Friday, December 31, 2021

Well, I May Just Get An IFR Flight Test After All

Just found an examiner that has an opening, but not at Pontiac.  Would need to fly to him first.

Lots to arrange but this may just happen.

2021 New Year Resolutions - How They Went, How They're Going

Well, as 2021 draws to a close, let's see how close I got to meeting my 2021 New Year's Resolutions:

1.  Shoot More and Shoot Better: I resolve to take at least three shooting classes this year, and shoot in at least five USPSA matches.   I will also at least 3 times a week do a dryfire session. This should make me suck somewhat less as a shooter. Goal would be to be able to perform the brown belt level MSP standards on demand. Stretch goal would be to be able to perform the black belt level MSP standards on demand, which is pretty darn spicy for me right now.

Result: I took 4 classes this year (Dave Spaulding's  Adaptive Combat Pistol; MDFI Low Light Handgun; MDFI Foundation Carbine; MSP Red Dot Pistol;  and I did shoot in way more than 5 USPSA matches. I did improve and do shoot better than last year, so that's something.

But, I did not consistently practice dry-fire 3 times a week though. Did not get to the level of proficiency to be able to perform the black belt level MSP standards on demand or otherwise, though have occasionally had met the individual standards in practice, which doesn't count.

2. Fly More and Fly Better: I want to fly at least double the amount of hours I flew this year.  I also will earn my instrument rating.  Never hurts to be a more proficient and capable pilot and I need to fly more.

Result:  Did fly way more than double what I flew last year.  Highlight was taking youngest daughter to Mackinac Island which was awesome. I have definitely become a more proficient and capable pilot.

Did not earn my instrument rating in 2021. Grumble, grumble.

3. Stick with Jiu Jitsu and do Jiu Jitsu Better:  Do a minimum of three sessions per week.  Work on improving current techniques and learning new ones. Good for both physical fitness and overall well-being.

Result: Was pretty consistent going 3 times per week and occasionally more. Did improve existing techniques quite a bit, and learned quite a few new techniques. Did earn a stripe on the Blue Belt.

Overall Resolution Accomplishments: Not bad.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Scrod - Not Getting An IFR Examination Done Anytime Soon

There once was a man who flew in to Boston and wanted to have some of their famous tasty small cod, oft referred to as scrod.

So, leaving the airport he got in a taxi and asked the driver:

"Can you take me to where I can get scrod around here?"

The driver replied:   "Sure," said the cabdriver. "I know a few places and get asked that a lot... but I can tell you it's not often I hear someone use the past pluperfect subjunctive anymore!"

In short, I am now scrod. 

Hadn't heard from my primary instructor since December 10.  He's off doing charters for the company and apparently doesn't get or respond to texts etc while doing so as they oft go international this time of year.

All other instructors were stating I'm ready, but they couldn't and can't sign me off.

Finally still not hearing from my primary, I call the school today and talk to the head instructor after not hearing back from mine and she says I can book it now, but their preferred examiner is now not available until January 19 and others similarly won't be available given the time of year.

Well, great.  

Problem is, I have surgery set for January 13 (more on that upcoming fun later and the fun I've been having leading up to it) that will knock me off flying for at least 8 weeks at best and possibly longer.

Oh, and my flight review is due in March 2022, too.

So I'm ready now,  but will now have to spend a lot more time and money to retrain, and then get back up to proficiency after not flying for a few months to do the test. 

I'll have to keep studying ground stuff at the same intensity for even more months, including remembering the really important stuff like how the inside of an altimeter works and how to explain the electrical system of the plane down to the last resistor (yes, their preferred examiner really gets off on you having to explain the entire electrical diagram in the POH and correctly identifying all the unmarked electrical symbols on the diagram - for your IFR exam no less), and of course how to do the paper Nav performance and wind correction heading calculations that no one uses in real flying anymore.

I also now have to pay for and do a flight review (would have been automatic with a new rating, now I need to hire an instructor to get that done - potentially post-haste as it expires in March), and all that due to people not doing what they are supposed to do.  Really hate that.

Should simply tell myself there's no rush and I'll do it when I do it, and what's another additional unnecessary kilobuck, or two, or three, down the drain when dealing with flying, which is exactly what is now going to happen. 

But, I was sure as heck primed and ready now for both the ground and air portions. Drat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Not Flying - IFR Sim Ride

Met up tonight with Paul as my instructor.

Snow was coming down pretty good with low clouds so just as well that Kevin had arranged for it to be a simulator flight.

For relaxation time in Georgia, I had purchased and brought along and read the book Performance Pilot, a book mainly about the mental preparation game for flying with a heavy emphasis on chair flying and visualization. I had tried that out each night before going to sleep or before a nap, visualizing a perfect pre-flight; a perfect instrument scan;  a perfect approach; a perfect checkride flight sequence, etc.

It may very well have helped.

I did very well in the simulator, about the best I've ever done, as sensitive as it is.  Much more in control, with really good altitude and heading control even as sensitive as the simulator is.

First we did the Flint VOR 36 circle to 27 and I handled it well; then the Flint ILS 27, and the Flint RNAV 18.  Then Pontiac's RNAV 9, and then off to Troy for the RNAV 9 circle to 27, and back to Pontiac for the RNAV 27L.

Didn't screw up any sequences, settings, etc, and was ahead of the game on each approach.

Did them all well, even nailed the landing on the Flint VOR 36 circle to 27 and had everything under control nicely.

Felt pretty good,

Just need final clearance from Kevin and I can book the actual checkride.  We will see if I get it in time or not.

That's 1.9, 1.9 simulated instrument, 2 holds and 5 approaches

Time Not Well-Wasted - Covid Testing

Planning to go to Toronto for New Years to see the folks.  Mother-in-law due to the border closures has not seen the kids in person for 2 years now and wants them over for New Years.

But, in order to go to Canada, you need a PCR test within 72 hours of your visit there, even if you're vaccinated.

Yesterday not a single facility in the entire area was doing drop-in tests and all appointments were booked. The closest facility with any openings was Toledo, Ohio a solid hour drive away.

I managed to find a place doing tests today in a parking lot of a local synagogue.

Testing opened at 9, we got there at 8:40 to see a giant line up of cars.

Apparently, lots of people are both traveling thus needing a test, and per the testing nurses many more are now getting tested for Omicron because of all the fear-mongering about it. They're getting tested because in general you won't even know you'll have it as the symptoms match a cold, so if they have a cold, a lot of them fearfully line up to get tested.

Heck at this point, if you count died with Omicron the same as died from Omicron, then in the US, Omicron is currently tied with Alec Baldwin and Ted Kennedy for total number of kills.

3 hours later, we were done and tested, hopefully the results will be ready by our departure, but they might not be which will be an issue.

Great use of time.  I expect that testing line up cost the economy tens of thousands of dollars in lost time and productivity for all the workers in those cars.


Monday, December 27, 2021

Home Again

After Nashville, we headed south to visit Savannah, Georgia.

Having never been to Savannah before, it seemed like a good idea to go travel to a new location. We stayed on Tybee Island outside of the city proper but easy to get back and forth with an easy stroll to the beach.

The weather however was chilly in the 50s pretty much all week, only getting up to good Southern December weather in the high 60s- low70s on the last day of our trip.  

Made it home last night in 14 hours in nice clear road conditions and it was good we didn't stop on the way as this morning we woke up to a snowy slushy mixture on the ground and still coming down which will makes going into the office today later this morning for a meeting a real treat.

In short it was a great trip, and our last family December trip with two high-schoolers, with details and pictures to follow.

Friday, December 24, 2021

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Apparently Santa has had his flight exam:

He passed it successfully, even after losing an engine. 

He's now ready for his flight.

Santa's sleigh is confirmed to have functioning ADS-B and has a cleared flight plan. you can track him on call sign SANTA1 / Aircraft ID: R3DN053.

Have a Very Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and readers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Fedex Follies Yet Again

Had ordered some clothes items that were on on sale back on December 9.  I sadly did not realize it would be sent by the seller store via Fedex. Drat.

It was scheduled to be delivered December 15. As you may guess, the shipment hath not arrived.  Would've been nice to have before the trip to Nashville.

Indeed, the shipment hadn't even left California on December 15 and I only got a notice that it was delayed on December 17  - which I had already figured out by then. Verily, it had moved but a few miles from its origin point in all that time.  No worries though, there were many promises from Fedex that it was on its way. They were also offering a nice bridge in Brooklyn with those assurances.

It eventually reached Lake Orion Michigan on this Sunday.  

Ah, Lake Orion, the distribution center where all Fedex packages go to apparently get placed on a truck to be driven around for at least a week before being delivered.

Of course they said it was out for delivery yesterday.  Obviously not.  So they then stated yesterday it would be delivered today. Hah.

Just got a message now that the package is now further delayed due to "operational reasons"  haven't seen that message before and it might be delivered tomorrow.  Having seen this before, I am rather dubious of such a predicted delivery date.

I bet it's not delivered until at least next Monday the 27th,  Any takers?

Update:  Arrived, after yet more it will be delivered today, then oh no it won't be messages, yesterday the 23rd, which was only 8 days past the original delivery date.

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Weekend In Nashville

Drove to Nashville this weekend.

Did an tour (on our own with a "virtual tour guide") of Vanderbilt University, the Harvard of the South.

Abby is applying there so we wanted to show it to her and it was a nice weekend get away.

Weather leaving Michigan frankly sucked. Icy snow and sleet was coming down that morning and it made the roads a treat, and then a cold rain kept up all the way through Ohio. 

We arrived Saturday night rather hungry and checked into our AirBnB.  We then walked to Hattie B's Chicken for some Nashville Hot Chicken.  The place was packed, and the chicken was out of this world outstanding.  Great stuff.

Sunday morning we started touring Vanderbilt.

Nashville was cool in the 50s so sweaters were worn.  Still, it was sunny and beautiful and it was a fine opportunity to wander around the campus.

In short, the campus is gorgeous.

Right in downtown Nashville, but it's very green and feels secluded and away from the city in its own space, yet with tons of things to do but a few minutes walking distance in the city itself.

The campus is heavily treed with many old trees of many types and squirrels about.


Including the Squirrel of Judgment, who looked down upon us judgmentally from a tree mere feet away without flinching or being concerned in the least.

In short it's a great campus, has great programs that meet her interests, and Nashville is a thriving city where I'd think she would be very happy to attend college. Pity the acceptance rates this year are in the single digits percentage-wise, which makes getting in any elite school rather tough.  We will see what happens.

After the morning tour of the university, the kids checked out a local mall and Tash and I went to Belle Meade Plantation/Winery/Stud Farm.  Quite an interesting and historic place.

Did you know that every winning horse of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont from 2000 to 2021 can trace its bloodline back to a Belle Meade stud?  Pretty amazing.

Lots of historic buildings remain, including some of the original slave cabins, a dairy from 1884, and the 1892 carriage house, as well as the mansion itself.

The carriage house contains some rare carriages and a cannon belonging to The Harding Light Artillery, named after the owner of the Belle Meade farm at the time, a unit raised in 1861 in  Nashville.

After we had explored the grounds we headed in for a wine tasting.

The tasting experience was conducted by the Belle Mead's executive sommelier and we were in for a treat.

Learned an absolute ton about wine and food pairings in a fun and educational experience.    Started with learning how to properly open a bottle and it went from there.

All the wines were from Belle Meade's winery.  Starting with sparkling wine, the Lady's Cuvee,  that went well with the aged piece of cheese on the far left of the plate. Tasted great. 

Then tried the same cheese with the next white wine poured, and it tasted absolutely awful.  Then paired that wine with a more appropriate cheese to the immediate right of the first one and all was well again.  Learned a lot about food pairing from that.

Next on to red wine and why it needs to breathe and how to swirl it around in the glass to aerate it.  Tried the Iroquois  Cabernet Sauvignon right out of the bottle and then swirled it per instructions and it tasted completely different and much better as a result.  Then on to the Gentlemen's Blend which is a really big and tasty wine, and we had some great food pairings with it as well.

Then finished with the blackberry wine which is a delightfully sweet dessert wine that cannot be recommended enough.

It was a great experience and really enjoyable.

If you go to Belle Mead, sign up for the wine tasting experience, it is more than worth it.

After that, we wandered the grounds again for an hour as all that wine meant no driving until we had burned it off.

Then, once we were well and truly sober we picked up the kids from the mall, had some BBQ for dinner, and that was our visit to Nashville.

In short, I really hope she gets into Vanderbilt as I think it would be the perfect environment for her with both a top rated school and city.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Not Flying - Stage Check III Ground

This morning I was scheduled to fly, but that changed to a Ground lesson as part of my final stage check prior to a check ride.  

Of course today the weather was perfect for flying.  Sigh.

Met with Alec, an instructor  I've flown with and done ground work with before. Nice guy and concerned with making sure you learn and know the material, so yep he's a good instructor.

So I only saw this morning that it had changed and I was to plan a flight on paper from KPTK to KMDW.  Most people would do this via Foreflight in real life, but the examiner wants it to be on paper and you have to have a current  paper IFR chart and do all the calculations by hand for wind correction that Foreflight does for you.  Seriously. Well, at least he doesn't insist on an abacus.

So we went over that and it went pretty well and helped fine tune the paper calculations.

Then on to a general oral exam practice which I did well with and he had no concerns, saying I passed that with no problems and I'm good on charts, plates, weather, etc, and appear ready for the oral portion of the checkride. Just have to treat it like a deposition - answer only the question posed, yes or no only as a response if possible, and don't add anything.

So currently I'm a little confused as to where I stand exactly.  I think I need one more stage check-ride with the head instructor in order to be approved for the official check-ride, but perhaps not.  About to have to reschedule lessons yet again, so we will see what happens.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

So Obvious - You Don't Put Jett Fuel In A Piper

Piper has been more than a handful these past few weeks.

She still wasn't getting the idea of going just outside to do her thing. Didn't matter if we took her out right after eating or drinking or before or anytime, inside accidents were more often than outside to the tune of about 6 a day.

She was also 90% poop and 10% dog by weight and volume.  Did not think that was possible, but verily it was. Very smelly too.

Took her to an intro doggie training course, still little so she did pickup sitting but trying all the techniques from bells on the door, to timing, to everything else and nothing worked, outside to her was for sniffing and being distracted not going, she would even go outside then come back in and promptly go.

Had a trainer come in to see what we were doing wrong as this was not fun nor particularly appealing and we were getting to the end of our ropes.

Trainer suggested given the frequency and amounts she might be having issues with the food which was Nutro, not a bargain basement food by any means. Nutro had been recommended by our vet, and had been fine for Jett.

She suggested we switch right to Stella and Chewy, a rather top of the line and rather spendy food without fillers.  So we did. Also worked on some taking her out technique and rooting her to a spot so she didn't get distracted and had to do her business before being allowed to sniff outside.

Upside - Jett absolutely loved it and thinks it is the greatest food ever.  Before he would pick at the Nutro and finish it over hours.  Now it's put out and then it is in and gone. The dog is likely eating better than we are now.  Well, he deserves it.

Downside - Piper's engine blew up.  

Piper's engine exhaust got well, much um, even wetter and even more uncontrollably frequent one might say - for a whole week. With exhaust occurring inside the hanger about 50%+ of the time. She also was getting up at 5:30 in the morning.  Figured it was the consequence of moving to the better food and it would settle, but it didn't.

Trainer came back the next week and I indicated that had not worked out well at all and getting rid of Piper was now becoming a very distinct possibility as we were at the end of our ropes.

Trainer then knew she was reacting to the food and suggested a limited ingredient salmon based food.

We switched to that, which she liked, and miraculously it worked.

Should have known you don't put Jet-A in an avgas fueled Piper.

She's much, much better now.  Less volume and frequency of accidents and much better going outside.  Still not nearly perfect and still gets easily distracted once she is outside, but it's much better. Also still some accidents inside as she continues getting used to going outside but the stench is way down.  So, looks like we're on the road to solving that problem.

Darn good thing she's cute and rather cuddly when she's not distracted.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 43 - That's How You Do That

For Lesson 43, I was again in N3553M.  I had Adam as my instructor and basically he got in the plane and said Kevin had told him I'm pretty much ready for my checkride so he was not going to say much.

Wind was out of 130 at 8 knots so we would be using Runway 9L.

Plan was to do Flint's ILS 9; VOR 36 to 9; and RNAV 9, then back to Pontiac for the Localizer 9R partial panel.

Headed up to Flint and did a very nice full procedure ILS 9 approach with procedure turn that was right on.  Then they switched us from the VOR 36 to do the VOR 18 circle 9, so I pulled that plate up and flew that, again quite nicely.  Then onto the RNAV 9, and I flew that approach dead on too.

Much better altitude control, kept it within 100 feet above and 0 below deviation pretty much the whole time though I started to get below on the 18 to 9 circle on the downwind just a skoosh and fixed that - did a tight circle and a very achievable landing position before being told to go missed.

Then on to Pontiac for the Localizer partial panel doing the full procedure approach with procedure turn.  Did it, even though the NAV 2 VOR receiver on N3553M is exceptionally twitchy. But, I got it done and Tower requested we Circle to 9L to land for traffic which I did.

Adam stated had that been my checkride, I would have passed.  

He said everything looked good and all my procedures were good, radio, flying etc, and he's going to tell Kevin I'm ready to go. 

In short everything felt great, I had everything down, had the procedures and systems humming along like a well oiled machine and flew the approaches like they were on rails.

Next up, final mock checkride with the Chief Instructor and I still expect a snownado or other obstacle for it this upcoming Friday to keep the pattern of disastrous flying checks going.

That's 1.9, 1.5 simulated, 4 approaches, 2 holds, and a very nice landing.

Some Bad Incentives For Really Stupid People

Want to get out of school in Michigan? Want to easily disrupt hundreds or thousands of kids in one fell swoop?

Now you can, if you're a total idiot.

Now you can be a total moron and send in a threat against a school or bunch of schools.   The schools, instead of assessing the actuality of the risk or taking further security measures and continuing with their day, now just shut down in the face of a social media-based threat regardless of its validity or probability, causing massive disruption.

The Detroit News: Oxford schools closed Tuesday after social media threat

The Detroit Free Press: West Bloomfield students released from schools amid suspected threat, classes go virtual

Apparently the West Bloomfield threats did not even come from a West Bloomfield Student but the jerk is located in southeast Michigan and has been caught.  I expect the new Oxford threat idiot will also be caught in short order.

On the downside for these idiots and upside for everyone else - making these threats now lead to serious criminal charges - and authorities quite properly lack any tolerance for this nonsense. So far, 23 students in Wayne County have been criminally charged for making school threats.

The Spirit Of Jiu Jitsu Exemplified

The owner of our Jiu Jitsu Training center earned his brown belt this weekend in a pretty intensive test. They don't just hand those out, you have to earn it.

Today was the first Master Cycle Class (combative belts and up) since his promotion.

After the lesson part of the class there's open rolling.

He then took each and every one of us in the class for a roll in turn.  He essentially set it up that we could, and did, tap him out in each roll so long as we did good technique appropriate for our own levels. He wasn't just letting you tap him out, you had to work for it, but he kept his responses to your moves matched right at your ability level so you could do it.

Yep, instead of him showing that he could tap out pretty much everyone in the room after earning that promotion -- which he can --  (except for the head instructor - and they might at times get to a draw), he instead decided to celebrate by getting tapped out by the entire class.

That was an impressive demonstration of someone being humble and putting their ego completely aside.  

It really demonstrates the spirit at our training center that it's not just how good at jitsu you can be that matters, but how good at jitsu you can become while helping others become good at jitsu too that matters.

It's a really great place to learn.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Jett: Of Dogs And Cancer

Did you know that dogs could get melanoma?

Neither did I.

Kinda figured the hair/fur would prevent skin cancer. Turns out, not so much. Indeed, it turns out dogs can get melanoma even when not sun bathing without using sunscreen.

Jett had a small mass on his paw that was removed in early November and the lab reported just before Thanksgiving that he has malignant melanoma. Not good.  It took until today to get an appointment with the Vet Oncologist.

We finally had the appointment today.  There's a fantastic oncologist at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital, and she is quite simply top-notch.

The bad news:  He's got an aggressive strain of malignant melanoma and it could become bad.

The good news: Thankfully there is no sign of the cancer moving to the lymph nodes or lung so we caught it early.

The other bad news:  This malignant melanoma doesn't just go away and it could still become bad very quickly.

The other good news:  There is treatment for dogs: an immunity booster series (incorrectly called a vaccine) to fight malignant melanoma that works 50% of the time and can potentially teach his immune system to fight it and clear it from the body,

The other other bad news: 50% of the time the immunity booster series does nothing, and it costs an arm and a leg.

Are we doing it?  Obviously yes, after all, he's family.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 42 - Why Can't Yesterday Have Been Like Today?

So after yesterday's flight I was seriously thinking of calling a halt as I was not getting better or able to move forward with a checkride and this was getting beyond stupid expensive to not be actually getting it.

So today of course was a different experience and made me reconsider calling it quits.

Had N3553M with its autopilot inop. Had to wait though for all the other aircraft to get out of the hangar as it was tucked in the back, so lots of time to preflight, prep and get setup.  Had my handheld radio on so I got the ATIS ahead of time to speed things up later.

We would do the same flight as last night but just slightly different due to wind direction.  Flint's ILS 27, then VOR 18 Circle to 27 and land, then Pontiac's Backcourse Localizer 27L partial panel, and then the RNAV 27L and done.

Weather was warmer than yesterday and winds were pretty much calm at PTK and only slightly more windy around Flint with no massive gusting crosswinds nor turbulence either.

And I did everything pretty darn well. Go figure. Did the hold entry for 27 ILS no problem.  Much better on altitudes, caught each needle right off and flew everything quite well, with a bit more aggressive descent needed on the ILS.  Flew a bit of a tight pattern in the circle to land and again was high which I need to fix by descending earlier, but did a decent landing.  Then I taxi'd back and then flew to Pontiac partial panel.  

Intercepted the localizer quite perfectly and had a great partial panel approach with he needle practically dead center almost the whole way in.  Then just about a perfect RNAV approach to finish things up.

Since this was with my instructor though, it doesn't count as a mock checkride and I have another one of those scheduled for next week as I have to pass that before I can book a checkride. 

I half expect a snownado for that ride.

That's 1.9 with 1.5 simulated instrument, 4 approaches, 1 hold and 2 landings.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 41 - Well That Just Sucked Rocks

So this afternoon at 3:30 was the mock pre-checkride checkride.

Winds out of the South east 11-21 knots would make it sporty.

Took off in N5337F from Runway 9L at Pontiac. 

Since winds were southeast, that eliminated using the Troy RNAV 9 circle 27 so we did the examiner's other favored checkride practice route.  Off to do the Flint ILS 9 followed by Flint VOR 18 circle to 9 and then Pontiac's RNAV 9.

Straightforward enough, and it gives you more time to setup and get ready for the approach on the way to Flint compared to the very few short minutes you have before getting on the approach to Troy.

Well yes, but not so much. It really did not go well.

The ride started smooth and then hit some moderate turbulence as I flew close by Flint, pressure actually dropped quite a bit and wind-shear and winds from the south were gusting to 18-28 knots. Lots of fun - not - just trying to keep things steady, and yes we both caught air and got bopped out of our seats a few times.  Yes, yay seat-belts.

As a result, during the hold and turn in on the ILS 9 approach, I got blown way off which made catching the localizer kinda hard.  Never had that happen before, so it sucked.  Finally got established and flew a decent approach with one helluva crab angle the whole damn way. Not a good start at all and not nearly good enough.

Then I did the VOR 18 to 27 partial panel. Getting vectored and established onto the VOR with limited instruments was a royal pain, especially while getting bounced around all over the place, it was so bad I had to get vectored onto it again as I was just getting hammered by the wind and turbulence.

Reasonable enough approach and circle etc once established, but still not good enough on the initial approach.

Then back to Pontiac with a change to do the ILS 9 as the instructor wanted me to do another hold.  Went better this time and got the hold ok with massive wind correction.  Had a crazy intercept angle of 180 degrees for a localizer on the 95 degree line due to the wind - that's rather huge with a wild crab angle where the plane is flying one direction but pointed in another.

Crazy crosswind but actually got it down and flew it in like it was on rails and did a very good landing.  It really was a smooth crosswind landing which surprised everyone on board.

That's 1.9 with 1.5 simulated, two holds, 3 approaches and going nowhere near good enough to get to a real check ride. Just when you think you've got it down and can do this, you can't.

We will see if I can redeem myself tomorrow.

On Our Elites And Their Disdain

It is true that elites throughout history have often looked down on the commoners.

After all, Marie Antoinette most eloquently and rather tone-deafly said "Let them eat brioche" while the commoners were starving (Note she did not say let them eat cake, but brioche, which was the most expensive bread at the time).

Our elites are a rather less couth, so that the real pain and problems of supply shortages to the commoner is dismissed as the tragedy of treadmills that do not arrive, but the disdain towards the commoners now referred to by the elites as "cousin-humping rednecks in flyover country" is very much the same.

But our elites disdain not just those below them on the SES scale, but our country itself and its institutions, the country and institutions they themselves rule and for which much of the problems they claim exist point straight back to themselves and their ideological elite predecessors policies and actions.

This kind of disdain of the rulers for the very nation itself that they rule is rather unprecedented, as are our ruler's policies past and present that have got us here and which are ongoing, if not accelerating in their disdain and direct damage to the country.

The article Unprecedented by Michael Anton explores this phenomenon in impressive detail and really smart analysis that is more than well worth your time to read. So yes, go read it.

Fedex You F'ing Tease Yet Again

Had ordered an item prior to Thanksgiving for an item I need. It was shipped to me via Fedex.

Fedex cheerfully sent a notice it was now in Lake Orion on a truck set to be delivered this Monday.

Monday came and went with a notice that the shipment was delayed, but was on a truck and would be delivered Tuesday.

Tuesday came and went with a notice that the shipment was delayed, but was on a truck and would be delivered Wednesday.

Wednesday as you might guess, came and went with a notice that the shipment was delayed, but was on a truck and would be delivered Thursday.

Not hopeful that today will be any different. 

Gotta be a waste of space having a box on a truck for days puttering around to be delivered and yet sitting back at the yard each night.

This is not the first time this has happened nope, not the first time at all. You hit late November/December and Fedex can't deliver on time for squat and everything gets stuck circling around on a truck in Lake Orion.

Kinda wish they would just fess up and give a more accurate estimate to begin and continue with rather than this daily game of Lucy yanking the football.

Paper Doesn't Reset

Currently having the joy of doing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA application for Abby for next year.

Back when I did it, it was paper.  Now it's online, for efficiency, of course, and as one expects, since it is created and managed by the bureaucracy, it's screwed up. 

It has already crashed twice now this morning.

From the beginning its rather slow, with having to hit continue multiple times to change and advance pages and often the continue button spins and when its done you're stuck sitting on the same page again and have to hit Continue yet again and by the third or fourth try it works.

First crash had a funny message that "Based on the information you provided we can't process your form" - this with less than a pittance of the form filled out and we hadn't even gotten to any good parts yet.

And it sent me back to the start page to reenter all the info.  So far had only put in the very basic biographical information -names, address, dob, SSN and drivers license number but it was a pain to do it all yet again. No way to save it as you go, nor any warnings that it wouldn't work again.

And it crashed yet again. this time at least with a friendly message that "The FAFSA form is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve this problem as quickly as possible."  and yep,, booted me back to the start screen of the FAFSA, which has no notice that it is down and you can have the joys of getting to try and start over hoping it might be working again.

Paper while slower to process at least didn't crash while you were trying to fill it out.

If you're going to require using an online system to do something, at least make it efficient and actually work.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

At Least Smart Enough To Not Let The Fox Into The Henhouse

While Oxford schools and school officials and their policies and decisions may (or may not - it's complicated - to be discussed in another post) bear some culpability for the shooting deaths of four students at the hands of the pretty clearly mentally ill killer, they're not completely stupid.

The Detroit Free Press: Nessel: Oxford rejected offer of independent review

No kidding, you don't invite someone who can prosecute you with criminal charges into a high-profile case where people are looking for scalps to do an "independent review" of what you did or did not do.

Attorney General Nessel is rather butt-hurt by this rejection:

"I thought, 'What better agency to conduct a special review than the Michigan Department of Attorney General?' We learned, just a short while ago, that the school district has turned down our offer and it said they're going to go with a private security firm instead to conduct an internal review."

. . .

"I'm disappointed, quite honestly," Nessel said on CNN.'

Get used to disappointment there Nessel.

Yes,  it would hardly be an independent review especially when she's stating live in a tv interview that her office can helpfully bring criminal and civil charges against the people she would be "independently reviewing".

No idea at all why Oxford School officials  wouldn't jump to take that offer, right?

Given the antics and posturing of Oakland County's progressive prosecutor in this case already, adding yet another prosecuting official into the mix, who also wants to keep her name in the headlines would hardly be conducive to a true independent review of the facts and policies that may have contributed to this event.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 40 - More Checkride Practice

Got to the airport at 0745 today for an 0800 flight.  Mornings, ugh.

Clouds were above 3,000 feet so no factor, light winds out of 300 so no issue, and thus off to do the KPTK-KVLL-KPTK tour yet again.

Got flight following and headed to KVLL and did the RNAV 9 full procedure and hold. Overall good and had it pretty locked in but was above the advisory glideslope a bit near the end.  For the circle to land on 27, did ok but need to lose altitude on base as I came in too high to land - decent landing but ate up a fair bit more of the runway than I should have which was not good.

Back to Pontiac for the RNAV 27L, did it rather well and then went missed.

Headed out to practice some unusual altitude recoveries and then back for the Localizer Back Course 27L partial panel.  First one went pretty well, ending in a decent miss.  Figured out finally to not purposely make any correction turn more than 5 degrees, and let the localizer come back in otherwise I'm s-turning my way to glory. Need to be quicker descending though.

Second one went through the localizer a bit before getting established, then overall got it sorted out and did a rather nice landing.  Had a fair bit of deflection while getting it all sorted out which is annoying. Still need to descend quicker and make sure to stop above MDA.  At least no full scale deflection on any so there's that.

Biggest problems now are the climbing tendency I have, which keeps happening even with a ton of trim in, then too much trim and I descend, and of course then the need to not overcompensate and dip below minimums as a result of correcting the climb.  In short, I'm flying good but not great and need to do better.  Frustrating as hell as it feels like I'm not improving nor getting good enough to pass and this will never end.

That's 1.9 with 4 approaches, 1 hold and 1.5 simulated instrument time and 2 decent landings.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 39 - IFR And Landing 1000

Well this lesson while sucky, ended in a nice milestone.

The milestone being that it was my 1,000th landing.

Weather was MVFR-IFR with reports of light rime icing at 3,000 feet.

So we filed IFR and headed to do the route the examiner generally likes to do - Troy for the RNAV 9 circle to 27, then Pontiac for the RNAV 27, and then the Localizer Backcourse 27L.

On the upside I got some more real IFR time.

Yep, spent a lot of time in the clouds this lesson - rather calm clouds not very bumpy at all.  No icing happening either. Just nice balls of nothingness.

On the downside my Troy RNAV 9 circle to 27 wasn't great.  While ok overall, I was a bit off course getting there and had a lot of trouble getting the needles lined up for it. Then not a bad circle but came in a little high on final so need to work on that.

The RNAV 27 at Pontiac was just fine, no issues with that.

The partial panel Localizer Backcourse 27L just plain sucked. 

First try getting vectored I went full scale deflection and went missed.  That would be a nice fail on a  checkride. Was banking way too much to intercept it and couldn't get it so it was a major pain.

Second attempt was a fair bit better but needed to descend quicker.

Third attempt was actually good and things went well, and I landed my 1,000th landing on that one doing a side-step to Runway 27R.

At least they were all in actual and not breaking out of the clouds until past the final approach fix.

So not a lesson  with a result I had hoped for.  Felt like some major steps backward.  Here I was thinking I'm about ready for the checkride and after today's lesson not so much.

Since I'm pretty much stuck going with my not-so-favorite-examiner that would have been a hard fail.  Ah well when you think you're ready to take a step forward you end up going two steps back. Much frustration.

That's 2.1, with 1.3 actual, 5 approaches, and one good landing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Shooting At Oxford High School

The school is about 30 minutes away from us, and I've represented students from Oxford High before.

All we actually know at this point is the shooter is a 15-year-old who surrendered to law enforcement after the incident and a Sig Sauer handgun was seized from him.  It appears so far that law enforcement was very quick to effectively respond, which reduced the casualties and contained the incident.

There are three dead and at least six wounded per media reports so far.

Anything else is rumor and rumors are certainly flying about faster than you can say school shooting.

The 48-hour rule is definitely in full effect here, and I will not discuss the rumors or other unfounded claims about the incident until more comes out to provide actual facts.

Update:  Unfortunately now there are 4 dead with one of the severely wounded dying.   Rumors are swirling thick and fast as to motive, alleged prior warnings and signs of an impeding mentally ill attacker, etc, and until I see some actual verification of any of it I will not post them here.   

It does seem clear from reports to date that unlike the Cowards of Broward, here the Oakland County Sheriff School Resource Officer immediately moved  to engage and interrupt the shooter and more than likely saved a lot of lives by doing so.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 38 - IFR By Night

It was a night lesson tonight.  This is good as I'm way out of practice in night flying, and it was my first time flying IFR at night.

Got to the airport just before 6pm and started preflighting the plane, 88J.   It was a  No-Go as the plane had a very loose alternator belt and some other issues that Kevin didn't like, namely the bolts connecting the landing gear were loose and wouldn't tighten on one side.  The on to N8570F and that one got down-checked as a couple of the bolts attaching the right landing gear were actually broken which is not good.  Someone messed up a cross-wind landing and over-stressed them it would appear.  These planes do get used kinda hard.

So we were kinda running out of planes.

So on to N1869H.  The plane with the ever-sliding seat and the mis-rigging.  Sigh.

At least it passed the preflight. Yes, the seat did slide. And the yoke must be held slightly left in order to fly straight.  Sigh.

We then went to do the most recent instrument check-ride the examiner had done to get used to it - Troy RNAv 9 circle 27, then KPTK RNAV 27L and KPTK Localizer Back Course 27L partial panel.

Interestingly enough, we would do them VFR without flight following. Clouds were just high enough that it wasn't an issue to be VFR at 3,000 feet.

So, up we went to Troy, and I did the RNAV 9 full procedure with a miss and not a circle as circling to 27 is not authorized at night.

Then to Pontiac and I did the RNAV 27L, then got told to contact Detroit Approach for the Localizer Approach as Pontiac didn't want us doing that one by ourselves.

So just as I'm getting vectored, Kevin kills the G5s and I'm partial panel while being vectored. 

In the dark.

With the NAV 2 VOR instrument being unlit.

So, I have to shine a red flashlight at it while flying.  Yay, a nice new challenge.  I get everything programmed and identified and fly vectors as I get the approach going.

Good approach, a fair bit of work keeping the needle centered doing a few S-turns but then got it locked in and all good.  Nice descent to Minimum Descent Altitude and a pretty good but not great landing.  I need two more landings to get night current again, hopefully I'll knock those out next week.

Instrument flying is a bit more challenging at night - you're still looking just in the cockpit but you don't have as much peripheral vision and the instruments are harder to make out.    Upsides are its dark so there's less distractions outside, and the runways do stand out from the backclutter a lot more at night. 

Overall I feel I'm getting better at being more precise with both heading and altitude, but I do need to keep a sharper eye on the altimeter as I do have a climbing tendency. But, this time I got the plane trimmed out just right on at 3,000 feet, mis-rigging and all. That felt good.

A challenging flight and a lot of fun to do. 

That's 1.4 night with 1.0 simulated instrument, 3 approaches, 1 hold and a good night landing.

Monday, November 29, 2021

That White Stuff On The Ground Means It's Time To Slow Down

Just enough snow and ice present on the streets this morning to present a problem for the morning commute.

It's not a lot and the streets look pretty clear, and that is the problem.  A lot of clear ice abounds.  

A lot of people have forgotten how to drive in the winter, and with driving skills already degraded by the Covid shutdowns, it really shows.

Saw a couple decent traffic accidents on the way to work already due to cars not being able to brake in sufficient time on ice.  In short, ice just laughs at your brakes, and inertia is not your friend at an iced-over intersection.

Winter is a time to give yourself more space and increased stopping distance, and to plan to give yourself more time for your commute due to the need to drive in a more careful and controlled manner.

There's more coming in tonight to create a slippery layer on the morrow, so plan ahead for your morning drive.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah (or Hanukkah the transliteration is not fixed either way), celebrating the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks.  

Yet another example of the standard in Jewish holidays:

 1. They tried to kill us; 2. The Lord delivered us; 3. We won; and 4. Let's eat.

So we lit the Hanukkiah, said the prayers, and made latkas, which were tasty and awesome as always.

May you have a very Happy Chanukah!

Another Attack That Will Soon Be Buried

As in the case of the BLM supporter Darrell Brooks in Waukesha Wisconsin who killed six so far and whose culpability is being quickly buried and downplayed by the media, there was a recent incident in Kalamazoo that's about to get similar treatment.

The Detroit News: Police fatally shoot man who wounded 3 bus passengers in SW Michigan

The Detroit Free Press:  At least 3 hurt, gunman wounded in Kalamazoo bus station shooting

You'll note neither story fails to mention a salient fact about the attacker and the motive remains unclear.  Funny that.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 37 - Flying With A Scattering Of Snow

Prior to heading out for my flying lesson, I had a turkey wing for breakfast. This was rather appropriate and it fortified me nicely for my flying lesson.

A nice cold and crisp day at the airport.  Complete with pilot reports of icing starting in the clouds around 3,000 feet.

So below 3,000 we would stay.

Did the preflight of N8570F in the hangar, which was nice as it was out of the cold wind and made the preflight most pleasant.

I can't believe it but no one else has mentioned that when they're flying this plane they have Zero Foxtrots to give, or they're all out of Foxtrots while flying it.  Apparently I'm the first to draw that conclusion.

Mirabile dictu, both runways were fully open at Pontiac. About time and we almost have no idea what to do with all the time saved from not doing long convoluted taxiing. 

Anyways, had a good takeoff in a  decent crosswind and off to Flint in a bit of a snow-shower so we hung around 2,700 feet to avoid the icing waiting in the clouds above.  Then to Flint for first the ILS 27, followed by the VOR 36 Circle to 27.  Overall really good, just got to lock down my altitudes a bit tighter, and tighten the hold, and yes I did the entry for it correctly but need to be a little tighter on the entry with the wind.  Not bad.  Went missed for both and headed to Pontiac for the dreaded partial panel Localizer Back Course 27L.

The first Localizer Back Course 27L went quite well and I had everything nice and dialed in remembered everything, had a great approach, and went missed. Partial panel presented no partial problems.

Then on the second one we had a jet behind us so we had to do everything a fair bit faster as requested by ATC.  Again not bad.  Then tower had us sidestep to Runway 27R so the jet could come in on 27L. Having two runways again presented such a delightful plethora of choices.  So over to 27R I went, and I did just an excellent landing in a gusty crosswind.  I really was rather pleased with how nice that landing was, I mean it was just perfect and a great way to end the lesson - I need to eat more turkey wings, it seems.

Looks like I'm getting closer.  DCT is fretting that I don't want to use their preferred examiner because they really know what he does on a checkride and kinda teaches to his preferences.  So I can see their point.  But, and it's a big but, I had a lousy experience with their guy on my private and am still not really comfortable with their guy.  I may be overthinking this but in any case I'm going to call a DPE that has been recommended to me and see what his availability might be. Terrible rumor I just heard is the DPE that was suggested to me flies south for the winter, and if that's the case I'm screwed.  Update - Yes,I am indeed screwed as he's not booking any more check rides for the year.  Now looking for alternatives.

That's 1.7 with 1.5 simulated instrument, 4 approaches, one hold and a really nice landing.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lots to be thankful for this year.

The turkey is now roasting happily in the oven, and all preparations are underway for a proper Thanksgiving feast.

I hope you and yours enjoy this most wonderful and American of holidays.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Someone Turned 18 Today

So we now have another adult in the house.

Abby turned 18. 

The Birthday Breakfast, as tradition requires, was cherry cheesecake.


 She had a great birthday.

I'm Back

Variety of issues confounded my postings here recently.

First and foremost, the Macbook I used had issues and had to go get repaired.  Since it was still under warranty this was a good thing, but it had to be sent to the depot which was not so good. This made work a lot more cumbersome and I needed to use a desktop at home and iPad at the office which was not nearly as functional so everything took longer than it should have and it wasted a lot of time.  I also found out that lots of passwords to needed systems didn't in fact copy over to other Apple devices.

Worse the laptop had two distinct issues - the screen had a small crater in the lower right, right at the hinge of the case, and the keyboard was not working well and had visible wear.  

So it was written up as two work orders. Sadly, that let them screw up and do one repair, the screen, and return the laptop to the store yet completely miss the other rather obvious one so it had to be sent back yet again.  

This meant a whole week without the laptop which was highly frustrating.

On top of that I got hit with either Norovirus or a gastric attack last Tuesday night that lasted through Thursday.  Not a recommended way to drop 6 pounds and when you can't even keep water down, it's not a good thing.

Also did some oral check-ride preparation with instructors this week that went well so it's moving along.

So today, the Laptop is now finally back so posting will get back to normal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Weird Supply Chain Shortages

In today's episode of stores being out of certain things we have the latest local shortage to report:

Distilled Water.

Yep, distilled water was nowhere to be found within quite a radius as Kroger, CVS, etc were all out if it.

Had my Dad over for the weekend and he needs distilled water for his CPAP machine and none was to be found.  Fortunately we had a reserve supply and he had some with him so it all worked out but I've never seen the shelves completely bare of distilled water.  Other water was there and in plenty so it wasn't some weird panic buy - just a nice local shortage and a need to lower expectations or something.

A good visit was had, and he's off to his warm location for the winter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Not Flying - Oral Check-Ride Study Session

Tonight I had a pre-checkride oral exam with Alec, a nice, thorough and good instructor Ive flown with before who clearly wants me to do well. He wasn't doing it as some kind of rote approach but actively worked on what I need to know and to see how much I know and where he can help fill in the gaps. Like i said a good instructor.

Started with the areas of the three question I got wrong on the written test and I did just fine. At least one of the mistakes, if not two of them, were due to how the questions were worded so I had no trouble explaining the concepts and regulations properly in those areas.

Moved on to weather in detail and then onto the Low Level IFR map symbology. Yep I learned things in those areas tonight as after all, I sure as heck don’t know nor remember everything.

He then had me prepare an IFR flight plan and he liked how I did it.  

Went on to discuss loss of communication protocols - which I have down solidly - and some other areas that broadened and refined my knowledge and that was that. 

He then gave some advice on what to bring to the checkride and to prepare for it and then signed me off with all excellent scores on the oral prep.

Quite a useful lesson, and I'll take it as a sign that I'm getting closer to the finish line.  After all, it has to be out there somewhere, right?

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Hair Shirt / Plastic Mat School of Environmentalism

The kids' school, in addition to the standard curriculum, which is demanding in and of itself, requires them to take extra enrichment classes as they do their studies.

Some are excellent - for example a trip to Alabama to learn about segregation and the civil rights movement which Abby enjoyed, and learned a lot while seeing actual historic places and talking to people who were there. 

An enrichment on photography was pretty good, as was a class on learning how to make reasoned arguments.

Some of these enrichments though are not so good.

The current enrichment they both signed up for was on the environment.  It was available to fit their schedules, they needed an enrichment this term, and so they signed up.

So their required assignment for the enrichment was for each of them to create a sleeping mat to be donated to the homeless.

The environmental catch - it had to be made by them via crochet with them using plastic bags to create the mat following instructions.  Apparently this is to teach the kids to reuse evil environmentally-unfriendly plastic bags in new ways rather than as actual useful and reusable bags.

Well, it's in fact actually more an example of environmental stupidity than anything else.

To make the mats, you first have to cut plastic bags into strips and then crochet them into ropes and then into the mat design.

It does come out ok, eventually, but there's a catch.

We ran out of plastic bags to use at home.  Our bag of bags rapidly became empty. We also need those bags as Piper accident waste bags.   This caused issues.  Every bag we had and more got turned into crochet pieces.

It also makes the mats not look particularly good with the many varieties of plastic shopping bags being used.

We then started giving them new kitchen garbage bags to use for the project which are a lot easier to work with than the thin plastic shopping bags.  The second mat was made with 100% new kitchen garbage bags.

 Certainly looks nicer and the thicker material actually makes it kinda comfy.

Add to this material issue is the fact that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours for kids to crochet a 6-foot-long sleeping mat.  Hours they could be using studying or doing other useful rather than busy-work. It's literally taken them  months and lots of hours of time to get this done.

In the simplest terms this enrichment class is more about environmentalists' stupidity, feel-good-ism, and wasting time and resources while not effectively solving a problem, than it is about environmentalism. 

Not what they were trying to teach, but I sure hope the kids picked up on it.

In short, for the amount of time and materials the kids put in, mats could instead be purchased from Amazon, in a quantity sufficient enough for an entire Platoon to sleep on, providing nice, high-quality, sleeping mats for 50 homeless people rather than two ersatz ones.  Likely even more could be bought at a discount in a bulk purchase.

There's a lesson to be learned here, but it's certainly not the one the environmental enrichment class was trying to teach.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 36 - Approaches With A Side Of Turbulence

It looks nice outside today.  High scattered clouds, overall a clear blue sky, a bit of a gusty wind.

What you don't see is the turbulence, lots and lots of turbulence. 

Took off from Pontiac and headed towards Flint.  This time we left VFR and picked up VFR flight following from Great Lakes Approach to do the approaches at Flint.

We were getting bounced around a bit and it kept getting worse.

Did the Flint ILS 27 approach full procedure with the hold and did it and the hold rather well.  Great Lakes Approach liked my hold so much they kept me in it for traffic spacing for quite awhile and sent me off on the outbound leg for a very long time before having me come back in.  Then on to a good approach, even as I was being pushed off course constantly by the wind and turbulence.

On the missed, I went on the heading requested by Flint Tower and I was climbing, right on course, and flying completely sideways due to the wind. Quite a weird feeling when just on your instruments.

Then I got vectored for the VOR 18 circle to 27, and was getting bounced around enough that my headset tried to slip off.  Fun.

Did the VOR approach and did a good circle to 27.

Then went missed just a few feet above the runway, and back to Pontiac for the Back Course 27L Approach - partial panel from Flint in turbulence.  I noted that likely was illegal under the Geneva Convention based on conditons - too bad, did it anyways.

Managed to stay on course and hold altitude at 2,500 even while getting banged around a lot and Kevin thought I did a really good job of it.

Did a good approach and landing partial panel which was rather hard due to the turbulence banging everything around, and did it all correctly.

Conditions were continuous light turbulence with bouts of moderate turbulence, and strong winds, which made it a rather challenging day.

Next up:  Mock check-ride and oral exam drills.

That's 1.7, 1.3 simulated instrument, 1 hold, 3 approaches, a very nice landing, and a whole heckuva lot of turbulence.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Flying IFR - Lesson 35 - All Partial Panel All The Way

Today was partial panel day.

I did the preflight on N55EM, a Piper Warrior  I've never flown before.  Interestingly enough, the Ailerons are under spring tension which was kinda neat.  Overall setup was about the same as all the other planes there, so it was an easy transition.  

Unfortunately, the turn and bank indicator was inop.  This made life partial panel more difficult.

So, I met up with Sara and she stated this was going to be an all partial panel flight so there would no attitude indicator nor heading indicator the whole time.  It also meant using VOR #2 for everything.

Well, this would be a workout.

Turned out I'm getting pretty decent at partial panel.  After the run up we took of and headed for Flint.  Doing so without a heading indicator or attitude indicator is annoying. Compasses suck, but there is a desired track function on the Garmin 430W GPS which is rather helpful.

So got to Flint and did the ILS 9 approach on the VOR 2 receiver and it went very well, including getting the hold entry right.  Yay me.  Then missed and off to the RNAV 9 approach with a circle to land on 36 which again went very well partial panel, relying on the Garmin 430W for lateral guidance and the profile on the approach chart for acceptable altitude steps on the approach.  Great circle and would have had no problem landing but we went missed and headed back to Pontiac.

On the way I got the weather at Pontiac and asked Detroit Approach for the ILS 9R at Pontiac.  

Again still partial panel and Sara said we would fly it as if the glideslope wasn't working so to fly it as a localizer-only approach.  Overall very good but I didn't set the timer on crossing the final approach fix which was the only error.

Then we went missed and did it again, this time to landing and everything, including the time was done properly and it was a very nice landing.

Then taxi back and done.  I apparently had a bit of a climbing tendency I need to work on, but other than that, all went very nicely and I'm ahead of the aircraft, know where I'm at and where I'm going and am setting things up really well for the approaches.  This is happy-making.

That's 1.9 with 1.5 simulated instrument time, 4 approaches, 1 hold, and 1 very nice landing.

Chase Theft Update

Chase just made a "temporary credit deposit" to my accounts restoring the money that was stolen.  Temporary, as they're still investigating and reserve the right to pull it all back out pending their determination and decision on the matter, which is not happy-making and leading to more grey hairs.

Police are also investigating, and I made the appropriate report to the Bar Association re the matter.

New checks for the new account numbers should be arriving today.

Currently watching all accounts like a hawk on a more than daily basis.

I have created a savings account to sequester some operating account funds and Chase allows up to six transfers from savings back to Operating without a charge, so it will take some care and planning.  I've been assured there cannot be an ACH pull from the savings account but, well, it's Chase, so I may get a different answer from another rep.  

Unfortunately, I can't do that to the IOLTA account as there is no such thing as an IOLTA savings account, nor does Chase offer the ability to block ACH withdrawals from an IOTA account even though they have the technical ability to do so but will not offer that service to this account. This is unfortunate as I'd prefer to safeguard my client's money even more strictly than my own.  I relayed that to the Bar and the Bar Rep is going to be contacting Chase to ask why IOLTA accounts don't get that kind of protection, as apparently the number one method of theft from IOLTA accounts is now via ACH. On top of that, the number one serious attorney violation with IOLTA accounts is now some attorneys with gambling problems using ACH at Casinos to drain IOLTA accounts to feed their habit - that should not be allowed to happen.

So, after over 20 hours of calls, meetings, completing and submitting forms and doing more forms, and emails with Chase, the Police, the Bar, etc it seems to be stabilizing. 

Assuming Chase doesn't make a sudden reversal and yank the funds and induce a heart attack, I should be good to go from here on out.  Also I'm checking into other banks/credit unions to see if they are rated for IOLTA accounts and can offer higher security and less visibility compared to Chase.

Most importantly, I'd like to extend my gratitude to those of my friends/readers who on reading of the attack immediately contacted me to offer loans to tide us over while this was being sorted out. 

I didn't need them as our personal funds in a different institution were still intact, and we had reserve emergency funds so I could skip a paycheck, and still cover what was coming out while getting this fixed.   But, you folks - and you know who you are - immediately jumped in to offer help, and I'm extremely grateful to you for doing so. Thank you.

Monday, November 08, 2021

IFR Written Test Complete

So this morning at 11 am, I went to the testing center to do the Instrument Rating Airplane written test.

A score of 70% is required to pass.

It's an impressively hard written test with a cunning array of questions. It's allegedly the hardest one the FAA has, and with the lowest pass rate.

Answers entered, double-checked, and after some second-guessing occurring, I hit the submit button.

The browser waiting wheel spun  and I hoped the entire system hadn't just crashed and rendered my efforts useless as nothing happened for quite some time.  Then a mandatory survey about the testing process came up including a question about ease of registration (ha!).  I then answered all that, and hit submit yet again.

The browser waiting wheel spun some more, and I then went up to the proctor to pickup my score.

 I'll take a 95% on it.  All sorts of happy that it's done. 

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Biden Administration Flailing Around As Fuel Prices Increase

The Biden Administration is finally noticing that gas and fuel prices are rising, and likely their latest election drubbing is reminding them that November 2022 is less than 365 days away and their policies have consequences.

But not to worry, one of Biden's most inept cabinet members is on it.

The Detroit News: Granholm says Biden administration eyeing oil reserve to lower gas prices

Not one word about reopening the Keystone pipeline.  Not one word about reversing the shutdown of  all those oil and gas leases he cancelled upon taking office.  Not one word on getting out of the way so we can boost domestic production and thereby increase supply and have leverage for reducing prices.

Instead they're now talking of a temporary fix of selling oil from the strategic reserve and begging OPEC to produce more.

OPEC and its allies last week rejected Biden’s request for a large production increase and stuck to a plan for gradual monthly output increases of 400,000 barrels a day.

“OPEC is unfortunately controlling the agenda with respect to oil prices,” Granholm told CNN.

The Biden administration can only blame itself for OPEC now controlling the agenda. 

This is especially due to the Administration's outlook that it's "hillarious" to try and increase domestic petroleum production. Under Trump we had energy independence - Biden reversed that.


So this Administration not believing in the law of supply and demand is now stuck to begging hat in hand to OPEC to increase production without any leverage.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Knife Attack On A German Train: Don't Mention The I-Word

As one imagines, the motive will likely never be known and is terribly unclear.

The Detroit News: Knife attack on German train severely injures 3 people

A knife attack on a high-speed train in Germany left three people severely wounded, the Bavarian Red Cross said Saturday. Police said a man has been arrested in connection with the morning attack.

The train, one of Germany’s high-speed ICE trains, was traveling between the Bavarian cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg at the time of the attack. A spokesperson for the Bavarian Red Cross, which had 110 responders at the scene, said the organization processed three “severely injured” people.

A 27-year-old Syrian man was arrested in Seubersdorf, where the train stopped after the attack, Bavarian state police told The Associated Press. The injured people came from the Regensburg and nearby Passau areas, state police said.

 . . .

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the background behind the “terrible” attack was “still unclear.” 

 It's unclear when you decide not to look, isn't it?

Boys Do Not Belong In Girl's Bathrooms

For darn good reason.

We have the incident and scandal in Loudon County Virginia with the skirt-wearing boy attacking girls in girl's washrooms, and the progressive school board helpfully covering it up until the truth was forced out.

Now unfortunately we have an incident locally:

The Detroit News: Suspect, 15, in Plymouth sexual assault arrested

Police said a woman was attacked when she exited a stall by someone hiding in another stall. 

The attacker was described as a White male with short brown hair, between 15 and 20 years of age, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 120-140 pounds.

Turns out the POS attacker in this local case is 15 and was apparently acting out some kind of sick rape fantasy.  Interesting how the media is blurring out the POS's face, in their broadcast of the footage of the attack. The POS' face should not be blurred but instead be posted far and wide so people know to be on the alert for the scumbag.

Unfortunately, I happen to know the victim.  She did successfully fight off the POS, and is physically ok, but traumatized and not able to go into public restrooms right now, and that is fully understandable.

In short, boys do not belong in girl's bathrooms regardless of whether they are wearing a skirt or not.  

If you have girl plumbing you go to the girl's room. If you have boy plumbing you go to the boys room not the girl's room.  Not hard to understand, nor enforce, progressive fantasies about gender to the contrary.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Not Flying - Simulator And PSI Connectivity Woes

Finally did the simulator lesson today.

Overall, it was not bad, and I did a bunch of localizer back-course approaches.  At least it went well until we went to do partial panel.  A simulator compass and simulator VOR receiver and a super sensitive turn and bank indicator  combined to make it truly suck.

On the upside, I wasn't death gripping the controls, and am developing a lighter touch, so there's that.  We'll see if it translates to flying next week.

For the written test, I'm finally, after a ton of studying, at the point where I'm ready to take it.  So, I was trying to sign up last night to take it, but PSI's link to the FAA was down. 

It was also down all day today.  Of course they don't say it's down, just that your attempt to setup an account cannot establish eligibility. Had to call their support line several times to get through. Why they need a connection to the FAA to let you sign up on their system to take the test is kinda questionable.

It finally came back up tonight, so I was able to go in and register.

So instead of taking the test tomorrow like I'd planned, the earliest I could now schedule for was Monday.  Rather annoying as I'm really ready now.

That's 2.0 simulated instrument time.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

To No One's Surprise, Electric Vehicles Are More Expensive To Operate

The Detroit Free Press: Study compares electric vehicle charge costs vs. gas — and results were surprising

In fact, the results were not surprising to anyone paying attention. 

EVs cost more to use and operate than gas vehicles, and that's not counting the time value of time/money when you're siting somewhere waiting for the EV car to charge.  The study did however take into account the estimated time to find a charging station.  I suspect their numbers would be even worse if they added the cost of the substantial lag caused by waiting for a vehicle to recharge versus filling it with gas and going on your way.

In short, EVs are nice as a second vehicle for in town short jaunts and can fill that role well if you have the cash to cover the higher costs, but you really need a gas- or diesel-fueled vehicles if you plan any seriously long trips.

Still no answer as to where all these electric vehicles will actually go to charge, nor any answer as to the current lack of infrastructure to provide the increased power demanded for them to charge, especially as the Dems and Greens are focused on shutting power plants down rather than building new ones.

I'm puzzled that they haven't come out with diesel-electric hybrids where all the diesel engine does is power a generator to recharge the batteries as needed when the vehicle is on the road.  Possibly too practical and not green enough, or something.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

That's One Heckuva Security Hole In The Banking System

According to at least one person at Chase security, the ACH pulls were not a result of a breach in my online banking. Now since I;m still not getting a straight answer as to what exactly happened, I’m taking this with a big grain of salt.

Instead, apparently all it takes to pull money from your account via an ACH or online bill pay pull is someone knowing your routing and account and perhaos the name on the account and that's all it takes.

This seems rather nuts that someone can drain your account with just that information and without any authorization from the account itself. As you might imagine, I had no idea this was even possible.

Even better, I try to arrange for an ACH block on withdrawals from the IOLTA account to ensure such a thing never happens again. After all, funds never should leave an IOLTA by ACH - it's either payment for services and thus moved to the operating account once earned, or returned to the client via a check when the representation is over so every cent in that account can be tracked.

Chase has an ACH withdrawal blocking ability, but, well, apparently the IOLTA account isn't one of the preferred types of accounts eligible for such an ACH blocking service. No kidding. One would think a trust account holding other people's money would be given the highest level of security. Not so much. I think finding and then switching to a bank that offers such a service - as a default no less- would be the prudent way to go.

So in short, your bank accounts are just one check away from some neer-do -well (that's putting it politely) taking one of your checks and using the routing and account info on it to illegally pull money form your accounts without your permission.

That seems like one hellacious security hole big enough to drive a wheelbarrow of money through. Oh wait, yes it is indeed one hellacious security hole big enough to drive a wheelbarrow of money through. Dammit.

As Borepatch often says: "Security isn't an afterthought; it isn't thought of at all."

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Not Flying - On The Schedule, What Schedule?

So this IFR training has been taking so long that my recurring scheduling for lessons for it at DCT apparently ended without my knowing it.

As a result, I went to DCT this morning for what I thought was a simulator lesson to find out not so much, as I'm not on the schedule at all.  Ooops.

Welp, now back on staring this Friday, but the only opening for my instructor on Tuesdays is now 6:00 pm instead of 10:30 am.  On the upside, this will get me current again for night flying and right quick, so there's that.

I plan to do the final studying for the f'ing written test this week, and take it this weekend to get it done and out of the way.

Then I need to tidy up my flying, get ready for the oral and check ride.

Then comes the quandry re a check-ride examiner.  DCT tends to use a certain examiner. The upside to using him is that DCT really teaches exactly to his style of check-ride.    They know how he runs his check-ride, where he goes and what he will do.

Downside - I had an absolutely no-good, very bad, horrible experience with him for my private check-ride and I really don't think I want to use him for my instrument as a result.

As such, I think it's probably better I go with a different examiner so I need to arrange that. Then comes the question that dsince I'm not using their preferred examiner,  do I use their plane or my flying club's plane.  Quandaries, quandaries.  Should not need to worry about this, but here we are.

Well the drop dead point for getting my IFR cert is January 12, for reasons which will be clear in time, so either I get it by then or to hell with it.