Showing posts from October, 2006


For a good time, call Airtoons

My wife’s first solo flight(s)

This Saturday K woke up early for a momentous occasion: her first solo flight. I stayed behind to sleep in a bit and, with that properly accomplished, to gather up the camera gear (including a tripod I bought special for the event). I went out to the airport at 8:30 – just in time to see K and her instructor heading down the taxiway for their first practice takeoff of the day. John was in his hangar repairing a wheel pant on his microlight so I stopped by and bugged him for a bit with idle chatter. I was nervous for K – I thought she was soloing a little early though later I’d realize she had more hours than my mental math gave her credit for. I also knew she was packing quite a few butterflies in her stomach – I had a concern that my video camera pointing at her every move wasn’t helping them go away. I filmed a takeoff or two while her instructor was still with her as practice. I found a good spot near the taxiway to set up the tripod. After getting bored with that, I retire

The preciseness of modern flight

UPDATE: I think John Glenn agrees with me when he says "going direct keeps the airplanes spread out more" toward the end of that video. Reading a recent post on Philip Greenspun’s Weblog got me thinking about the pros and cons of VOR-based navigation vs. GPS. I would argue with Philip in that, at least compared to VOR-based navigation, GPS would be less likely to cause a collision. The primary reason being that it creates the possibility for more "airways" than a pure VOR-based system does. A little graphic shows this: The yellow icons are VORs, the purple are airports. With VOR-based airways planes going to different locations may have to cross the same point if they use the same VOR for their route. This is exacerbated if multiple VORs are being shared (purple line is overlapping course). However if each is on a direct route there would be, at most, one point where they would cross paths. Even though the VOR airway may be 8 miles wide (because of the error i

Another flight down South

K and I took a long weekend and flew the C172 down to Rock Hill, SC for a little R&R. By R&R I mean: a Clemson football game some Wal-Mart shopping a bit of fireside cooking some tree felling ATV riding A few minutes of cheapo R/C airplane flying It was a good weekend, though I did spend some time worrying about the weather for the flight back. I don't guess it’s irony, but it kind of stinks that after getting my IFR rating I buy a plane that I don't really want to take in instrument weather. Right now it is not legal to do so (since the VOR indicator is out I'd have no way to shoot an approach and I'm not sure all the inspections are current). However, even when it is legal I won't be too inclined to do so. I think this is for 2 reasons - 1) no IFR GPS so my trips would be VOR-to-VOR and 2) no autopilot so slogging through the clouds would be a bit taxing. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten my rating in a "technically advanced aircraft" like 5

Ferry flight to KPVG

We took the airplane (35388) down to PVG tonight to drop it off at Bay Avionics. The fine folks there will take a look at the glideslope problem we've had as well as test comm 2 and the ADF. I tested the ADF on the way to PVG and felt it was still acting up, unless I was using it in the wrong mode. Since it didn't behave in any of the modes (ANT? BFO?) I figure it is in a bad way. Jim gave John and I a ride back in his lovely Cirrus SR22. He was kind enough to let me fly it up the the threshold where I, a lowly C172 guy flying from the right seat, asked him to land it for me. That airplane flies like a dream. I trimmed it up with the hat on the stick and it stayed right where I wanted it in the smooth air. The roll trim was handy. John was jokingly remarking that we were going too slow for his tastes so Jim put in all the power - we went from something like 14 GPH of fuel flow to 30 or so. I started trimming nose down to keep us level and once I had it stabilized again

R/C Cessna 182

Last night K and I went to a nearby park for the second "first flight" of my radio controlled Cessna 182 . Why second “first flight”? Because on the real first flight I crashed it within 5 minutes. That left the airplane with multiple broken parts and a one-year prison sentence in the attic (that’ll learn ye!). Last weekend I finally used the extra parts I ordered to fix it and realized that there was a reason I felt the ailerons didn't work properly the first time - they were installed incorrectly from the factory (more specifically the servo mount was not properly offset from center in the middle of the wing). After putting on the new wing and horizontal stabilizer and correcting that servo mount the ailerons seemed a little better (they actually traveled fully in both directions this time). We took it out to hand-launched it for the test flights. It took a little while for us to figure out how to properly hand launch (how much power and at what angle) but we e