Archive for September, 2006


28 September 2006 at 6:08 pm
by Berck

So, no student of mine has failed a checkride.

Or had until yesterday afternoon. And boy did he fail it good. He managed to put the aircraft in a spin during slow flight. Twice.

I guess I was due.


22 September 2006 at 10:49 am
by Berck

So, last week I had a bit of an incident on landing… Everything was looking fine, and the student decided at the last minute to just jerk back on the stick, for unexplained reasons. This put us in a nose-high stall attitude about 10 feet over the grass on the right side of the runway in a left bank. I took control of the aircraft and added full power, hoping to keep the nose up so that we wouldn’t hit the prop. What I didn’t consider was the possibility of dragging the left wingtip. Until I heard a scraping noise. This isn’t such a common occurence on most aircraft, but the DA20 supposedly only needs something like 13 degrees of bank for a wingtip strike because it sits so low to the ground. I wasn’t the first, and I probably won’t be the last either.

Bad News

20 September 2006 at 8:44 pm
by Jonah

One of the presenters of our favorite show was apparently pretty badly injured while trying to set the land speed record in Britain in a jet car.

The big question is, will this delay the start of the new series in October? Or will they replace The Hamster with someone like Sabine Schmidt?


13 September 2006 at 8:16 pm
by Berck

Wolf Creek Pass

10 September 2006 at 11:30 am
by Berck

I thought Jonah was going to write about our trip, but I guess not. There’s photos in the gallery.

The most unusual thing on the trip occurred on our way up Wolf Creek Pass headed back home. It’s not one of the most impressive passes, but is still a rather steep climb. It’s one of the more traveled passes, and the road is 4 lanes. Strangely, the speed limit going up is 35mph, where the speed limit going down is 55mph. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering how easy it is to get into trouble going downhill, but how relatively difficult it is to get in trouble going uphill. I was driving pretty much flat-out in the Miata, which considering the altitude and steep grade, was somewhere around 65mph. As I rounded a curve, a well marked state patrol patrol car was coming the other direction. I tried to brake quickly, but so quickly that it would be obvious I was trying to slow down. In retrospect, this is not a logical or recommended approach… Simply because if I’d braked harder, I’d have been going under the speed limit by the time he turned his radar on. Furthermore, the amount of braking I’d done was enough so that it was obvious I was trying to slow down. A few seconds after I started slowing down, the radar detector went off. This is one of those few situations a radar detector won’t help you out–a cop who’s been driving for the last several miles with his radar off, but turns it on after seeing you. Still, in that situation, you see him as soon as he sees you, so if you brake hard enough, you’ll be going under the limit by the time he manages to bounce radar off you. In any case, as the radar detector went off, the cop started braking as well. I pulled over and stopped before he even managed to get his lights on. He turned them on after he did a u-turn and stopped behind me. It’s been over a year since I’ve gotten a ticket, so I figured I was due, and handed him my driver license before he finished his strangely polite spiel to the effect of “Good evening, I’m so-and-so from the Colorado State Patrol, how are you?” He asked for my proof of registration (something I’m not used to, as Texas has no such proof), and my insurance. Jonah had failed to throw away the expired insurance, which is of course the one I managed to give him. He pointed out it was expired, and I produced another one which he was happier with. He said, “I’m not going to write you a ticket,” and walked back to his car to check me out. This is strange, usually they don’t bother say such things before they check for warrants. Since he was electing to give me a warning, I figured he was going to want to search my car. So I was steeling myself up to refuse to answer any questions and to refuse any searches–not because I had anything to hide, but because he has no business searching my car. Instead, the only question he returned with was something to effect of, “Nice car… how does it handle?” He said that he clocked me at 48 in a 35, but reflected that I was quicker on the brakes than he was with the radar and had obviously been going faster. He handed me a written warning and told me to drive safely. As we left, I asked Joanna, “What’s wrong with him?” to which she giggled. I’d also like to point out that I had a radar detector in plain sight the whole time–so those of you who think a cop is going to write a ticket just because you have a radar detetor are wrong:)