a 172 and with a 180HP engine was a bit more powerful than the 150 HP powered 172.

I handled the radios and takeoff with no issues and I flew us to the practice area. Once there we did slow flight, power off and power on stalls and steep turns. The steep turns felt weird because the sight picture is very different from a 172. Strangely enough my left steep turn was excellent complete with hitting my wake completing the circle. For some reason the right looked very weird and after going 3/4 of the way around I started descending a bit in the turn which was really strange and likely due to the different look and feel of the plane. I also had to switch tanks during the flight, something the gravity fed 172 doesn't require.

Then we did turns around a point and this is where a high wing really outshines the low wing - the Archer's low wing kept trying to cover the point which was a major PITA when trying to do the maneuver. Definitely a few nuances to get absorbed - including the flow method they have for all their operations - it makes a lot of sense but needs to be learned and ingrained.

Then we headed back to Pontiac with the sun in our eyes all the way to final. I took her in for landing and it wasn't bad for being practically unable to see the runway in the sun - landings will take some work but I kinda knew that already.

Overall the assessment from the instructor is I know what I'm doing, I just need some polishing of my maneuvers to get them up to ACS standards (then again I've been hearing that since August...), then get checked out and signed off to solo the Archer and then get checked again before the checkride. Next lesson will likely be some pattern work. We'll see how many steps back I need to take before I get to go forward.

1.6 and 1 landing.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

No Great Loss There, And The World Is Better Off As A Result

The Blind Islamist Terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman has died in US Prison in North Carolina and didn't even get his 70 raisins, or even 70 Virginians.

In case you forget, Abdel-Rahman was behind the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and planned multiple other attacks.

The Detroit News: Blind cleric jailed for ‘90s terror plots dies

Right On Cue, As Soon As A Republican Takes Office...

The Media discovers the inconvenience to airports and general aviation of Presidential Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).

The Detroit News: Trump’s Florida visits puts small airport in tailspin

Funny, I don't recall a single article over the myriad of TFR caused general aviation airport activity closures when Obama was president in the Chicago area and other environs. Any visit to Detroit would shut KPTK right down, including all flight instruction and regular VFR activities and that happened quite a bit and caused quite a drain to the coffers of the various flight schools and other operations at the airport.

You'd think they could make at least a pattern work exception when you're over 10nm away, but no.

In short, these restrictive VIP TFRs are nothing new to the aviation world. While they should be better tailored and a bit less restrictive they are unchanged from prior administrations and nothing new, just now we have some new airports feeling the pain of the one size fits all TFR.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not Flying Lesson #1 Ground School Groundhog Day.

So I went over to DCT this morning, filled out their paperwork (and still have even more to do), gave them a copy of the requisite documents and then got introduced to an instructor.

They definitely do things differently at DCT - quite organized, planes are hangared and they don't want the students putting the oil in the planes and we shouldn't have to call for fuel as they will take care of it and make sure the plane is ready before the lesson -- which is quite a difference. Even more of a difference, their training is in stages and its all documented and checked on by the head instructor.

Unfortunately this stages approach will likely cause some issues with me as I've actually already done all the requirements and just need to get all the maneuvers and landings to ACS standards.....

I was introduced by the operations manager to Ray (not the prior Ray) and we had a ground session as they want to know where I am in my flying and to get an idea of some of their procedures. So, no flying today. Instead, we went over the standard private pilot oral questions on which I did quite well - airspace, systems (changing for the fact the Piper is fuel pump rather than gravity fed) and he was impressed I had already read up on the Archer and knew the total and usable fuel numbers, and that I was pretty good on the knowledge needed for the oral portion of the checkride).

DCT does things with a bit of a different philosophy and consistency between instructors which may very well be a nice thing. They are however pretty regimented and go by flow checklists of which I got a copy to be memorized. The different way of doing things is reflected in other areas - for example, they do not do touch and goes, only full stop taxi backs. They do have JPI edm700 engine monitors in each plane and they expect you to lean to rich of peak using it once you get to 500 feet AGL. The edm700 looks like an interesting bit of kit, integrated with the Garmin 430 and with fuel flow can pretty accurately tell you not just your cylinder head and exhaust gas temperatures but also what your fuel remaining is, quite a contrast to the not so well functioning (as in accurate only when empty) gauges on the Flight 101's C172s.

Actual flying lesson now booked for Sunday.

This will either turn out to be a good decision or a very bad one. Likelihood of exceeding twice the average hours to get a private pilot's license exceeds 99% at this point.