Monday, January 16, 2017

The AR-15 Hits Middle Age

The AR-15 design is over 50 years old.

It is certainty a testament to its efficacy and the brilliance of Eugene Stoner's design that it has served so long and become the most popular modern sporting rifle in the USA.

That it is over 50 years old means some AR-15 models can now be purchased using a Curio and Relic FFL as the rifles are now over 50 years old and still in perfectly good working condition. You can bid and buy on this one and have it shipped right to you using your C&R FFL.

That gun banners want to prohibit ownership of over 50-year-old mature technology that is in very common use speaks volumes, and it's also why they'll fail.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Obama: Undocumented Illegals = Good, But Undocumented Cubans = Bad

In one of the ending moves in the waning days of the Obama administration, he sticks it to yet another group that doesn't flock to support him and of which he is less than enamored: people fleeing the socialist paradise of Cuba.

Illegal aliens aplenty can flock through our southern border and get DREAMer status as exhorted by Obama, but the idea of Cubans fleeing that socialist hellhole run by his close compadres getting legal status in the US sure seems to have stuck in his craw.

After all, how dare the ungrateful snits try and flee a communist county whose leaders Obama admires.

The Detroit News: Havana hails end to U.S. immigration policy for Cubans

Thursday, January 12, 2017

In Eight Short Days....

After a hiatus of 8 years, in eight days from today, Dissent will once again become the highest form of patriotism.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ice Ice Baby - The Plymouth Ice Carving Festival

On Sunday, as the last activity of the winter break we took the kids to the Plymouth Ice Carving festival.

To say it was a cold day out was an understatement - even bundled up it was chilly to say the least. It did make it great for ice carving though as there was no risk that a statue might melt in the slightest bit.

The carvings were most impressive:

There were dragons:

There were ice bunnies:

There was an ice car complete with an ice logo:

And of course there had to be ice cold beer.

In addition to the already made sculptures, teams were busy making more right in front of the onlookers:

Very impressive and these teams were very serious about their craft.

In addition to the ice carving there were the typical handicrafts and food vendors of any town fair aplenty - hot drinks and hot caramel corn did a very brisk business indeed.

Plymouth did a nice job putting the festival on and it was very well done and organized.

Just a fun outing before school started up again.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Flying Lesson #97 - Maneuver Heaven

Continuing the tale of sunk flying costs, I took off in N73455 with Bob and headed to the practice area.

Once there we did slow flight, which I did better than last time, power off stalls, power on stalls, steep turns and turns around a point. We also did the engine out and I actually did ok overall with good speed management etc, emergency checklist memorized and run through and overall not bad. I'm still having issues lining up on the chosen empty field amongst many empty fields thing and making sure I don't overshoot it and maneuver to it. I mean it will land in a empty field and that should damn well be good enough really (Yes before you point it out, I know I need to land in whatever field is picked etc).

My steep turns have gotten worse, they used to be my best maneuver. The again I haven't done them since November 19th and it showed. In short, as I get a maneuver down, we move on to others and it then decays accordingly while the maneuver being focused on gets better, rinse, turn prop, repeat. This is getting stupid. If it wasn't for all the sunk costs I'd likely be doing something else by now, but I just may be too stubborn and stupid to drop it -- or maybe not.

Half the fun is getting used to a new instructor, Bob seems quite good, certainly less grabby on the controls than Ray and lets me do everything and seems to really want me to get done. I reckon if I had had him from the first I might just have been done a long time ago now.

He has a big focus on looking outside during the maneuvers and to quit focusing so much on the instruments which is probably a good corrective for me. He said my ground/oral knowledge is fine and he's not worried about that and my radio work is excellent (well yipee). Next we're going to finish the altitude maneuvers and head to pattern entry and landing stuff. Weather or not the weather will cooperate is a fun question, whether the maneuvers will then decay before the somehow always looming but never arriving checkride is quite likely.

That's 1.3 hours and 1 more landing.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Another Home Repair Achievement Unlocked

My late afternoon quiet today was shattered by a report from the kitchen that the insinkerator was leaking.

Verily it had crapped out, developed a crack in its casing, stopped working, given up the ghost, was busy making a mess, and had gone to meet its maker. It was a dead insinkerator indeed.

So now I had the joys of working with both plumbing and electricity at the same time.
I ran out to Lowes and bought a replacement unit - this time 1/2 HP rather than the 1/3 HP of the dead unit, as more power is better and for $15 more why not?

First, I turned off the circuit breaker marked disposer and then tested to make sure it was the right one. It was and it was on to the next steps.

Then it was removal time.

I disconnected the pipes and the dishwasher water tube.

Then I was able to get the unit off its sink mount with some allen keys for leverage and it was electricity time.  I opened the access panel and undid the electrical connectors.

Then I cleaned the piping, put on the new gasket and flange, wired in the new unit making sure the new connections were tight and mounted it under the sink.  Be sure to pop out the dishwasher drain plug if you plan to hook it up to the dishwasher as it is hard to see that it was in there blocking that outlet and is quite easily overlooked, which can lead to some bad results.

Once everything was lined up and the drain hose and tube were tightened, I re-tightened down the mount to the new unit with an Allen key for leverage and voila, a new insinkerator was in place.  Testing revealed no leaks, putting the circuit breaker back on led to no popping, and it ran fine and quieter than the original.

The whole thing only took 38 minutes from the time I turned off the circuit breaker and only expanded my vocabulary by a moderate amount.

It's a relatively easy replacement process.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Flying Lesson #96 - Cold Flight

So I arrived at KPTK and proceeded to do the preflight and scrape the frost of the leading edge of the wings, windshield etc.

Winter flying sucks.

Considering that N73455's cabin heater was putting out practically no heat at all, it sucked even more.

So after a run up and taking time to get the oil temperature to even show up on the gauge, we took off to the northeast and the practice area in Marginal VFR conditions. Considering every other scheduled flying lesson I had booked since the least one was cancelled due to weather we'd take the marginal visibility. In return for the cold and lousy viz we got nice stable air and we got excellent climbing performance, so its nice to have that.

After getting to the practice area I did slow flight again and Bob pointed out I need to look outside more. Apparently Ray had me too fixated on the instruments, especially the airspeed indicator. So we practiced that a fair bit and I did ok.

Next we did a power off stall and I did that just fine, complete with the descend 200 feet after full flaps are in before proceeding to pull the yoke back and stall the plane - this had not been taught to me previously but apparently its a required part of the maneuver now, or perhaps its always been so.

As we were freezing solid with -15 C on the outside temperature gauge and probably the same on the inside, Bob decided to call it and we headed back to KPTK, using a VFR back localizer approach to come in on 27L as the viz was quite bad. Bob had me fly to ERNST and then to the lineup for it. This was kinda interesting to experience. Once we had the runway in sight we switched to 27R for landing which I did, kind of flat-ish but at least mains first, and not as stabilized as I would of liked, but it good enough a landing. After tying the plane down and plugging in the oil heater back in we went inside and went over a few tips for landings and that was that.

1.0 and 1 landing.