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Yeah I know. I kind of forgot this was here. Just to catch all three of you up on the last year and a half, I did fly to Oshkosh and back, I took a bunch of pictures, I posted them on the social network, but never wrote up my stuff here. I feel bad about that, but I got kind of busy.

You see I met this girl.

She’s smart, funny, pretty and just about the best thing ever. Her name is Adelaide and she was born on October 11th of last year. She’s my daughter. I’m all a flutter.

She and The Boy are keeping us fairly busy, and I’ve been doing other things. But now that things are settling into a pattern, I’m planning on stepping up with the blog again. To that, i give you airplanes. Well, a blimp and an airplaine.

It had to be done


Complexity Achieved

And there was much rejoicing.

After spending a couple of hours over a couple of flight flying a C-177RG  is circles (they call it…The Pattern…) and making the wheel upie-downie things go up and down sever times. I have been given my Complex Aircraft Endorsement. Which, in combination with my High performance (wink win…never mind) endorsement means that I’m mostly ready, from an FAA stand point, to fly a Cessna 210 for 3000 miles round trip.

Added Complexity.

A Complex aircraft endorsement is a note in your log book that tells the FAA that an instructor has evaluated your skills in a complex aircraft, and found that you are at least competent enough to understand how to operate them safely and consistently. In order to be called a complex aircraft, it must contain three systems, retractable landing gear, flaps and an adjustable pitch propeller. 

I bring this up now because it turns out that the aircraft I and my compatriot Scott are likely taking to The Big Show just happens to be a complex aircraft. Which means that I must again head for that glorious place known far and wide as my local FBO, and once there con some poor unsuspecting CFI into getting into an airplane with me. It should be a blast, what with the leg thingies going all up and down like. All I need now is decent weather.

“But Wait!” I hear you say. “What about the other endorsement? The one all the girls like?”

Ah yes, the OTHER endorsement.

We are of course discussing the High Performance (Wink wink, nudge nudge) endorsement. This is the note in my log book which says I’m competent to pilot an aircraft with an engine power in excess of 200hp. Note I’m speaking in the tense that implies that this already exists in my logbook. That is because it does exist in my logbook, and not just for pretends. I received my High Performance (Wink wink, nudge nudge) endorsement a couple of weeks ago and didn’t tell you all about it because I was busy doing something or other that was very important.

Or something.

Here, let me distract you with a picture

FHC Flyday P-40C


As I was saying, I received my High Performance (Wink wink, nudge nudge) endorsement a couple of weeks ago after totally failing to crash a C-182/G1000 on several occasions. As a matter of fact, I failed to crash so well that the instructor at Northway Aviation said he was happy to keep flying with me for as long as I was willing to keep throwing money at him. With this endorsement, the future Complex endorsement and a future tail wheel endorsement I’ll be just a hair’s breadth away from being a real pilot.

Then maybe I’ll get some respect around here…

Your nearest exit may be behind you.

Never Run Out of Gas. This is Rule One.

Imagine, if you will, that you are in an airplane ten thousand feet in the sky, the wind whistling against the airframe, the engine droning its song of thrust while the prop pulls you through the air. Now imagine running out of gas, the prop stops puling, and the engine goes silent, leaving you with nothing but the wind. Well, the wind and gravity, and also the ground which, thanks to Mistress Gravity, seems to be getting closer and will become a pressing concern shortly.

The one mistake I told myself I would never make in an airplane is fuel starvation. At no time would I ever take off or continue a flight if I thought I was cutting it close on fuel. Not only does it result in a dangerous situation, it makes you look very un-cool. And if you can’t look cool being a pilot, what’s the point?

There are a lot of considerations to take into account when planning a flight, but to me, none are so important as to set aside Rule One. When planning my legs to Airventure, there are many factors to take into consideration. How much Gas I have in the tank is one consideration, how much money is it going to take to fill up the tank is another. But the overriding consideration is Rule One. Is my destination within the range and more importantly, is there an alternate destination within 30 minutes of my primary landing airport, and does this alternate sell gas? It’s somewhat surprising to note the number of airports that don’t sell gas, and therefore have to be taken out of consideration as alternate landing runways. In the interest of Rule One, and possibly to the detriment of efficiency, I have planned all my legs with one hour of reserve, rather than the standard 30 Minutes. I like safety, it keeps me safe.

Naturally, the ever changing fuel prices can also put a cramp in your fuel/flight planning. Fortunately there are some great tools for pilots nowadays. lets FBOs list there fuel prices, is a website dedicated to just reporting fuel prices, AOPA members have access to the AOPA database that also lists fuel prices. With all of this, I have been able to plan all of my legs with reasonable fuel prices, and reasonable safety.

The Year Ahead

Things look really busy this year, of course the standard caveat applies: Just ‘cause it’s here, don’t mean I’ll be there.

The calander:

Start date End date Event Location
5/15/2010 5/15/2010 GA day KPAE- Paine Field
5/22/2010 5/22/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
5/26/2010 5/31/2010 EAA B-17 KBFI – Seattle
6/5/2010 6/5/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
6/19/2010 6/20/2010 Olympic Airshow KOLM- Olympia
6/19/2010 6/19/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
7/4/2010 7/4/2010 Tacoma Airshow Tacoma waterfront
7/9/2010 7/11/2010 EAA Arlington KAWO-Arlington
7/10/2010 7/10/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
7/16/2010 7/18/2010 McChord Air Expo McChord AFB
7/23/2010 7/25/2010 Concrete Fly-in 3W5-Concrete
7/24/2010 7/24/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
7/26/2010 8/1/2010 EAA Airventure KOSH-Oshkosh
8/6/2010 8/8/2010 Sea Fair Lake Washington
8/7/2010 8/7/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
8/13/2010 8/15/2010 Abbotsford Airshow YXX-Abbotsford airport
8/20/2010 8/22/2010 NWAAC Fly-in KVUO-Vancouver Wa.
8/28/2010 8/28/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
9/4/2010 9/5/2010 Vintage Fly-in at KPAE KPAE- Paine Field
9/11/2010 9/11/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field
9/25/2010 9/25/2010 Fly Day KPAE- Paine Field


 I should be able to make a lot of these but there are some conflicts, mostly with  FHC Fly days.

Making plans for planning

So my plan it to get current again prior to winging my way to Airventure this summer in a borrowed Cessna 182, or maybe a borrowed 210, or maybe a borrowed something else. Actually, it will most likely be my compatriot Scott who will be doing the borrowing with me quietly hanging out in a dark corner before jumping into the airplane right before it taxies to the runway. Be that as it may, the plan is to get to Oshkosh this year in a small aircraft, and before I do that, I want to get current.

It’s been two years since I’ve been Pilot in Command of an aircraft and while I don’t think the FARs have changed that much in the intervening time, I’m certain that my memory of them has certainly degraded. Not to mention the almost certain decline of much neglected skills like chart reading, flight planning and navigation. With all that, I feel like I need to start all over in ground school before I call up the local FBO and schedule a Bi-annual Flight Review. To that end I’ve purchased the ASA test prep book and a new FAR/AIM, which I hope will get me going for my next aircraft checkout. I plan on taking a couple of hours of instruction prior to getting my BFR, so hopefully everything be smooth sailing, or rather, smooth flying.

I’m also planning on doing my flight planning the old fashioned way, with a sectional, a plotter and an E6-B. Oh sure, I could just go buy a fancy computer flight planner, but where is the fun in that? And just in case you are wondering, no, I’m not planning on navigating to Oshkosh on nothing but a compass and a stopwatch.

I’ve been to Airventure a couple times when I was working for the man, but this will be the first time I’ve been as just a participant, not to mention that it will be the first time I’ve not flown commercial. It will be extra special this time because the poor sod I’ve convinced to fly with me has never been to the show, so he doesn’t know about the hordes of rampaging wildebeests or the ritual cat dancing…Just seeing if you were paying attention.

Anyway, it should be a busy couple of months as I re-learn and reapply all that pilot type stuff.

Can I borrow your airplane?

Why Fly?

Hiya folks! 2010 planning is underway with me feverishly collecting airshow dates and making my mind up about conflicts. McChord is having their expo again this year, and I’ve always thought I should go to Abbotsford for their show. We’ll see what happens once I get everything on the calendar.

In Other news, I’m happy to announce the launch of Why Fly; an on-line multimedia journal developed by my friends,  Hal, Mike, Michelle, and Glenn. Are all fantastic people that are passionate about aviation and passionate about brining a new view of aviation to all you propeller heads out there. Plus they let me show my stuff, so I have to say that they show excellent taste. With photo’s, videos and some great articles, you should defiantly keep Why Fly in your Favorites.
Why Fly: Celebrating the passion for flight

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