Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Poe Day Of Not Flying

Upon an afternoon wet and dreary, while I pondered annoyed and weary "Will a check-ride ever be in store?"
I arrived at the flight school and knew flying would not be from the airport upon the lake's shore.
"Tis only to be a ground session" I muttered "Only this and nothing more."
For quoth the weather-Raven: "IFR".

Sorry it was such a Poe imitation of a fine poem there but it suits the mood.

Weather was rainy with a low mist for a quality depressing IFR day. However, this flight school wants you to show up and not cancel even on non-flying days.
I was somewhat wary and apprehensive of this, for if asked if I want more private pilot ground instruction my response would be:
"Nevermore".

I swear, anymore VFR ground and I'll turn into a frickin' tree. Multiple instructors have already tested me extensively and said I have sufficient knowledge and am ready for the oral portion of the check-ride. Not to mention I know what to study and how to study for it on my own by now, and have. Repeatedly. Lots. But I digress.

So I walked in out of the rain and it turns out my normal instructor was out and I had Hunter instead. Apparently unlike Flight 101, DCT does keep some progress notes on students so he seemed to know pretty much where I was in things, for the most part. He stated while we can't fly we can use the simulator.

And so we did, with a bit of trepidation on my part.

The simulator is a nice moving box with multiple large screen with about a 270 degree view and full flight controls and all switches. Unfortunately it doesn't exactly duplicate an Archer and is setup really for a more advanced aircraft but it was close enough. Controls were a bit more sensitive. The Garmin 430 acted exactly like a Garmin 430 with switches and knobs that did their thing. It ran the commercial version of X-Plane, and was in a fashion realistic-ish. The entire box with you sitting in it does move around pretty convincingly with actual bank and pitch angles and it is an FAA approved training simulator.

We did a takeoff and then slow flight, which he thought I did very well, stalls power on and off and I figured out how to improve the power on stall (in short I need to yank back on the yoke a lot more than I typically would do), and steep turns. He did help me improve my steep turns quite a bit and we'll see if that translates over to the actual aircraft.

We also did my firts emergency descent on an Archer - 30 degree bank, throttle idle, flaps full down and descend at the top of the white arc. Basically the same as a 172 emergency descent but I had only seen one of those done and not actually done one, so it was nice to actually "do" an emergency descent maneuver.

Landings felt weird in the simulator but were ok for getting the right descent angle and did help somewhat, but the feel and look in the transition stage to touchdown was not working for me.

We talked about engine out landings and he said we're not going to do one on the simulator but we talked through it and he was satisfied that I knew what I was talking about. He also briefly quizzed me, while I was "flying" the simulator, on the Archer's electrical system and engine and I knew the answer to those easily enough.

That's 1.7 simulated hours. Unfortunately, I can't pay for it with simulated money.

Got Some Serious Wood

Last evening after work I headed to Holt Michigan for a karate seminar.

Before it began I had a chance to briefly meet up with Joe Mama of Eaton Rapids Joe. The good sir brought me quite a present indeed:

Yes, that's a whole lot of wood for smoking: Hickory, Apple, Pecan and Mulberry, enough to fill the trunk and rear seating area to the brim. Each box was full and smelled great.

That's a closeup of some Mulberry - I've never used it as a smoking wood before so it should be interesting to try it out. It should be a fantastic smoking summer. After the karate seminar was over, I got in the car and it smelled great - the apple wood especially has a very nice fresh scent.

Then I went home through high winds, lightening and a thunderstorm that had visibility on the highway down at times to a few feet, which sucked.

Thanks again to Eaton Rapids Joe for a fine gift of some wood. He joked that he had found a city slicker that he could offload some wood on, and he indeed found an appreciative one.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why The Surprise? After All, You Knew What She Was When You Hired Her

When you hire a felon with a history of interesting expense reports at her former job, it's really hard to be shocked when you allegedly get interesting expense reports her.

Monica Conyers (D), wife of Representative John Conyers (D) was recently either fired or quit from her spot at 910 AM Radio station allegedly because, as stated in the Detroit Free Press the

Radio station says Monica Conyers was fired over a $750 hotel booking.

Basically it's the Detroit way of political graft and perks in action from a former Detroit politico with a history of graft and perks. That the radio station should be surprised is the highlight of the whole sorry tale.

Conyers of course claims she wasn't fired but quit, but she does have a history of the standard denial tactic followed by later admission.

My bet is this story will fizzle out shortly before Representative Conyers gets drawn in too far due to Monica allegedly using his federal congressional credentials without him.

Flying Lesson #110 - Crosswinds And Practice Of The Things

For Lesson 110 I pre-flighted the Archer all by myself without supervision, then did the start and run up and headed out to Runway 9L for takeoff to head out to the practice area. My run up flow was a lot smoother so there's that.

The wind started at 10 knots from 140, ending up at 15 knots from 140 by near the end of the lesson, making for a 11.5 knot crosswind factor right when I started doing some patterns. But before the patterns we headed to the practice area.

I did a very nice slow flight, a good power off stall, an ok power on stall, as I needed to pull back a lot more to get it to stall, and then on to steep turns which are my current bugbear. Steep turns to the left that is, the right steep turn was fine. However, for the left, every single time the nose would drop just enough even though I was hauling back on the yoke and I'd lose 200-300 feet in altitude doing it every damn time. Finally I put in a ton more of trim and did it only losing 150 feet, which still sucks. And to think steep turns used to be my best maneuver.

Then we headed in to do patterns on Runway 9L with a left pattern and over the water and tree line for bumpy finals every time. With a right quartering headwind on base the plane wanted to drop a lot on final so I had to adjust power quite a bit. landings were a bit on the solid side but ok with the last one using only 25 degrees of flap instead of the typical 40 due to the wind. Ray suggested that in such situations I bring it in a bit tighter on base so I don't lose as much altitude and have to add power on short final and I'll try that next time.

Then a long roll to the end of the runway and taxi off back to the flight school.

Overall not a bad lesson at 1.6 and 4 landings.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Range Trip And The P30 Hits 1,750

So whenever Matt visits, a trip to the range is in order.

The weather gave us a break and it was reasonably warm but muddy at the range.

We ran a total of 250 rounds through the P30, 200 WWB, and 50 Federal FMJs, and 50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124+p rounds. I figured it was time to have some hollow points through it.

The Speer Gold Dots had noticeably more oomph than the FMJ rounds.

Zero malfunctions so far with the P30, though the feed ramp is getting all sorts of dirty.

The shiny metal part is what the entire feed ramp should look like, instead most is covered in carbon, but it still fed every round without complaint.

The Glock 17, M&P 40 Pro, and then the M&P 22 also came out for some suppressed fun, and yes silencers do in fact help protect your ears.

Then we shot some rifles.

Matt highly enjoyed shooting the Tavor, AR15, M1 Garand, and SAR-1. The Tavor was his favorite and he ran it very well with the AR15 a close second.

We also shot a couple more handguns that deserve their own posts, which will come later.

Afterwards we headed of to Alchilies. No it's not a Mexican offshoot of Al Qaeda, its a rather delicious hole-in-the wall Mexican place with real Mexican style Mexican food. We're talking Beef Cheek tacos and other delicacies. Simply awesome.

It's always a great time when Matt comes to town.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Don't Assume My FAA Class

My cousin Matt came to visit and kindly brought me a t-shirt that may explain why, in addition to weather and flight school issues, why it is taking so long for me to get a fixed wing pilot's license:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Overkill? There's No Such Thing As Overkill.

The National Post: An American ally used a $3M Patriot missile to destroy a drone ‘that cost 200 bucks,’ U.S. general reveals

That's one drone that won't fly again, as well as a very expensive use of a Patriot missile. It may have been a dubious usage, but it may also have been a worthwhile exhibition of the Patriot's ability to take down even small maneuverable targets.

It'll be interesting to see which ally it was and what the exact circumstances were that led to the firing of the missile, as "Taiwan, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates" all have the Patriot Missile System.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't Try This At Home

Walking the dog this morning in the cold, I came by a house with the garage door partially open.

With a car running happily along in the garage filing it with its exhaust, with only some of the exhuast cloud making its way outside and plenty filling in the garage.

The car was running happily for the entire time I walked the dog, over 15 minutes walking past that house and back.

This is really a very bad idea.

Not only bad for your engine, but potentially bad for your health as well. Yes it is cold out there, but a car will warm up soon enough on its own, there's no reason to let it sit running idle in the garage.

Flying Lesson #109 - Polishing Maneuvers

For this lesson the winds were 11-13 out of 290-300 so not a major crosswind.

However, instead of pattern work we headed out to the practice are and flew there by pilotage and looking at landmarks instead of any GPS or maps. I'm getting better at it.

Quite a few aircraft were in the practice area so we let them know we would be on the north end near Lapeer.

Then we got to dance around some clouds and then did slow flight, power off and power on stalls and steep turns. The slow flight was a pain this time and didn't feel great but was acceptable. Half the fun is keeping it slow but above the stall horn in the rather choppy conditions.

The steep turns still need some work but by the end of the lesson they were getting better. They just feel off in an Archer for some reason. We then climbed to 5,500 to get out of some chop and we above the clouds and did more steep turns and they came out ok, including hitting my wake on the last one which is a good thing.

Then we went down through a clear area to get under the clouds and did turns around a point. I did that very well - holding position relative to the point all around the circle even with the 13 knot wind pushing against me around the circle and did it all well within standards. Funny, it used to be my steep turns were much better than my turns around a point.

At the end of the lesson I didn't have much trouble figuring out how to get back to the airport though my initial instinct on where to turn was off a bit, not a big surprise considering all the turns and maneuvers we had made but my visual check of landmarks fixed it. After calling the tower I did a right base entry to runway 25R and did a forward slip to lose some altitude (we deliberately came in high as he wanted me to demonstrate a forward slip) then did a nice landing, touching down just as the stall horn went off, with a bit of crosswind correction as the wind had kicked to 13 at 300. Still keeping a little too much power into the landing that I need to quit doing, otherwise its ok.

Overall not bad.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Enjoy" Is Not The Word You're Looking For....

Not to impune a headline author's reputation nor suggest use of illegal substances, nor mental illness -- but -- for a newspaper writer to suggest on the Monday after a massive wind storm with power outages, and the start of DST to boot that we will "enjoy" and find a snowstorm "lovely" suggests a writer who needs a psych eval, stat.

The Detroit Free Press: Lovely! Detroit set to enjoy 3-5 inches of snow today

Seriously, there is no enjoyment in clearing a driveway in the dark while the snow still falls, and then sliding down a driveway. There is no enjoyment in slowly rolling through traffic composed of idiots that can't drive when snow falls to get to an office at 8 while in your head it is still 7 am. None as in not any, zip, nada, zero.

The only white stuff the headline writer should enjoy seeing is some white coats coming to take him/her away.