Archive for March, 2005

Stupid Weather

23 March 2005 at 10:53 am
by Berck

KOUN 231633Z AUTO 01004KT 10SM OVC017 07/02 A3003 RMK AO2

That’s overcast at 1,700ft. Which means I didn’t take my stage check today either.

At least I’ll have lots of time to cook dinner for Joanna.

And I’m still waiting.

22 March 2005 at 11:16 am
by Berck

I last flew 11 March. After the flight, I was signed off for a stage check. I have to fly with one of the examiners who makes sure I can do everything I’m supposed to be able to do up to this point before I can go on to the next thing. I finally got scheduled for it on Saturday. Unfortunately, he took so long in the oral exam, (or I took so long becuase I answered the questions slowly) that we missed our time slot for the flight portion of the check. He rescheduled for Monday, but the weather was 900 ft overcast with a possibility for thunderstorms. It cleared up in the afternoon, but I wasn’t scheduled for the afternoon. Today isn’t much better.

At this point it’s looking like the end of APRIL before I even finish my Commercial. And I’ve still got CFI/CFII/MEL to do. I’m gonna be here forever.

Our garbage disposal died on Tuesday. Maintenance is currently installing a new one. They’re supposed to do something about the dishwasher as well, but my hopes of actual results are minimal after he started muttering about running bleach through it.

What a mess

19 March 2005 at 4:04 pm
by Jonah

I was excited Friday morning, thinking it was my last morning of having to get up before the sun. As I was leaving work that afternoon, I thought I’d better check with my new team leader to see what time I should come in on Monday. “Oh,” she said, “We’re not starting the new shift next week. But Barry says we’ll definitely start on the 28th.”

Maybe I just shouldn’t have asked and shown up at 10:30 on Monday. Since no one bothered to tell me.

My family is coming to visit next weekend, so I don’t know if the shift change time is good or bad. On the one hand, it would mean I would have more time to spend with them (if only three and a half hours). But what’s bothering me is that my boss is probably going to change his mind and say he absolutely needs me there on that Monday, the first day of the new shift, where those of us who signed up for this will finally find out what we’re actually going to be doing. And my family is planning to stay through that Monday, because that’s the day my boss said I could have off. ARGH!

Berck and I have been giving the apartment a thorough cleaning in preparation for the fam’s arrival. This means that I scrub and cleanse and Berck straightens. You would think that this division of labor would work perfectly, each of us operating in the areas of housekeeping we value most. But what happens is I get ticked off that the chocolate stain is still in the couch, and Berck goes on a rampage against my table, the only place in the world I’m allowed to just put stuff. I can never find anything for weeks after one of these episodes. Maybe one day we’ll learn to clean as a team.

Actual Fact: Archaeological records show that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C.

$1.97/gallon

16 March 2005 at 3:41 pm
by Berck

Yesterday, I got gas after coming back from the post office to mail something I’d sold on eBay. I was annoyed that it was a $1.97/gallon. I filled up Arthur, something I’ve gotten reasonably good at doing finally. If I just stop after the automatic shutoff, it’s anywhere between 1.5-2.5 gallons shy of full. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to fill all the way up without getting gasoline everywhere. Which is why you have to actually pull the nozzle out and watch the level in the tank… much like filling up an airplane.

This morning was cloudy and rainy, but it’s been clearing up this afternoon. I was trying to decide whether to go for a drive in Arthur or ride my bike. I decided to ride the bike since gas is so expensive. When I came back about 45 minutes later, I smelled gasoline outside my apartment. It took me awhile to figure out…

See, gasoline has a very noticeable tendancy to vary its volume in response to temperature changes. Water, for instance, doesn’t do this. Gasoline does– something most people aren’t very aware of. Most pilots know this. If you fill an airplane on a hot day, it won’t take as much fuel as on a cold day. This is why when it matters, fuel is measured by weight. The CRJ-600s I rode around on as a flight attendant can hold aproximately 14,500lbs of fuel. But on a 110 degree day on the ramp at DFW, they’re never going to get 14,000lbs in it. That’s a significant amount of fuel. It’s not as significant when you’re talking about a Cessna 172 that can only hold 21.5 gallons of fuel in each tank. (Only 20 gallons per tank are usable)

Gasoline was slowly coming out from under Arthur’s fuel cap. Still, something didn’t make sense. It felt just as cold outside as it was when I filled up Arthur yesterday. Then it hit me. As Nathan is fond of pointing out, the gas tank is inside the cab. With the sun shining and the windows all sealed tight, it was plenty warm inside the cab and getting warmer.

So I went for a drive with the windows down after all… cooled it off and used some of that gasoline.

Waiting around for Stage Check

16 March 2005 at 10:37 am
by Berck

The weather’s been icky the past couple of days, which I’m sure isn’t helping. I need to study, but I haven’t done that today either.

I got a new flight instructor last week. After my current one had annoyed me to no end, and it didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere, I got another one. He thought my maneuvers were fine and signed me off for a stage check. I’m not sure which one of them was right, but I like the noises the second one makes a lot better:)

I did another grass strip landing at Chickasha on Wednesday. That was fun. There’s not a lot to it, although I did it with a tailwind, something I’ve never tried before. Only about 4 knots, but still, it’s amazing how much difference 4 knots can make on your tail. I forget exactly, but a tail wind increases your landing distance something like 4 times as much as a headwind decreases your distance. I’m also not exactly sure why that’s the case. But the end result is that landing with a tail wind is not recommended. But I’m glad I’ve done it, so now I know what it feels like. You just fly down the runway and float forever. And then to do that on grass as well…. There’s nothing like a real soft field landing to help work out your soft field technique.

The interesting thing about Chickasha these days is note on the AWOS. (Automated Weather Observation System). In Norman, there’s a computer voice reading out the weather and it updates every minute. At Chickasha, it’s not as automated… There’s a human reading the weather, it’s not updated as often, but they also include airport notes. Like this one. “Runway One Seven Three Five is Closed. Landing is on the Taxiway. It’s 35 feet wide.” Yay. I landed on it with a 16 gusting to 22 knot DIRECT crosswind. By direct, I mean that it was perpendicular to the “runway”. I’ve never landed in a crosswind like that, but it was fun. That’s a lot of crosswind. To put it in perspective for you: The maximum demonstrated safe crosswind component of a C-172 is, I think, 12 knots. All that means is that someone demonstrated that the plane can be landed with a 12 knot crosswind. Doesn’t make it can’t be done it more, just that all that’s every been demonstrated to the FAA is 12 knots. It’s generally a pretty conservative number. To make it better, I did on a 35 foot taxi way. Which means that there’s really no room to get blown off centerline, unless you want to land in the piles of dirt. And that would be bad.

I was so impressed with myself, that I decided to do it again. I landed to the north the first time, and then landed to the south another two times.

Anyway, now I’m signed off, so I’m waiting around for a stage check. If I pass, it’s on to learning to fly a “complex” airplane, which is only like 10-15 hours of flight.

I should be taking these bad weather days to study for my oral. Maybe I’ll do that today.

I’ve been feeling restless lately. This has been giving me strange ideas, which I may or may not execute. Mostly depends on whether or not Joanna is similarly inclined. I’ll just let you guys guess, since I don’t want everyone to try to talk me out of it if we do manage to do it.

Now I have to go complain to the apartment people that our garbage dispose-all is garbage.