Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Fly Day - Meeting Mr. B

Today was yet another fantastic day for flying.  Winds out of 070 at 8 knots or less, so it was a takeoff from 9L.

I had arranged yesterday with Mr. B. to meet at Jackson to have a brunch at the airport's restaurant.

It was a beautiful flight, couldn't ask for better weather.  Flew out there at 6,500 feet.

On the way up, I needed to divert a bit due to some glider activity.  Thanks for Detroit Approach with flight following for the heads up about that.

I landed just a few minutes before Mr.B. on Jackson's Runway 7, hearing him check in on the radio.

We were the first two planes on the ramp, but quite a number more came in for the brunch. I shut the plane down and saw him taxi in.

We then had a most excellent brunch and caught up on stuff.

Then we headed back to our planes but didn't immediately head out.  A family was there with some young kids at the fence between the restaurant and the planes, so we asked if they wanted to see the planes. So we showed the kids around the planes, let them sit in the pilot's seat and handle the controls. The kids really enjoyed it, so always good to get a chance to do a good deed for the day.

Then we started up our planes.  I taxi'd first and headed to the run up area and did the run up and started for the runway as Mr. B came along to do his run up.

I got clearance to takeoff and it was a good takeoff, but as I left the runway and was climbing I encountered a flock of rather good-sized birds which was rather alarming.

Birds flew by on both sides of, and above and below the plane. At that moment I thought I was going to have a bird strike. That will wake you up if you weren't awake before. I let the tower know and I headed on my way.

Mr. B. was having issues with his GPS, and I was having what was a minor issues with something as well, but ti did not interfere with the flight. see if you can spot the issueS

I then got flight following and had an uneventful return to Pontiac, first being told to land on 9R but then switched over to 9L as they often will do.  Did a great landing and taxi'd back to the hangar and put the plane away, after washing off yet another ton of bugs.

That's 1.5 and two very nice landings and even more importantly, a couple good hours hanging out and catching up with Mr. B.


Saturday, September 23, 2023

A Pleasant Flight To Mt. Pleasant

The weather was favorable for a flight today, so I did a weather brief, headed to the airport and got the plane ready to go.

Had a nice chat with another pilot who was upgrading the avionics on his Cirrus SR-20 and he let me poke around it a bit.  Very nice plane indeed.

Poking around done I did my walk-around and got the trust Piper Archer ready to go.

Winds were out of the east, so I took off from Runway 9L and headed northwest to Mt. Pleasant.

Picked up flight following along the way, and Great Lakes Approach was nice and helpful as usual. Flew at 6,500 feet and it was pretty smooth flying.

On the way to Mt. Pleasant, I overflew the Flint Airport:

Then on to Mt. Pleasant, and a very nice landing on Runway 9, after doing a practice RNAV approach.

There's a VOR located on the field:

 Interestingly enough, even with a VOR right on the field, KMOP only has RNAV GPS approaches and no VOR approaches anymore.

Parked the plane, and then I took a complimentary shuttle to the Soaring Eagle Casino.

I played some craps, had some good rolls, and a lot of fun.  I was up, then down, then up, and finally down enough to lose $100 and then I called it quits. Would have been nice to walk away with some winnings, but it was worth the 3 hours of entertainment.   Fun watching people play with serious money - some were making single roll bets with $500 in chips - losing, and sometimes winning big.

I then caught the shuttle back to the airport.

Winds had picked up quite a bit but were still pretty much down the runway. After takeoff I picked up flight following again.

Clouds had also dropped a bit, so at times I couldn't stay clear of them at 5,500 and had to play dodge cloud as I was VFR.

Still, it was pretty smooth with only a little light chop, and the return flight was a bit quicker. Clouds got higher south of Flint and I could travel unimpeded at 5,500 again.

Got handed off to Detroit Approach and the controller actually seemed surprised that I not only checked in properly ,but had also already picked up the ATIS for Pontiac. He gave me a VFR descent at my discretion when I was 12 miles out from Pontiac so I started a gentle descent from 5,500.

Then got passed on to Pontiac Tower and got sequenced for a 5 mile final approach. Another excellent landing and that was the trip.

Then to clean off the lots and lots of bugs smashed by the plane, For some reason there were a lot of them out there today, so it took longer than usual to get the plane all nice and clean.

I certainly haven't been flying nearly enough, so we'll try and fix that. 

That's a total of 2.4, and 2 rather nice landings.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stupid Criminals: This Is Not What They Mean By Family Bonding Time

In this case, Family Bonding means each family member got a bond after their arrest.

The Detroit News: Shelby Township mom charged in attack on officers

The article helpfully notes that not just the mom, but the father, and both teenage kids all got arrested for assaulting police officers after it was reported that shots had been fired from a Cadillac Escalade and things Escaladed from there:
A Macomb County woman was arraigned Monday on an assault charge related to an attack on two police officers in Shelby Township, days after her husband and two sons were arrested in the same incident.
The incident was apparently fun for the whole family to participate in to commit felonies and experience the criminal justice system first hand.

Sometimes You Really Just Need To Let Things Go

I daresay most people wouldn't consider leaping into the waste pit of an public outhouse, even if their Apple Watch fell in.

This lady in the story did, and found out yet another reason why you shouldn't jump into one - she got trapped for some time in the pit until other people heard her and sent for rescue.

The Detroit Free Press:  Woman rescued from muck inside Otsego County outhouse after trying to find her Apple Watch

I expect she's going to get some hepatitis shots shortly.  Not to mention she likely will have to throw out the clothes she was wearing when she jumped in.

I don't own an Apple Watch, but even if I did, if it fell into a pit of waste like that, there's no way I would be jumping in after it. 

Really, it's just not worth the sheer amount of actual crap to retrieve it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Seedy Activity

After smacking this state with Covid, China now apparently wants to overrun it with invasive agricultural species.

The Detroit Free Press:  Don't plant unsolicited seed packages, Michigan agriculture department warns

The Michigan agriculture department has a message for people who receive unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail from another country: Don't plant them, and don't throw them away.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, people across the state are once again receiving packages of seeds from China that they didn’t order.

One could think of these packages from China are part of its "war by other means"  approach with its rivals.  After all, damaging our nations agricultural production and causing costs of having to deal with invasive species is a nice example of 4th generation warfare, not to mention being nice and deniable as well.

Planting unknown seeds from an unsolicited source is never a good idea. 

Given China's and Chinese suppliers track records it is even less of a good idea. Heck, even opening unsolicited packages in general from an unknown sender is really not the brightest idea. 

If some of these packets show up at your door donpt just throw them out and definitely don't plant them. Instead, report them to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at (800) 292-3939 or via email at

Monday, September 18, 2023

MDFI's Foundation Handgun Class

This weekend I attended MDFI's Foundation Handgun Class. 

Part of the reason for doing so was as attending it with a bunch of friends - Tosh, Jason, Spencer and two of Tosh's cousins from New York would be attending. So we'd be a pretty good proportion of the class, 6 of the 16 participants, and Spencer and Tosh's cousins had never taken a foundation level or equivalent handgun training class before. I was shooting my Sig P320 for this class.

The other reason for attending a foundation level class, is that attending a foundation level class is always good opportunity to go over and reinforce the fundamentals of defensive handgun shooting.  It's an opportunity to really work the basics, try to pick up some more nuggets of wisdom, and work to improve a bit at a comfortable pace rather than drinking from a fire-hose in a more advanced class. Plus it is a fun way to spend a day with friends.

Pretty eclectic group of attendees.  There was one Michigan State Police trooper, a few nurses, various contractors, engineers, EMTs, and even two lawyers. 

The class started off with a beginning shooting exercise of shooting a 1 inch circle at 10 yards. Jason and I were teamed up as partners on Target 7 on relay 1 and 2 respectively, and we did the best in terms of accuracy on the opening exercise.  This was happy making.

After a few more shooting exercises, the instructors told Jason and I that instead of aiming at the 6 inch circle at the center of the target, all shots we were to from then on only shoot at the box in the head of the target to make it more challenging.  So we did.

The class had a very logical progression and built from that basic accuracy to drawing efficiently from a holster, defensive shooting considerations, and on to malfunction clearing.

Malfunction clearing was fun, and excellent practice. We induced malfunctions by randomly stuffing 10 empty cases in two magazines - the empty case could not be the first nor last round but other than that it could be anywhere inn the mage.  You then shot until you hit a malfunction had to clear the malfunction and continue shooting  while maintaining accuracy with each shot.

I really like MDFI's process for dealing with a malfunction that tends to resolve just about all clear-able malfunctions in a semi-auto:  Tap, Rack, Unload, rack, Reload, Rack and if necessary repeat an additional time. Most malfunctions cleared at the Tap, Rack portion of the process, but some jammed up sufficiently to requiring unloading (removing the magazine), then racking it again, reloading, racking a new round into the chamber and continuing.    

If that didn't clear it you moved on the the 7R clearance drill - Rack, Rip, Rack, Rack, Re-asses, Reload, Rack.

Jason's Glock for some reason, likely a combination of having an aftermarket barrel and insufficient lubrication, gave some of the weirdest malfunctions with the empty cases - flipping them around and then jamming them into place, double feeding, locking the slide up tight, etc.  If a weird malfunction could happen, he got it. Great practice.

Spencer learned that a Shield Plus having malfunctions is kinda hard to clear as the short slide didn't provide a lot of purchase for his hands, and the small slide didn't provide as much leverage for racking either.

Lots of great practice and learning occurred.

The final part of the class was the qualifier.

The qualifier is 14 rounds with 4 sections, each with a 6 second par time. If you fire more than 14 shots its a DQ, firing a shot over time is down 1 on your score.

The Qualifier is as follows:

1. From compressed ready 5 shots at 10 Yards.

2. From holster 4 shots at 10 Yards.

3. From compressed ready 1 shot, speed reload 2 shots at 10 Yards.

4. From compressed ready 1 shot, slide lock reload (have an empty magazine in the gun to start) 1 shot at 10 Yards.

Overall not a bad qualifier.  12/14 hits on the 8.5x11 paper is a pass, 12/14 inside the inner rectangle is an advanced, which is required to take the advanced classes.

I was running appendix carry for the class as that is how I carry, and ran the qualifier from concealment. Only issue was the sun was coming down as we shot the qualifier.  The sun was blasting was right in my eyes the entire time, so much so it was hard to see the target. This added some extra difficulty.

However I'm pleased to report that I not only passed as advanced but I did the  only clean run in the class, with 14/14 shots inside the inner rectangle with time to spare on each section.

That shot at the top just inside the box was the final round of the qualifier where I was practically guessing where the target was as the sun was straight in my eyes at that point.

That result was happy-making, and I earned my first ever MDFI bomb patch for having the top score in the class and the only participant to do a clean run.

MDFI offers some great and professional training. 

If you're in Michigan and all you've ever taken in terms of handgun instruction was your CPL class, then MDFI's Foundation Handgun will be both eye-opening and a very useful opportunity to enhance your training and proficiency with a handgun.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Last Morning In Iceland

The next day we got up and checked out of the hotel and met up with the same taxi driver who had picked us up from the ship and brought us to the hotel.

The ride to the airport was a flat rate and he gave us a discount as we had arranged it ahead of time with him.

He also gave us a bit of a tour on the way to the airport and interesting commentary.

We saw the harbor and some fishery monitoring vessels there. Note the cloud in the background.

After leaving the city, we went past fields of lava, and got closer to that interesting solitary cloud as we did so.

The cloud is a result of hot air rising from an active volcano, cooling as it rises into the air to form a cloud below the dewpoint.

That volcano is active and likely will be discharging more lava into these existing lava fields. The worry, however, is that the lava is projected to likely flow in the direction of the roads that link Reykjavik to Keflavik and the international airport there. That's going to cause a serious problem by cutting the capital off form its international airport.

A very pleasant ride and we got to the airport with time to spare. We then got in line to get our bags checked and 

We then went through security and of course my hip caused the metal detector to beep. So I got pulled aside for a pat down by a smokin' hot Icelandic lady security officer.   Sadly, my hopes were quickly dashed and she was replaced by a guy and the pat down was thus not nearly as fun as I had hoped, and in fact not fun at all.

Moving on we did a little shopping at duty free, and I purchased a bottle of Brennivin and a bottle of Floki single malt Icelandic Whiskey.


We then boarded and headed out.

We had a very pleasant flight, first to Minneapolis, where we had a layover and went through customs, and then boarded another plane to Detroit and that was the end of the trip.

It was a great time. We certainly enjoyed northern Europe and it was a neat and interesting place to visit.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Happy Rosh Hashanah 5784!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts today. This day marks the beginning of the year 5784 of the Hebrew calendar.

The Jewish New Year, while celebrated with joy, is also a time for reflection and repentance for transgressions and regrets for what was done or undone in past years.

Shana Tova Umetukah (A Good and Sweet Year) to all of my readers!