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.