Archive for June, 2005

Hell is inside a metal box in the Oklahoma sun

15 June 2005 at 8:50 pm
by Jonah

It’s getting hot here. And working in a warehouse get miserable. We rejoice whenever the huge blowers kick in, bringing in fresh, sun-soaked air from off the paved loading dock.

But at least I’m not being timed pulling.

Hell is actually being forced to perform Sisyphustic tasks in intense heat. My team leader went on vacation a couple of weeks ago, leaving Mark (my shift’s forklift driver) and me in charge of the dozen or so college kids working for us this summer. We had instructions to finish building two valleys, though our team leader didn’t think we’d get as far as finishing the first one. But we did. And it looked beautiful. I was really proud of us.

Except one of the rows of metal shelves poked out an inch off the edge by the offices.

So the next week the order came to tear it all down. Not just the offending row. All four rows, both sides of the middle aisle break, all had to come down. We restacked the cardboard, restacked the metal shelf mesh, took out all the pins and hooks, restacked the beams. Then some main warehouse guys came over and used lasers to straighten it all out. We finally finished putting it all back together today.

Today I was swiping some CD jewel out of the store supplies department for some cracked CD’s that had come in, when the girl who’s in charge of Send Outs sidled up to me. She’s quiet, and I’m quiet, so we’ve probably only exchanged about three sentences since I started working there. “Don’t tell anyone,” she murmured, just above the noise of the blowers, “but during our meeting just now, the boss was bragging about you.”

“What?”

“Don’t tell anyone!”

“I won’t, but what was he bragging about?”

“About how good you are with the college kids.”

Well, duh, I think. I’m a natural leader. But I grinned and thanked her.

“Don’t tell anyone!” she repeated.

Hell is where the prideful go.

And now for studying.

15 June 2005 at 9:37 am
by Berck

The oral portion of my practical flight test will supposely be tomorrow morning with the chief flight instructor, which means I get to study, study, study. I think I should be able to do the flight tomorrow as well. It would be wonderful if I could be done with this school by the end of the month.

Spin ride!

13 June 2005 at 2:39 pm
by Berck

I’ve been looking forward to my spin training for awhile. I’ve never been in a spin, and I wanted to know what it was all about. Now I know.

As Ed taxied out to the runway he asked me what a spin was. “A stable, stalled condition where one wing is more stalled than the other, resulting in rotation.” We talked about spin entry and recovery techniques and how Cessna 172’s require full rudder and up elevator control inputs to stay in a spin. “Do you get sick on a roller coaster?” he asked. “Nope.” “Eaten lunch?” “Haven’t eaten anything today,” I told him. “Good!”

There was a cloud layer at about 4,000 feet, so we found a hole and climbed up to 7,500. First, Ed demonstrated an incipient spin– the nose-down stalled attitude that will eventual develop into a spin. I’d done this before, so there wasn’t really any surprise there. Stall the plane cross controlled, one wing falls off and you’re staring at the ground sideways.

“Are you ready for a 3-turn spin?” he asked. “Yup!”

He pulled the power idle, pitched up, and watched the airspeed decrease. “50 knots, full back on the yoke… there’s the break, full right rudder.” The plane fell off on the right side, rolling about 120 degrees and pitching down simultaneously. The plane lazily pointed down for a moment and then WHOOSH. The ground was whirling around violently. “One! Two! Three turns and recover!” We hit about 150 knots on the pullout of the resulting dive. Everything looked blurry and seemed to still be spinning even though we were now in a stabilized climb. I didn’t know I was capable of releasing a few gallons of sweat instantly. I was totally unprepared for just how violent it was going to be. Fortunately, I had the climb back up to 7,500 (a few minutes) to recover. Wow.

“Okay, now your turn.” I pulled power, pitched upward, at 50 knots I added full back pressure and stomped the right rudder pedal. Around we went. There was no way I could manage to count the turns, it happened too fast. “One, Two, Three!” Ed yelled. I released the rudder, and pushed the yoke forward just a little bit and we were flying again. Once again, everything was blurry, and I was quite dizzy. Back up to 7,500 to do it again.

I wondered just how much sweat the human body could release in a matter of seconds, and wished I had some water to drink. I was feeling rather queasy and still had to demonstrate a spin to the left.

My entry was nice, but after one rotation the spin dissolved into more of a spiral drive. We tried it again with the same result, but then gave up. Which was fortunately, because I don’t know how much more I could have taken.

As Ed flew back to the airport, I concentrated on trying to calm my tummy.

I remarked to someone back at the airport, that while it was fun, I apparently don’t have the physical stamina to be an aerobatic pilot. “Oh, you probably could if you wanted. You build up a tolerance and get used to it after awhile.” I hope so, because I’ve always wanted to do aerobatics.

Not today.

10 June 2005 at 12:50 pm
by Berck

Well, there was no plane for my 10am flight, so it got reschduled for 2pm. When I showed up at 12pm for my spin-ride, that plane was in maintenance. And they informed me that the plane for my 2pm flight got canceled for a check ride. So my spin ride is now 8am tomorrow, and my final CFII flight is 4pm Sunday. Whee.

Acquatic Tarnation

9 June 2005 at 6:00 pm
by Berck

Just a quick post to say that The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou is a wonderful movie. One of the best I’ve seen in quite awhile. It’s both something different and amusing. That’s the way movies should be. It’s really a good movie, even though the box makes it look very dumb. I like Bill Murray.

Simultaneously I should add that you should not, under any circumstances, watch Tarnation. It has, as far as I can tell, no redeeming features whatsoever. It is good evidence that Apple’s movie editing software should not be sold to anyone without some sort of certification procedures to ensure that the purchaser is not some sort of self-involved moron who is plotting to infiltrate our screens with utter crap. After a bit of thought, I suppose it’s possible that Ben might like it, but no one else I know would.