Saturday, August 19, 2017

Flying Lesson #144 - Shaking Off The Rust Of Two Weeks Off

Getting Jet Lag while flying is one thing, flying while jet lagged is another.

This afternoon I went up with Ray. I did a short field takeoff and headed to the north. There I did some turns around a point, slow flight, power off stall and steep turns. All went well.

Then I headed back to Pontiac and was told to setup for a 4 mile final due to traffic. It was a nice long, straight in approach which worked out very nicely with the wind at 310 at 10 knots for a bit of a crosswind and an excellent landing.

I then did another short field takeoff, followed by a short field landing which was decent, then another short field takeoff and what would have been a nice short field but had to go around due to a slower Cessna not getting off the runway in time. No big deal and I'm quite good at go rounds. Then back for a very nice short field landing indeed, followed by a nice soft field takeoff and a soft field landing. I then did another short field takeoff and finished it off with a textbook short field landing that was just beautiful.

Ray said I flew just fine indeed and I'm looking good.

1.5 and 5 landings.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Back From An Epic Vacation

Back from the second longest non-stop flight in the world, and an adventure that began August 3.

16 hours in a United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner direct from San Francisco to Singapore.

Before that was a 6 hour flight from Toronto to San Francisco in an Air Canada Airbus as its code-shared with United.

Abby instead of a Bat Mitzvah party wanted to go somewhere special for a trip and she chose Singapore, certainly she has fine taste in exotic destinations.

Luckily enough, it just so happens, a friend of mine from High School and University lived there and we got tons of good info and met up with him and got a native (or ex-pat) guide.

Now I have much jet lag, such jet lag, really the best jet lag, as its a 12 hour time change.

But, postings with plenty of details and pictures to follow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

WTH Canada?

I'm really hoping there's more to this story to explain this travesty of justice.

A fellow in Nova Scotia, Canada is at home when the home is invaded by three intruders who are armed with firearms.

In the struggle that breaks out, he gets ahold of one of their firearms and shoots at least one of them, causing them to flee.

One would think this is a happy result, yes? Well, the story isn't over......

He is then charged with attempted murder and unauthorized possession of a firearm and a raft of further firearms related charges including improper storage of a firearm.

No kidding.

Herald News: Break-in suspect shot, man in home charged

Police said that three men entered the residence with guns and a struggle took place with two men inside. The two in the home seized a firearm from one of the suspects and several shots were fired as the suspects fled. Police later located one of the suspects, who had non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Munroe [the guy who beat back the home invaders] faces charges of attempted murder, intent to discharge a firearm, intent to discharge a firearm when being reckless, careless use of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm knowing that possession is unauthorized, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

I had no idea that Nova Scotia had turned into the United Kingdom when it came to self defense, and I expected better of the RCMP.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Stop Touching It - Part The Umpteenth

I can't think of a single reason why this would have been a good idea, and considering the outcome, it certainly wasn't:

The Detroit News: Cops: Man shoots self, woman while unloading handgun

A man and a woman more than 30 years his junior are recovering after both were wounded when the man attempted to unload a handgun on Detroit's west side early Monday morning, police said

The shooting took place about 1:30 a.m. in the area of West McNichols and Telegraph, said Dontae Freeman, social media manager for the Detroit Police Department.

The man, 56, and the woman, 25, were sitting in a Chevy Malibu when the man attempted to unload the gun, Freeman said. In so doing, he shot himself in his left hand, and shot the woman in her right arm.

Who the heck at 1:30 am, while parked and seated in the confines of a vehicle thinks to themselves -
"Hey, this is a great time to handle and unload a firearm".

Apparently it's no longer nobody, ever, as this doofus apparently did so.

I suspect either alcohol or showing off how cool he was had something to do with it.

Seated in a car at oh-my-gosh-early in the morning is neither the time nor the place to be handling a firearm without a darn good reason.

I can't think of any valid reason to be fumbling around and trying to unload a firearm while inside the confines of a Chevy Malibu. It really doesn't lead to a good outcome, especially while ignoring basic safety rules such as "Never point a gun at something you're not willing to destroy" and or course the classic "Keep your darn finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, yes, that includes you sitting in the Chevy Malibu".

They really need to teach basic gun safety in schools, along with some common sense.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The MiG and The Jett - A Thrilling Tale of Lawn to Lawn Combat

There was an epic meeting engagement this weekend between the Mig and the Jett.

While on patrol, approaching Pack VI, the heroic Jett pilot could sense the upcoming engagement in the air:

It's going to be a Mig day, I can feel it.

Sure enough, just up the way, the Mig waited under tight control at the base of the engagement area until it was time to be let loose.

Controller, where is the Imperialist American Jett?

When the Jett came in range, the Mig was loosed to pounce and the furball began.

I've got you now!

The MiG is both smaller and more maneuverable than the mighty American Jett, but if the Jett refuses the turning game and instead fights in the vertical plane with afterburners he can disengage at will.

No you don't got squat! Afterburners lit, and maneuvering to a more favorable engagement position.

And the Jett can then after disengaging turn about and re-engage at will:

The MiG is too close for missiles, I'm switching to guns.

After multiple maneuvers, and low on fuel, the MiG had to return home to its safe haven, promising to come out to play another day.

I'll be back, you American running-dog".

The tail continues.

Flying Lesson #143 - More Checkride Prep

Yesterday was a beautiful day to go flying.

Winds were calm, cloud layer only starting around 6,000 feet, both main runways open (18/36 is still closed) and life is good. Flying with Ray today and he says it will be a practice checkride.

So I taxi up and do a soft field takeoff to the Northwest and get a check-ride shakeout.

I navigate towards Linden and then we divert away towards the North-East-ish so we stay out of Flint's Class C and then start some maneuvering.

I do slow flight, and apparently the examiners now want you to slowly settle into slow flight at 2,000 RPM and hold altitude until the speed slowly bleeds off rather than cutting it to 1,500 RPM and quickly dropping the flaps in while maintaining altitude as the speed quickly bleeds off. This makes it feel like it is taking forever to get into slow flight.

I then do power off and power on stalls. On the Power on stall, the plane does not want to stall, especially when done how the examiner will want it - full power once you hit 60 knots. You practically have to get an Archer standing on its tail to stall in that configuration and that tends to lead to a snap roll of the pane onto its back and into a stall-spin which is not happy making. Basically, as soon as you add power you need to yank the yoke back for all that it is worth while keeping the wings level and right rudder in and try to get it to stall before you've gone vertical.

Then we did turns around a point, climbed back up and he yanked the throttle on me for an engine out forced landing practice, which went well and I did all the required steps and would have made it into the landing field etc.

Then we climbed back up and he did something an examiner has recently one to another student: "I smell smoke and there's a fire under the instrument panel."

So, a simulated electrical fire then.

Simulate turning off the master switch, telling passenger to grab the fire extinguisher and smother then flames, drop the nose, reduce power so I don't red line (or yellow line) the plane and dive for an emergency landing spot. What fun.

Declaring that we survived that, I get to navigate us back to Pontiac sans GPS which I do ok by first climbing and then finding Oxford (it has a really nice beach with very blue water that stands out nicely from any other lake around - I'm talking really,, really bright blue) and thence heading back to Pontiac from there.

Tower wants me on an angling right base for 27R and the instructor wants a short field landing. So I setup for a short field and all is well, get to my touchdown point still going great and just about to touch and a heat wave off the runway balloons us up nicely. So I just hold the angle and land once the plane settles.

Before you ask, it's not just me - every plane is ballooning right by that spot - a Citabria, a Cirrus, a Cessna, an Aviat Husky, everyone is getting that same ballooning updraft just before touchdown on the runway.

We do some short and soft field takeoffs and landings. On one particular landing, the wind without any prior notice kicks up to 10 knots from 350 as we're landing - "Oh, that's why you landed left of center on that one". Then the wind goes away as if it was never there. Nice.

Anyways, not a bad lesson, landings were all good, takeoffs were fine and the stuff in between worked out well enough. I apparently need to hold my heading better while doing slow flight and stalls, but other than that it was quite good.

1.3 and 4 landings.

Friday, July 28, 2017

When Your Car Has An Increased Rumbling Sound From The Back.....

It may not be just because of the shoddy condition of Michigan's roads.

There was a fair bit more road noise that I figured may have been a tire and I planned to take it in for a rotation and oil change as it was just about due for both and have it looked at.

Turns out it was the passenger side rear wheel bearing going bad, along with the speed sensor on that wheel which decided to fail the day before I planned to do the oil change/rotation.

The speed sensor going bad caused all sorts of blinking lights on the dash to come to life, and a sudden and complete loss of AWD, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Car was still drive-able but I took it in and got those issues fixed.

$813 later, it drives a lot quieter and smoother, and will continue its quest to reach 200,000 miles with 92,000 to go.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You Don't See That Everyday - A Democrat Politician With His Hands In His Own Pockets

Michigan's upcoming gubernatorial race is getting all sorts of interesting on the Democrat side.

Plenty of politicians and others on the D side are playing "Will she?, Nil she?", as they decide if they should compete against the "Its my turn" politician Gretchen Whitmer and Democrat party heir apparent to the governorship race, who is hardly inspiring nor anything more than a D-line politician and likely will not contribute much to Democrat enthusiasm in the upcoming election. The "I am woman hear me roar" approach kind of fizzled with Hillary! and it'll like fizzle even more so with the even less inspiring and rather insipid Whitmer.

Potential candidates have put their toes into the race and dropped out, including Mark Bernstein of the Sam Bernstein local legal dynasty and Mike Duggan, the Mayor of Detroit who I daresay smartly kept out of it as he's pretty secure and ding a decent job in Detroit as Mayor now. Others have yet to formally jump in or decline such as Mark Hackel. Hackel is Macomb County's Executive and former Macomb County Sheriff, who is likely too darn honest, too level-headed, too uncorrupt, and not driven sufficiently by ideology to get past the Democrat base to make it as a candidate for governor. If he did though, he'd have one heckuva good chance to take it as a mainstream prgamtic and well-spoken candidate with proven abilities.

But now, along comes the rarest of Democrats - one putting his own money in the race to become governor.

The Detroit News: Democrat Shri Thanedar pumps $3.3M into governor’s run

Certainly not something you see everyday, and good for him for putting his own money on the table.

Its going to be an interesting Governor's race here in Michigan, that's for sure. If Fieger enters the Democrat race for Governor again, and it looks like he's maneuvering to do so, prepare the clown car folks, and have the popcorn ready.

Flying Lesson # 142 - Solo On And Off The 9 Side

A really nice day today for a lunchtime solo flight. The sky was clear, winds light but shifty and Pontiac was using Runways 9L and 9R.

I took off from Runway 9L and headed to the northeast for the practice area.

Once near the proving grounds I did some clearing turns followed by some steep turns, slow flight, and did my stalls.

Then back to Pontiac for some pattern work.

The first landing tower asked me to keep my base in close so he could sequence some traffic and I obliged and did a darn nice landing wiht the winds form 030 at 8 if I say so myself. I'm talking smooth, even though I haven't landed on the 9 side in awhile solo or otherwise and its always fun to come over the water and tree line onto 9L.

Then I headed back and did it again and the winds came up to 10 knots out of 360 for a full crosswind of 10 knots, which was no problem to me at all, and I simply put in a crosswind correction and greased the landing. This gave much confidence.

The next pattern the wind shifted again but ended up right down 090 at 5 knots which made it really easy. Again another smooth landing.

Then the wind shifted to 130 at 6 and again I did a nice landing and decided to call it a day. Tower had me roll on tdown to the end which was rather nice of them and I then contacted ground, headed back to DCT, parked the plane and that was it.

1.3 and 4 landings.