Thursday, June 30, 2016

Flying Lesson #62 - Solo Maneuvers

Today was a beautiful day for a quick morning flight. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and winds light at about 5 knots from 290. Time for a solo flight. I had 9.9 hours solo in the log book up to this flight and you need a minimum of 10 hours to qualify for a checkride (one instructor after my last solo said I should have just sat in the plane with the engine running to get the .1, but I told him I needed more practice solo time anyways).

So after a preflight in which I found fuel weeping from the fuel tank vent opening, which I was assured was not an issue, the filler guy had just seriously overfilled the tank prior to my arrival and the fuel had to go somewhere, I was ready to go.

I got a taxi clearance, did a good run-up and had clearance for a takeoff and I headed east towards the practice area.

After leaving KPTK's Class D airspace, climbing to 3,500 feet and getting into the practice area, I did a full 360 degree clearing turn.

Next I did steep turns, one each to a full 360 degrees to the left and right.

Then I did some Minimum controllable airspeed work, including left and right turns.

Then I did a power off stall and did a nice easy recovery after the buffet.

First time doing all of these things by myself and it was kinda fun, but a little exciting doing them completely on my own, especially the stall.

Then I headed back to KPTK which was getting pretty busy and got clearance to land, following a helicopter and an Archer.

The controller initially put me on a right base but the changed his mind and had me angle for a straight in approach from 2 miles.

Not a problem doing that even though it was my first time on a straight in alone, I had it handled. Glidepath was ok, airspeed was good, but I still managed to make the landing suck - it was a bouncer and not how I wanted to end the flight. Keeps me humble I guess, and I plan to work on making my next landings much, much better as a result.

A nice .7 solo and 1 landing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Flying Lesson #61 - Fly Like A Diamond In The Sky

Today was an interesting day to go flying.

The weather was definitely marginal with low cloud cover and some decent crosswind.

Instead of a 172, I was going to fly the Diamond DA-40 for the first time.

The DA-40 is a low wing, 4-seater aircraft, based on a glider design with a castering nose-wheel, which becomes very important for takeoffs and landings.

It's also quite lightweight and a fair bit more zippy than a C-172. It also takes a lighter touch than the C-172.

Taxi involves using the brakes a lot as you have no direct control over the nose-wheel. This took some getting used to.

Takeoff is at 60 knots and requires flaps, and it requires a LOT of right rudder as the small tail doesn't do much to fight the P-factor at all, and it climbs at 80 and can cruise at 150 knots.

Landing is a bit faster than a 172 and a fair bit different flare - not too much or you'll strike the tail, too little and you'll ground loop on the nose-wheel caster so it was a bit of a challenge to get it just right, especially in today's crosswind. There's two flap settings and you need to keep the speed up higher than the 172 in all parts of the pattern.

We flew out to Romeo and on the way I did some steep turns, a power on and power off stall (The Diamond doesn't have a pronounced break or serious buffet at all in a stall - you just start losing altitude like a bat heading to hell as the plane mushes. It also has a serious over-banking tendency that takes some close attention.

Arriving at Romeo we did some pattern work. Ray did the first landing and I did the rest with some subtle assistance. We had some little showers of rain but no major issues and at 2,500 feet were able to stay under the clouds without an issue.

It was interesting to fly something other than a 172. It was quite a bit faster and had some impressive cruise and climb performance. The controls were definitely very sensitive and only needed a light touch - hopefully that lighter touch will transfer over.

Not a bad 1.5 hour lesson with 5 landings.

Monday, June 27, 2016

CF Skyhawks!

The Skyhawks are Canada's only military parachute demonstration team.

Why have a parachute demonstration team?

Because some pros can jump out of perfectly good working aircraft and look insanely cool while doing so.

They jumped from perhaps the most box-like aircraft currently available:

It's a Short SC.7 Skyvan. You could say it's boxy but good.

The first jumper out the door had a large Canadian flag on display.

Next came a giant US flag.

Then it got more wild from there.

Then a few joined together decided to demonstrate how to rotate to the left and right, they went to a full 90 degrees on each side.

Lots of very cool maneuvers followed, and they did stuff with parachutes that I did not believe were possible.

Yes, one of the parachutists is upside down, held only by his legs to the other two jumpers.

Quite a few more cool individual and team stunts followed, and these paras had some serious skills.

All jumpers descended safely, and made it look easy:

The team then doffed their chutes and lined up for a parting salute.

That was a very impressive display of parachute prowess.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The CF-18 Hornet

Last to perform and making the most noise of all the performers was the CF-18 Hornet.

The Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet demonstration team had the plane in livery honoring the BCATP, the British Commonwealth Air Training Program that trained thousands of pilots and air crews during World War 2 in Canada.

To put the power of the CF-18 in perspective, it has more thrust than all of the CT-114 Tutors on the Snowbirds demonstration team combined.

He decided to demonstrate that power with an overhead pass with the afterburners lit:

Talk about there and gone, and loud while doing it. It rocked.

You can get a good look at the false canopy painted on the belly of the aircraft in this shot. A Canadian Forces Hornet trademark, the false canopy is supposed to confuse enemy fighters in a furball.

He did some impressive maneuvers and the tricky light made photography darn difficult to capture the fast moving aircraft.

Coming in quick, this series of shots is less than 5 seconds total time:

He did some very need meaneuvers and then ended with an overhead pass for a grand finale.

Then it was time to come in for a landing.

The plane was then admired on the ramp.

It was a great show.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Snowbirds: Smoke On, Go!

Number 431 Squadron, The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration team, is one of the best aerobatics teams in the world. Flying the CT-114 Jet, the demonstration squadron travels across Canada and the US to show their flying prowess.

Putting up 9 planes in the air at once, its also one of the largest and most precise.

First the team taxied out in formation.

Then took-off in vics of three

Then after testing their smoke canisters and shaking their planes out, they got into formation.

Oh, the formation pictured? That's after they came out of a complete loop, done in formation.

Here's a shot of the inside of the loop descending.

Then the solos did some outstanding cross-overs:

They then decided to show how close two jets can get, cockpit to cockpit, and then roll.

Not to be outdone, 5 aircraft decided to do a big break

The full team then reassembled and did a Battle of Britain furball demonstration

Then they rejoined in formation and after a few more thrilling passes and cross-overs,that ended the demonstration.

Then it was time to land, again in vics of three.

To say it was an incredible display of aerobatic prowess and precision would be an understatement.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Last Night: Risk Management With The FAA, And The ACS Changes The Private Pilot MCA Standard

The flight school I attend hosted a FAA Safety Team seminar on risk management and the new FAA compliance policy.

The Aviation Safety Inspector giving the impression was quite a personable guy and is quite an accomplished pilot himself - both GA and commercial.

There was a good look at risk management and setting personal minimums as well as the most likely risks that can be mitigated by following checklists and paying attentions and not rushing through things.

Lots of good stories and relevant examples and I learned a lot.

He then went over the new compliance policy, which basically gives FAA Inspectors tools other than suspension of your certificate if you inadvertently break a regulation. If you do it intentionally the program is not going to help you. But, it is a good safety valve for unintentional mishaps, especially with its focus on learning from the error - both for the persons involved in the incident and the aviation community as a whole to prevent recurrences. In short, it seems like a very worthwhile initiative to help pilots improve, fox their mistakes, and communicate their errors rather than try to hide them until disaster strikes.

As you might suspect, attitude is going to matter in regards to the compliance philosophy and a good attitude towards safety and the program will help you, and as is true in the world at large, being a reckless jerk will not.

One very interesting thing I learned at the seminar is s change that has been announced for the Private Pilot test now that the ACS has come out. My instructor learned about it the same time I did. The document, titled Subject: ACS Focus Team Slow Flight and Other FAQs just changed how we are supposed to do slow flight on the private pilot test.

Here's a video on how slow flight was done and tested until this guidance was given.

Under the ACS, for the minimum controllable airspeed portion, they now do not want the stall horn to be going off.

That's different considering up until now everyone has trained private pilots that MCA means the stall horn is blaring and you're keeping the plane under control at minimum controllable airspeed. This will take some re-figuring and retraining as a result. Now they want 5-10 knots above stall speed without stall horn activation rather than the previous 3-5 knots above stall speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but it's a big difference. The reason given is that the FAA does not want to teach intentional disregard of the stall warning while maneuvering and that the teaching of slow flight characteristics can be done at the above stall horn speed.

That's a very big change indeed.

If You're Too Dangerous To Be Allowed To Fly...You're Too Dangerous To Serve In Congress, Right?

You really can't make this stuff up.

One of the leaders of the gang of pouters currently having a tantrum on the floor of Congress seeking to prevent anyone on the no-fly list from buying a firearm is in fact on the no-fly list himself.

Independent Journal: Congressman Leading the Way to Stop Those on Terrorist Watch List from Buying Guns is on Watch List

Surely John Lewis is too dangerous to be allowed to serve as a Congressman. After all, he's on The List.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flying Lesson #60 - Maneuvers, Maneuvers

Today was most pleasant morning to get some flight time in.

So I preflighted N755PR and all looked ok with a bit of a balding tire, and we headed out on the taxiway.

While taxiing we were hearing a bit of a warble-thump sound so we stopped at the run up area, got out and checked the tires over again. Most likely it was the balding tire with its uneven tread which was the likely cause as there was no other indications of the sound. The tire needs to be replaced but it is still within service limits.

So we got back in, fired it up again and took off from Runway 9R to the northeast.

Leaving KPTK's class delta airspace I climbed us up to 3,500 feet and then we started to get some maneuver practice in. Note that I haven't done any of these since introduced to them last August.

Ray requested and I did a full 360 degree clearing turn instead of the 90 in each direction to make sure the area was clear.

First was steep turns. I must be getting more comfortable flying as they were pretty darn nice. A little bit to clean up the procedures just a tad but my turns ran into our wake in both directions so it was a success. Ray said it would be a no problem pass on a check-ride.

Then we did minimum controllable airspeed, including turns, climbs, and descents at MCA which I had not done before. Overall not bad but I could use a bit more practice.

Then we did some power off stalls and I did ok, again I need to have the procedure down and a bit more practice.

We then did turns around a point which I did pretty well at, and then we headed back to KPTK.

Basically I could use more practice at everything to get a little smoother but its coming along.

Not a bad lesson at 1.3 and 1 landing.

The All-Canadian Air Show

Yesterday was a special airshow at Willow Run airport.

Hosted by the Yankee Air Museum, it was a show with all-Canadian Content. Specially arranged for one night only, the Canadian Forces rocked Michigan with an awesome air show performance.

The Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces 9 plane aerobatic demonstration team were there, and they put on an incredible show.

The Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team Was There

The CF-18 Hornet Demonstrator was there.

An outstanding air show indeed. All the participants did Canada proud.

More pics of outstanding airmanship to follow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Just An Indiana Man, Never Meaning No Harm

Or Not.

Fox59: Indiana man, 18, arrested on terrorism charges, accused of attempting to join ISIS

Officials said Akram Musleh, 18, attempted to board a bus from Indianapolis to New York, where they say he planned to fly to Morocco on his way to territory controlled by ISIS. Court documents say he then planned to join the group.

Not to worry, he first came to the attention of the FBI in 2013 when he was charmingly posting ISIS videos to YouTube:

The FBI discovered after finding the videos that Musleh was a student at Brownsburg High School. The FBI met with school officials and Musleh at the school on December 11, 2013. He told them that a close family member introduced him to such videos, which he would watch at home, according to court documents. He said he used the videos to "further his understanding of the history of Islam."

Court documents show the school and the FBI took steps to dissuade Musleh from engaging in radical extremism.

Apparently the talkin' to along the lines of "ISIS is bad, m'kay?" worked really, really well.

After the meeting and conversation he went off and purchased an ISIS flag and then photographed himself with it in 2015.

Then he started perusing the list of potential terrorist targets in Indiana and followed it up with looking for methods to peacefully understand Islam manufacture bombs, and he starts chatting with ISIS online, including receiving a rather interestingly, in light of recent events, suggestion that he perform a terrorist attack in Florida.

So yeah, the whole interview and dissuade approach apparently didn't take, much to everyone's surprise. Darn Hoosiers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Flying Lesson #58 - Crosswind Crazyness

Today looked like a beautiful day to fly.

Looked mind you, as the wind was shortly going to do its gusty best to kick my tail all over the sky. Winds were reported as 10 to 16 out of 280. That turned out to be optimistic.

Ray said let's go do some maneuvers on the way to Romeo and then work on your crosswind landings. Since I need both, I said sure, let's do it.

Considering the wind was then about 18 knots out of 280 and Romeo has a Runway 36/18, there would indeed be work on the crosswind landings.

Good preflight etc, and a decent takeoff on my part. We climbed to 2,500 feet, with some minor to medium chop all the way.

Ray had me start minimum controllable airspeed but then cancelled the exercise as the wind, which was gusting, started doing its best to flip us at that speed which was making it rather diificult to maintain MCA safely.

So I flew on out to Romeo and we decided to use Runway 18 as the windsock was slightly favoring it.

Talk about your strong winds and crosswinds! I've never flown a pattern with that much crab in it before. Lots of good practice.

Landings were better but I'm still holding the yoke too tightly and overthinking, but it was better than two lessons ago but still needs work, I need to not grip so tightly and keep adjusting through touchdown in the crosswind. Definitely not easy conditions.

I was getting the hang of it and had made a couple decent landings.

Then the next one started well. I had a good crabbed pattern, good airspeed control and a good approach.

Good final.

Runway made, power out.

Out of the crab, into the side slip.

Coming down. Wing solidly down into the wind. Holding it off. Rudder keeping the nose on center line.

About to touch down, lined up on the runway, looking good. Flaring, just about to touch and....

Ray then yells "I GOT IT!" as the wind suddenly, quickly, and fully shifts and does its best to flip us from the opposite side.

Holy family blog.

Ray got it under control in time and was able to safely land it. He quickly said that was not my fault, it was a sudden wind shift and I had done it just right up to that point and it wasn't me. We discuss it and you can't throw full power in for a go around at that point as that will flip the plane into the ground, you have to neutralize the ailerons and then counter the wind, all in very little time indeed at ground scraping altitude. Such a recovery is definitely above my ability at this point.

That was not a happy-making experience and if it was just me in the plane at that moment it would have been very bad indeed. So I get my breathing back under control, and taxied back and took off again with quite the crosswind takeoff. The winds are still nastily shifting so we headed on back to KPTK as time was getting short.

Lots of bouncing around on the way back and at KPTK the winds were from 300 degrees shifting, and blowing at 15 gusting to 22, so Ray took the landing which was a decent idea especially with yes, another last minute gust near touchdown, and he decided his next student was going to have a ground session as the winds were just getting too nasty for students.

Lots of stuff learned, 1.5 hours, 5 cross-wind landings and one near-death experience. Whew.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Answer: Probably Because He's Not Paying Off The Proper People

The Detroit Free Press poses the question: Why is a person cleaning up Detroit getting the runaround from the city?

John Hantz has been putting a great deal of his time and money into cleaning up and beautifying abandoned areas of Detroit.

The thanks he gets for this laudable, indeed herculean, task is the City delaying transferring to him the abandoned lots contiguous and inside his already owned lots that prevent him from completing his woodland project and cleaning the abandoned wrecks off those lots and planting trees instead.

Since Hantz is a stand-up and honest guy he likely didn't pickup on the "hints", nor follow the "suggestions", as to how the project might be expedited rather than interminably delayed. Of course there's also the suspicion that he's being delayed on a racial basis given the city council's laser-like focus on race-mongering instead of working to better the city.

The City bureaucrats and politicians should get out of Hantz's way and let him continue his philanthropic project of beautifying and cleaning a wasteland area in Detroit.

Henderson: In Order To Be Free, We Must Take Away Your Liberties

The left-wing media is going full-court press on gun control.

Stephen Henderson has decided that his liberty can only be assured by taking yours away.

The Detroit Free Press: Liberty demands we take another look at the Second Amendment

Yes, he has the same mealy-mouthed arguments we've heard before, as well as the constant calumny of blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of criminals. Everything from the founders couldn't have predicted to the "gun lobby", doing it for the children, to he's not going to interefere with the rights of hunters and their shotguns. He also raises the false equivalent of treating guns like cars and it gets worse from there with even more false assertions thrown, spaghetti-like against the wall in the hope something sticks.

But here's his best and most mind-numbing line of the entire article:

The most recent reminder, of course, was last week’s shooting in Orlando, in which an American citizen armed with legally bought firearms killed nearly 50 people in a night club.

Yes, read that one again, it's rather jaw-dropping.

Way to bury the lede on the event Henderson.

It appears the Obama Administration's deflection from it's complete failure to interdict a terrorist attack from a known, warned of, and investigated suspect to gun control and completely downplaying the terrorist nature of the attack has been eagerly adopted hook, line, and sinker by the mainstream media pundits.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Flying Lesson #57 - Flying On Father's Day

For this lesson Ray had noted I had booked a larger than typical block of time and said "Let's go do something fun".

"Ok", says I.

So we headed to Y83, Sandusky Michigan to get some real soft and short landing practice in on a real grass strip.

Sandusky has a paved Runway 9/27 and a Grass strip 18/36. At 2,300 feet it;s one of the larger grass strips around and it's very well maintained indeed.

Coming in was fun as on approach we had a warning of deer on Runway 27, and sure enough there was one by the tree line right beside Runway 27.

So we came in on Runway 18, with only a slight crosswind and Ray talked me through the combination short and soft landing - airspeed 61, full flaps, keep a little power in until the wheels touch and maintain full back pressure.

Very cool landing indeed, a grass field feels completely different.

Then we kept the plane moving and back-taxied to the start of the runway.

Then I got to do a real soft field takeoff - flaps 10, full power, nose all the way up and as the stall horn rings and the plane lifts off ease up on the back-pressure, let the airspeed build in ground effect and at 70 knots do a zoom climb over the obstacle, and there was an obstacle, not to mention an active road at the end of the runway (more on that road later...).

This was fun!

On one landing we caught a gust which lifted us a bit and Ray indicated it was still ok to land even though we floated a bit, as we had the runway length to do it. He then said that for any other grass strip, such a gust is an instant go-round as you won't have the space to land if that happens. Good to know and it was still an excellent landing.

So we did it again five more times and each time I got even better at it. We also had aircraft that came in to land on Runway 27 while we were in the pattern for 18 so we had some traffic management that was worked out.

Then we parked the plane, visited the FBO and its facilities, got a drink of water, chatted to another pilot that was there and climbed back in the plane to head home.

We taxied back to the grass strip and I had it - flaps 10, keep moving, full back-pressure, full power and then ease up and keep it in ground effect, watch the airspeed build, watch a van on the road, hit 70 knots and ZOOM CLIMB! right over the van, which then spins out just a bit (it was then fine but clearly the driver was startled) as s/he was not expecting that apparently. You had to be there to get the humor of it, but it was rather funny at the time. An excellent takeoff indeed.

Then back through some light turbulence to KPTK and I did a nice landing and that was the end of an excellent lesson.

That's 2.3 hours, 6 soft/short field landings, 1 regular landing treated as a soft field, and 2.3 hours cross-country time. A really great flying lesson for Father's Day.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Brilliant Double Entendre

Oh, Oxford University Press Subheading Editors, you magnificent bastards. I salute you.

It's apparently a blow-by-blow account of the Clinton Presidency....

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Freep's Rochelle Riley Calls On Obama To Exercise The Divine Right Of Kings

After all, what use is separation of powers and the limitations on the executive when you want to get something unconstitutional done for your side after all? Until a Republican is elected president the Democrats are cool with untamed executive power. It almost makes me want to vote for Trump to see the proggy commentators pull the fastest 180 degree turn on executive power. Almost.

The Detroit Free Press: President Obama has just this one more thing to do

Dear Mr. President: ....

This will be hard.

This will be unprecedented. ....

But I know that you can do this thing I’m asking — because you are the president.

You must, by executive order, ban the use of assault rifles by non-soldiers, ban their sale and ownership and use away from the battlefield.

Ms. Riley apparently never took a civics class or understands or even cares the limit's on a President's power, after all she makes the tautological argument that he can do it as president because he's the president, QED.

Most adults would describe this as magical thinking.

Then she even admits it won't work, but hey, futile grand gestures and appearing to do something is important.

Yes, I know that it would be constitutional folly and that you are a Harvard-educated genius at constitutional law.

Ms. Riley if that is so, why did you just waste your time bloviating asking for it. The second half of that question is itself most questionable, especially as we still don't know what grades the genius got at Harvard, and his present performance has hardly shown any hints at genius, just sayin'.

This is what is passing for reasoned discourse from a regular byline columnist in a major progressive newspaper. Then again, it's the same major progressive newspaper that excused any hint of Islam from the Orlando attack and the fact that the shooter was a registered Democrat and instead blamed it on availability of firearms and Republican political rhetoric regarding gays.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Detroit Free Press Ignores the Terrorist In The Room, Blames Guns and Hateful Michigan Republican Rhetoric For Orlando

The Left needs the Narrative Uber Alles it seems, even in the face of the facts.

The Detroit Free Press: Easy weapon access, LGBT hate made Orlando massacre possible

Let's start here: The Pulse nightclub shootings — the largest mass murder in American history, claiming at least 50 lives — were an act of hate targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Saturday night, a shooter armed with an assault-style rifle entered the Orlando gay bar around 2 a.m. For the next three hours, the gunman terrorized the club, apparently calling 911 to pledge his allegiance to ISIS between attacks.

That — and the shooter's apparent Muslim background — are details some contemptible wretches have leapt on to explain — and thus excuse — these deaths.

Wait, What?!? In a quick paragraph the Freep totally dismisses the actual reason stated by the killer for the attack- That it was an act of Islamic terrorism in support of ISIS. Talk about begging the question - who exactly is excusing these deaths? Anyone?

But wait, there's even more magical blame-shifting to come!

In the days to come, we'll learn much, much more about the tragedy in Orlando. But at its core, this attack is the product of two things: easy civilian access to weapons that kill dozens in minutes, and the persistence of political rhetoric that marginalizes LGBT people.

LGBT Americans have fought long and hard for equality, earning a major victory last year when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down prohibitions against same-sex marriage. Almost immediately, the right wing responded with a slew of laws designed to carve out exemptions to marriage equality, most often via state-level religious freedoms laws that would provide cover for discrimination. Here in Michigan, the state Legislature approved a law last year allowing adoption agencies to refuse to adopt to same-sex couples.

The Legislature has repeatedly failed to extend the protection of the state's civil rights law to LGBT Michiganders. And now, as the state board of education is working to develop a set of voluntary guidelines for schools to provide a safe environment for LGBT kids, some state lawmakers are working diligently to demonize LGBT Michiganders.

Make no mistake: The violent acts in Orlando are rooted in this rhetoric.

So according to The Freep, the Muslim terrorist in Orlando was not in fact doing it in the name of ISIS as he claimed. After all who are you going to believe - the statements of the terrorist as to why he did what he did or the editors of the Freep?

According to the Freep, Radical Islam with its hatred of gays and the West had nothing to do with it at all. Instead, according to the Freep that's a distraction and he was driven to it by Michigan Republicans having issues with allowing males in girls changing rooms and bathrooms to attack a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida.

Note that the Editorial Board of The Detroit Free Press is making this argument with a straight face.

Maybe its a desperate attempt to get attention away from the failure of the current administration to prevent terrorist attacks here. Maybe it's an attempt to distract attention to the fact this scum was thrice interviewed by the FBI and a "known wolf". Maybe it's a desire to change the subject to one Democrats are comfortable with considering the scum was not a Republican but indeed a registered Democrat.

In any case it's a disgusting bit of misleading journalism unfit for a major newspaper.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Flying Lesson #56 - Rough At Romeo

You know some days where everything works, you're performing at the top of your game, and you think you're making great progress and only have a bit to go to reach your next goal?

Today was NOT one of those days.

Today the lesson started at 0800 and we had really gusting winds of about 15 knots plus out of 340 degrees, so it was pretty much direct crosswind on Runway 27.

We decided to fly to Romeo for an uncontrolled airport because the radios on N757MK were acting up yesterday. Today they worked fine, but it was a good opportunity to get a different sight picture in and fly somewhere else for a change.

So I flew us east to Romeo at 3,500 feet and it was bumpy as all get out with lots of fun sheering winds and gusts and holding the airplane on course.

Then I overflew the field and the wind was pretty much down runway 36 at Romeo. Not the best pattern and a little high as usual. Setup for a landing and had gusts throwing me all about on final and a nice sudden wind change that first required a lot of power and then requiring left rudder and I didn't do nearly enough flare or enough crosswind correction. Not good at all.

We figure out a bit of my too high problem and Ray has me focus on airspeed over everything - 85 on Downwind, 75 on base, 65 on final. This is good because my current bad habit on the pattern is to come in too high and fast.

I'm still way too heavy on the controls and too tense so it's still not going where I need it to go. I'm apparently also bulldogging it on the flare and not adjusting enough. Landings are there but not where they should be and the first one thoroughly sucked. The rest got better as we went on with some that were ok but I've done better.

Back to KPTK, winds were 15 knots at 340 so and almost perfectly perpendicular crosswind to the runway. What fun.

I get to enter on the base and get setup for final and of course I then expecting a crosswind put in too much crosswind correction when darn little was actually needed. This was weird but the buildings apparently blocked this particular wind today. So not enough before, too much later and I can't win for losing this lesson. Decent enough flare though.

Primary diagnosis - I'm over thinking this way too much. Secondary: I'm not looking enough down the runway and not adjusting and increasing the flare and keeping the plane off as long as possible.

9 landings, 1.6 hours and a thoroughly bruised ego and frustrated with taking a few steps back yet again. Argh.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Things Heard In the Cockpit

I'm not saying in what plane or by whom this was said or anything.....

Flight Instructor (FI): You don’t need such a tight grip on the yoke. An airplane is like a beautiful woman, treat her lightly and she’ll treat you nicely.

Flight Student Who Shall Remain Nameless (FSWSRN): But what if the plane has read 50 Shades of Grey and likes that sort of thing?

FI (laughing): Shaddup and fly the plane.

FSWSRN (laughing back): Roger that, Shutting up and flying the plane.

Flying Lesson #55 - The Long And The Short On Landings

Today's lesson began with Ray announcing that we would be doing more performance landings - no flap forward slips to land and short field landings.

Another instructor still had the plane out so we started a bit later, I did the preflight and called for fuel, then added some oil and all was well.

Taxiing to the run up area we had the fun of being cut off by an idiot in a Mooney. The pilot who didn't give way as instructed by the tower and then she also blocked us from getting into the run up area as she failed to pull into it far enough and decided to stop and copy an IFR clearance preventing us from getting into the box at all especially with other planes around. Nice.

Ray was un-amused and had us do a run-up where we were, announce to the tower that we were ready to go and line up on the runway hold line so the Mooney could cut us off any farther. Mooney was also clueless in listening to the tower as well so she got a bit of a short talking to. We got to takeoff first and then she was thankfully off and out of the area. The area was quite busy today so they went to twin towers to control the field.

My patterns are getting nicer and we started by doing no flap forward slip to landings. A bit of a wind was gusting form the right making it a bit more challenging.

Overall I'm doing better with them, still not 100% sure I'm ready to do them on my own solo even though I did a couple without Ray touching the controls at all. We also had one where I had it perfectly setup and a strong gust of wind started to try and flip us so we got out of the slip pronto.

Then we did short field landings. I'm going to need more work on these to fully get them. While I get the theory the practice is harder than it looks.

Airspeed is king on a short field landings - you need to hold it at 61 knots on final and then glide it past your aiming point to the touchdown point.

By the end of the lesson I was doing some acceptable ones but more practice is needed.

Also the sunglasses worked out perfectly - I could see all the instruments perfectly clearly and see outside in the bright sun with no problems! This made for a,lot happier throttle adjustments and a better sight picture to boot.

That's 1.0 hours of flying and 8 landings, and if the weather is good I'm going up again tomorrow to get more practice in.

Friday, June 10, 2016

New Cool And Crisp Shades

My last pair of el cheapo sunglasses recently broke and I needed a replacement now that the big ball in the sky is visiting Michigan once more. The last set made it a bit hard to see the instruments inside the plane and the face of iphone devices due to it being polarized and I did not want the replacements to pose that issue.

So I got a pair of these:

To say they're the best sunglasses I've ever tried may be an understatement.

They really effectively block bright sunlight and cut out the glare yet make everything crisper and clearer - it is pretty amazing how much clearer I can see while driving with them on in bright sunlight compared to the old pair. I've also felt my eyes are less tired after driving using them compared to driving without sunglasses or with the older pair.

I can also see the screens on ipads and iphones without an issue while wearing them, which is good. I'm going to try them out flying this weekend.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Flying Lesson #54 - Solo Pattern Work

This morning the winds were light and variable, perfect for pattern work.

My instructor had to fly a charter at the last minute so I had the option to cancel or proceed with a solo flight.

I decided I needed some more solo time, which I do, and headed out to the plane.

Good preflight, though I had to call for fuel which slowed things down a bit.

I was flying N757MK, and it started up with no problems and everything checked out good.

Nice takeoff, though it felt weird just being on my own again, and I was out sharing the pattern with a Cherokee and the occasional other bit of traffic.

First pattern was pretty good and the landing was decent, a solid meh. Nothing bounced but you felt the landing and it meant improvement was needed.

Second pattern I was ok but a bit high on final and the landing was not the best ever, landed kinda flat and not how I wanted it to go. I was still coming in a bit high and beginning to wonder of all the forward slip to landing practice had skewed my view of the proper approach.

For the third pattern I had to majorly extend my downwind due to traffic and then decided to do a go round once I got back as I was again too high on final and it didn't feel right and I didn't want to try and force it in.

On the fourth pattern, I did a go round due to traffic and then got an early crosswind turn as a result and then came in for a landing.

The wind was now a crosswind at 8 knots from 330 but I had it factored in and I actually had a great crosswind approach.

Then the landing itself:

It was perfect. I mean one of my best landings ever and certainly my best crosswind landing ever - soft, subtle, and touching down so gently you would barely know I had landed, the way all landings should be.

With that I decided to call it on a good note and took the plane back in, tied it down, logged the time and headed to work.

That was .6 solo and 3 landings with 2 go rounds.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Ancient Collection of Ancient Jewish Coins Found

A coin collector's collection is found, at least 1940 years after they were hidden away, with some coins in the collection dating back 2,150 years.

The Times Of Israel: Cache of Hasmonean-era silver coins uncovered in Modiin

Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the antiquities authority, said the cache contained one or two coins from every year between 135 and 126 BCE.

“It seems that some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector. He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today,” he added.

“The findings from our excavation show that a Jewish family established an agricultural estate on this hill during the Hasmonean period,” Tendler said.

Coins were also found there dating to the first Jewish Revolt against Rome, including one marked Year 2.

Another very neat find. Coin collecting has been going on for a very long time, and collecting a shekel and half shekel of each year for 9 years is a pretty indicative trend. It has been long known that the Medieval and Renaissance nobility collected coins, and it's neat to find evidence that coin collecting was going on in antiquity.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Well It's An idea At Least . . . .

The Mideast Beast, a news humor site along the lines of the Duffel Blog and The Onion, had an article with quite a modest proposal for dealing with the ongoing rocket attacks against Israel's southern communities from Gaza:

The Mideast Beast: Israel to Place Gorillas Near Gaza; Hopes Int’l Community Will Care About Rocket Attacks. Go read the whole article and enjoy with a rueful smile.

While it's a cunning plan as proposed, unfortunately it won't work as outlined in the article.

Instead, The UN would immediately condemn Israel for daring to endanger such an endangered species by exposing them to Hamas rocket fire. Simultaneously, the State Department and the Leftists would quickly castigate Israel for escalating the situation by engaging in Gorilla Warfare.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

At The Novi Fun Show

Today I'm at the Novi Gun Show. 800 tables of fun and its kinda slow with not a huge turnout, nice summer days will do that.

Lots of nice items to browse and some quite nice prices.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Detroit, Where Your Life Is Worth Less Than $70

In a sad display of the collapse in morals, judgment and restraint that has affected Detroit we get the latest senseless criminal act,

At around 11 pm at night on a school night, a 13 year old, Deontae, is hanging out by a store.

He witnesses a man, who appeared to be intoxicated urinate in public and he sees him drop $70 which point Deontae swoops in and steals the money and rides off on his bicycle. This is a mistake.

Unfortunately for him, he's messing with a fellow who has a, as typical, lengthy criminal record, and as is often the case in Detroit, was wanted for violation of his probation but not picked up.

Taking exception to his money being stolen, the fellow, along with some accomplices, then kidnaps the kid at gunpoint, takes him in his car for a ride and kills him.

Deontae's body is later found and at least two of the criminals involved is arrested in Toledo, Ohio.

The Detroit Free Press: Petty crime, deadly penalty for 13-year-old Detroit boy

The Detroit News: Suspect in Detroit teen’s death remains in Toledo jail

There's plenty of failure on multiple levels and wrongdoing to go around on this one.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Flying Lesson #53 - More Slips and Flapless Landings

Not a bad lesson, and I learned lots. Today was an all pattern day, complete with a shifty and gusting cross-wind.

I did more work on forward slips to landing with a crosswind. Most were good, but I had one with a lousy setup into the slip where I was descending too fast necessitating a go-round, but otherwise they were ok. Not sure I'm completely comfortable with it yet nor ready to do this maneuver solo as it just still feels weird and the landing sight picture feels really off even when its actually perfect.

Ray also demonstrated that you can land a Cessna 172 without flaps and without using a forward slip, and that you can stop it without brakes. Basically he controlled descent speed only via trim, pitch and power and did a perfect landing without any flaps, and then used aerodynamic braking to bring the plane to a halt without touching the brakes.

He thinks I'm feeling a bit off as I'm used to flaps and need to get used to the idea of both not using flaps and heavily cross-controlling an airplane after plenty of hours where the lesson has been drilled into me to not to cross-control the plane.

So, not a breakthrough lesson by any means, just more slogging forward, but it's coming along and I still have lots to work on.

That's another 1.2 hours and 11 more landings.