Sunday, April 30, 2017

Home Again

After many adventures on Sunday, including the Case of the Missing Leg, I have made it back home safe and sound.

It was one heckuva great trip and a great time together with some fantastic bloggers.

Much blogging on the NRAAM to come, including my meeting some of the legendary and current role models of the shooting world.

Many thanks to the NRA's media relations people who treated all of us wonderfully, and to all the exhibitors who tirelessly spoke with us along with thousands of other people and promoted their products and gave lots of interesting information.

NRAAM Day 3 - Sunday Morning

Pretty quiet this morning up at the Press room.

We ran into a Bloomberg Mommy last night at the hotel who ran away at light speed from Murph when he politely asked her if she was here for the protest. Do check out his blog soon for the Kodak moment.

"Protest what protest?" she says, while running away wearing the Mom red-shirt.

I daresay their wearing a red shirt is kind of a bad color choice when you think about it. . .

Well, the floor just opened up and I'm going to head on down and see what can be seen.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

NRAAM Day 2 - A Quiet Moment With The CEO Of Gemtech

Gemtech is a maker of some very fine suppressors, indulging my Outback II.

We saw and got to handle an AR15 with the Integra 5.56 installed.

Watching the video its a darn quiet suppressor for a 5.56 that reduced the decibel level to about that of an air rifle whichever is pretty darn useful for protecting your hearing and the suppressor on a 10 inch barrelled AR makes it a pretty compact package.

I saw one of their Patrolman silencers on a Tavor X95 that gave me a serious case of the wantsies.

Murph, Mr. Garibaldi and I had a good chat with the CEO of Gemtech, Ronald Martinez. He gave us a lot of info regarding Gemtech's products but also what he's been hearing about the Hearing Protection Act. He anticipates that the Hearing Protection Act will not pass this year, mainly due to a lack of votes in the Senate.

For the Mosin Nagant owner that has everything, Gemtech has got a silencer for you:

NRAAM Day 2 - Henry Arms

Henry Repeating Arms had many a fine lever gun on display here at the show.

The actions on these lever guns are very, very smooth and that 16 inch barrel makes it a but more versatile than the typical longer barrel lever action.

They had a very cool looking and nice handling .44 Magnum with a 16 inch barrel. They also have it in .357 and .41 Magnum - talk about a quick handling, light, and handy rifle for camping in the woods. Kinda have the wantsies for one in .44 Magnum.

NRAAM Day 2 - IMI Ammunition

Israel Military Industries Systems manufactures some of the world's best ammunition.

Great quality ammo. I've just picked up some IMI 77 grain SMK razor core ammunition that I'll be testing and will blog about it here.

You certainly can't go wrong using IMI Ammunition.

NRAAM Day 2 - Springfield's XD-E

I got to handle Springfield Armory's new XD-E.

Overall impressions - its a nice, thin, and small hammer-fired pistol about Walther PPS in shape and size and quite similar in overall size to the Glock 43.

The double action of the XD-E is decent and the single action is similarly not bad. Reset feels decent when dry firing it. The ambidextrous magazine release with a matching button on both sides is a pretty neat trick.

For people wanting to appendix (or otherwise) carry a small firearm with a hammer for safety while holstering it may just be an ideal solution.

NRAAM Day 2 - Old NFO's Rifle

There's a large crowd on the exhibition hall floor. Lots of things to see as you make your way through.

One of the first things Murphy and I found was the first rifle issued to OldNFO when he joined the Navy:


So we're here waiting for the convention floor to open.

Large crowd as usual and as usual it is both polite and well behaved.

Talking to a police officer yesterday, he noted this crowd is the most polite and friendly he's seen at a convention. He also stated the usual bad guys downtown have decided to take the day off.

Expect to see yet another statistically significant dip in crime coinciding with a city hosting the NRA Annual Meeting.

Friday, April 28, 2017

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Judge Dietz on Attorney Ethics

Judge Dietz of the North Carolina Court of Appeals spoke about legal ethics and ethical pitfalls.

I now that many people don't think the words ethics and lawyers should even be spoken in the same sentence, but we good lawyers do indeed have ethics and have to hew to the ethical rules of our profession.

He had argued the Abramski v US case among others.

He began his presentation by having the attendees go over some hypothetical ethics scenarios - one of which makes me glad I'm not in a large law firm any longer.

A good review of ethical rules, many of which are not considered by attorneys in day to day activities. One of the biggest malpractice pitfalls has to do with appeals and attorneys need to be very careful about the appellate filing deadline and notifying the client of same even if you have already stated you would not represent them during an appeal.

Certainly lots of good food for thought about multiple scenarios that an attorney can encounter and learn to either handle in the proper manner or avoid outright.

Judge Dietz is an excellent and engaging speaker in perhaps the hardest slot of a seminar (the slot right after lunch is the second hardest) - right at the end before the cocktail reception.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - James P. Vann Of The ATF Speaks

Entering the (friendly) Lion's Den, Attorney James Vann of ATF gave a rather humorous opening.

He deals with both regulatory and criminal issues at ATF.

First, he discussed recent changes to Form 4473 as of January 16, 2017 - currently 6 pages and they're rapidly running out of space on the form and may got to an 8 page form if new things are added. The form has to be filled out at place of business or at a qualifying gun show.

Interestingly enough, the new form now asks for sex rather than gender so ATF doesn't need nor wants to get into gender-fluid issues.

Now for race and ethnicity you're allowed to check multiple boxes based on whatever you are and it would not be a reason to revoke the dealers license.

He also identified the change that the box specifically prohibiting marijuana use was added to clarify that even if state has licensed its use the Feds still have it as a prohibiting condition. Part of this was due to people trying to use Medical Marijuana cards as an ID for purchasing a firearm.

He noted that legally admitted aliens of certain categories with a hunting license can indeed purchase firearms.

He also went into the new procedure for FFLs to facilitate private party NICS checks and some pitfalls including when a dealer would need to log in the gun to the dealers books if there's a delay or a denial where the Dealer has taken possession of the firearm.

He took what could have been a dry as toast topic and made it rather engaging and provided lots of good information to help advise FFL dealers regarding the new forms. In short an FFL facilitating a private party sale by doing a background check for the private parties will be setting themselves up for multiple pitfalls and liability exposure as a result.

If the dealer uses electronic records then all A&D books must be electronic and the server must be a US based server and the info must be backed up.

He also reported there's a significant uptick in burglaries of FFLs and suggested dealers keep a good inventory so they can know what is taken.

A rather useful presentation with good information to convey to FFLs.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Christopher Zeeland on Firearms Legislation

Always a great speaker (and nice guy as well) Chris Zeeland presented on new federal and state laws.

Now with a new administration and a new outlook there's some new bills making their way through Congress and its certainly a brighter day than under the Obama administration for gun owners.

A repeal of Obama-era Social Security Gun Ban - He went over how we got to Obama's Social Security gun ban based on ATF broadly construing what it means for someone being adjudicated as mentally defective and its reversal. Prior to Obama the Social Security Administration had never reported to NICS and added new categories of persons to be reported as prohibited persons even those not found to be dangers to themselves or others and those sent would list such impairments that included such impairments as memory loss or decreased energy or even inflated feelings of self-esteem. Combine that with a lack of due process and it was a rather ugly ban. Especially so when they admitted 75,000 people per year would be reported and lose their Second Amendment rights who were not a danger to themselves or others. In short it would be a case of receive SDI and lose your Second Amendment rights. Congress can reject an agency rule by a resolution and House Resolution 40 became law on February 2017 and ended this ban.

He also covered the VA's competency determinations,

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act HR38 - 11 states do not recognize permits from other states and generally are May-Issue states that are restrictive on exercising Second Amendment rights.

Both proposed bills only apply to non-federally prohibited persons, have valid photo id and licensed or otherwise lawfully entitled to carry a concealed handgun, which covers constitutional carry states and Vermont, allows for non-resident carry permits and can carry under that state's laws and comply with that states restrictions on locations and prohibited places.

The bill cites Second Amendment and uses the Commerce Clause as jurisdictional hooks, the same jurisdictional hook underlying most of federal gun control laws which is a rather elegant approach.

Smartly the law provides enforcement mechanisms and protections for out of state carriers from unfriendly locals and it is not an affirmative defense but a direct defense which is a very good thing from a legal standpoint.

Hearing Protection Act of 2017 - Would remove suppressors from NFA and treat them as regular firearms under the Gun Control Act including NICS check and prohibited persons would still be banned from using them.Also proposed is a tax refund for purchases after a certain date to prevent purchases form being frozen until we see if the law passes or not.

He did state there are some definite roadblocks to passage such as the filibuster, competing interest groups, as well as a hardening of partisan attitudes about guns and of course fake news from both the Left and Right. In short, the situation is not dire, but its not a walkover either.

I'd say keep he pressure on your reps, Senators and President Trump to get these passed.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Matthew Bergstrom On Firearms Law Practice

Matthew Bergstrom gave a good presentation of Firearms Law practice development and management.

He noted there's been flat growth in the legal profession and technological change and external competition from non-lawyers for legal services and client demands and the growth of limited scope legal services.

He noted that firearms law encompasses a wide body of legal topics including estate planning, business law and criminal law.

He also looked at marketing for firearms themed law firms which is rather helpful and had some good ideas in that area.

Overall a useful presentation.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Morgan Shields on Tax Exemptions

A good overview of tax exemption at the Federal level and how to apply it to firearms organizations including firearms organizations and gun clubs under 501(C) and (4).

501(c)(3) of course is the most desirable as not only is it tax exempt but the donors also receive a tax deduction on their donation.

Ms. Shields gave an excellent overview of the requirements for qualification including those for educational and charitable purposes that most firearms related organizations seeking to become a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization will be qualified.

She also gave an interesting analysis of both if and how much a 501(c)(3) can conduct lobbying activities.

She also covered 501(C)(4) organizations and the IRS has held that a gun range does qualify as a 501C4 social welfare organization based on certain qualifications. Still can do insubstantial political activities but could be taxed on those activities. Can also engage is lobbying as long as it is properly related to their purpose. 501(C)(4)process is generally easier than the 501(c)(3) process.

501(c)(7) organization is tax exemption for clubs and organizations such as private clubs and organizations for non-profit purpose such as for social activities. Nonmember income from the general public can cause issues as limited to 15% of income.

Certainly a useful and practical presentation for attorneys representing gun clubs and organizations.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Massad Ayoob

Always an excellent presenter, Massad Ayoob talked about self-defense cases that went wrong and how to avoid unjust verdicts in Self-Defense Shootings.

Ayoob went on to talk about how a perfectly appropriate act of self defense can lead to very bad results. Such as refusing to speak to police after a shooting to identify witnesses and evidence can lead from an exoneration from a good shoot to bad results - this can result in evidence and witnesses disappearing. How you do the talking matters of course.

Ayoob noted many Prosecutors lack a lot of training in self-defense law.

He gave several tips for attorneys including giving theory of the case at the beginning of trial to get the defendant's story out so the jury can consider your evidence while the prosecution is presenting their case. He noted the action/reaction time can lead to issues and can be explained to a jury. A quarter turn takes a quarter second and a half turn takes a half second which can show a how an attacker can hit hit in the back which is not within common knowledge. He noted a semi-auto in hands of an average person will fire 5 shots in a second and best normal unanticipated reaction time is at best .75 seconds.

He noted the self defense person should identify the attacker, identify evidence, witnesses, and only after that invoke the right to counsel.

Noted that if a person fled the scene it creates a definite problem and suggested to have an expert show it was traumatic and caused them to have to flee to safety.

He noted self defense is very much an affirmative defense and lawyers need to be aware of that and be prepared to have the person testify in their own defense.

He noted self-defense lawyers will need to engage with the media, especially in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman and Ferguson cases, and will need to get ahead of the narrative.

He stated many criminals on heroin and other drugs will not feel being shot and multiple shots will be needed - for example one criminal was hit with multiple 9mm hits as well as two 12 gauge shots and was still trying to shoot police at the time.

Much of the presentation is abbreviated and adapted from his excellent use of force classes - if you haven't taken a Massad Ayoob class and carry you owe it to yourself to do so.

An excellent and engaging presentation.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - James Vogts

Attorney Vogts has represented multiple dealers and manufacturers against claims for selling firearms or ammunition that were then used in a crime.

Suing of manufacturers came out of products liability and gun control attempts to sue the manufacturers to death by legal costs and anti-gun judges. He stated the Protection Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (PLCAA) passed in 2005 has provided broad immunity for manufacturers and sellers when criminals acquire them for unlawful purposes. This was done to prevent lawsuits and gun control by lawsuit by going after manufacturers for acts of criminals. Lawfully manufactured products that function as they were designed to function are not defective regardless of what the Plaintiffs including municipalities might say. But some courts are acting in ways to prevent the immunity granted by the law.

There are some exceptions to the immunity in PLCAA and are being used by Plaintiffs to attempt to sue manufacturers. Exceptions include
1. transfers made with knowledge that it would be used in a crime,
2. A Seller who acts in negligent entrustment or negligence per se against a dealer but the definition does not include a manufacturer.
3. No immunity for knowingly violating a federal or state statute applicable to the sale or maketing of firearms
4. an action for breach of contract or warranty
5. Defective design or manufacture but cannot be done if it was done as part of a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense.
6. No immunity for GCA or NFA act violations.

The 5th exception is important as causation is a threshold issue that allows for a summary judgment motion on such a claim. The exception to the exception is shown when there is a criminal or unauthorized use of the firearm. The Courts can dismiss cases when evidence that there was a volitional criminal act linked to the discharge of the firearm.

The third exception is another avenue where Courts are trying to see if it can be used as an exception to the immunity under PLCAA. Under Ileto v GLock the Ourt held the statutes that were applicable only to those statutes addressed to firearms.

City of New York v Beretta Court looked at whether the general nuisance statute would fit the exception but court rejected it and court then held applicable means statutes that clearly were meant to regulate the firearms industry and statutes of general applicability but the n expanded the predicate statute to go beyond those that only regulate firearms and added those that do not expressly regulate firearms but interestingly added those statutes that courts have applied to the sale of firearms.

He stated the new approach being sought by antis is a negligent entrustment theory and trying to widen it to encompass ordinary negligence.

In Philips v Lucky Gunner, Plaintiff claimed seller should have investigated purchaser before selling and court rightly held that is not part of duty of a seller and ultimate use of a chattel is outside of a seller's control. Otherwise would create limitless liability so the reasonable cause standard helps to protect the seller of a lawful good. Anti-gunners keep trying to have ordinary negligence standard applied as an exception to the PLCAA to attack reasonableness of selling firearms and ammunition at all. An ordinary care standard should not be part of a negligent entrustment case.

A very useful presentation on the subject and current direction where anti-gunners have been trying to twist the law to their ends.

20th Annual Firearms Seminar - Prof. Nelson Lund

Professor Lund gave a constitutional overview of the Second Amendment.

He went over the 5 methods of understanding the Second Amendment

1. Original Meaning - Amendment meant to protect an individual right to arms for self-defense. Basically people assumed Feds could not regulate and states could do as they pleased. There's a lack of early historical guidance.

2. Reasonableness review - Since there's a lack of early historical guidance states can take a reasonable stance which often upholds any law as long as it does not completely destroy the right is ok.

3. Justice Breyer's dissent view - should be strict scrutiny with cost-benefit analysis thus creating an intermediate scrutiny review. This sort of review makes it hard to distinguish it from a rational basis review where the law is almost always upheld

4. Scalia's review - Presented as an originalist view but doesn't present an originalist view as dies not look at the scope of the right to keep and bear arms. Scalia rests opinion on popularity of handguns and that it is reasonable for handguns to be popular and makes it resting on a 5-4 decision and dicta that approves of various bans.

5. Normal jurisprudence - Treating Second Amendment like any other fundamental right. As Judge Sykes in 7th Circuit City of Chicago case, Broadly prohibitory laws are categorically impermissible, some laws may be permissible, all other laws subjected to scrutiny where government bears burden and depending on closeness of the law to the core of the right it may or may not be obtained and government's justifications must be scrutinized.

Lower Courts have unanimously upheld may issue standard and onerous burdens that makes the right to bear arms a nullity.

He noted that most on the Supreme Court are fine with treating the Supreme Court and only three may be treating it seriously even counting Gorsuch among the three.

Prof. Lund noted that both Progressive and many Conservative elites (Such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer) are against citizen ownership of firearms and gin control is an important agenda item for the Democrat Party. He noted Heller and MacDonald are small steps toward protecting the Second Amendment and still could be reversed with a single anti appointment to the Supreme Court.

He stated there needs to be a Liberal (in the original sense of the term) principled defense of the Second Amendment based on Locke and Blackstone. He noted it is to protect ones own life and liberty or to prevent despotism.

He stated the 18th century militia idea is no longer effective but that on an individual basis the teaching of firearms usage would be to foster a sense of self reliance and efficacy for free citizens and enhance their defense and safety in an age of crime and terrorism.

He stated gun control laws have been found to be ineffective failures and are propounded by the elites with armed bodyguards are busy looking down and advocating the disarmament of the normal citizenry.

He stated that much of gun control is based on magical thinking and the assumed power of gun free zones which are ineffective except for criminals using them for easy access to unarmed victims.

He stated infringements of the right of self defense harms the core value of the American Republican Spirit and the basis for our institutions and fundamental liberty. He stated conservatives, including conservative intellectuals, need to be more supportive of the Second Amendment as an individual right as part of republican virtues and the underpinnings of the Republic.

20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar - Stephen Holbrook

The NRA's excellent Annual Firearms Law seminar has been held for 20 years now, helping to educate attorneys (and its open to the public) about firearms law matters.

Stephen Holbrook spoke on Second Amendment Litigation: Ongoing Challenges.

Holbrook is a brilliant lawyer and prolific writer on Second Amendment matters. He gave a quick summary of how we've gone from a judiciary taking a collective rights view to the individual right affirmed in Heller in 2008. That it was 5-4 decision shows how close it was. He noted that Justice Ginsburg and the now retired Justice Stephens still want Heller to be overturned.

Then he summarized Macdonald case applying the 2nd Amendment to the states through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment and it is not second class right.

Opponents claim its a dangerous right but so is the First and Fourth Amendments.

He stated the lower courts have been engaged in active resistance against the Supreme Court's decisions and not use normal jurisprudence review and application when dealing with firearms rights but instead have sought any rationale to maintain anti-gun laws.

He noted the cases now are coming from gun unfriendly states such as New York and elsewhere where the judges in those circuits are used to restrictions and the banning of firearms and against a firearms culture.

He noted that DC is still very much against individual ownership and have been placing as many hurdles in place as possible such as registration that must be renewed every three years and no more than one a month may be registered - ostensibly to stop illegal gun traffickers from registering too many firearms they illegally traffic in - yes that doesn't make any sense but that is the rationale they gave.

On the assault weapons ban decision the court ignored sworn testimony and instead went with the Brady Campaign's unsworn testimony that assault weapons are designed to be fired from the hip based on the pistol grip even though all the sworn testimony was contrary to that and then other courts are following along with that ridiculous testimony as established fact. Gun-unfriendly courts have since been dodging the Supreme Court's lawful and common usage test. Intermediate scrutiny have been used to weaken the Supreme Court's ruling.

In Colby case in Maryland the Appellate court ordered them to apply strict scrutiny but then noted that civilian rifles not used by any military in the world can be banned because they're for military use. He noted there's no real basis for the characteristic test, but the Judges are still applying the tests that don't make any rational sense.

Mr. Holbrook noted the death of Scalia caused a serious imbalance on the court that has slowed down pro-firearms cases as it has been too risky to bring them to the Court.

Maryland Supreme Court and 4th Circuit in their decisions have basically stated that there's no right to bear arms outside the home unless the government says you may and they won't change their decision unless the Supreme Court directly instructs them otherwise all upheld on the basis of intermediate scrutiny.

He noted there's some positive areas coming forward on Federal disabilities such as the lifetimes ban on owning firearms if you've even been committed to a mental institution ever in their lives. Noted a person committed for a few days thirty years ago in the midst of an ugly divorce was banned from owning guns forever and 6th Circuit noted you cannot be banned for life unless you're an actual danger to yourself or others.

He noted multiple firearms cases have had cert denied since Heller and Macdonald. San Francisco law held could only have a loaded firearm in the home if it was on your person, 9th circuit upheld and the Supreme Court denied cert and Thomas and Scalia dissented from the denial.

Then the 7th Circuit upheld Highland Park's ban based on it made people feel better than the ban was in place but cert was again denied Thomas and Scalia again dissented from the denial. Then after Scalia died in the case of Catano v. Massachusetts the Supreme Court then remanded it to reconsider but Thomas and Alito both said should have reversed as the law was unconstitutional on its face and while charges were dropped the prohibition law is still on the books.

He noted Garland likely would not have been good for firearms rights based on past performance.

He noted that Gorsuch's past decisions including his criticism of Chevron deference and his opinions on other Second Amendment decisions are very good signs for firearms rights.

As always he gave an excellent and informative presentation.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

On The Way To NRAAM

Just cleared security and probulation at DTW on the way to Atlanta.

I got a nice TSA massage of my right leg for some unknown reason as the porn scanner seems to be ringing everyone in that line.

Next time I might just appropriate me some Scottish heritage and go full tilt kilt to really enjoy the experience.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Would Not Have Believed It Had I Not Seen It Myself

I went to the Post Office by Costco today to get some responses out by mail in a timely fashion.

On leaving the Post Office I got to see quite a sight.

Two ladies in their cars, from opposite sides of a row in the parking lot managed to each reverse right into each other.

It looked like something out of bumper cards.

No serious damage to either car, and they then went on their merry way, hopefully more alert and aware than before.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Flying Lesson #117 - Stage Check I Part II

So I arrived at DCT on another pleasant day but with building winds.

Winds were initially 10-12 knots from 180 then through the flight swinging and blowing 10-15 from 140-150.

I pre-flighted N1689H and meetup with Marcus who would be doing my stage check.

Startup and run-up were fine and I did a nice crosswind takeoff. We flew out to the northeast and then he had me do slow-flight, power off and power on stalls and steep turns.

My slow flight was quite nice today - held the altitude pretty much, got back some in a climb when I lost a bit, did the turns and had no issues.

Power off stall was fine but he wanted me to do it again to a full stall rather than the buffet, so I did.

Power on stall he wanted done at full power which I did and the power on stall in an Archer is practically a non-event, no snap like on a 172.

Then I did steep turns and they were better and he gave me a nice pointer to improve them a bit.

He then cut the throttle and said your engine just quit what do you do? So I set best glide, looked for a decent field and stating a spiral approach and restart flow and he was happy with that.

Overall I'm certainly more comfortable with the aircraft at this point.

Then I flew us back to Pontiac and we did a normal crosswind landing that I handled quite nicely.

Then on the next short final, he had me do a go-around just before I touched down, which I did fine.

On the next one he had me do a power off 180 which I had not done mby myself before. You get to the end of the runway on the downwind, chop the throttle and don't open it up again. Then you turn in towards the runway and using your best glide speed get there and then pop in your flaps when the runway is made and land accordingly. Quite fun and I did it well enough that he was quite satisfied with my performance.

Then we finished up with a couple more patterns and landings, and that was the stage check and he let me know I passed. I still need to work on my steep turns and crosswind landings a bit s he could tell that while I did them i didn't like them much, but apparently I'm good to go on.

1.6 and 4 landings.

Now where did I put that Hachimaki?....

Monday, April 24, 2017

A List Of Things I Promise Not to Do If I Ever Get My Solo Endorsement

Yes, I've come up with a Top 10 List Of Things I Promise Not to Do If I Ever Get My Solo Endorsement:

1. I will not put on a Hachimaki and yell “Tenno Heika Banzai!” when starting up the plane. (Yes, I have actually thought about doing this .....)
2. I will not radio the tower and request a flyby.
3. I will not then buzz the tower with a flyby after they deny me the permission that I didn't ask for by radio above.
4. I will not land on the taxiway (Sorry Han).
5. I will not say to myself after departure: "Now take me to Cuba!".
6. I will not say on getting the endorsement "I'm going to just go take it out for a spin".
7. I will not land the plane with no crosswind correction with a 17 knot crosswind just to see if the POH is right that the plane can take it without damage.
8. I will not take off using left rudder instead of right rudder just for variety.
9. I will not request a takeoff clearance with: "Archer N1689H call sign Sterling, ready to go on a rampage."
10. Finally, I promise not to radio "Hey, y'all watch this!", especially right after putting on a Hachimaki.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why My Learning To Fly Is Like The Third Man

Yes, my flying experience so far is indeed like the famous spy Harry Lime, the Third Man.

How so you ask? Well let me tell you a little known tale about Harry Lime.

What few people knew is that during the war Henry Lime was secretly pulled from a mission where he was deep undercover and taken by a British submarine to the US for a vital eye operation from a famous eye surgeon at Walter Reed Hospital.

After the surgery he had to recover, but the recovery started to take quite a long time, longer than the submarine commander expected.

Indeed the submarine commander surmised, and quite rightly so, that Lime instead of going to the hospital for his checkups was instead enjoying the local nightlife and local women a bit too much.

Finally the commander had had enough, especially upon seeing Lime all bedraggled after a late night bit of carousing and so he ordered:

"I want you gone straight from the Sub Lime, to the Reed oculist!"

Just like the Third Man, my flying sure as heck has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, and so there you have it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Flying Lesson #116 - More Crosswind Patterns

No stage check for me today.

I turned in my written pre-solo test and then went up with Ray in N1869H.

It was at least a bright sunny day, but the winds were from 030 to 060 and blowing from 8-16 knots so I kinda knew at the outset they wouldn't let me solo in those conditions.

With that happy thought in mind I did the preflight. Ray said he was just going to act as a passenger and I would do everything.

So I did. He didn't need to take the controls at any time in the lesson, but did want a bit more right rudder on a few of the landings while I was slipping it in during a gust or two.

Overall it was fine, landings were decent enough, though some a bit flat-ish, one a bit of a bounce as a gust caught and lifted us the moment right before touchdown and I handled it correctly. A few good landings as well.

Some fun around the pattern as a Super Cub showed off a bit and had fun doing so, and quite a few planes were flitting in and out but no issues and the tower did a great job perfectly spacing everyone.

I got to do another intersection takeoff which is fun.

We finished up and he said I did fine and my crosswind correction was very good and just needed a bit more right rudder on a couple of them. We went over the pattern procedures a bit as he wanted me to tune a few things up and he figures the next hop will be the flying stage check followed by the final checkout and solo - stay tuned but don't get your hopes up any.

1.7 and 10 landings.

Friday, April 21, 2017

JAFGS - Stage Check Part 1

So I had the oral portion of my pre-solo stage check today. Weather was sucky for flying anyways.

As is their procedure a different instructor, Tiffany, an CFII who I've never met before conducted the test. To say I aced it would be an understatement.

It ended with her telling the chief flight instructor that I had not just passed the stage check but that I'd pass the check-ride oral based on that performance. So I've got that going for me I suppose, which is nice.

Next is an in-flight stage check, which Tiffany will likely also conduct and if I pass that I get to be signed off to solo. Again. Finally.

But before I do that, I have to do and submit another pre-solo written test. 53 questions on 6 pages that need to be answered 100% correctly. They just do not get less tedious the second time around.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Well That Tire Sure Was Screwed

Picking Abby up from an activity yesterday after work. I park and go get her, we walk back to the car and she tells me the back passenger tire is hissing.

Sure enough there's a very audible hiss coming from the tire.

Ruh Roh.

So it's 8.6 miles to the nearest tire place on a rapidly leaking tire.
In the rain.
In rush hour.
And we're wearing sunglasses.

Hit it.

Sure enough, almost immediately after we start moving, the tire pressure light comes on, telling me what I already know. Great.

So we call ahead and zip through late rush hour traffic, including people that can't drive because it's raining, and make it over to Costco and manage to make it to the tire center while its still open on one very soft tire.

An hour and a half later, after having a bite at Costco and doing some needed shopping, the tire is perfectly patched, refilled, and a very long screw is removed from it and the other tires are all checked and topped off.

All covered by Costco's tire warranty and service policy, which is amazing considering it's not the tire's fault, and we're good to go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

P30 Hits 2,000 Flawless Rounds

Today was a beautiful day.

I had a client I had to see in the morning that just happened to be near the range. I then had a happy idea. Why not go to the range after taking care of the client?

And so I did.

I brought the P30 and the P30Sk along with me. I then shot the plate rack. I started with 15 rounds with two hands to warm up and then decided to work on my one handed shooting, which sure as heck needed some practice. I shot the remaining 135 rounds either strong hand only or weak hand only, with the bulk of it weak hand only as I clearly shot worse with only my weak hand.

100 rounds of Winchester White Box and 50 rounds of Sellier and Bellot 9mm, later the P30 was through its course and had shot 2,000 rounds without a single failure of any kind.

The feed ramp certainly shows the usage:


That's a lot of gunk on there.

Overall though the P30 looks like it could take another 2,000 without missing a beat.

There's some visible wear at the front of the forward slide serrations on the slide, and the barrel has some definite wear marks on the finish but no other wear, aside frrm the layer of gunk inside the gun, is apparent.

2,000 rounds with no failures of any kind. I rather like this firearm quite a bit. I'd say the 2,000 rounds made me quite familiar with shooting it and made me a better shooter as a result.

I'll be giving the P30 a well-deserved cleaning it tonight.

Meanwhile, the P30SK shot 50 flawless rounds of Federal 9mm 115gr (yes I checked the box this time and there were no upside-down primers. So that's 350 now through the P30SK with one FTF (#22), with the FTF not due to the firearm.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Range Trip - P30 At 1,850, P30SK At 300, A CETME That's Not-For-Me, And The M&P 22 Gets A Name.

Yesterday in the late morning the family headed towards the west.

Natasha and Abby headed to a nature trail for a hike and I took Leah to the range and afterwards we met up and had lunch at the nature trail.

Leah got to try the M&P 22, the P30 and P30SK.

She immediately announced the .22 Compact with silencer upon shooting it was now her "Quiet Pal" and thus it got a name.

She was hitting steel plates and poppers with it quite well indeed and really had a good time shooting it.

Leah found the P30Sk and pronounced it cute. I figured if we could induce a failure, having a ten year old shoot the P30 and P30SK should do it. Nope, no failures. However, the LEM trigger system was clearly hard for her to use and she was dropping her shots significantly with both of them and you could see her dip the muzzle as she squeezed the trigger. We worked on it and I then stood behind her, had her aim and I helped her with squeezing the trigger with my finger covering hers and she got it and started no longer dipping the muzzle as she shot but decided she wanted to go back to her Quiet Pal as it was more fun for her and easier for her to shoot.

I shot the P30 and P30SK with both hands, with strong hand only, weak hand only (still needs work but its getting better), and on one string with a P30 in the left hand and the P30Sk in the right hand just to alternate one by one hitting plates and poppers which Leah pronounced quite cool. The technique is a good way to impress your kid, but of little to no practical value.

I also had a friend's Century Arms CETME, one of the older ones, not the newer C308s at the range.

He hadn't fired it before and asked me to take it out to the range and try it as he had never fired it.

How could I say no to such a nice request? Overall it looked good.

It feels pretty decent, has a nice heft and the ergonomics were not bad and it felt rather comfortable to hold and it lined up easily enough on target. When it came to shooting it however....

First, the G3 magazines he had with it would not lock into the gun, an apparently known issue with Century CETMEs. I inserted the mini five rounder that had come with the gun and loaded it with five rounds and inserted it into the mag well with a healthy click and it was seated.

I then chambered a round, no problem. Firing it was fun, the first round fired just fine and recoil was minimal for a 308 rifle. I then lined up the sights pulled the trigger and click. The magazine had unseated when firing the first round. I re-seated it tugged on it to make sure it was locked in which it was, chambered a round, fired and the same thing happened. All five rounds every shot the magazine would drop out just enough to not chamber the next round. Finally I held it in place with my off hand to shoot. A nice gun but this one certainly has issues. I'd probably get one of the PTRs if I ever want a G3 clone, and I just might as even this one fit nicely.

That's 1,850 through the P30 with zero failures of any kind and no cleaning, and 300 through the P30SK with one FTF (#22), not due to the firearm.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

To all my Christian Readers out there, have a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Flying Lesson #115 - A Short Hop In The Wind

This morning started out rainy and cloudy. Then it cleared up and became sunny and warm by about 10. So of course we can't have good conditions for flying so by the time of my lesson at 2pm the winds had picked up, a lot.

Starting at 20 knots at 240 it wasn't terrible for flying from 27R in N6288J. So I took off with a fair bit of crosswind correction and had to crab down the runway.

I then did the first pattern ok but with a fair bit of gusting and bumbpy winds and more crabbing. I only used 25 degree flaps leaving the third notch out due to the winds and did a pretty decent side slip to land.

Did I mention he had all the instruments except the Altimeter and Tachometer covered again? Well, he did. I can now takeoff, fly, and land perfectly well without them.

Then on the next one the winds kicked up more and when I hit short final I really didn't like the setup and the sudden massive push of wind so i told the instructor I was going around and did so. He said that was a good decision.

On the third pattern I again handled it well with winds up to 20-30 around 260. Did a good landing and a sudden gust pushed us up during the flare but I handled it ok.

Tower asked me to exit at Whiskey and I got to say "Unable Whiskey, I'll get the next exit off" considering the wind and speed it wouldn't have been safe to slam the breaks and do a sharp turn that would have been needed to make an exit onto Whiskey taxiway. Besides, it's Passover so no Whiskey for me right now. Ray was apparently pretty impressed that I said that to the tower all on my own, apparently showing even more good airman-ship and judgment. This and $1.50 might get me a cup of coffee.

Ray said that while I was surviving fine, the conditions weren't conducive to learning so we called it.So terminated with Tower, went to Ground and headed back to DCT.

Then we went in and did some ground, reviewed aircraft maintenance logs, talked about precision power off landings and emergency landings and I got quizzed on vartious aircraft systems, what I would do in case of an electrical, or a vacuum pump, or a pitot-static system failure etc and yes I knew the answers.

Apparently I have to do another pre-solo written test and a stage check before I can be signed off to solo so likely a couple more lessons before that happens as I need to meet their procedures, etc. He now wants every landing to be within 200 feet of the numbers (obviously on the runway side rather than in front of them).

.5 and two landings.

Today's A Smoking Day: Brisket

The day started out raining.

I prepped a nice 8 pound Brisket last night, giving it a nice scoring and application of a good spice rub, then into the fridge it went.

Then I fired up the smoker this morning, in the rain, using the hickory wood from Eaton Rapids Joe for the first time.

Once it was going nicely I added, the brisket and closed it up to smoke, and the fresh-cut hickory smoke smelled great.


After a few hours I checked and added more water to the pan, more charcoal and more of that great hickory wood, here''s how it looked before more was added:

Checking the brisket during the refueling shows it's enjoying the smoke quite a bit. It already smells great, but it's hours away from being done.

This brisket is on its way to coming out nicely. We'll see how it does for dinner tonight.

And it came out great, tender with a nice smoky flavor.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Matzah Brei, It's What's For Passover Breakfast

So we're about halfway into the festival and celebration of Passover, which means among other things, no bread, no beer, and no whisky until Tuesday night.

So instead of French Toast, this morning I got up early before work, and as the kids have the day off from school as its Good Friday and decided to make them a special breakfast.

Matzah Brei is what French Toast would be when you substitute matzah for bread.

It's very easy to make.

Step one: Get Matzah, about one sheet per person or more if you know they'll be hungry.

Step two: Break up Matzah into chunks and put in bowl. Vary the sizes for a better texture later, not too big though. Then beat some eggs, one per sheet of matzoh in a separate bowl, add a little salt to it and you can add pepper if you're looking for savory over sweet. Today the choice was for sweet.

Step three: Pour some hot water on the Matzah and leave for about 30 seconds. Then drain the water as completely as possible.

Step three: Add the eggs and mix together and let the eggs soak in a bit.

Step four: Fry in a hot pan with oil/butter until crispy. Don't let it burn though.

Step five: Serve with maple syrup -- real maple syrup -- not that fake stuff.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Flying Lesson #114 - Rain, Maneuvers And Nice Landings

For Lesson 114 today I was half expecting it to be JAFGS. Rain was coming down and it was pretty low overcast but still showing VFR.

Since they don't cancel for weather I drove over there and was happy to get the checkout book and key for N1869H from the receptionist.

I then met Marcus, who would be my instructor for the lesson and I headed out to preflight the plane.

No issues, but the starter is being a bit of a pain when you have to turn it to the right and at just the right time push the key in and hold it which annoys me every damn time as it's kinda fussy.

Other than that, startup was fine, taxi and run-up were fine and he seemed impressed at how smooth I was doing things.

Takeoff was good from 9L and winds at 7 knots from 110 so there was practically no crosswind, and we headed to the northeast.

As we did so we left the happy visibility hole of Pontiac and the rain was constant and the ceiling around 3,500. So we stayed below that, got about 9 miles form Pontiac's airspace and started practicing maneuvers as clouds were below 3,000 in every direction after that.

Slow flight was good and he showed me a few things to watch to improve it. Power off stall was good. Power on stalls he wanted full power once takeoff speed was hit and really crank back far and quickly - with no real horizon due to the clouds/haze this was kinda interesting as it felt the plane was heading straight up before it finally would stall. Overall not bad though.

Then we headed back to Pontiac to do some patterns and I did them quite well. Then we did short field takeoffs (overall quite good, just need to hold Vy (76 knots) after clearing the obstacle at Vx (64 knots)) and landings and I'm finding that landing an Archer on a short field is either a lot easier than a 172 or I'm actually improving at this, or something, as I did it with no serious problems all by my happy self and Marcus thought I did it very well indeed.

Then on to a soft field takeoff which was good enough but I think could use a little more polish, and a soft field landing that he said was great.

Marcus after I finished the soft field landing said "Well we just have to finish polishing you up just a little bit, I expect a couple more lessons setup as mock check-rides with some emergency maneuvers, cleanup your power on stall a bit, and you'll be ready to be signed off and go.

Says I: "Great, but I kinda still need to get endorsed to solo in an Archer first".

Marcus: "Yes that would be required, I'll send an email to Ray that I think you're ready".

Wow, I might just be back to where I was last August and the status of "You're practically ready". Wheee!

I'd still say it was a very good lesson and I must be improving, as it felt rather good the entire time and I had it all down rather nicely.

That's 6 landings and 1.7 more hours on the clock.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Good Check To Run On Your Home Router

Wordfence offers a free scan utility for you to check if your home router has a vulnerable port open that could expose your network and allow the router to be hacked and used for attacks on other sites.

It's worth running the scan to be on the safe side, and its rather nice of Wordfence to provide it for free and get some awareness of the issue out there.

The P30SK - Rounds 1-200.

I had brought the P30Sk out to the range for the first time when Matt came to town.

The P30SK is the compact derivative of the P30, smaller in both the slide and grip, holding 10 rounds in its magazine versus the P30's 15.

The version I had purchased was the V1 LEM and came with night sites and three magazines. Priced decidedly lower than the P30, its a direct competitor to the M&P compacts, the Glock 26 and derivatives and so on.

It's slightly smaller in slide length than the M&P 40c that I own, and it does feel better in the hand grip wise.

So of course I decided to do the 2,000 round test.

I started with a 50-round box of Federal 9mm FMJ.

The first magazine went through perfectly, and the P30SK is a nice easy to shoot pistol and the short grip didn't really affect my shooting.

But on the second magazine - Round 22 Did not fire. With a pronounced click, nothing. Since this was the second magazine ever put through the gun that did not seem auspicious.

Ejecting the round, examining it immediately showed the cause of the stoppage.

Nope this is not the fault of the P30SK. Finishing the box of Federal gave no further problems and then it was on to a 100 round box of Winchester 9mm with no issues.

50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124gr then went through without a hiccup.

That's 200 rounds, with 1 stoppage not charged to the gun.

The P30Sk is very easy to both carry with the smaller grip making it easier to conceal, and control while shooting and the smaller grip made it only slightly less easy to shoot than the P30. It has the exact same triggger fel as the P30, same controls and form factor, albeit in a smaller package. No problem clearing the steel plates nor poppers with this at all.

In addition to the 10 round magazines it comes with, the P30SK can also take the P30's magazines as well as the USP Compact 13 round magazines.

So far 200 rounds in I do like it quite a bit.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Why Do Anti-Gun People Hate Women, Or So What Additional Law Would Have Stopped Him?

The scum that shot his wife, a teacher in San Bernadino yesterday along with hititng two students had prior convictions for domestic violence, drugs and weapons charges.

So, let's see how many laws he broke:

Federal felon/prohibited person in possession law, a felony.

Federal Gun Free School Zone Act - possession of a firearm in a school zone - a felony.

Federal Gun Free School Zone Act - discharging a firearm in a school zone - a felony.

California's felon with a firearm prohibition -Penal Code 29800 PC California's "felon with a firearm" law, another felony.

California's Gun Free School Zone Act - a felony.

California's carrying a loaded weapon in public statute - a felony as he had already committed a felony.

California's concealed carry law based on how he transported the firearm and then took it into the school - another felony violation.

Don't forget California's penalty for discharging a firearm in a Gun Free School Zone - another felony.

He also violated California's law against using a firearm against school employees, a wobbler but probably a felony in this case.

That's 9, count 'em, 9 felonies already and we haven't even looked at California ammunition transport statutes that he violated, nor likely his violating a PPO assuming she had one, nor the California assault with a type of handgun statute as I'm not sure what firearm he used, nor other firearms-related statutes that he violated. I have also not looked at the County Ordinances, nor of course have we added in the ultimate felony he committed - murder.

So anti-gunners, do tell what additional law would have stopped him from killing his estranged wife in a gun free zone?

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Flying Lesson #113 - Fun Finding An Archer's Crosswind Limit

I did the preflight and there was a brief pause as the instructor had to hunt down the missing key to the plane.

With that resolved, I used the re-discovered key to start up the pane and get rolling. I let Ray know that from this moment forward unless it's a safety issue where he needs to take it, I should do everything on the plane from setting the countdown timer for switching the tanks to the GPS to everything. Ray said that was fair. So I got everything underway and we got instructions to taxi to 27L via Uniform, this was a tad different as normally its to 27R all the time.

Interestingly enough, 27R was closed and as we crossed it on Uniform to get to 27L we could see why. A Bonanza with collapsed landing gear was lying sadly on 27R which was closed as the FAA was inspecting the crash so we got to use 27 Left, the big boy's happy runway, with a right pattern and yes there was lots of low level wind shear along with crosswinds galore. Some patterns got extended to handle the traffic coming in and out which was no problem. 27r also had a portable lighted flashing X setup at the end showing it was closed from the air.

Once I took off there was a whole lot of bouncing going on, a fair bit of effort to keep the left wing from coming up from the wind and rudder to keep the airplane along the centerline of the runway. Indeed, on one landing the bottom literally dropped out - the wind stopped and the plane landed and right quickly too.

Even with that I was actually feeling pretty good. Heck, if I'm going to be a flight student forever might as well enjoy the damn ride.

I decided that I was only going to be using the first two setting for flaps (10 and 25 degrees) and not using the 40 degree third position , but Ray did have me use it on one landing just to see how it felt, and the Archer's flaps certainly are less effective and not nearly as draggy as a 172s and the Archer still has more control even with full flaps.

Of course, Ray the instructor had to cover up the instruments in these conditions after a couple landings. Even with instruments covered I did some darn good crosswind landings including a nice greaser.

Verily, it was windy as you know what today, with gusts and wicked crosswind starting at 14-20 knots from 290 then from 220 @ 15-20 knots, and then settling on 190 @ 20-24 knots.

At 190 blowing @ 20-24 knots I found the actual crosswind limit on an Archer.

While the Archer's book crosswind is 17 knots, what that really means is you could theoretically land it with no crosswind correction and suffer no damage from side-loading the aircraft from not correcting for the crosswind. The usable crosswind limit is higher - basically it is when your rudder will no longer supply sufficient correction to keep the nose lined up straight on the runway as you have ailerons into the wind. That landing was a tad more exciting and solid but not bad.

Well, with winds at 190 with 20-24 knots for a crosswind factor of 19.7 to 23.6 that's as far as that Archer's rudder will go and the landing was kinda exciting. At that point discretion being the better part of valor and Ray called it while the plane remained unbent. Even bizjets were heavily crabbing into the wind and going wing down on landing at this point.

So we finish up keeping the crosswind correction in while taxiing, and taxied past the poor Bonanza and headed back to DCT. Ray said I handled the crosswinds very well and I just need to be careful not to put too much crosswind aileron in that I overrun the rudder - I'm a bit too used to the 172 in that regard but other than that he said I did great.

That's 6 landings and .9 hours of heavy crosswind fun.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Flying Lesson #112 - Round And Round The Pattern We Go

So today I had a lesson with the chief instructor at the flight school. A little intimidating, but hey, at least the sky was finally clear enough to fly even with a 8-10 knot direct crosswind.

I did the preflight and all was well, started it up, did the long taxi down to Runway 9L and got cleared to takeoff.

We did patterns and he was pretty picky about what he wanted and how I did things, which is good, and we worked on some areas where I was doing things not quite right to their spec, some of which is clearly due to previous instruction I had received. I'm now getting better at understanding reference points and doing a fair bit better at it.

Overall my landings were good, even as I dislike the 9L side of the field, but the 9L side didn't bother me too much this time. We had some fun in having to do a go round when another plane didn't clear off the runway and got to do intersection takeoffs (my first time getitng an intersection controller instruction - it led to some cool spacing and I think he was just having fun). We also got to land and takeoff on 9R, the big boy's fun runway. In addition we had to be cautious about wake turbulence from multiple Citation and LEar jets coming and going, and had a little rain wash the plane.

Apparently my procedures are very good, and my radio work is excellent, I just need to work on the overall reference and "feel" aspect of flying. So overall a productive lesson that increased my understanding and skills in some ways no idea if this actually gets me any closer or if I'm just spinning my hobbs meter.

1.6 and 8 more landings.

Oh, and for those keeping score at home, today I just hit exactly four, yes, 4, times the minimum hours, right on the nose, required to get a private pilot's license.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Another Trial, Another Pro-Per Defendant, Another Win.

Perfect trial record remains perfect.

The Judge should have begun today's court session with "Let the Perjury Begin".

The defendant didn't just take liberties with the truth, you might say he drove it like he stole it and then left the truth abandoned by the roadside somewhere far far away from the courtroom.

Won a judgment against him anyways.

There were times I badly wanted to use the My Cousin Vinny retort, but figured it would land me in contempt of court:

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Flying Lesson #111 - Steep Turns, Crosswinds and Patterns

Finally the overcast cleared, the rain ceased and this almost forgotten ball in the sky came out, just in time for my lesson.

I did the pre-flight by myself and then did an excellent start and run up flow. I've now gotten used to the idea of doing the flow first and then checking off the checklist rather than going through the checklist and doing the run-up actions line by line.

We then headed to the practice area and did maneuvers - slow flight, power off stalls, power on stalls (I still need to really yank it back to force a stall on the power on stalls) and steep turns. We worked a lot on the steep turns as on the left steep turn I kept losing 200+ feet of altitude which is unsatisfactory. By the time we were done I had it to losing only 40-80 feet which is within spec. Lot of it is where I'm looking, some of it is it still looks and fees different from what I'm used to but its getting better.

Then we headed back and did some pattern work with go-rounds. The wind was a direct 10-15 knot crosswind form 360 and we were either on 27L or 27R depending on traffic and it was getting busy. We would get almost to touchdown and then go around. I worked on the power and pitch feel and again the instruments were all covered.

It kept getting all sorts of busy with lots and lots of traffic so much so that on the last pattern they went dual towers.

It was so busy that on the last one we got an extended out downwind of about 6 miles to get a learjet in and some planes off before getting to come back in. This time I had everything lined up great, a nice crosswind correction micked in and came in for a beautiful landing, did a great roundout....and a gust of wind bounced us up. I held things in place and let it come back down without over-reacting and still made a damn nice landing which Ray said I did great on.

Ray said I'm coming along well and if I get this pitch power down andthe steep turns cleaned up a bit more he'll send me on the stage check so that I can then get checked off to solo. That's some progress towards getitng where I really should have already been anyways.

1.4 and one landing.