Saturday, January 30, 2016

Flying Lesson #39 - Dual VFR Cross Country

Today was quite a nice day for flying, even with a gusting crosswind perfectly perpendicular from the runway to make life interesting. I was flying with Sean today for a dual cross-country.

After a good pre-flight and taxi, I did a takeoff and while heading for Lansing initially had to stay with the runway heading and a lower altitude than planned due to traffic.

Then I was able to resume my climb and start looking for my checkpoints, all with paper map and navigation log only, which is a bit of a pain, especially when being distracted by tower instructions in Pontiac's airspace.

Then we tried to get flight following from Detroit approach but they were way too busy, so after awhile we picked it up from Lansing approach.

I got my bearings figured out and navigated to Lansing pretty much ok, and landed on runway 24.

After a full stop, we taxied back and then took off to head back to Pontiac, again doing dead reckoning and pilotage only to get back.

That worked out fine and I landed on Runway 27L. I had a lousy setup and come in a bit too high so we couldn't practice a short field landing as a result, but I'll practice more of those later. Still it ended up being a pretty soft very cross-wind landing.

That's 1.8 hours and 2 more landings with a nice cross-country flight.

And my solo shirt is now done and hanging on the wall of the flight school:

On the sad side, my flight instructor, Sean, is leaving Flight 101 to take a job further south where it's warmer to be both a corporate pilot and instructor. He's a great instructor and they'll be lucky to have him there, and I wish him well.

It looks like Will is going to be my primary flight instructor now, so that should be a change. He's a great instructor too with a different style from Sean, so we'll see how we go from here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Flying Lesson #38 - Short, Sweet, And Soft At Linden

Due to weather and airplane issues, we did not do a cross-country flight today.

Instead we flew from KPTK to 9G2, Linden Airfield for the first time, a single runway strip 3,999 long by 75 wide complete with a displaced threshold about 10 minutes away.

I flew there by dead reckoning and the map only, flying over the now inactive Pontiac VOR site, which is a pretty neat landmark, then on to Holly and then to Linden.

There was a low broken layer so we were at 2,500 on the way there and visibility was pretty sucky complete with an impressive crosswind of a gusting 15 knots.

I eventually found the airfield after quite a bit of looking as it was quite hard to pick out of the background clutter all around it.

I setup and did a short field landing complete with cross wind adjustment, then back taxied and did a short field takeoff. Then we did a soft field landing and a soft field takeoff followed by another short field fielding and a soft field takeoff and then headed back to Pontiac.

I found Pontiac without any issues and entered the downwind for Runway 27R and followed another aircraft that was doing pattern work and then did a soft field landing that had lots of float and a nice soft touchdown.

Then I shut the plane down and that was it for Lesson 38 - 4 landings and 1.2 more hours.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Suspect This Terrorist Didn't Go The NFA Trust Route, Or Any Other Legal Route For That Matter

Yet another adherent of the "Religion that had nothing to do with it" has been caught by the FBI planning a terrorist attack in Milwaukee, on a Masonic Temple of all things.

News Talk 1130: FBI Thwarts Terror Attack in Milwaukee

The FBI in Milwaukee announced Tuesday that it had thwarted a lone wolf terror attack targeting the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Milwaukee.

Sami Mohammed Hamzeh, 23, was arrested and charged with possession of machine guns and a silencer after he allegedly planned a mass shooting at the temple and made extensive preparations with two undercover FBI agents posing as fellow terrorists.

Hamzeh told them in a recorded phone conversation that he wanted to target "Masonic" victims in an effort to curry favor with international terror groups and inspire other acts of terrorism in America.

Note the possession of automatic weapons and a silencer - I'd venture a guess that none of them were legally acquired via a Form 4, so mere possession of those should be good for multiple felonies all by themselves, not to mention all the related terrorism charges.

Apparently he wasn't just a terrorist nutbag with the typical Islamist inspired delusion of grandeur, he also sported the delusion, unfortunately quite common on the "Arab Street" that the Masons are a secret cabal, typically along with the Jews (natch), running the world.

Quick news flash - Masons can on occasion manage to plan a picnic or a chicken dinner, but the whole world domination conspiracy thing is a wee bit beyond their ken.

Good job on the FBI interdicting this guy before someone got hurt.

Detroit Carjacking Gone Very Wrong

In an impressive display of Darwin in action, we get the following news report from the Detroit News:

Detroit motorist watching porn on phone crashes, dies

He wasn't just watching it at the time of the crash either -

A Detroit man watching a porn movie while driving his car got into an accident and died.

The man, who wasn’t wearing pants, was watching the movie on his cellphone, said police.

The driver, 58, wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected through the sunroof.

I wonder if it will be written up as a death due to a case of premature ejection.

Florida Man got nothin' on Detroit Dude.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Taste Of Pho

Just got back from a tasty lunch at Pho Lucky in Southfield.

Pho is a tasty broth soup with noodles and a variety of other yummy things like slices of beef, meatballs, beef tripe and other yummy stuff.

You can then customize your soup to taste with lime, bean sprouts, mint and jalapeno peppers.

To say it was awesome would be an understatement.

Two of these heaping bowls fed the entire family and we're not hungry afterwards.

We also got some spring rolls.

Great service, the food was awesome, and lunch for the whole family plus another order of spring rolls to go for under $30. Highly recommended.

The only change that could possibly be asked for would be the name.

Were I to open a Vietnamese noodle restaurant, I'd name it:

All The Pho King Hue.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jett's Bath Day

Jett, after playing with Rocky today got a wee bit of a surprise.

Tash had been noting that he was starting to smell rather doggy, so I was ordered to administer a bath.

I had him come into the bathroom and hop in the tub on top of some towels I had placed on the tub bottom to give him some solid footing.  Then Leah and I washed him down, kept him in the tub until he was clean, and dried him off afterwards.

He was not amused.

Now dry and smelling more like himself, he's still not amused.

"Come into the bathroom" they said. "It'll be nice" they said.  "You people gotta sleep sometime", I say.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flying Lesson #37 - A Good Flight To Bad Axe

So today I came to the airport all prepared for my first VFR dual 50 miler each way cross-country.

I had planned as requested a flight to KADG, Leenawee County Airport.

It was not to be as KADG was showing marginal VFR, and low clouds between us and them which could become problematic.

That's ok, I had a flight planned to Lansing.

Nope, it's showing MVFR as well.

Ok, I was sent off to quickly yet carefully plan a flight to KBAX, Bad Axe Airport. 50 miles to the north of Pontiac.

So I dutifully calculated course, wind correction angle, fuel burn and picked out appropriate waypoints with estimated time of arrival at each.

Sean pronounced the plan good and off we went.

I did the preflight and got clearance for Runway 9L and permission to depart to the north and I began a climb up to 5,500 feet and leaned the engine once I got to cruise altitude.

Sean then introduced me to flight following by contacting Flint Approach, who after a bit transferred us to Cleveland Approach.

Flight following is kinda nifty, you get your own transponder code and they act as an extra set of eyes watching the airspace around you. You're still very much responsible for you and for traffic avoidance, but their radar will see lots of stuff you don't. We did get a few useful traffic warnings for aircraft we would not have seen otherwise, particularly 1 aircraft overtaking us from a thousand feet below and to our right.

So I started naviguessing to my first checkpoint. This was all via map and dead reckoning only as Sean didn't let me use Foreflight nor the plane's built-in GPS. Might as well learn how to do it the hard way first, right? So I headed to my first checkpoint, Oxford and found it without too much trouble. My next checkpoint was Lapeer airfield and I found that one and then Marlette airfield and subsequent checkpoints. No serious drift off course and I did pretty good.

Then we had Bad Axe in sight and I cancelled flight following and after the appropriate radio calls I then setup to land on Runway 4. All of Bad Axe's runways still had some snow on them so Sean said very clearly that I should not touch my brakes after landing. So I made a nice smooth approach, a nice landing and no problems. Then we taxied back to the runway and headed off and climbed to 4,500 for the return flight.

Then it was basically the course in reverse, about 210 degrees and we picked up flight following again and I found my checkpoints and made it back to KPTK. I was first told to enter the downwind and started to setup for that, and as soon as I was just perfectly setup for entry they had me instead enter the base leg. So I then came in on base, got everything ready for landing and did a decent but slightly flat landing and then had to hurry off the runway as there were quite a few planes doing pattern work. I taxied back and shut down and secured the plane.

Sean said my first VFR cross-country was quite good and it went a lot better than for many of the students he's taught and I did a good job navigating back and forth. Yay!

That was a very fun flight and it was cool to plan to go somewhere and then go forth and do it.

That's 1.9 hours, 2 landings and the first dual VFR cross country of 50 miles each way done.

Well, He Would Know......

Kerry says governmental corruption fuels extremism

From the Detroit News.

That he said it with a straight face shows a rather decided lack of self-awareness, not to mention awareness of the administration of which he is a member. Reading his entire statement at the article is even more guffaw-inducing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bureaucrats Naturally Waste Money 'Cause It Isn't Theirs

Typically if money isn't yours and you have control of it, you don't care all that much about using it wisely or preventing it from going to waste. When the money comes from a theoretically inexhaustible supply of taxpayer money, it's even easier, at least until that supply runs out.

The Detroit Free Press: Tab for Guardian Building scaffolding keeps growing

Wayne County has spent close to an estimated $100,000 to rent scaffolding outside the Guardian Building even though the related work happened more than two years ago.

The scaffolding is still there as some work still needs to be done, but Wayne County officials then sat on the second phase that would complete the work and simply kept paying the rent on the scaffolding. For TWO YEARS.

This is after the County bought the building for 14.5 million, knowing it needed 13 million dollars of repairs but actually spending at least twice that so far. One would hope the Free Press will dig deeper to see who paid what to whom, and for what quid pro quo in this mess.

Waste on top of waste, which helps explain the predicament Wayne County is in.

But what the heck, it's just taxpayers' money and the potential for a state bailout later when it all falls apart, right?

Monday, January 18, 2016

MichiGuns And Employer Parking Lots

A story was recently relayed to me that is quite a cautionary tale.

The subject of our story, while non-union, works (or should I say worked) in a non-union environment.

Apparently a union member he was having a bit of a dispute with made a false claim that he was seen by the union guy carrying a gun openly in the parking lot and entering the workplace.

Security stopped him in the workplace and he did not have a firearm on him at all nor in the office anywhere.

However, he did have NRA and other pro-gun stickers on his car, and did have a handgun in the glove compartment which he can do as he has a CPL.

The employer has a clear and written no firearms on the premises policy which covers company owned parking lots.

You know where this one went right?

Michigan is an at-will employment state and lacks any protection for firearms owners leaving their firearms in their cars on company property. The subject of the story, after he admitted he had a gun in the car, got fired tout suite and has no recourse against his employer, even after working there for almost two decades with no negative incidents and even as the originating report for the incident was false.

Working in a non-permissive environment, especially with a clear prohibition on firearms on property, an employee can be put in a difficult position of having a gun in the car but then being fired for it, or not having the gun in the car at all which can leave the employee vulnerable on their journey to and from work, and his workplace was in a not very nice area.

If you're in one of those environments, I'd strongly recommend not having any advertising on your vehicle that there might be a firearm inside and not talking about firearms in the workplace.

It's stuff like this that makes me a proponent of the "allow employees to have guns locked in employee vehicles in company parking lots" laws.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Flying Lesson #36 - Going Places, Landing Soft, Landing Short, And Both Short And Soft Field Takeoffs

Today the weather was finally decent enough for flying. Winds were generally from 290-300 degrees and around 10-15 knots so we were using runway 27R.

Before we started, Sean let me know that today's flight would be a tour of the dimensions of the practice area, and we would have a diversion on the way to the first waypoint of the practice area, Lapeer airfield. He went over the methods for doing a diversion including quickly estimating distance, time and fuel on the fly from quickly using the paper map. Then Sean went over short field takeoffs and landings and soft field field takeoffs and landings.

Then I went out and pre-flighted N73455 and got ready to takeoff, got taxi clearance and then had clearance to takeoff for a flight to the northeast.

Sean announced this would be a short field takeoff, so I started from the edge of the runway, stood on the breaks and applied full power then took off and trimmed at Vx, best angle of climb speed. Then once I had cleared the "obstacle" I re-trimmed for best cruise climb and then turned to the northeast.

I then navigated via the map towards Lapeer, flying at 3,500 feet and leaning the mixture for better fuel economy, following the roads and looking for terrain features to confirm where I was. I found the airport, which was a little hard to pick out, and then announced my location on the CTAF (the common radio frequency for that field) and then descended to pattern altitude and entered the downwind leg of the pattern. Then I turned base and final and Sean announced the runway was not "suitable" for landing so we had to divert.

He then told me to fly to Romeo, and to give him the estimated course, distance and time it would take to get there. I then gave him some estimates that he was happy with and we headed on that course to Romeo.

We arrived over Romeo and again I headed to pattern altitude and then did a short field landing. Then I taxied back to the start of the runway and did a soft field takeoff.

Soft field takeoffs are fun - you keep moving without slowing from the taxiway to the runway, adding 10 degrees of flaps while having the yoke all the way back to get the nose wheel off the ground and the airplane flying as soon as possible. At 45 knots the plane takes off, which is too slow for it to fly, so you need to keep it about 10 feet off the ground so it stays in ground effect and builds up speed until you can leave ground effect and fly the plane. Once you get up to speed you can retract the flaps.

That was a lot of fun - With the yoke back, as the plane accelerated down the runway I did a wheelie down the field until I took off and then I leveled it out in ground effect and watched the airspeed rise and then was able to get it flying out of ground effect. Tons of fun.

Then we headed back to KPTK.

On closing to 11 miles from the airfield, I radioed the tower and got instructions to enter a right base at two miles. I figured out what that meant in terms of my relative position to the field, and it actually made sense, which was cool.

Then I did a soft field landing which was a lot of fun to do - again you want to keep the nose wheel off the ground as long as possible.

My landings were darn nice as were my takeoffs, and it was a great and fun lesson where pretty much everything worked nicely and it felt great. Now I'm allowed to roam around the practice area solo and Sean is going to endorse me to land at Romeo so I have an uncontrolled field to practice on. This should be fun.

Then I dropped Sean off at the FBO as he needed to get his car there after doing some aircraft ferrying, taxied back to the flight school on my own and shut the plane down and secured it.

That was 2 landings and 1.3 hours of a very enjoyable lesson indeed.

If the weather holds and conditions are good, the next lesson will be a dual cross country that I need to plan and then fly.

Friday, January 15, 2016

An Amber Alert Generated Excessively Early Wake Up

So there I was, happily asleep and then my phone, which I use as an alarm clock nuicely set to get me up for the morning, gives a very long and vociferous buzzing (I had it on vibrate), enough to wake me up.

At 2:00 am.

Was someone trying to text me at that time? Did they have a death wish perhaps?

Nope it was an Amber Alert.

For Coloma, Michigan.

Please note that Coloma, Michigan is on the very opposite side of the state. You can't get any more opposite without ending up in Lake Michigan.

It then went off again at 2:30 with the same alert. At which point I could not get back to sleep.

The alert was later cancelled (without an additional text) and the subjects of the alert, two girls, were found and retrieved safely in Colorado. Apparently it was a bad one with the father being suspected of killing the mother and another person Thursday night and taking the two girls, and apparently getting to Colorado rather quickly.

The news noted that "An Amber Alert was issued just before 2 a.m. Friday; many people woke up to the text alerts that were sent out."

Alex Perez was then taken into custody on a felony warrant, apparently after a bit of a struggle.

I expect it is too much to hope for that during the struggle the scumbag received one hit for every person woken up by the 2am and 2:30 am Amber Alerts.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Glocks Replacing Some Venerable Firearms

Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth from various internet forum aficionados as the Glock replaces some fan favorites in the holsters of military forces.

It was recently announced that Navy Special Warfare will replace the Sig 226 with the Glock 19. Already the comments on various forums are rather vociferous about the switch.

MARSOC also is moving to replace it's 1911s with Glock 19s.

On top of that, The British Ministry of Defense has announced it is replacing the venerable GP35 Hi-Power that served the British for years with distinction with the Glock 17. More than 25,000 Glock 17 Gen4s are being purchased for use by all of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

Unfortunately, given the Obama administrations rules on firearms, the SIG 226s and 1911s will most likely be destroyed rather than released on the civilian market as surplus once they filter out of usage. Let's hope the Brits surplus out the GP35 to the open market rather than destroying these pieces of history.

Some Grey Days

There used to be a yellow ball in the sky. Haven't seen it at all this week.

I can certainly understand how people can get seasonal affective disorder. This basically sucks - grey and then the dark of night, rinse and repeat with the addition of blowing snow and some cold temperatures the past couple days. Basically yuck combined with getting up in the dark and leaving work in the dark makes people a little cranky.

Low cloud cover also means it has been solid IFR every time I've been scheduled to fly, so no lessons recently.

On the upside, the snowblower has done yeoman service, clearing the 1-2 inches of snow per day/night that have been falling every day this week with aplomb. Since it's not packing snow this machine eats it up and clears the Driveway of Doom™ quite nicely. I'm liking this little coal and nuclear powered beastie.

The downside is that without the sun to heat things up and low temperatures, the driveway is not as clean as I'd like it to be as ice patches will not melt away, but it will do. The driveway looks better than our street, which is basically snow-covered with some tire tracks through the snow.

I'm sure the sun will come back on its own at some point and flying weather will return so I can keep learning.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter Snow Blowing Blues

Now that winter is upon us, with an official National Weather Service Winter Weather Warning today with high winds and blowing snow of 2-3 inches I got to test out my latest implement to help make the Driveway of Doom™ passable. A NWS Winter weather warning basically means: "Hey guys, guess what? It's winter - deal with it!".

So with 3 inches of packing snow on the driveway, after walking the dog, I took this out for a spin:

A rechargeable battery-powered snow blower!

Meet iON's big brother- iON PRO, an amped up, deluxe size version of the original battery powered snow blower. The iON PRO 21-Inch unit is ideal for clearing large driveways and walkways without the hassle of gas, oil, tune-ups, frustrating pull cords, or tangled extension cords. And, with an upgraded interchangeable and rechargeable 40V 5.0Ah EcoSharp PRO lithium-ion battery iON PRO delivers up to 65 minutes of whisper quiet run time on a single charge. You can get larger snow jobs done without waking the neighbors or polluting the air with toxic emissions. This cordless dynamo is also engineered with a powerful 600W brushless motor for increased battery efficiency, optimal motor performance and extended motor life to keep iON PRO blowing strong season after season. iON PRO starts instantly with a simple push pf a button and its adjustable handle maximizes user comfort during use. Equipped with a steel auger and 2 heavy duty rubber blades. iON PRO moves up to 660-Pound of snow per minute, clearing a path 21-Inch wide by 8-inch deep with each pass. Plus the scraper bar at the base of the unit lets you clear right to the ground without any surface damage. Featuring a 180 degree auto-rotate chute that rotates instantly with the push of a switch, iON PRO directs the snow stream up to 20 feet away. Compared to heavier and more cumbersome gas machines, iON PRO weighs only 36-Pound, so you can easily maneuver it around your property. For nighttime snow removal, iON PRO features an integrated LED headlight that quickly switches on to increase visibility. GET EQUIPPED this winter with the Snow Joe iON PRO-the easy, convenient and cordless solution to get snow out of your way on your snow day.

So does it deliver what it promises?

The Pros: It's very quiet, no need to worry about disturbing the neighbors whatever time it is when you need to clear your driveway. It starts up immediately and it's much lighter than a gas snowblower. It's very quiet and you don't need to mess with a choke or gas/oil mixture or a pull-start- just insert the battery, and you're ready to start. Starting it is the easiest thing ever - hold the safety button and then pull up the dead man switch to the handle and you're good to go. One battery charge suffices to do the entire driveway, which is rather impressive. You don't need to mess with a choke or gas/oil mixture or a pull-start. Just insert the battery, press the start button while holding down the lever and off it goes. The chute has an electric switch so you can rotate it around without stopping. It also has a mounted LED light for night-time snow clearing. When you're done, remove the battery and put it on the charger and that's it. With a couple of inches of snow it was pretty smooth sailing for the most part and it did a very good job cleaning the driveway all the way down to the asphalt. Even after completing the driveway and walkway to the front door, there was still charge remaining on the battery, which is a good thing.

The Cons: It's rather under-powered, which is surprising considering it's touted as a "Pro" model and an electric motor should have sufficient torque and power to handle the snow. I can't see a "Pro" using this except for very light jobs. With packing snow, once the snow gets above 3 inches and oftentimes less, including from getting blown in the way from snow being blown from the rest of the driveway, it tends to jam up and stop with a perfectly formed snow block inside it that you need to pull out and then restart and try again. 2-3 inches of packing snow seems to be the max before you're stopping and starting. This slows things down quite a bit, but it eventually will get through in short bursts. Don't expect it to handle monster snow falls, unless you want to be out using it to clear it in 2 inch increments at a time as it's coming down. It claims it can handle up to 8 inches at a time, but that's certainly not wet snow.

In short, it beats a shovel hands down for speed and less aches and pains, but it won't replace a gas powered snow blower when there's a lot of wet snow about, which we get a lot of in winter here. If you just have light powdery snowfall in your area or up to a couple inches of wet, this will do. If you regularly get a heavier and wetter snowfall, it likely makes sense to stick with a gas blower or plan to do the driveway multiple times as the snow is coming down so the blower can keep up.

Overall I think it will do ok, but not as great as I had hoped.

Update: It snowed about a half inch of non-packing snow overnight. This morning I got up and the snowblower performed admirably. Nice and quick and quiet and I had a driveway I could safely egress and then get to work.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Flying Lesson #35 - Alone Again

Today I went up to do pattern work completely on my own.

Winds were light and coming from 100 degrees at 8-9 knots so I was using runway 9L.

I called for a weather brief for the first time, and it confirmed the conditions I already knew from reading the METAR for KPTK - VFR, good visibility, winds as forecast, and a broken cloud layer at 6,000 feet. So, I was good to go,

I did the pre-flight on my own as usual, and called ground and got clearance after waiting for a fuel truck to pass.

Then I did the run-up and got clearance to depart runway 9L and to do a left pattern.

A good takeoff and I was up. Flying solo again!

This was neat and a little bit nervous-making but I had it under control, carefully checking everything at every stage of the pattern. One fun thing I found was the flaps indicator needle was stuck at 0 on the dial, so I had to do the flap settings by time and eyeball (basically for 10 degrees you count 1...2...3 while holding down the lever, and another 3 count for 20 degrees etc). The flaps worked fine though, and I wrote up the squawk sheet on it after I landed.

I did the pattern and it went pretty well. The first time around I did a decent enough landing but it wasn't nearly as great as the landings I did on my first solo, so I went around and did it again six more times with varying degrees of decent landings with one being quite nice indeed. At that point I decided to call it a flight.

All the landings were decent overall, one had a bit of bounce from flaring too early, and I slapped my own wrist for doing so since there was no instructor beside me to do it for me. I still have to watch that.

That's .8 hours as solo pilot-in-command and 7 landings.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Good To See Things Are Nice And Contained

The Detroit News: Man shot dead in France wore fake explosives vest

Yes kids, waving a knife around, yelling "Allahu Akbar" and wearing what looks like an explosive vest is a good way to get shot dead, even in La Belle France.

And, yet another example of flawless refugee screening: The Detroit News: Terrorism-related arrests made in California, Texas

Authorities said Thursday that two people have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in California and Texas, including a refugee from Iraq who is charged with lying to federal investigators about his travels to Syria.

Not A Flying Lesson - Oh, Taxi!

So I get to the airport today all set and ready to go.

Conditions could not be better - sunny, warmish, winds calm, cloud layer up at 9,000 feet, it does not get any better than this. I'm pretty psyched and ready to have a great time and learn lots.

So I pre-flight 73455 - and immediately I can tell there is a problem. The right tire is flatter than flat. So flat that it makes a dead parrot look lively. That kind of flat. Other than that, the plane is in great shape, but that's a no-go for flying.

So Sean finds an air canister and refills the tire but it is still leaking air. All the other planes were booked so I was SOL for flying today, but I still got to do something aviation related.

Sean had me taxi it solo to the FBO for repairs, which was kinda fun as the FBO is across and over the airport from the Flight School.

First I had to wrestle to get the plane to start, and it took a lot of tries to get the engine to go and keep going, but I got it done.

Then I got permission to taxi - From Delta, all the way down runway 18, to Bravo taxiway and from there to the FBO. It felt pretty funny to be taxiing along a runway. Got to the FBO and parked the plane.

Sean had driven over to the FBO and we sat a chatted while waiting to see if they could get the plane fixed in time for my lesson.

Unfortunately they could not, but we had a good talk about aviation and my further and future development as a student pilot. Not a waste of time by any means and it was very enjoyable and I learned some things, which is always good.

They got it finally fixed - the tube in the tire had a perforation and had to be replaced, so I got to taxi it back to the flight school and that was that for today.

Still, it is technically .4 of pilot in command time and an interesting look at navigating around an airport on the ground.

Hopefully the good weather will stick and a flyable plane will be around for the next hop.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Much Sound and Fury and Tears, Signifying Pretty Much Nothing

Obama's grand pronouncements of executive Orders on gun control have resulted in a solid "Meh", while his supporters are giddy that he "did something". As Édouard Daladier once said of others celebrating in such circumstances "Ah, the fools! Why are they cheering?"

Why indeed? All the promises of swift and terrible executive action and we get platitudes and orders that practically just restate existing law.

His "dealer" executive order doesn't change the law much if at all from what it is now, except to possibly expose private sellers to some more jeopardy when to go to sell their firearms should someone consider them to be "in business" at the time. All the rest of the sturm und drang, and all of his beating his chest about doing something regarding that executive order is for stuff that is already the law. Dealers whether at a gun show or otherwise still must do a background check and its been that way long before Obama. That he and his staffers didn't know that speaks volumes. That he counts on his base not to know that and to fete him accordingly speaks volumes about them (Rochelle Riley in the Free Press for example - she clearly doesn't know what the law currently is, but is cheering Obama raucously over his "doing something").

The Executive Order on 41P gets rid of CLEO sign-off for NFA items, which is a definite plus, while burdening Trusts, corporations, partnerships and other corporate entities with having the "responsible person" for that entity undergo fingerprinting and photos for a background check.

Note that 41P is a measure dealing with a rather complete non-issue. There's been a rather complete lack of any actual crimes committed by legal NFA owners with NFA items, including no crimes with NFA items owned by trusts. This "solution" for a non-existent problem will result in, the

ATF estimates a total additional cost of $29.4 million annually for trusts and legal entities to gather, procure, and submit such information to ATF and for ATF to process the information and conduct background checks on responsible persons.

So, there will be at least $29.4 million wasted for a measure for something that has not even been demonstrated to be an actual problem. This is not good, but we saw 41P one coming for awhile and the lack of CLEO sign off is a net plus.

All in all, Obama phoned this one in with a few false tears and his base ate it up, while it did very little indeed to change the status quo. I was expecting something far more overbearing and drastic and instead we got this.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Flying Lesson #34 - Today I Was Like Han

Today I was like Han.

I flew Solo!

4 Takeoffs and Landings each to a full stop, by myself. Solo. I did it!

The morning started out as usual, but pre-flighting the bird I found the battery for the plane was dead so we got the battery cart and started her up. Everything else was good though.

Then I did the pattern and did three touch-and-go landings - all patterns and landings were damn nice if I say so myself, and Sean said let's taxi back to the school as he had to do some paperwork.

He endorsed my logbook and student pilot certificate, said the plane will feel lighter and float more now that he's out, and out he went.

I then taxied back to the runway, did the run-up and requested a departure for pattern work as a student pilot, solo, with full stop landings.

After being told to line up and wait I was then given clearance to takeoff - the plane took off a lot quicker with just me in it, and I did the pattern and brought it in for a really beautiful landing. First Solo Takeoff and Landing! Yahoo!

Next the tower had me taxi back to 27R but then quickly cross 27R to immediately takeoff on 27L and then fall in behind a Cessna doing right traffic that had just taken off of 27R. Then I followed him in a did another nice landing. Second Solo Takeoff and Landing!

Then stop and taxi back to 27R, takeoff but this time the tower had me continue downwind until he called my base. It felt like I was flying into the next county when he finally cleared me to turn base. I had a very long and calm final and again brought it in nicely. Third Solo Takeoff and Landing!

Then for the fourth takeoff it was a nice normal pattern and I brought it in as the wind dropped by 5 knots on final, but I had it and landed ok. Fourth Solo Takeoff and Landing!

Then I taxied back to the flight school, shut the plane down and headed in to fill out my log book.

That's .7 and 3 landings dual.

That's .7 and 4 landings Solo!