Sunday, June 26, 2016

The CF-18 Hornet

Last to perform and making the most noise of all the performers was the CF-18 Hornet.

The Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet demonstration team had the plane in livery honoring the BCATP, the British Commonwealth Air Training Program that trained thousands of pilots and air crews during World War 2 in Canada.

To put the power of the CF-18 in perspective, it has more thrust than all of the CT-114 Tutors on the Snowbirds demonstration team combined.

He decided to demonstrate that power with an overhead pass with the afterburners lit:

Talk about there and gone, and loud while doing it. It rocked.

You can get a good look at the false canopy painted on the belly of the aircraft in this shot. A Canadian Forces Hornet trademark, the false canopy is supposed to confuse enemy fighters in a furball.

He did some impressive maneuvers and the tricky light made photography darn difficult to capture the fast moving aircraft.

Coming in quick, this series of shots is less than 5 seconds total time:

He did some very need meaneuvers and then ended with an overhead pass for a grand finale.

Then it was time to come in for a landing.

The plane was then admired on the ramp.

It was a great show.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Snowbirds: Smoke On, Go!

Number 431 Squadron, The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration team, is one of the best aerobatics teams in the world. Flying the CT-114 Jet, the demonstration squadron travels across Canada and the US to show their flying prowess.

Putting up 9 planes in the air at once, its also one of the largest and most precise.

First the team taxied out in formation.

Then took-off in vics of three

Then after testing their smoke canisters and shaking their planes out, they got into formation.

Oh, the formation pictured? That's before and after they came out of a complete loop, done in formation.

Here's a shot of the inside of the loop descending.

Then the solos did some outstanding cross-overs:

They then decided to show how close two jets can get, cockpit to cockpit, and then roll.

Not to be outdone, 5 aircraft decided to do a big break

The full team then reassembled and did a Battle of Britain furball demonstration

Then they rejoined in formation and after a few more thrilling passes and cross-overs,that ended the demonstration.

Then it was time to land, again in vics of three.

To say it was an incredible display of aerobatic prowess and precision would be an understatement.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Last Night: Risk Management With The FAA, And The ACS Changes The Private Pilot MCA Standard

The flight school I attend hosted a FAA Safety Team seminar on risk management and the new FAA compliance policy.

The Aviation Safety Inspector giving the impression was quite a personable guy and is quite an accomplished pilot himself - both GA and commercial.

There was a good look at risk management and setting personal minimums as well as the most likely risks that can be mitigated by following checklists and paying attentions and not rushing through things.

Lots of good stories and relevant examples and I learned a lot.

He then went over the new compliance policy, which basically gives FAA Inspectors tools other than suspension of your certificate if you inadvertently break a regulation. If you do it intentionally the program is not going to help you. But, it is a good safety valve for unintentional mishaps, especially with its focus on learning from the error - both for the persons involved in the incident and the aviation community as a whole to prevent recurrences. In short, it seems like a very worthwhile initiative to help pilots improve, fox their mistakes, and communicate their errors rather than try to hide them until disaster strikes.

As you might suspect, attitude is going to matter in regards to the compliance philosophy and a good attitude towards safety and the program will help you, and as is true in the world at large, being a reckless jerk will not.

One very interesting thing I learned at the seminar is s change that has been announced for the Private Pilot test now that the ACS has come out. My instructor learned about it the same time I did. The document, titled Subject: ACS Focus Team Slow Flight and Other FAQs just changed how we are supposed to do slow flight on the private pilot test.

Here's a video on how slow flight was done and tested until this guidance was given.

Under the ACS, for the minimum controllable airspeed portion, they now do not want the stall horn to be going off.

That's different considering up until now everyone has trained private pilots that MCA means the stall horn is blaring and you're keeping the plane under control at minimum controllable airspeed. This will take some re-figuring and retraining as a result. Now they want 5-10 knots above stall speed without stall horn activation rather than the previous 3-5 knots above stall speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but it's a big difference. The reason given is that the FAA does not want to teach intentional disregard of the stall warning while maneuvering and that the teaching of slow flight characteristics can be done at the above stall horn speed.

That's a very big change indeed.

If You're Too Dangerous To Be Allowed To Fly...You're Too Dangerous To Serve In Congress, Right?

You really can't make this stuff up.

One of the leaders of the gang of pouters currently having a tantrum on the floor of Congress seeking to prevent anyone on the no-fly list from buying a firearm is in fact on the no-fly list himself.

Independent Journal: Congressman Leading the Way to Stop Those on Terrorist Watch List from Buying Guns is on Watch List

Surely John Lewis is too dangerous to be allowed to serve as a Congressman. After all, he's on The List.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flying Lesson #60 - Maneuvers, Maneuvers

Today was most pleasant morning to get some flight time in.

So I preflighted N755PR and all looked ok with a bit of a balding tire, and we headed out on the taxiway.

While taxiing we were hearing a bit of a warble-thump sound so we stopped at the run up area, got out and checked the tires over again. Most likely it was the balding tire with its uneven tread which was the likely cause as there was no other indications of the sound. The tire needs to be replaced but it is still within service limits.

So we got back in, fired it up again and took off from Runway 9R to the northeast.

Leaving KPTK's class delta airspace I climbed us up to 3,500 feet and then we started to get some maneuver practice in. Note that I haven't done any of these since introduced to them last August.

Ray requested and I did a full 360 degree clearing turn instead of the 90 in each direction to make sure the area was clear.

First was steep turns. I must be getting more comfortable flying as they were pretty darn nice. A little bit to clean up the procedures just a tad but my turns ran into our wake in both directions so it was a success. Ray said it would be a no problem pass on a check-ride.

Then we did minimum controllable airspeed, including turns, climbs, and descents at MCA which I had not done before. Overall not bad but I could use a bit more practice.

Then we did some power off stalls and I did ok, again I need to have the procedure down and a bit more practice.

We then did turns around a point which I did pretty well at, and then we headed back to KPTK.

Basically I could use more practice at everything to get a little smoother but its coming along.

Not a bad lesson at 1.3 and 1 landing.

The All-Canadian Air Show

Yesterday was a special airshow at Willow Run airport.

Hosted by the Yankee Air Museum, it was a show with all-Canadian Content. Specially arranged for one night only, the Canadian Forces rocked Michigan with an awesome air show performance.

The Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces 9 plane aerobatic demonstration team were there, and they put on an incredible show.

The Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team Was There

The CF-18 Hornet Demonstrator was there.

An outstanding air show indeed. All the participants did Canada proud.

More pics of outstanding airmanship to follow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Just An Indiana Man, Never Meaning No Harm

Or Not.

Fox59: Indiana man, 18, arrested on terrorism charges, accused of attempting to join ISIS

Officials said Akram Musleh, 18, attempted to board a bus from Indianapolis to New York, where they say he planned to fly to Morocco on his way to territory controlled by ISIS. Court documents say he then planned to join the group.

Not to worry, he first came to the attention of the FBI in 2013 when he was charmingly posting ISIS videos to YouTube:

The FBI discovered after finding the videos that Musleh was a student at Brownsburg High School. The FBI met with school officials and Musleh at the school on December 11, 2013. He told them that a close family member introduced him to such videos, which he would watch at home, according to court documents. He said he used the videos to "further his understanding of the history of Islam."

Court documents show the school and the FBI took steps to dissuade Musleh from engaging in radical extremism.

Apparently the talkin' to along the lines of "ISIS is bad, m'kay?" worked really, really well.

After the meeting and conversation he went off and purchased an ISIS flag and then photographed himself with it in 2015.

Then he started perusing the list of potential terrorist targets in Indiana and followed it up with looking for methods to peacefully understand Islam manufacture bombs, and he starts chatting with ISIS online, including receiving a rather interestingly, in light of recent events, suggestion that he perform a terrorist attack in Florida.

So yeah, the whole interview and dissuade approach apparently didn't take, much to everyone's surprise. Darn Hoosiers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Flying Lesson #58 - Crosswind Crazyness

Today looked like a beautiful day to fly.

Looked mind you, as the wind was shortly going to do its gusty best to kick my tail all over the sky. Winds were reported as 10 to 16 out of 280. That turned out to be optimistic.

Ray said let's go do some maneuvers on the way to Romeo and then work on your crosswind landings. Since I need both, I said sure, let's do it.

Considering the wind was then about 18 knots out of 280 and Romeo has a Runway 36/18, there would indeed be work on the crosswind landings.

Good preflight etc, and a decent takeoff on my part. We climbed to 2,500 feet, with some minor to medium chop all the way.

Ray had me start minimum controllable airspeed but then cancelled the exercise as the wind, which was gusting, started doing its best to flip us at that speed which was making it rather diificult to maintain MCA safely.

So I flew on out to Romeo and we decided to use Runway 18 as the windsock was slightly favoring it.

Talk about your strong winds and crosswinds! I've never flown a pattern with that much crab in it before. Lots of good practice.

Landings were better but I'm still holding the yoke too tightly and overthinking, but it was better than two lessons ago but still needs work, I need to not grip so tightly and keep adjusting through touchdown in the crosswind. Definitely not easy conditions.

I was getting the hang of it and had made a couple decent landings.

Then the next one started well. I had a good crabbed pattern, good airspeed control and a good approach.

Good final.

Runway made, power out.

Out of the crab, into the side slip.

Coming down. Wing solidly down into the wind. Holding it off. Rudder keeping the nose on center line.

About to touch down, lined up on the runway, looking good. Flaring, just about to touch and....

Ray then yells "I GOT IT!" as the wind suddenly, quickly, and fully shifts and does its best to flip us from the opposite side.

Holy family blog.

Ray got it under control in time and was able to safely land it. He quickly said that was not my fault, it was a sudden wind shift and I had done it just right up to that point and it wasn't me. We discuss it and you can't throw full power in for a go around at that point as that will flip the plane into the ground, you have to neutralize the ailerons and then counter the wind, all in very little time indeed at ground scraping altitude. Such a recovery is definitely above my ability at this point.

That was not a happy-making experience and if it was just me in the plane at that moment it would have been very bad indeed. So I get my breathing back under control, and taxied back and took off again with quite the crosswind takeoff. The winds are still nastily shifting so we headed on back to KPTK as time was getting short.

Lots of bouncing around on the way back and at KPTK the winds were from 300 degrees shifting, and blowing at 15 gusting to 22, so Ray took the landing which was a decent idea especially with yes, another last minute gust near touchdown, and he decided his next student was going to have a ground session as the winds were just getting too nasty for students.

Lots of stuff learned, 1.5 hours, 5 cross-wind landings and one near-death experience. Whew.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Answer: Probably Because He's Not Paying Off The Proper People

The Detroit Free Press poses the question: Why is a person cleaning up Detroit getting the runaround from the city?

John Hantz has been putting a great deal of his time and money into cleaning up and beautifying abandoned areas of Detroit.

The thanks he gets for this laudable, indeed herculean, task is the City delaying transferring to him the abandoned lots contiguous and inside his already owned lots that prevent him from completing his woodland project and cleaning the abandoned wrecks off those lots and planting trees instead.

Since Hantz is a stand-up and honest guy he likely didn't pickup on the "hints", nor follow the "suggestions", as to how the project might be expedited rather than interminably delayed. Of course there's also the suspicion that he's being delayed on a racial basis given the city council's laser-like focus on race-mongering instead of working to better the city.

The City bureaucrats and politicians should get out of Hantz's way and let him continue his philanthropic project of beautifying and cleaning a wasteland area in Detroit.

Henderson: In Order To Be Free, We Must Take Away Your Liberties

The left-wing media is going full-court press on gun control.

Stephen Henderson has decided that his liberty can only be assured by taking yours away.

The Detroit Free Press: Liberty demands we take another look at the Second Amendment

Yes, he has the same mealy-mouthed arguments we've heard before, as well as the constant calumny of blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of criminals. Everything from the founders couldn't have predicted to the "gun lobby", doing it for the children, to he's not going to interefere with the rights of hunters and their shotguns. He also raises the false equivalent of treating guns like cars and it gets worse from there with even more false assertions thrown, spaghetti-like against the wall in the hope something sticks.

But here's his best and most mind-numbing line of the entire article:

The most recent reminder, of course, was last week’s shooting in Orlando, in which an American citizen armed with legally bought firearms killed nearly 50 people in a night club.

Yes, read that one again, it's rather jaw-dropping.

Way to bury the lede on the event Henderson.

It appears the Obama Administration's deflection from it's complete failure to interdict a terrorist attack from a known, warned of, and investigated suspect to gun control and completely downplaying the terrorist nature of the attack has been eagerly adopted hook, line, and sinker by the mainstream media pundits.