Saturday, July 22, 2017

Flying Lesson #141 - Really Quick Up And Down

I was scheduled to fly at 2 but my instructor called and asked me to come in at 12 as he had a cancellation. I said fine as I'm helpful that way. Big mistake.

This is because at 11:30 the skies open up with rain, the clouds fall to marginal VFR conditions and rain comes on nicely.

Once I arrive at the airport the rain has stopped but the clouds are low.

I preflight N5337F, an Archer I haven't flown in much if at all, and discover the seats are way low and do not adjust upwards. We actually both require cushions to see sufficiently over the nose. One main landing strut is way taller than the other but its fine and good to go.

I start it up and it wants to be a pain and it takes a few tries to get the motor to catch. We get clearance to taxi and takeoff and we're going to do pattern work as it is a damn low ceiling. As it turns out, its lower than that.

We takeoff, get to pattern altitude and it's cloudy with a chance of a little visibility. Not particularly good, as in IFR condition at the pattern height flying through clouds from crosswind to and in the downwind.

So we do the pattern in these serious clouds on downwind, I cut in a short base to keep the runway visual and I do another nice landing and that's it for this lesson.

Of course, as I sit here to type this it is now the time for my original flight and the clouds have cleared and its nice out. Sheesh.

0.3 and 1 landing. The only upside to this is it gave a perfectly round number for total hours for my logbook, the down side is that total number is ridiculous.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

While They Were Horsing Around . . . We Went On A Field Trip

Last Saturday, while Leah and Tash went to Breyerfest, Abby and I headed off to a place where they take corn, rye and barley and use them for a more glorious and noble purpose:

Yes, we drove a few miles out of Lexington to visit the Buffalo Trace Distillery. One of the oldest distilleries in America, it makes many fine products.

It was pretty busy that Saturday and while all the reserved tours were cancelled as they were on Summer shut down so some areas were not available to be seen, such as the huge mash tanks, but they did offer a free 1 hour tour that we took.

First we went to the visitor's center and then the old firehouse that has been changed into a sandwich shop - we had some excellent hot dogs and root beer before going on our tour.

The tour was led by a very friendly and knowledgeable gentleman who is a University folklorist in his regular job.

We learned how the distillery was one of 4 that were allowed to operate during Prohibition, making medicinal spirits that could be acquired in limited quantities via a doctor's prescription. The solution of course was to have a large family with each of the kids getting a scrip so the parents would have at least something to drink.

We saw a nicely produced film on the distillery and how whiskey is made and how they use different variations in the mash to get different products. The mash is fermented and then distilled, and then aged in new charred oak barrels.

This is Warehouse Cone of the storage houses where the barrels of whiskey are aged. Each floor gives the whiskey a different quality - the upper floors have larger temperature swings so the quicker maturing whiskies are located there. Buffalo Trace tends to be on the middle floors and product like Weller and Pappy Van Winkle resides in the basement.

Note how the racks are actually built into the walls. The building survived a tornado in 2006 that tore the rook off but otherwise did not harm the buiding - it apparently created a very fine whiskey that year as a result and they're trying to replicate the effects of the storm on the shiskey even today.

We then entered Warehouse C, labelled as Bonded Storage Building C

And within the building:

Barrel upon barrel of Whiskey slowly aging to perfection in the dark, hence the lousy photo. We were on the lowest floor and saw barrels that might, should they meet quality standards, become Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year - aged 23 years and the barrel loses 30% of its volume the first year and 3% or so each year thereafter - that's why Pappy's is rather rare and expensive. They don't make much and if it doesn't meet their standards its not released. The building had a lovely smell of whiskey all about it.

After that we got to see the bottling facility and some Blanton's Single Barrel that had just been bottled and packaged for shipping.

then off to the tasting room for a sample.

You could try 2 of either Buffalo Trace, White Dog Mash, Wheatly Vodka, or Eagle Rare. I tried some White Dog Mash and Eagle Rare. The White Dog - unaged Whiskey fresh from the still had a sweetish corn taste and at 125 proof went down rather well when sipped, or when others tried to slam it a coughing fit that was rather humorous to watch.

The Eagle Rare, a Bourbon aged for 10 years was very nice and refined indeed.

Then everyone got some Bourbon Cream, a drink like Irish Cream, but better, as a dessert.

Abby contented herself with a free Root Beer that she enjoyed quite nicely as in lieu of alcohol as they gave her a rather large and cold glass of the quite tasty root beer.

Then we went to the visitor's center again and I picked up a bottle of Bourbon Cream and a T-shirt to take home and that was our visit to Buffalo Trace.

It was a darn good trip and if you're ever visiting the Lexington area, the Buffalo Trace distillery is well worth visiting.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It Was Like Dragon's Milk To Him

Because it was Dragon's Milk.

When I met up with Tom last Friday night, I presented him with a bottle of this fine Michigan product:

At 11% it has quite a kick that sneaks up on you, and then drop kicks you especially as it comes in a bottle containing a pint and 6 ounces.

It tastes a bit like Guinness that's been aged in a bourbon barrel. It has a very deep, complex, and rather roasted taste that grows on you as you sip it, or the alcohol content does anyways.

Tom appreciated it, and even moreso when I told him the story behind it:

For you see, New Holland has Michigan's oldest monastery where the monks have taken a vow of silence, and within the walls of the monastery is indeed a real live dragon that is milked to produce the eponymous wonderful substance that I brought to him.

Milking a dragon is rather hard work as a dragon tends to take exception to it, typically by ripping your arms off.

So twin monks were tasked with the job of milking the dragon.

It went well until the Dragon grew annoyed with the first one and sure enough ripped his arms off.

The Abbott then had to find him a new job, and the only one he could do was to climb the tower and ring the monastery bell to signal the time of day by taking a running jump at it and hitting it with his head.

This he did for sometime with great devotion and fervor and until one day he missed a jump and fell down the tower and sadly broke his neck and died.

MIOSHA, OSHA and the coroner came out and inspected the premises and asked the Abbott if he had any information on this now deceased monk.

"I don't know much about him or even his name", said the Abbott, "But his face sure rings a bell."

But the story doesn't end there. His twin, who had taken over the milking of the dragon also eventually fell prey to having his arms ripped off and sure enough, he too was tasked with ringing the bell.

Sure enough, after leaping at the bell and ringing it loudly, the day came where he too fell to his death.

Again MIOSHA, OSHA and the coroner came and asked for information on the incident and the identity of the deceased.

The Abbot again sadly stated, "I don't really know who he is either, but he's a dead ringer for the previous guy".

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Flying Lesson #140 - Some Quality Usable Alone Time

This morning the weather was most promising. A scattered layer about 4,000 and winds around 9 from 180.

Might as well go up for a flight.

So I preflight N1689H and find that the right fuel sump will not stop dripping. It's a slow and steady drip, but an ongoing drip all the same. Tugging on it does nothing. I ask a maintenance fellow at the flight school and he examines it and then quickly swaps it out for a new part. Turns out a bit of dirt inside it was stopping the spring from fully closing the valve, thus letting it drip fuel.

With that done and both fuel tanks at the tabs, meaning there was 17 gallons in each tank. Plenty enough for the planned flight.

Oh yes, I was going to be flying alone, something I hadn't done for a month.

A good start and I had got the ATIS already while the guy was fixing the sump so I got a taxi clearance and headed to the run up area. Did the run up and headed to the runway. The runway was rather busy as 27L was closed again, leaving everyone and their propellers turning onto 27R. No matter, I've got this.

A nice takeoff with some left wind correction in and I was up.

It was a lot quieter with the right seat unoccupied.

I headed to the practice area by dead reckoning and got over the proving grounds, did some clearing turns and then did some maneuvers - slow flight, stalls, and steep turns (which still aren't quite how I want them) and then lower for turns around a point and some S turns across a road.

Then after a few lazy circles just enjoying the view I switched fuel tanks and headed back to Pontiac.

Once within hailing range there it was clear that it was rather busy with a number of planes in the pattern and some coming and going.

I first had a clearance to check in once hitting 2.5 miles away for a right base, but they then amended that to a 4 mile straight in final.

I then came in and did a darn nice light crosswind landing as the wind was 180 at 9 and it was damn smooth if I say so myself. I mean really nice. The sort of perfect landings that only happen when no one is watching and there's no instructor i the right seat of your plane. I then got clearance to taxi back to 27R and do it again.

The next time around the pattern was quite nice and I did yet another nice smooth (if slightly more solid than the previous one) landing.

The next takeoff took awhile as quite a few planes were lined up both to land and takeoff. It was get in line and then line up and wait time.

I went around the patter and then the tower announced they would call my base due to traffic. Then I got a clearance to turn base at my discretion as I was now clear of traffic and had seen the traffic turning base to final and followed it in and did a really smooth landing - stable, precise airspeed and just a beautiful approach, round-out, and flare. Very nice indeed. I decided to call it at that point as my time was getting close due to the late start from the sump valve repair and I did the taxi back to the flight school.

1.3 and 3 darn nice landings.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kentucky Weekend

Kentucky is horse country.

Leah is big into horses.

This worked out rather fortuitously this last weekend was Breyerfest - a horse fair and model horse extravaganza.

It turns out Breyer model horses are a very big deal, with quite a following and they put on quite an event.

So we decided to take her to Breyerfest held at the Kentucky Horse park in Lexington.

We stayed at an AirBnB that was an actual horse farm and she was thrilled and many horses happily accepted carrots fed to them by hand.

However the trip down could have been smother.

First was construction in Toledo, next was an over hour delay due to an accident on I-75 further south in Ohio.

Next was construction right in Cincinnati right before the border with Kentucky.

Finally we saw this:

But only after we had lost over another hour in standstill traffic there. That made it a seven and a half hour trip which sucked mightily.

But we made it there and met up with Tom of Daddybear's Den and his family for dinner on Friday night at a nice BBQ restaurant they had recommended, and had a very nice time catching up and chatting. Great people.

After that we headed back to the horse farm, unpacked and made the beds and that was Friday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Canada Pays The Danegeld - Terrorist Receives $10.5 Million

Canada just gave 10.5 Million dollars to Omar Khadr, a Canadian who fought against the US and Canada in Afghanistan as part of Al Qaeda.

Note well that Canada quickly and quietly paid the money out to Omar Khadr, before the family of Sgt. Chris Speer, an American soldier killed by Khadr in Afghanistan, who Khadr admitted to killing, could get it blocked to enforce their judgment against Khadr.

This quick payment to screw over the widow of an American soldier was intentional:

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source familiar with the situation told The Canadian Press that the government wanted to make the financial payment to Khadr promptly to get ahead of a massive U.S. court award against him. “The money has been paid,” the source said.

To say that this is beyond shameful and a parody of what a sane government should do is an understatement.

Given Khadr and family's background and close ties to Al Qaeda, the likelihood of a goodly sum of this money heading to terrorist groups is pretty much assured. I wonder if part of the deal said he can't use it to attack Canadians.

Whether this was a payoff in exchange for terrorists not attacking Canada and Canadian interests under the guise of paying a terrorist for the discomfort of being hosted in Guantanamo after his capture as a terrorist is certainly open to question. As usual the proggy editors of the Toronto Star are falling all over themselves on how righteous and upholding of Canadian values of making such an insane payoff.

The only payoff Khadr deserves is about $0.50 moving at 1,246.7 fps at his forehead.

This isn't the first time Canada has shamefully helped bad actors out. During the Somalia incident, Canada gave asylum to Mohammad Farah Aideed's family while US and UN forces were hunting him. Whether it was a quid pro quo in return for making sure Canadian troops in Somalia were not attacked was never explained. Yep, while American soldiers were being killed in the Blackhawk down incident, Aideed's family were living on welfare in Canada.

Canadians now and in the future should and will hopefully look back on this decision to payoff a convicted terrorist in outrage, shame and disbelief.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Flying Lesson #139 - Slips and Sweet Landings

The day did not look promising for a post-workday flight.

Rain and low clouds loomed and it seemed like it would be a scratch.

But the rain stopped and the clouds lifted just enough to get above IFR, so might as well take it up again.

The first takeoff was a short field, kindly setup by the tower having us line up and wait so I had plenty of time to line up perfectly at the very end, hold the brakes and when given takeoff clearance advance the power to full then release the brakes at max RPM and haul the plane off the ground. Not bad.

We headed out to the East and soon realized the clouds were not nearly as high as we would have liked. The ATIS claimed it was a scattered layer at 2,500, but in truth it was more like a broken layer and a pretty solid broken layer at that. So, we couldn't work on some of the things Ray wanted me to do, but we worked around it.

Ray wanted me to work on my forward and slide slips so we would set at 2,500 feet and I would do a forward slip or side slip down to 2,000 and then climb back up. We did it for a bit and then headed back to Pontiac as the clouds were getting a bit lower. Then it was pattern work. Slips to land, short field landings, soft field landings, and slips to short and soft field landings were the order of the day with soft and short field takeoffs. The pattern got pretty busy at times which was good for developing situational awareness as in the haze planes had a habit of disappearing when you're turning and you sometimes can only acquire them again as they turn. The tower handled things well and had a funny exchange with an incoming jet - "Cleared to land Runway 27L, I have 4 in the pattern for 27R, do not drift north [into the 27R flight path]." "Ok, we won't drift north and we'll keep our eyes out for the little guys."

Landings were quite good - silky smooth and I only had to do one go-round when I came in too fast on a soft field and decided it wouldn't work, which was good aeronautical decision making. Overall the landings are pretty decent at this point.

Unfortunately, it looks like the examiner typically used by the school will not be available until August, which will present a host of issues and closes out any hope of my getting a license within 2 f'n years of starting this exercise in insanity. I think my personal hard cutoff will be when my written test expires in October. If I'm not certificated by the expiry date, it will be well past time to put a stop to it and let this go.

1.6 and 9 landings.

So Much For Separation Of Church and State- The ACLU Backs a Sharia Activist And Her Calls For Jihad Against Trump

For a long time now the Left has been trying to change the title from Islamist to Jihadist, and it looks like they'll now have to search for yet another term as one of their darlings, Linda Sarsour let the mask slip quite a bit. The old saw that "jihad means peceful inner struggle" seems to be wearing a bit thin.

PJ Media: Hamas-Linked Women's March Organizer Calls for 'Jihad' Against Trump

Twitchy: ‘We have to stay outraged!’ Linda Sarsour endorses ‘jihad’ in anti-Trump tirade

You can go to those links and hear her say it lie on video, including her invocation that

“Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community. It is not to assimilate and to please any other people in authority. And our top priority…is to please Allah, and only Allah.”

She's been known to advocate for instituting Sharia law in the US, as well as far less savory anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments and attacks on Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and hugging and supporting convicted terrorist and immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh.

Interestingly, the ACLU, an organization that among other things is rather vociferous about separating religion from the state, right after Sarsour made these jihad statements posted on Twitter that she's a fighter for civil rights and liberties. Methinks the ACLU got their wires rather crossed on this one. One would think the ACLU's concept of separation of church and state would include separation of sharia and state as well, but in the pantheon of progressive causes, Islamism apparently comes first.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flying Lesson #138 - Mock Checkride Is Mocking

For this lesson I did the pre-flight and after the run-up did a short field takeoff and headed to the northwest finding Linden by pilotage only - no map, just landmarks, in this case the handy railroad and water towers.

Winds were about 5 knots variable so not a big deal.

I then did a nice short field landing at Linden. Then it was a soft field takeoff and around the pattern for a soft field landing that I rejected and instead did a go-round as I was coming in too high and with too much power and decided not try try and force it in, which was a good decision. I went around and then did a nice soft field.

Then I did another soft field takeoff and did another soft field landing and off again for another short field landing.

Thence we headed out towards the east and I did some maneuvers and then climbed into a blue hole amongst the clouds, reaching 5,000 feet before the instructor yanked the throttle and i had to do an engine out procedure, did ok but have to work on holding best glide throughout. Then navigated my way back to Pontiac and did a nice soft field landing.

1.6 and 5 landings.

Monday, July 10, 2017

When The Left Eats Their Own, Toronto City Council Edition

A progressive Asian Toronto Councilwoman found out the hard way that she's not oppressed enough for Black Lives Matter to not be outraged at her attempt to create an "Intersectional Awareness Week" - Yes, really. The Toronto Star: Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam withdrawing ‘intersectional’ motion that clashed with Black activists: Paradkar

She was apparently unaware of the outrage such a suggestion of intersectionality would pose to Toronto BLM activits who apparently have trademarked oppression and no intersectionality need apply as their outrage must be in first place and will stop for no intersections.

She had to quickly kow-tow to the BLM activists and withdraw the motion.

It's certainly good that Toronto council has solved all the City's other problems (newsflash - it hasn't) so it has time to spare for this silliness and to pass a resolution requiring the city manager "to create an “Intersectional Gender-Based Framework to Assess Budgetary Impacts,” in next year’s budget". Expect the report to read "Women, minorities hardest hit".

Read the whole article as the follies and idiocies of the City Council of Canada's largest city. It appears the City Council has been taken over by a university gender studies department and seems to want to rule via jargon and appeasement of their progressive base, and it is indeed something to behold.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Flying Lesson #137 - More Getting Lost and Found

It was a nice sunny day today and I headed out of Pontiac with Tiffany. The airport was all sorts of busy today with lot of traffic.

I let ground know we would head to the northeast.

I then navigated us to Romeo and did a short field landing there on Runway 18.

Then I did some steep turns and Tiffany had me do some unusual attitudes, which were fun and I handled very well.

Unusual attitudes start with your eyes closed and chin on your chest while the instructor banks and pitches the plane around to make you lose situational awareness and reference to what the plane is actually doing and then says "Your Controls".

You then need to quickly figure out what she just did to your aircraft and get it back to stable and level.

It's always fun opening your eyes and seeing the ground rushing to meet you, or seeing nothing but blue sky and seeing the airspeed indicator start to unwind as the altimeter goes up. No big deal to fix it in either case and fix it I did. Like I said, fun.

Then I did lost procedures and did ye olde climbing circle to get my bearings and then found where I was and navigated back to Pontiac.

I then came in and did a soft field landing that felt like it would take forever to get down - the hot air really kept us floating for what felt like forever, but it was a nice soft touchdown.

Then we did some pattern work with power off 180s each time. the first two times I was floating so much that I was going past the 1000 foot markers so we did some go-rounds. On the third time I figured out to extend the downwind more and then turn in and got it ok. Then I did it again and that was Lesson 137.

1.5 and 4 landings.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Flying Lesson #136 - Lost And Found, Engine Out and On, and Steep Turns A Go Go

Beautiful day and calm variable winds at last.

Today I went up with Marcus, headed to the practice area and did steep turns.

Then we did multiple engine out emergency landings, working on descending from 3,000 feet and hitting the picked field successfully, not to mention picking a successful field and doing the full ABCDEs of emergencies. Finally getting decent at that after much trial and error. I daresay the poor engine was rather upset at being declared to have failed so many times.

Then after being turned around sufficiently doing all that, I was sufficiently disoriented to work on lost procedures.

First when climb up and look around, then if still not knowing where you are look for landmarks, which worked out ok.

Then I practiced more lost procedures by tuning in two VORs and triangulated my position nicely.

Then I got practice using the non-map page of the GPS to work on finding an airport by both the NRST function and by bearings using the CDI page, and I now have that down nicely and should have had it down before.

Then I got to figure out how to navigate back to Pontiac in a little haze and did so successfully.

1.5 and 1 landing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Same World, Different Realities, And Media False Memories

Leonard Pitts, prog journo extraordinaire is at it again, trying to pull off a full 1984.

In Leonard Pitts Jr.'s open letter to journalists, via the Detroit Free press, reality takes a hard left turn:

Dear Colleagues: We’re doing it again. Remember last year’s campaign? Remember how dogged and relentless we were in covering Hillary Clinton’s sloppy handling of her emails?

Seriously? Dogged and relentless? More like lap-doggish and tail tucked. Pitts and the other journos couldn't wait to quickly declare there was no there there and sweep the embarrassing national security scandal and legal violations by Clinton under the rug as they jumped in the tank with both feet trying to drag her over the finish line.

But wait, there's more!:

Remember the comparatively free ride we gave Donald Trump despite his repeated demonstrations that he was unserious, unsound and unfit? Remember all the hand wringing afterward about how we had embraced a false equivalence? Apparently, we learned no lesson from that.

Were we watching the same news? Does he really expect us to forget the extensive attacks on Trump (whether deserved or not) over for example the locker room tape from 12 years ago?

Let's recall how much of a free pass it was - oh wait! - Pitts himself wrote a freaking column roasting Trump about it at the time! So much for the comparative free ride.

Perhaps Leonard Pitts is getting senile and can't remember his own columns, or he just hopes you don't.

Perhaps in his current state he's conflating the free pass he and the rest of the media gave to Obama with the attack dogs unleashed on Trump.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

So far Independence Day 2017 is going great.

After coffee I made breakfast for the family and taking a page from Tam's blog after wishing them Happy Independence Day had to ask the kids: "On a scale of one to bald eagle how American are you feeling today?" I got back two happy enthusiastic yells of "Bald Eagle!".
Kids raised right are a beautiful thing.

Thence to build a small bonfire in the fire pit with the kids help and make them smores, because 'Merica!

Then we grilled hot dogs over the fire in preparation for lunch and because you never waste a good bonfire.

Now to relax and enjoy the day.

The day shall end in fireworks, patriotism, and happiness.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours!

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Deadliest Sin

Is Sloth

Now Sloth Has A submachinegun. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day! 150 Years

In 1867 Upper and Lower Canada and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick came together in a confederation and became the Dominion of Canada, with other provinces and territories to follow.

Happy Sesquicentennial Canada!

And here's some Canadian 150th Anniversary Airshow goodness being livecast from Vintage Wings of Canada:

And here's some premium Canadian Content from LetterKenny:

It doesn't get much more Canadian than that.

Range Day - P30SK at 450

A very decent day today so far.

Worked out in the morning, then went and bought some new shoes to workout in as the previous pair is really ripping my feet up.

Then Abby and I headed to the range, stopping for lunch on the way.

It rained on and off but turned into a beautiful if hot day.

Abby had fun shooting the M&P .22 compact with Gemtech suppressor and merrily went about knocking down poppers and hitting paper with it. She enjoyed herself quite a lot.

After she had ran through all the 22lr ammunition I had on hand, she tried out the M&P 9mm full size and liked it well enough but she did like the 22 compact a fair bit more.

I was shooting the P30Sk - rapid, right hand only, left hand only decent practice after not being out at the range for awhile. 100 more rounds to make it 450 through the P30SK and no cleaning with one FTF (#22), not due to the firearm.

Now to do some work and then make dinner and then celebrate 150 years of our northern (and actually southern in Michigan) neighbor - Happy Canada Day.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Scenes From A Courtroom

In court yesterday to expunge my client's plead-to conviction for misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm (a reduction from felony carry of a Taser prior to Tasers being legal to carry in Michigan), and all worked out very well and she can go on with her life now.

While we're waiting to be called however, people are getting their tickets processed and numerous miscreants are showing up from jail and a few stand out.

Scene 1: Quit While You're Ahead

A lady is called up by the prosecutor on her ticket, speeding 17 over in a school zone.

Sadly for the lady in question, the prosecutor is not a township or City but one from oakland COunty and they tend to be a little harder on things.

The prosecutor offers her a deal of 2 points and regular speeding not in a school one.

This, for those who don't know, is a very nice deal considering the speeding in school zone at her speed is 4 points and expensive.

The lady however wants the points gone. That's not going to happen says the prosecutor. After some back and forth the prosecutor finally says you can take the deal or set it for a hearing and we will have the deputy come in and testify as to your speed and there will be no deal.

You guessed it, she demands a hearing because she thinks that will get rid of her points. . . .Good luck with that.

Scene 2: If You Can't Even Do That Right, What Makes You Think You Can Represent Yourself?

So our miscreant gets hauled in from jail.

At the outset the judge asks his name and age.

"Name, I'm uh 62".

The judge asks him when he filled out the form the judge has which he holds up.

"Uh, just before they brought me in here."

The judge, much to the courtroom's bemusement, asks him if he just had a birthday.

"Uh, no."

Well, the judge asks, how is it you wrote you were 61 on the form and now a few minutes later you say you're 62?"

"Uh, well, you know, hard to remember sometimes, something something drink in Tennessee". [People in the courtroom: Wat?].

The Judge then says: Sir, the form you just filled out was to represent yourself in your case and you've now just said you can't even keep your own age straight, are you sure you really want to represent yourself?

"Uh, that might just not be a great idea".

The judge agrees it is not the best idea the fellow has ever had, and adjourns it for him to get a public defender.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why Detroit Can't Have Nice Things, Part The Umpteenth

Detroit's fireworks displays were again disrupted this year by innocent people being shot when in the crossfire of hood-rats having arguments.

The Detroit News: Victim recalls pain, fear after being shot at fireworks

Also in Detroit, a very eco-friendly and people-friendly Bicycle shop and its employees get death threats after a black customer first verbally abuses a Black employee for "working for the master now" (yep you can't make that up), and then the goofball makes up a claim that the store personnel jumped him because he was black, leading the usual scumbags and those with perpetual grievances to threaten the lives of the store workers and the store:

The Detroit News: Detroit bike shop closes after alleged racial incident

The headline on the article for the incident is rather misleading, do read the whole article to get an accurate picture. Note the shop being threatened is part of a group in a program giving bikes to impoverished Detroit youth and teachign them bike repair. Apparently no good deed goes unpunished in Detroit.

That's Detroit for you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disney Day 4 - Hollywood Studios

Our last day at Disney was dedicated to the smallest park they have, Hollywood Studios.

We had left our luggage and all bags at the hotel and traveled light for this one. You know what that means - yep, a sudden torrential downpour and no umbrellas.

e went to the Star Tours ride first. Last time Leah was 5 and didn't enjoy the experience. This time the story was different and felt less rough and shaky compared to last time and all 4 of us enjoyed it a lot, it was very well done indeed. Can't wait for Disney's Star Wars park to open.

Then we did the Great Movie Ride which was a fun relaxing tour of some great scenes of timeless films and a brief history of the silver screen.

We did the Toy Story Mania ride and had fun blasting things.

Then we headed back to the hotel, retrieved our luggage from the storage area and caught a Disney bus to the airport.

Amazingly Spirit was actually on time and we arrived in Detroit Early. Baggage handling, what seems to be a perennial problem for every Spirit flight I've been on, was as expected, sluggish.

That ended our End of School Year Disney Trip.

In short, Disney was magical - the Coronado was a great place to stay, the staff there was great and welcoming and made it an excellent place to rest in between Park visits. The parks all had different aspects and everyone found rides to their liking and it was an excellent family time together.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Be As Tactical As Master Ken

If you're not regularly watching Enter The Dojo on YouTube, you just can't honestly call yourself a sheepdog, nor a member of Mall Security Team 6 for that matter.

While Master Ken typically does specialize in unarmed combat, this time he decided to do some firearm-related tactical exercise activities:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Flying Lesson #135 - Naviguessing Perambulations

Today the winds were 15-25 but mainly right down 270 degrees which made it not to bad, but there was some shifting to make life interesting at times.

We did a simulated check-ride with Ray acting as the examiner. I flew a previously planned cross-country course and then after finding my first two way points got diverted to Linden. So I naviguessed from my then current position up to Linden - I continued west until I hit US23, ent north along US23 to just before the curve, dropped down below Flint's Class C airspace and found that Linden had not moved from its previous location, for which I was thankful.

At Linden I did a normal landing, a short field landing and a soft field landing.

I did do one go-around when I did not like the approach on a short field landing - a bit too high and fast so I figured just go round and do it again and that was according to Ray a good call.

The short field landing I then did after the go-round would have qualified as an aircraft carrier landing - would have made Juvat's Navy instructor happy it would, but nothing was broken, just a very very solid landing indeed right on the numbers.

Then I naviguessed us eastwards to the practice area and Ray threw some foggles on me and I got to make turns, climbs and descents by instruments alone and he said I did very well. It didn't help that the turn coordinator in the plane was Tango Uniform but I made do without it.

Then the foggles came off and I did some clearing turns and then did steep turns and he said they were the best ones I've done, so the lesson went quite nicely.

Thence I naviguessed us back to Pontiac, called them when we were 11 miles out and entered a right base for 27R and did a short field landing that would have been more to Juvat Air Force Instructor's liking, but with the fun of a sudden gust from 300 degrees just as I was about to touch down, but I handled it and it was fine.

Can I ever get a nice calm wind day, please?

1.6 and 4 landings.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Disney World Day 3 - Animal Kingdom

The Kali River Rapids ride was our first ride of the day, and as a water ride there was perfect for a hot day, and Sunday was a scorcher.

Heck, it was so nice we rode it twice and got well and truly soaked and enjoyed it profusely.

After that we wandered about the park seeing many of the animal exhibits, including a walking path that had these two birds acting rather curiously:

They were resting right on the path, not moving, and there was a Disney cast member right there to make sure no one messed with them. They basically were sunning themselves and had picked up a habit of regularly just laying there and watcing the people walk around them without a care in the world.

We then did the Kilimajaro Safari ride which was quite cool - you get a guided tour on a truck through a land filled with impressive animals, some of which get quite close sch as the Ostrich that tried to play chicken with our truck.

I mean, who doesn't love seeing a baby elephant?

We then went to ride the newest roller coaster, Expedition Everest. Unfortunately, Leah decided at the last minute to bail out and I had to go with her. I think she got a bit freaked form all the screams coming from the coaster. Abby and Tash went on it and Tash really did not enjoy the experience much. Apparently going backwards in the dark on a fast roller coaster will do that to people. I believe her words were "I'm never getting on that thing again!". Leah regretted that she bailed out so we will have to come back and do it again someday.

Animal Kingdom's newest exhibits are the rides from Avatar - The World of Pandora.

Right as we headed to the world of Pandora however it began to rain rather heavily.

While Avatar was a neat movie from a special effects standpoint, its overall theme of "Dances With Smurfs" hardly made it an enduring tale nor does it have a tight Disney connection. Most people today if you ask them about Avatar are hardly going to rank it in the realm of great or especially memorable movies. I do have to wonder why they decided to spend four years building Pandora. Now the Star Wars theme park they're working on, that makes sense from a cultural and thematic perspective, Pandora, not so much.

We could not get Fast Passes for either of them and we waiting in line in the wet for the Navi River Journey ride as at 2 hours it was a shorter wait than the more exciting ride of the Flight of Passage with a two hour forty-five minute wait and the kids were not going to wait for that. Two hours in the rain was enough, thank you. At least the waiting area was full of interesting Pandora-like scenery and fake Pandora plant life that made it interesting:

It's an awesome spectacle and they really went all out on the scenery to make you feel like you are indeed on Pandora. But its scenery that seems to have no real overall heart. I think they'll do better when they make an immersive Star Wars park as if they take this level of detial to scenery, characters and story line it will be beyond awesome. Pandora feels like its great scenery that's missing something.

The Navi River cruise, once we finally got on it was pretty cool with lots of neat bio-luminescence and fun effects and some neat moving Pandora creatures, but to me it rated a solid Meh. At least they didn't sing "It's a Small World", but they might have sang it in Navi and I just missed the translation. Nothing scary nor a unifying story, or particularly really cool, but it provided some interesting scenery and a place to rest our tired feet. Not worth waiting two hours for I'm afraid.

After that we declared it a day.

While Animal Kingdom felt like a smaller park, we still racked up 16,921 step and 6.7 miles.

Flying Lesson #134 - To Troy Again

Today winds were gusty out of the west and Pontiac's Runway 27L was closed again.

I complete the preflight and then Ray comes over and says that the checkride examiner seems having applicants navigate to Troy and says we'll go there today.

So I get taxi and takeoff clearance and we head to Troy, passing over Orchard Lake on the way.

I find the airport ok and checking the AWOS to confirm the wind is from the west as well go for Runway 27 at Troy in a rather shifting wind. So I do a short field landing and then taxi and we do it again and again, coming over the building and thinking I'm going to land on the building, but I do some pretty decent short fields and short field takeoffs on each time. The winds would shift from left to right and gust a bit on each landing and it made the short final approaches kinda interesting.

Then we navigated north to the practice area and I did some steep turns and turns around the point and it went ok and the steep turns were within tolerances.

After that I navigated back to Pontiac by dead reckoning called in and got a landing clearance to come in on a right base and landed on Runway 27R and that was the lesson.

1.7 and 4 landings.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Disney World Day 2 - Epcot

EPCOT would be the most miles walked of the Disney World experience. It was also the hottest day we were there.

We had to go do my favorite ride, Soarin' first.

They've changed Soarin' since we last did it. It's no longer a scenic glider ride over Claifornia, it now takes you on a whirwind world tour. With dips and swoops its a lot of fun and they inject appropriate scents into the air as you fly over things. Flying over the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, and the Taj Mahal and other sites was very cool indeed and its amazing how immersive and detailed they've made the experience.

After Soarin' we did the Living with the Land ride and rode a boat through the EPCOT greenhouse. Then we did Soarin', again. Because that's how you have a good time at EPCOT.

Then we found there were spots open in the Behind The Seeds tour which takes you for an up close and guided tour of the Greenhouse and I highly recommend it. You get to walk through the greenhouse and see everything up close.

We learned that the items grown in the greenhouse are indeed used as food at the parks.

We started in their bio technology area where they are using natural predators to defeat agricultural pests - for example they use a parasitoid wasp to control leaf miners and we got to seee a time lapse video of the process. Yes, parasitoid wasps were the foundation for the creature in Alien.

Everything in the greenhouse is grown hydroponically, and mainly vertically to save space.

Cucumbers for example.

We then got to sample a cucumber and they were some fo the best cucumbers ever with a lot of flavor.

One of my favorite agricultural plants was there:

We also got to feed the Tilapia they fish farm there:

Lots of neat things to see, including some huge winter melon and an 9 pound lemon.

We learned a lot about hydroponic and drip agriculture, and fish farming, so it was rather interesting and educational tour that was done very well.

We had then originally planned to go to all 11 World Showcase national pavilions and eat a dish at each one. A good plan but execution was lacking as we were beyond full by stop 6. We did get Viva Puffs at the Canadian pavilion, Fish and Chips and a nice Ale for me at Britain, fine French delicacies at France, Mint tea and baklava and the Morocco pavilion. I highly recommend the fish and chips it was most perfect. We did make it to all the pavilions and did a fair bot of shopping at the Japan pavilion and saw first a very cool acrobatic performance and then a nice short film at the China pavilion about, yes you guessed it, China.

Then we did the Spaceship Earth ride which was a nice relaxing way to rest our tired feet and learn some things about the history of communication technology.

Then we stayed for the fireworks show, but wow we were completely wiped by the end.

Over 20,000 steps and over 7 miles.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 1 At Disney World - Magic Kingdom

We had planned out our 4-day-long-weekend trip to Disney planning to go to one park per day. We didn't bother with the expense of a Park Hopper pass as there's more than enough to do for a day in each park.

We woke up to a beautiful morning:

After we got up, we went to the main pool at the hotel and enjoyed the water slide.

On the way there we walked by the pond which had these prominent warning signs, likley put up after that unfortunate incident of the unfortunate child and alligator encounter last year:

We had breakfast poolside and Leah had to have the Mickey waffles - which really were excellent.

In fact we found all the food at Disney to be very good indeed with some of it simply outstanding - The food at the Maya Grill certainly was the night we arrived. The only reason we didn't pack on the pounds this trip was due to all the walking we were about to do around the parks.

We put on our magic bands and got a Disney shuttle from the resort to the park.

Magic bands are Disney's latest stroke of genius - each band is its own chip and pin system that not only has your park tickets and acts as your room key, but when tied to your credit card lets your purchase anything you want at a park or resort by placing the band on a scanner and entering your PIN. No need to carry a wallet or cash around the parks - and it has the neat effect, from Disney's standpoint of the feeling that you're not paying with real money at the time so you're less concerned about the cost. Simply brilliant.

We had arrived at the Magic Kingdom:

We did the Pirates of Caribbean ride first, and they've added to it since we lat rode it and added much more of the movies to the ride which made it even more fun.

We then did the The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride and it was pretty cool to see them enjoy it since they last rode it five years ago.

Of course we had arrived in Disney's rainy season so each afternoon it variously drizzled, poured or combinations of both so umbrellas came in handy.

It started raining right after the Magic carpet ride, so we went indoors for the It's a Small World ride.

Then it was off Futureland was a ride on Buzz Lightyear, a fun cartoon shoot-em-up game that, while it kept pausing for some reason, was fun for everyone. After that was a relaxing ride around Futureland on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover which gave some nice elevated views and ran us through various rides in Futureland.

Then we did the new Dwarf Mine Train roller coaster - we didn't have a Fastpass for it so we stood in line for 2 hours and 45 minutes but Leah really wanted to ride it so we hung in there and then had a very fun roller coaster ride. Some yelling and screaming was heard.

We also wanted to do Splash Mountain but it was sadly closed due to technical difficulties. That closure got us a FastPass to ride Thunder Mountain, Magic Kingdom's signature roller coaster and it was a lot of fun too.

After 8 hours at the park we were done and took the bus back to the hotel and had dinner at the Pepper Market - cafeteria style restaurant at the resort, and we had a swim and that was Day 1.

At Magic Kingdom we walked about 5.6 miles and 15,000 steps per my iPhone, but it sure felt like more than that. We had the blisters to show for it too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blogging Was Light Recently Due To The Answer To An Important Happy Family Question

The Important Questions being: What do you to mark the end of an excellent school year by two kids with straight-As, great work ethics, and all around pretty good attitudes?

Why, take them to Disney World of course!

Spirit Airlines had a seat sale in May that could not be passed up, so we announced to the kids that we were taking them to Disney at the end of school to reward all their hard work. We also got the resort tickets and made an AirBnB reservation and a dining reservation for the night of our arrival at a Disney restaurant at a Disney Resort hotel, the Coronado Springs, near the AirBnB location.

Leah was thrilled, but Abby at first, being a teenager, thought Disney World was not cool enough for a teenager and didn't want to go. How wrong she was.

So we packed on Wednesday night and on Thursday they had their last morning of class, while I went to court for a hearing in Detroit and then rushed home as soon as it was done, and considering the hearing was running an hour late it was getting tight.

We loaded the car, dropped off Jett at the dog sitter, and rushed to the airport.

We shouldn't have been in such a rush. The plane was delayed by an hour due to weather so all our rush through traffic and security was not as necessary as the clocks had insisted it was prior to our arrival at the gate.

Then, just before we were about to board the plane, Tash got a message from the AirBnB host cancelling our reservation. Yep, just 2 and a half hours before the scheduled arrival with a reservation made in May, and the person cancels due to issues with the room. That sucks, we're about to leave for Orlando and now have no place to stay.

Oh boy.

So Tash starts discussing things with AirBnB, and I get on the line with Disney and see if there are rooms available, and sure enough Coronado Springs has some openings at pretty darn decent prices, and I jump on a room. Should have done it that way right from the start. The room included transportation from the airport, transportation from the resort to all the Disney parks, Disney bands with FastPass and hey, it's Disney. For a few more bucks we were now going in style and the customer service agent on the phone was very helpful and all was right with the world again.

So we arrive at the airport an hour after our scheduled time, but Disney transport already has us in the system and gets us to the right bus to the Coronado. Disney has this whole process down to a science and its as smooth and comforting a way to start a vacation as it can be.

I call the restaurant from the bus and left them a message that we won't be there at the reservation time due to the plane issue.

We get to the resort at 9pm, and check in, which is handled just beautifully. We then go to the restaurant, The Mayan Grill, for a really great meal. They appreciated that I had called and left a message and it was no problem at all.

Then to our room, which was nice, pretty spacious, and clean and we unpacked and got ready to hit the parks on the next day.

A more detailed report of the past few days to follow. In short kids, including teens, love Disney once you get them there.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Flying Lesson #133 - You Want Me To Land Where?

As I'm preflighting and waiting Tiffany for my next lesson, Marcus comes by and says be sure to go to Oakland Troy (KVLL) as the checkride examiner sometimes likes to take students there via dead-reckoning and its a bit of a fun place to land.

No kidding. I remember my last time there, oh just short of two flippin' years ago now for Lesson #3. The approach for Runway 27 takes you right over a flat-topped office building and it looks like you're supposed to land on it and drop down onto the runway.

Not really but it does look that way.

Photo by Jeff Schuster, Photo taken 29-Jun-2014, looking west.

So Tiffany comes by and says I've been to Linden enough, let's go to Oakland Troy - I swear these instructors are rather in sync.

We go over how to dead reckon there, basically to follow a couple roads, and its pretty much a 130 degree course from Pontiac.

So the wind is a right gusting crosswind and I need to do a short field landing coming in over an office building. I think at that moment someone might be paying the instructors so she can collect on my life insurance.

I get it lined up and its not the shortest landing ever - a fair bit of float and I land on the 1,000 foot markers rather than the numbers but given the building is near the numbers.... That would not unfortunately be acceptable for a checkride, but as someone keeps saying I didn't break anything and landed so it must be ok in real life at least, and we did stop with plenty of runway without excessive braking.

Then I do a short field takeoff as there are power lines awaiting off the end and since I can at least do that, it's a fine takeoff.

Then off to the practice area where I get to put on some foggles for some instrument practice and then slow flight, power off and power on stalls and a lot of steep turns.

Then back to Pontiac with an even more gusting crosswind of 10-20 knots out of 300.

1.6 and 2 landings.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flying Lesson #132 - Flying With Tiffany

So at lunch today i eaded to the airport to get a lesson in.

Rain had just gne through, leaving a humid haze in the air and about 5 miles visibility.

I met up with Tiffany and talked about what I wanted to for for the lesson - navigate by map, get to Linden via some checkpoints including US 23 and work on some short field landings and steep turns.

The wind was out of 120 at 9 knots so we would be using Runway 9L at Pontiac and 9 at Linden - a side I've never landed on before and she promised it would be a treat - that side is a real short field landing with trees as obstacles and a swamp that does funny things to the air as you fly over it on final. Yay, might as well get the experience.

So I start N1689H up and get going and on doing a short field takeoff they originally were going to have me head west off the downwind to exit the pattern on to my destination but instead decided to have me cross over midfield to the southwest. Never did that before and it was an experience.

Haze and clouds kept us below 2,500 and while I missed my first checkpoint as it was too close to the airport and the relocation threw me off I found the second one just fine on course, then got to 23 and diverted up to Linden using US 23 instead of the railway line that's on the north side of the airport.

I then overflew Linden, checked with Flint's AWOS for winds and sure enough they were out of 110 at 9 pretyt much just like Pontiac, and then entered into the downwind.

I made a perfect short field landing. Go figure.

I then did a taxi back, and did softand short field takeoffs took off and then did a go-round as the approach was not to my liking. I then did it again and landed fine and then we headed back to Pontiac. No steep turns as the haze just had us too low and there was too much traffic around.

We got to Pontiac and I did some patterns and Tiffany really helped fix my soft field takeoff - Yay its good now! We kept working on short field landings and I was doing pretty good.

Then on a pattern the tower told us to keep our base in close.

I'm on the downwind, level with the end of the runway.

Tiffany chops the throttle. With no warning. "You just loss your engine, so it's power off 180 time." She said most cheerfully.

All righty then - set for best glide, turn immediately towards the runway, got it lined up for final, runway made, second notch of flaps goea in, over the threshold, third notch in and touchdown rather nicely if I say so myself. We really gave them a close in base as requested.

In short, it went great. Just when I think about throwing in the towel, a day like this draws me back in.

While I was doing great, others were having a not so good day. As we were flying the pattern at Pontiac, we overheard a call from Flight 101's 172RG Cutlass - they were not getting a front nose gear indicator light. So they flew by the tower and we could also see that while their rear gear was down, the nose gear was not. The instructor on board was rather calm and after a couple flybys they flew off to the north to work the problem and had three hours of fuel to burn off before trying to land. I haven't heard how it resolved yet but they were getting the equipment ready when I left just in case.

1.8 and 6 landings.

Political Violence In This Country Tends To Come From The Leftward Side

People were speculating when the Lefty types would switch from bats and bike locks to firearms and it looks like one Bernie Bro has decided to do so by attacking a bunch of Republicans playing baseball, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

The Left in America has quite a history of using violence as a political tool If you haven't already read the rather uber-post at Status 451 at the link, I'd strongly suggest you do so as its well worth your time and lets you place the Antifa and Bernie Bro Burners in context.

While many on the right say "What lefty revolution?, We have all the guns.", they forget the Left has far less compunction or hesitation about actually using weapons to implement their goals.

Hopefully, this is a one-off incident and not a sign of a trend on the part of the Leftist fringe.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Worth Seeing: Wonder Woman

So this weekend we had a family movie night and went to see Wonder Woman.

Quick summary - great fun move, great characters, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine seriously rocked it and you should not deprive yourself of seeing this movie in 3D at the theater.

DC finally has a movie hit worthy of the name after a long dry spell.

It is, as so many superhero movies are, an origin story. This one works as an origin story with some great characters, and there's some twists to the tale - some you'll see coming and one you probably will not.

In short go see it, and watch Gal Gadot really be Wonder Woman.

Flying Lesson #131 - Finally A Good Day

So after getting stuff done at the office I head to the airport for some solo time. Just my luck though, the winds have picked up and both speed and direction are above my permitted solo flying endorsement. I figure its a sign and am about to pack it all in for good and then the chief instructors says they do have an instructor available and would I like to go up?

Ok then. So I preflight N1689H and Hunter joins me and I tell him I had planned to go to the practice area and do some altitude maneuvers and then do some pattern so that's what we do. He treats it like a checkride and checks how I do the checklists and all procedures and is happy with the pre-takeoff stuff and then takeoff. We then head out to the practice area and then I do slow flight and the stalls. Power off needed a bit of work so I did that and its very good now, and then steep turns which we worked on a bit as they're still not where I want them to be but we got them better. Still needs work though.

Then we head back to Pontiac and I angle from an original base entry to a final one as directed by tower, bring it in over 27R, and then per Hunter do the best crosswind landing he's seen a student do - its flipping perfect - I mean real smooth, first the windward side landing gear touches, then the other, and finally the nose and it is smooth as smooth can be. I then do two more just as nicely and we call it a flight ending on a good note and he says he figures after touching up the steep turns that based on my performance I'm going to pass the checkride when it comes.

After three lousy days I then get this really good one. Sheesh, now what?

1.3 and 3 landings.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Flying Lesson #130 - Frustrations With Flying

Well the winds weren't quite so bad today, blowing about 10-15 knots out of 230-240 so a bit of crosswind correction was needed but no wind shear to speak of.

So, I got things going with Ray as the instructor today.

We get up to the hold line and he announced we would do short field landings and takeoffs. So I do a nice short field crosswind takeoff which I'm rather decent at and we start heading around the pattern.

Then we setup for the landing and it's a complete mess as I'm too high so I go around. The next one one sucks rocks with decaying airspeed and he has to push the nose forward as I'm too fixated on the runway and the speed is dropping too quickly, was I having fun yet?

So we taxi back and do it again and I do it ok, still not a perfect short field, we do it three more times and I get ok at it but his technique is to have it on final at 64 knots with a high nose pitch and just control the descent with power which is different form some other instructors techniques of aiming ahead of the touchdown point. Then we have to do an expedited takeoff per the tower and I do a normal takeoff and a normal landing which is fine and another regular takeoff and landing and that's the lesson. Basically everything is great except my landings, most especially my short field landings.

Lots of frustration and while he says I'm doing ok and am really close, I'm about a minute away from deciding on throwing in the towel on this whole thing.

1.6 and 8 landings.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Flying Lessons #128 Solo and #129 Gone With The Wind(shear)

Yesterday I went to two different courts for different hearings and did lots of lawyer-stuff and then headed to the airport for a 4pm flight. I had planned to go to the practice area, do some maneuvers and then do the pattern. I had been feeling pretty good and confident from the last lesson, maybe I can actually do this after all. Heh.

Of course, the TAF and weather services called for thunderstorms from 4-6 pm. The curse of my solo schedule strikes again - if I schedule a solo, the conditions will be such that I cannot solo - I am one-man force of climate change. By simply scheduling a solo I can make it variously snow, thunderstorm, or cause high winds, yep, you can thank me later.

But, there was no sign of any approaching cumulonimbus clouds and the flight school head said go up, stay in the pattern.

Not what I was planning but ok.

N1689H had fuel to the tabs, over 17 gallons per tank, more than plenty for a little pattern work. SO I started her up, got her out of the parking place and commenced pattern work. Now runway 27L was closed so I was sharing 27R with some rather large jets so yes there was frequent wake turbulence and traffic issues.

The first landing went ok.

The second time around I had my landing clearance cancelled then got it back on short final and I did a go round as the approach wasn't stable at that point to my liking and a hit of wind got me just before touchdown. A decent enough and safe go round.

The next two landings simply sucked and I bounced them both in, winds were picking up and I simply wasn't having a good day so I terminated at 0.7 and three landings. Looking back I was both coming in too high and too hot, cutting the base to final corner and flaring too high - other than that, the patterns were rather nice. In short not great and I told my instructor that it did not go well.

So today I get to the airport for Lesson 129.

Since my instructor told the head of the flight school that I did not have a good day, he decided I needed a bit of ground to go over pattern procedures. Well, I suppose it helped somewhat. He then told the instructor flying with me today Mustafa, a newer CFI there, as Ray was off to first just do slow flight over the runway and then do landings after he's confident I've got it.

Oh and the wind conditions were bad and getting worse today. Blowing and shifting from 240-180 (180 is a direct crosswind) at 16-24 knots.

Oh Fly me.

So we would be doing some real fun crosswind work.

I did a good crosswind takeoff and we had lot of wind shear and bumps and gusts which made it so much fun.

I trolled the runway a couple times, letting the tower know what we were going to do and they were cool with that.

Then I did the first landing which was a bit rough due to the winds and wind shear. Tower then had us fly a left pattern for traffic management which was no problem and rather rarer coming off of 27R but with 27L still closed it was kinda fun. The next landing was also not great. Have to really force the nose down in those conditions.

The next three were better and stabilized and I did then pretty good but on the last two we were getting wind-shear of plus and minus 15 knots, and the tower asked us for a pirep on the wind conditions and we let them know and they passed that on to incoming traffic. In short watching the airspeed indicator swing from 80 to 65 knots and back was interesting on final and made for interesting crosswind landings.

We called it at that point and terminated with 1.0 and five landings.

We then chatted about the flight and things I can work on, which was actually helpful.

Again I'm told I'm doing well and am really, really close - like I haven't heard that before.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Flying Lesson #127 - Working On Short Landings and Soft Takeoffs

Both the soft field takeoffs and Short Field Landings need a bit of work.

I met with Marcus and we headed to Linden navigating without map or GPS. Overall I did good and managed to find the railway line even though its starting to get covered from the air by foliage and it was a bit farther north than I had originally thought. Got to Linden and started to setup for a short field landing.

With no headwind, the Archer floats -- a lot. So the first landing wasn't very short so we worked on that.

Managing airspeed is pretty huge for the short field landing as is the height and well everything otherwise you float quite a bit. Of course the next one I tried I came in low and then laded short of my touchdown point. Really shouldn't be this hard. I finally got a couple good ones in but as usual the short fields are just plain frustrating.

The soft field takeoffs were similarly annoying - I had a bad right wing dip tenancy as the plane comes off the runway during the takeoff and I need to first not release too much back-pressure as it comes off but then press a lot more forward. Feh.

Adding to the fun, a few more aircraft were there also flying around and it got rather long as you have to back-taxi on the runway after each landing as the taxiway does not extend to the end of the runway because that would make far too much sense. I got quite good at all the radio calls and was handling that aspect at least quite nicely.

I then navigated by external references back to Pontiac and then was first told to enter a two mile downwind and do a toght downwind and base, I then had the landing clearance cancelled on me and had to extend the downwind quite a bit for traffic and then come back in again with a metric-ton of float on the landing. It was a nice landing mind you, but sure as heck floaty.

1.8 and 8 more landings and still a lot more to do.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Canadian Tire Patrons 1, Attempted Jihadi 0

In an attempt to get herself on the Ramadan Hostility Scoreboard, an Islamist in Scarborough, a sub-city of Toronto, decided to get jihadi with it in a Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire, for those who may not know is a venerable Canadian Institution thats sort of a Sears, auto and tire shop, Home Depot, gas station, and Krogers combined. You simply do not mess about in a Canadian Tire shop.

CTV: Woman pulls out knife, expresses support for Islamic state at Cedarbrae Mall

A woman has been arrested after she allegedly pulled out a knife at a Canadian Tire in Scarborough while reportedly voicing her support for the Islamic State, a source tells CTV News Toronto.

The incident unfolded inside the store at Cedarbrae Mall, near Markham Road and Lawrence Avenue, at around 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

Toronto police say the woman initially walked to the paint section of the hardware store with a golf club where she began swinging it at a customer and store employees while uttering threats.

They say employees and customers were able to restrain the woman and call the police.

At some point before officers arrived, the woman pulled out a large knife from underneath her clothing.

Amazingly, they let her wear a niqab covering her face during her arraignment:

A suspect identified as 32-year-old Toronto resident Rehab Dughmosh has been charged with a two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of assault, one count of uttering threats to cause death, two counts of possession of a weapon for committing an offence and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.

She made a brief court appearance Tuesday morning.

A CTV News Toronto reporter inside the courtroom during the proceeding said the woman was wearing a green prison sweatsuit, a black niqab and handcuffs.

When asked to say her name, the woman responded by saying, “ISIS… I pledge to the leader of the believers – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

Yep, something about Ramadan sure gets 'em frisky.

Ok, now you might shoot up Parliament, you may even pull a knife in that hallowed Canadian institution known as Canadian Tire, but I'm pretty darn sure that if they try to pull this crap in a Tim Horton's, Canadians will have had enough and declare it on like Donkey Kong.

Monday, June 05, 2017

When Seconds Count, The Police Are Only An Hour And Six Minutes Away

A house in Washtenaw County is listed as requiring a priority response due to known and serious violent threats against the homeowner and her children - the homeowner called the police due to a likely intruder in her shed near her house.

The priority response time?

One Hour and Six Minutes.

The Detroit Free Press: Nowhere to run: Survivor of brutal abuse faces death threats, ex's parole

Beverly has a safety plan set up with law enforcement officials in Washtenaw County. Her house is flagged as one that should get priority attention if there’s a 911 call. And yet it took more than an hour for Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputies to arrive that night.

“It made me feel like I’m very vulnerable,” she said. “If it takes the police an hour and six minutes to respond to my address, I would be dead if someone was trying to kill me at that moment. They would have been in my house or I would have had to shoot them in self-defense.”

Now this isn't your average homeowner - this is someone known to be in rather critical danger from a known violent felon and his friends and she got a blistering hour and six minute response time.

What response time does the average person get there, I wonder?

Police and Sheriff departments do what they can and while they often do their best, they can't be everywhere and simply don't have neither the staffing nor speed to respond to all emergency calls in a timely fashion.

An hour and six minutes is an awful long time for someone to be on their own defenseless and waiting for help to arrive.

Note that this story is from the Detroit Free Press, the same paper of record absolutely in favor of gun control that assures its readers that they don't need guns and the police are there and sufficient to protect them.

A Failure Of Imagination

From Legal Insurrection comes this fatuous statement from British Prime Minister Teresa May: Theresa May: We Could Not Have “Predicted” or “Envisaged” Latest Terrorist Attacks

That she states it with a straight face shows she's either willfully blind or a fool, and she's not a fool.

Given the history of Islamists using vehicles as weapons and bombs to attack where children and young people congregate, to say such were unpredictable in Britain, where there's a very large number of known Islamists and their sympathizers is worse than trite. It shows the British politician's fevered need to calm their population and hide from it the politically incorrect and rather unpalatable, at least for the bien pensants, truth of what their government has done through open immigration and appeasement of non-assimilating Islamists who have been given free reign.

These attacks certainly won't be the last, and now soldiers and armed police walk the streets of Britain to protect the people who failed to protect the people of Britain from attacks that were both highly predictable and rather easy to envisage.

Monday and More Not Flying

Michigan can be a difficult place to learn to fly.

While it's a great learning experience to have to deal with all the kinds of weather and crosswind conditions that we get, it sure cuts down on flyable days for student pilots.

Today offers a lovely overcast cloud base of 400 feet - low IFR so no flying in that, and it is going to lift to around 1,200 which is still darn low but will also offer a direct crosswind of 8-11 knots which is over my solo endorsement.

So I had to cancel and then headed to Wayne County Probate Court where I'm stuck sitting here at the most inefficient probate court in the entire state to file a motion and get a hearing date. I would much rather be flying, that's for sure.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

NOT Flying JAFGS

Well the new flight school just did something that hath annoyed me rather greatly.

While the weather in the morning was indeed thunderstorms, it had cleared up to when I got to the field. A little rain but it soon stopped VFR and winds 0, yes zero and I drove out there expecting a flying lesson. Don't get a lot of days like that at Pontiac.

Ray however comes out and says there is likely some more weather coming in (turns out there wasn't dammit) and the head of the flight school told my instructor he wants me to do a refresher on airspace and emergency procedures as the examiner seems to be really hitting those areas during the checkride. Fine, and it may even be useful.

One little catch, a pre-solo student is also going to be attending to learn as well. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh boy.

Well it turns out this guy, an older gentleman is also a Flight 101 refugee who I vaguely remember seeing there at times, but apparently he did not retain much if at all, assuming he even learned or was taught much. Or he's a definite example of "It's not what you know, it's what you think you know that isn't so."

So we start going through the ACS standards and begin with airspace. We're beginning with Class A and he doesn't about Class A, nor Class B, nor C, nor D, nor E, nor G in terms of dimensions nor visibility/cloud clearance requirements and don't get me started about TRSAs.

In short I'm pretty sure he hasn't studied and has not done his written test yet as what he knows will not as they say, fly.

But it gets better.

We start discussing emergency procedures and he insists, really insists, that the Skyhawk 172 has reserve fuel on board that's not shown on the gauges. The instructor and I exchange bemused and somewhat confused looks.

We tell him no and he insists that's what he knows, and then I realize what he thinks - he thought the UNUSABLE fuel that remains in the tanks is reserve fuel. NO, NO, NO.

Unusable means the plane cannot use it and it is not a reserve at all, it is by its very unusable nature fuel that will not get to the engine - that's one heckuva dangerous belief to have when you're flying the plane. Sheesh.

Then we get on to engine restart procedures and he's swearing up and down that the mixture control on the Skyhawk is on the throttle. Again -- Hard NO -- he's confusing the throttle with its tension adjustment with the mixture control knob right beside it and they do very, very different things. Never-mind that he's flying Pipers now - but he then though the Piper Archer had a gravity fed fuel system (it doesn't) and the electrical fuel pump was only used on occasion to help the gravity feed. Argh, a Piper Archer has both an engine driven fuel pump and the second electrical one for redundancy and no, gravity will not feed fuel from a low wing upto an engine mounted above the frickin' wing.

So yeah, his knowledge of airspace, aircraft systems, and emergency procedures is rather sub-par and I'm stuck as the instructor is teaching it at his level.

It was painful to be there and sadly a waste of my time.

On the one hand, it was ok to go through the ACS and refresh and realize that yes I know this stuff. On the other hand, I can and do that by myself just fine without paying extra for it thank you very much. On the upside, having to answer the guy's questions and knowing the answers to the instructor's questions cold and being able to correct the guy's unfounded assumptions shows I probably know what I'm talking about by now at least at the private pilot checkride level.

Let's not do that again, shall we?

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Flying Lesson #126 - Polishing Things Up

Today was a very pleasant day for flying indeed. Sunny, barely a cloud to be seen and the wind pretty much from 280-300 at about 5-10 knots.

I pre-flighted the plane and got everything setup and met Marcus for the lesson. I went over the issues I was having with steep turns and the need to practice more short and soft field landings and that is what we decided to do.

So I got the plane started up and the run-up complete and then we had to wait quite awhile to get a takeoff clearance as everyone else it seemed had also noticed the nice weather.

We finally got a takeoff clearance and headed straight out west with the Tower to call the turn to the northeast for the practice area.

While doing so we got crossed over above and to the right from behind rather closely by a Cirrus that claimed he saw us prior to his doing so, but we're rather doubtful on that score.

Tower is so busy that we get west all the way out of their airspace before we turn northeast.

We then get out to the practice area and after some serious clearing turns due to the sheer volume of traffic we work on the steep turns.

Turns out I was over thinking and over-muscling them and doing too much of an angle too quickly. We got that straightened out, he gave me some good corrections to my technique and after multiple repetitions my steep turns are now rather decent.

The we headed back to Pontiac for some landings. On the first one I was too high and too fast (I'm spotting a trend here that I don't like) so we did a go-round. Then back to it and did a normal landing and then started work on the short field landings. In between we would do short or soft field takeoffs when practicable, and both of those got better as well. I'm now getitng better at reducing the power earlier and getitng the right picture for the short field approach.

By the end of the lesson with his really good instruction, I've kinda sorta figured out the soft field and the short field landings in an Archer, but they do need some more practice. Part of the issue is I'm now flaring a tad too high whereas before I was flaring too low. We may just get to just right short-field-landing-ly.

That's 1.7 and 6 landings.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Selfridge Michigan In The Running For Basing F-35s

The Detroit News: Report: Macomb best place to put F-35 fighter jets

Currently host to 18 A-10 Warthogs (two of which flew over my house in awesome tight formation on Memorial Day, but I didn't have a camera handy at the time), Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County, Michigan is apparently a strong contender as a location for basing and training for F-35s.

This would indeed be a great thing for Macomb County, Michigan's economy and the Military Operating Areas around here would give plenty of space for F35s to train, and being able to see some up close during Selfridge's open houses would be rather cool as well. The move to base the F25s here is unsurprisingly getting strong bipartisan support as basing them here would be a serious economic boost and the area has lots of experience servicing aircraft and Selfridge can easily handle it.

How Dumb Can Criminals Be? Oh Yes, This Dumb.

A felon and his girl friend seem to have deliberately tried to sneak in a gun by the brilliant move of passing it in a purse through an x-ray machine - at a Courthouse.

It didn't work out well for him, or her for that matter.

The Detroit Free Press: 2 arrested trying to sneak loaded gun into Michigan courthouse

The Berrien County sheriff’s office says 40-year-old Arnelda Jackson is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting police and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Also charged is 37-year-old Molly Jackson who faces carrying a concealed weapon and resisting police charges.

A man and woman were passing through security when the handgun was spotted this morning by a court X-ray machine.

Authorities say the man grabbed the purse and he and the woman ran from the courthouse in St. Joseph. Deputies and bailiffs caught them in a parking lot.

His problem as a career criminal (he's got some convictions for marijuana manufacture, manslaughter and other stuff, he has) likely started when his mom named him Arnelda, and it went all downhill from there.