Archive for November, 2005

So now I have to sign ’em off.

7 November 2005 at 7:26 pm
by Berck

So, for some strange reasons (well, probably because I was hoping it would win me points) I volunteered to fly late this evening. So I wound up flying with another instructor’s student. He’s post-solo, but was unable to fly the departure and arrival procedures as published. I felt like I had no choice but to grade him “unsatisfactory” for that item. That also meant that, because of the point in his training, the whole flight must be graded unsatisfactory. He said something to the effect of, “Well, now I’ve got to repeat this flight, we just don’t have time for that.” What I should have said was probably something along the lines of, “We’re not here to get you through this program. We’re here to see if you’re capable of getting through it.” Instead I made my flight commander deal with him. Miraculously, all hint of his attitude disappeared once he was in front of someone else. I’d also mentioned his attitude to a Major who indicated that I could recommend him for an elimination check on the basis of lack of officership if his attitude were bad enough. The joys of the military.

One of my decent students passed his 490 (checkride) which means that now I’ve got to sign him off to solo. The idea scares me.

Annoyingly, my student who failed three flights in a row passed his progress check with the Air Force today. Which means that I’ve got to sign him off to solo, and I’m just not sure whether I feel comfortable doing that. I’ll get to fly with him a few trips around the pattern first, and if he screws that up, I don’t have to sign him off. Or, I could take a stand and simply say, “I don’t feel comfortable signing him off.” I’m not sure which tactic I should employ. Both of these guys will be up for solo on Wednesday though.

In my head there’s a Greyhound station…

6 November 2005 at 9:37 pm
by Jonah

A while back I had an interview with Michele’s old boss Ray at the headhunting firm she used to work at. They didn’t have any positions open at that time, but Ray and his assistant were very nice and gave me some pointers and told me they would give out my resume to their people… I would be a “free” placement (since who would pay someone to find me). It was good practice interviewing, and Ray said I had a very interesting resume (but he said it with a positive tone of voice). He also told me to tell Michele she should come back when she got better (she was their top recruiter).

Well, who should call me on Thursday but Ray, saying their current top guy needs an assistant, and wasn’t I asking for $30k a year? Of course, it would probably be more than that with commission topping it off…

I told Berck. He said something like, “Well… rats.”

I told Michele the next day, and she told Duncan. They came and talked to me at the laptop where I was futzing with the webpage (which I still haven’t been able to put up yet because the Internet connection was down… too much wind). “Obviously, we want what’s best for you,” said Duncan, sounding very much like my dad. “Our preference is that you stay and work for us, of course.”

“I think you should go interview,” said Michele. “That way if it’s a fit, you’ll know, and if it’s not for you, you’ll know for sure. Although, if I teach you how to do what I do, the potential for making more money is greater with me than it would be with Ray’s group.”

“Well,” I said, “I don’t really like the idea of a job where I’d be on the phone all day.” That’s what Michele does. And she loves it. And she’s great at it. She can have an engineer she’s never met chatting about his family, his last vacation, or his current research project in 20 seconds flat. I’ve timed it. And every time she ends one of these conversations, she pushes back her chair, sighs, and says, “I LOVE my job!”

“If you worked with Ray, you’d be on the phone ALL DAY,” Michele said.

So I haven’t called Ray back.

Actual Fact: In 1903 the Vatican declared the saxophone gave reasonable concern for disgust and scandal.

Flying is expensive.

6 November 2005 at 6:39 pm
by Berck

I’m now officially checked out in a T-41C, which is basically a 210-hp version of a Cessna 172. This means I can rent one for $83/hour (an astonishingly good price) from the Air Force Academy Aero Club whenever I want. Or at least, whenever there’s a plane available. It was weird flying a high-wing with a yoke again. Cool to fly something with some real horsepower. It’s a 6-cylinder engine, so it’s smoother and makes cool gurgling noises. Amusingly, it’s ancient (1969) with an airspeed indicator in MPH. It cruises at about 110mph indicated, which really isn’t much faster than a 172. But it climbs at nearly 1,000fpm even at 6,500 ft, something a 172 very much does not do. And it’s got a max gross of 2500 lbs, so taking along two passengers is a piece of cake. Three passengers if they’re not too bulky. I got to fly into the Academy uncontrolled, which was simply weird.

Anyway, this is all so I can take Joanna flying. (And Nathan, if he gets over his fear that I’m going to kill him.) I scheduled the plane to take Joanna up next Sunday. So those of you who volunteered to chip in on an airplane ride for Joanna, now’s your chance!

I can even take it cross-country if I want. They ask if I take it overnight somewhere that I average 2 hours/day on the tach while it’s gone. So I can go somewhere 3 hours away, spend two nights, and fly back. That would be cool. If only I had $500 to toss around like that:)

Holy… Something

6 November 2005 at 6:20 pm
by Jonah

Airman Flight School, where Berck attended in Norman, Oklahoma, is closed. Students who’ve paid and employees who haven’t been are suing the owner and two principals of a management company.

According to the Norman paper, the leasing company obtained an order of possession Aug. 3 and gave the school until Aug. 15 to move out. The date of the article is Sept. 9, by which time the doors had been chained shut.

You’ll remember Berck finished his last check ride on Aug. 10.

Aren’t we glad he didn’t get a job at Airman teaching! Aren’t we even gladder that he finished his training!

As Berck says, “Sometimes I guess you just get lucky.”

I’ll say.

Snow Shower

6 November 2005 at 6:09 pm
by Jonah

Yesterday morning we woke up early (7 o’clock or so, which constitutes “sleeping in” for Berck, who usually rises between 4:30 and 5). “What do you want to do today?” asked Berck, who had gotten out of working because of unfavorable winds. I suggested we could go on a hike. The sky was mostly overcast, and Berck suggested the weather might be against us.

A little later we looked out the window again. The air was full of thick, white flakes! It snowed and snowed for a few hours, sticking to everything except the roads. “If this keeps up,” exclaimed Berck, “I can test out my new snow tires!” We had just picked them up from the shop the evening before.

But the snow stopped. And even though everything was covered with snow, when the sun came out, it all melted almost immediately. The afternoon ended up being sunny and warmish.

Actual Fact: The word “decimation” comes from the Latin word meaning “removal of a tenth,” describing a Roman army practice to punish mutinous or cowardly troops. The doomed were put in groups of ten, and then each group drew lots. The one loser out of the ten was slain by the other nine.