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Dan's Transient Random Noise Bursts

Jan. 21st, 2009

09:14 am - Outside temperature: 31F

Nice day for a motorcycle ride. Heated gear FTMFW.

Dec. 27th, 2008

09:18 pm - Manhattan update:

Offers to sell me a fake Gucci purse: 254
Offers to sell me a fake Rolex: 122
Offers to sell me a dimebag: 2
Crazy ranting homeless guys stalking us: 1
Number of stores we saw which were shut down for "Trademark and Copyright Violations": 1
Number of actual remaining surplus stores: 1

You stay classy, Canal Street!

Did have a slice of pie at Pizza Suprema, which is a dang good pizza considering how conveniently located to Penn Station it is.

Dec. 23rd, 2008

06:02 pm - Snow. I haz it.

more animals

Dec. 10th, 2008

02:29 pm - Note to self:

Do not close garage door on tail of motorcycle. Especially if the garage door opener does not have auto-reversing safety. Clunk - clunk - clunk - BANG!!! crunch crunch splinter bonk.

Nov. 11th, 2008

02:45 pm - Who stole my lunch?

Was it you?? Sound off!

Oct. 31st, 2008

09:38 pm - Happy Halloween!!

Two trick-or-treaters. Lame.

Clicky for more, big.Collapse )

Oct. 12th, 2008

09:08 pm - More Flying etc.

So I realize I haven't posted in like a month... mostly because I haven't had any interesting pictures to share. But I've still been flying a lot, pushing toward my certificate. From reading these logbook entries, it seems that I spend a lot of time flying around in circles, so I took my boat GPS up with me to record a typical practice flight. If you have Google Earth installed, you can clicky on the image below to pull up the flight path in all it's 3D glory.

Here's the cliff notes version of what I've been working on since my last cross-country...

9/16 - C150 N8326U - Instrument flight training with instructor. Flight time: 1.5 hrs. Total Time: 44.4 hrs.

9/23 - C150 N8326U - Check Ride preparation with instructor. Short field takoffs and landing at Monroe Flight time: 1.6 hrs. Total Time: 46.0 hrs.

9/25 - C150 N8326U - Instrument flight training with instructor. Crosswind landing practice. Flight time: 1.3 hrs. Total Time: 47.3 hrs.

9/28 - C150 N704ML - Solo practice for checkride. Focus on precision execution of practical test maneuvers. Flight time: 2.0 hrs. Total Time: 49.3 hrs.

9/30 - C150 N8326U - Check Ride preparation with instructor. Simulation of entire FAA checkride. No-power landing at Whidbey Airpark Flight time: 1.6 hrs. Total Time: 50.9 hrs.

10/2 - C150 N704ML - Solo practice for checkride. High winds, a good time to practice ground reference maneuvers. Flight time: 1.5 hrs. Total Time: 52.4 hrs.

10/8 - C150 N704CG - Pre-checkride phase check flight with club safety officer. Simulation of entire FAA checkride. Took the phase check flight out of Renton Airport, home of the 737 assembly line. First time flying there. Flight time: 1.3 hrs. Total Time: 53.7 hrs.

10/11 - C150 N704ML - Solo practice for checkride. Nice lazy day, just familiarizing myself with the area where the pilot examiner will probably want to conduct the checkride. Made a few power-off landings at Paine field, I've heard that they are a maneuver this examiner emphasizes. Flight time: 1.3 hrs. Total Time: 55 hrs.

The good news is, I passed my phase check flight with flying colors (except for one place in my logbook which my instructor forgot to sign), so now I'm ready for the FAA practical test with the pilot examiner. If the weather holds, I should take my flight test this week.

Sep. 19th, 2008

12:23 pm - Flight Log - 9/14/08

Long solo cross country flight. Went from Paine Field to Bowerman Field in Hoquiam. Weather was perfect, got nice views of Seattle, and the Bremerton naval shipyard Stopped in Hoquiam to pick up some gas. BS'd with a guy there who works for Washington State University, flying low along the shore doing photography to study bird populations. Took off and made a scenic tour of Grays Harbor. Flew over the Copalis State airport. It's unique in that it has no maintained runways, it is just a section of beach that the state has set aside and designated a landing spot. You have to arrive at low tide and land on the wet sand, people meet up there for barbeques and stuff. I saw one airplane there, maybe I'll land sometime. Flew south along the coastline to Westport airport, then to Olympia to practice some touch and goes. Headed home, and landed at Paine just before twilight.

More pics and commentsCollapse )

9/14 - C150 N8326U - Solo Cross Country flight to Hoquiam, Olympia. Flight time: 3.5 hrs. Total Time: 42.9 hrs.

Sep. 12th, 2008

10:14 am - Flight Log - 9/11/08

Just a solo flight in the local area to practice for the practical test. Traffic pattern was really busy at Arlington, I bugged out and went to Everett once there were about 6 people in the area all try to land at the same time. This flight put me over the mandatory minimum for the solo flight requirements.

9/11 - C150 N8326U - Steep Turns, Ground reference maneuvers. Touch & Goes at AWO, Short Field & Slip-To-Land approaches at PAE. Flight time: 2.4 hrs. Total Time: 39.4 hrs.

Sep. 10th, 2008

09:53 am - Flight Log - 9/3/08, 9/4/08, and 9/5/08

So, no pictures from me lately. Not because I haven't been flying, but because I've been flying at night.

Night navigation isn't too bad in general. Most airports are well lit, I had no trouble finding Arlington. Even medium size general aviation airports have a rotating beacon. Some of them have pilot controlled lighting. If you click the radio transmit button 7 times, all the runway lights come on at full intensity. You'd have to be blind to not find the airport. Harvey field is another story - It's a very small privately owned airport. No rotating beacon. No pilot controlled lighting. Just very dim runway lighting. It's very difficult to spot unless you are directly lined up with the runway. The last 50 feet of the final approach are also tricky, it's very difficult to tell how high you when you're in the landing flare. I did manage a few nice landings, but also dropped a few in.

The night cross-country was fun. The instructor picked an airport in the middle of no where on purpose, to see if I could locate it by dead reckoning alone without using any electronic navaids. Dead reckoning is using the forecast wind speed, and plotting and predicting your arrival time at various checkpoints along the route. As you check your actual arrival time at the checkpoints VS the predicted time, you update the your wind correction calculations. By the end of the flight, I had racked up nearly 4 hours of night flight, which is a bit more than the 3 required for your license.

So what's left? I need to take one more cross-country. Needs to be at least 150 miles, and have stops at at least 2 airports. I also need to bring my total solo cross-country time up to 5 hours, so it would be good to make the cross country at least 3.2 hours long. I need a total of 3 hours of simulated instrument flight, and I've only done 0.7. This needs to be done with the instructor on board, obviously. After that, it's pretty much just practice for the practical exam.

9/3 - C150 N8326U - Solo practice in local area. Steep Turns, Ground reference maneuvers, slow flight, approach and departure stalls. Flight time: 1.4 hrs. Total Time: 33.1 hrs.

9/4 - C150 N704ML - Night Flight Lesson - Slow Flight, stalls clean power on, landing/approach stalls, stalls in turns. 6 stop and goes at Arlington, 2 full stop at Harvey. Paine field ops W/ Tower closed. Flight time: 1.9 hrs. Total Time: 35.0 hrs.

9/9 - C150 N704ML - Night X/C to Shelton. Flight Planning. Pilotage and Dead Reckoning, Cross-checking w/ VOR. Radar flight following through SEA Class B. Flight time: 2.0 hrs. Total Time: 37.0 hrs.

Sep. 3rd, 2008

02:18 pm - Flight Log - 9/1/08

Took my first solo cross-country today. Weather was lousy in the morning and early afternoon, so a bunch of people canceled their reservations. Late afternoon, the weather started to break, so I got onto the scheduling system and booked a plane for 4:30. For local flights, I can just check the weather and make the decision to fly at my discretion, though as a courtesy I do call my instructor and let him know I'll be flying. It's a bit different for cross country flights, prior to the flight the instructor needs to endorse your logbook certifying that they've reviewed your flight planning and weather briefing for that particular route of flight on that particular day.

Luckily, my instructor was planning another flight on his own that afternoon anyway, so it wasn't a big deal to meet up with him and review the weather. Cloud heights were forecast at 3500 feet, and as a VFR pilot I need to stay 500 feet under the clouds, so I planned on flying at 3000 feet. The instructor verified that I knew what to do if the weather got below my minimums, and where my alternate airports were, and signed off on the log.

As cross country flights go, this one was fairly short, about 100 miles round trip. I was heading for Port Angeles, WA which is about 50 miles west of here, right on the shore of the Straight of San Juan de Fuca. My route of flight took me close to a "National Security Airspace", which pilots are "requested" to avoid, so I made sure to stay clear of that. I did have to drop to 2500 feet to go below one low hanging cloud, but the weather was pretty good otherwise. Landed at Port Angeles, and decided to use the can. I mentioned to one of the airport operators that I was a student on solo X/C, and apparently that means they give your a free Coke. :) BS'ed about airplanes for a few minutes, checked the oil, and headed home.

Not as many pictures as last time, I was kind of short-handed.Collapse )

9/1 - C150 N704ML - Solo Cross Country flight to Port Angeles. Flight time: 1.8 hrs. Total Time: 31.7 hrs.

Sep. 2nd, 2008

02:20 pm

Had my first cross-country flight today. My instructor and I went over the flight plan the day before. Plan was to leave Paine Field and head north to Orcas Island. Most people think that the island was named after the killer whales which swim in the area, but really it's named after Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo. No shit. That's a mouthful. Anyway, the interesting bit is that the flight took us directly overhead of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island There is a controlled airspace above the field, and it's OK to go through as long as you are in communication with the tower. There are a lot of fast movers in the area, the navy flies Prowlers and Growlers there all the time. After that, we made a quick landing at Eastsound Airport on Orcas Island, then headed toward Bellingham. Did a touch and go at Bellingham Airport and headed back to Everett.

Bunch more pics behind the cut.Collapse )

8/31 - C150 N704ML - Cross Country flight to Eastsound, Bellingham. Flight time: 2.2 hrs. Total Time: 29.9 hrs.

Aug. 27th, 2008

04:10 pm - Flight Log - 8/23/08 and 8/26/08

8/22 - Took the FAA written knowledge exam, passed with a 97. Usually, if you get anything less than a 90 you can expect a real grilling when it comes time to take the FAA oral knowledge discussion with the examiner. I think some of the questions really need to be taken out of the database, as they are really nothing but trivia questions which have no bearing on aeronautical knowledge as it applies in use. Who cares how may GPS satellites there are? Even though it's 24 right now, it was 26 a few years ago, and will likely be different again at some future time.

8/23 - Finally got to do my solo phase check with one of the club's senior instructors. Soft spoken older guy, pretty easy to get along with. Went through the usual demonstration maneuvers. Did really well on the steep turns. Still need to work on the ground reference maneuvers a bit. He has some different opinions on how to fly in the traffic pattern than my usual instructor.. he like much more gentle turns in the pattern than I normally fly. It gives you an extra margin of safety against stalls in the pattern, but it also makes you fly a wider pattern, so you are further from the runway in case of engine failure. He also likes to fly the pattern at slower airspeeds than I am used to. I normally aim for 75 knots on the base leg. He prefers to see 65 knots, but I don't like to get that slow so long before touchdown. The C150 is already one of the slowest airplanes in the traffic pattern, and you end up messing with the spacing of traffic behind you if you get that slow so early. We do a few touch and goes then park, and I'm finally signed off for solo flights outside the traffic pattern of our home base. Flight time: 1.2 hrs. Total Time: 25.7 hrs.

8/26 - First solo flight away from the traffic pattern. Weather looked a bit iffy when I first looked at it on the computer, so I called for a live briefing. Visibility and ceiling looked OK, winds were at the high end of what my instructor signed me off for, but within limits. The briefer said that there was no rain forecast, but on the radar it sure looked like it would start raining toward the end of my training session. I got some fuel, warmed up the plane and got cleared to taxi to the runway. Called the tower, got clearance to takeoff, tried to transmit confirmation of my clearance, and the radio went dead. I did some quick trouble shooting and determined that the hand held microphone was working, but the one on my headset was not. No problem, just use the hand mike, and remember not to fly the microphone and drop the airplane. Went up and practiced some slow flight, stalls, and ground reference maneuvers. Went over to Arlington Municipal and practiced some regular landings, and some no-flap landings. They're getting better, none were stinkers. I still have work on watching out not to balloon and gain any altitude while in the flare, but I've gotten good at recognizing it and recovering as required. Started to drizzle while I was flying back to Paine Field. Was raining pretty good by the time I got it tied down and put in a maintenance request to get the radio fixed. Flight time: 2.0 hrs. Total Time: 27.7 hrs.

Aug. 21st, 2008

06:51 pm - Didn't get to fly today...

Weather wasn't good enough for the checkride. Try again Saturday.

Aug. 20th, 2008

04:01 pm - Flight Log - 8/19/08

Yeah, two log entries today. That first one was from a flight on Saturday. Today I got to try those soft & short field techniques at an actual short / soft field, with my instructor aboard. We made a quick hop to Harvey Field in Snohomish, WA. Harvey is neat in that they have designated the grass strip next to the paved runway as a turf runway. It's in a river flood plain, so sometimes it can get so soft that it's not possible to land there. We did a quick landing on the asphalt first, to get a good look at the condition of the grass, then did some soft field landings. Landing on the grass wasn't too eventful, the plane just shakes and jostles a bit as you accelerate. The soft field takeoff is actually a bit easier from actual grass than from pavement, because you get a really good feel for exactly when the wheels lift off the surface as the bumpiness disappears. Make a few full-stop landings and taxied back the end after each one, the runway is too short to do touch and goes at Harvey. Afterwards, I took advantage of the stiff crosswind to practice turns around a fixed point on the ground. Thursday, I have a check ride scheduled, then I should be able to start working on cross-country flights.

8/19 - C150 N8326U - Actual field and soft field takeoff and landing practice at Harvey Field. 6 landings total. Flight time: 1.6 hrs. Total Time: 24.5 hrs.

03:33 pm - Flight Log - 8/16/08

8/16 - Today was my first "unsupervised" solo. The previous two solos, the instructor was on the ground monitoring the radio and observing. Today was my first flight really alone. Since I haven't had my "phase check" flight yet, I had to stay in the traffic pattern at our local airport. Did 10 normal touch & go landings on the "short" 3000 foot runway. There was one other airplane in the traffic pattern, behind me. The 150 is dog slow, especially while trying to climb back to the traffic pattern altitude after takeoff, and the other pilot had to ask the tower for permission to do a 360 for spacing twice, so I decided to transition to the "long" 9000 foot runway to practice short field and soft field landings.

Yes, that's correct, we use the long runway to practice for short fields. The reason is that you cannot really do a short field takeoff as a touch and go, you you need to do it as a stop and go. On the 3000 foot runway, there's not enough room to safely stop and go, so I'd have to taxi back to the beginning of the runway after each landing. There's no reason to pay 70 bucks an hour to taxi around unnecessarily, so we use the long runway where there's enough room to do a stop and go.

A short field takeoff is pretty simple, you just stand on the brakes, give it full throttle, and make sure the engine has reached maximum RPM before you let go of the brakes. Then you let the airplane accelerate until it reaches the best angle of climb speed, rotate and lift off. Short field landings just require careful monitoring of approach speed. For a normal approach, I would use 20-30 degrees of flap and 65 knots as my approach speed, but with a short field, i use the full 40 deg of flap, and 52 knots. This actually requires more engine power to be held on approach, due to the increased drag of full flaps. when you have the runway made, you chop power and flare just before your landing spot, and the airplane ungracefully plops onto the runway. This is a get-it-down-and-hit-the-brakes landing, not a don't-wake-the-sleeping-baby landing.

Next was soft field takeoff and landing practice. A soft field landing is a bit more tricky. The idea is to get the weight off the wheels ASAP, so they don't cause additional drag on soft ground like dirt or grass. The problem is that you can force the airplane into the air at a speed slower than it can actually climb out, due to something called ground effect. The procedure is to put in 10 degrees of flap, roll from the taxiway to the runway without stopping, hold the control wheel fully in the climb position, and give it full throttle. Because of the prop wash over the tail, you pretty much instantly do a wheelie, so the nosewheel is out of the grass and not causing drag. At around 40 knots, the main wheels will come off the ground, but it you maintain that nose high attitude, you'll never climb higher than 10 feet or so and plow into the trees. So, you have to start pushing the control wheel forward to lower the nose, while maintaining a height of around 5 feet above the ground. As you do this, the airplane will accelerate. When you hit the best rate of climb speed, 68 knots, you pull back and adjust your attitude to maintain that 68 knots. After getting to 50 feet altitude, you can retract the 10 degrees of flap to improve climb performance.

8/16/08 - C150 N8326U - 16 touch and goes in the traffic pattern at Paine Field. 10 Normal, 3 soft field, 3 short field. Flight time: 1.7 hrs. Total Time: 22.9 hrs.

Aug. 12th, 2008

09:44 pm - Flight log 8/12/08

Today was a prep day for my phase check flight. Our flying club requires that you fly with one of the chief flight instructors after your solo flight, but before you start flying solo cross-country. Basically, we performed all the maneuvers which I will have to demonstrate to the senior instructor.

8/12/08 - C150 N8326U - .25 Hrs simulated instrument flight including tracking a VOR navigation radio without outside visual reference. Slow flight and demonstration of turns at minimum controllable airspeed. Stalls power on and power off, as well as approach stalls. Steep turns, turns about a point on the ground with a crosswind. Approaches with simulated engine failure, approach and landing with failed electrical system. 8 touch and goes in the traffic pattern. Flight time: 1.8 hrs. Total Time: 21.2 hrs.

Aug. 8th, 2008

02:03 pm - Cessna 150, terror of the air.

So I've been working on my pilots license this summer... finally took my solo flight this Tuesday, in Cesnna 150 N704ML It was successful in that I did not hit anyone or anything, and returned the airplane to it's tiedown without bending metal. 4 "firm" landings and 2 smooth ones. I figure I'm a little less than halfway there - I have just under 20 hours, 40 hours is the minimum before you can take your checkride, but 50-60 is more pretty common. Next up is practice for the cross-country flights. That's a flight to an airport more than 50 mile from the departure airport, not Seattle to Florida. I figure I might post a few snippets from my logbook as I continue the lessons... something like this...

8/7 - C150 N8326U - Short field and soft field takeoff and landing practice at Paine Field. 7 landings with instructor, then 8 landings solo. Flight time: 1.7 hrs. Total Time: 19.4 hrs.

Jul. 21st, 2008

10:29 am - Crab Cake recipe, goofy dog picture

Went fishin this weekend... Didn't catch anything, but tigress666 had a one on the line for bit before it got off the hook.

Goofy dog on the boat picture.

Tha boat set up for fishin...

Got home and defrosted some of crab we caught earlier this month. Found a crabcake recipe online and modified per my taste, worked GREAT. Forgot to take pictures of them, but they were really good. Recipe as follows:

1 lb Dungeness Crab Meat, cleaned and cooked.
2 Tbsp Scallions, chopped fine. That's about two chopped scallions.
2 Tbsp Red Bell Pepper, chopped fine. About 1/4 of a pepper.
2 Tbsp Celery, chopped fine. About one stalk.
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Egg, Beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs. I like herb and garlic.
Paprika, red pepper, Salt and Pepper to taste. Old Bay Seasoning would make them Maryland style.. I might try it with some Potlatch Seasoning some time to make it PNW style.

Anyway, the instructions

1. Break up the dungeness crab meat into shreds.
2. Add peppers, celery, scallions, and spices. Add mayonnaise.
3. Combine in bowl to form paste, then add eggs and bread crumbs to thicken.
4. Form into round crab cakes, about 3" across and 3/4" thick. Recipe makes 5-6 cakes.
5. Let the cakes rest in the fridge for a half hour or so to firm up.
7. Dredge the cakes in some more breadcrumbs to get a little crispy exterior.
8. Pan fry in hot veggie oil, 1/2" deep or so. Make sure the oil is up to temp before you add the cakes, or they will absorb the oil and get greasy. They seem to take around 3 minutes each side, or until light golden brown and delicious.

I like em with hot sauce on the side, but they're pretty good with a little balsamic vinaigrette, or as a po boy sammitch.

Jul. 7th, 2008

02:42 pm - Meat Overdose

Ran the smoker yesterday... since it's pretty time consuming, I like to fill it up and freeze the leftovers. I made:

1 rack Baby Back ribs
1 rack Spare Ribs
12 LB pork shoulder for pulled pork
1 pork loin
1 stuffed smoked sausage (AKA a Fatty: )
A dozen stuffed Jalapenos - filled with cream cheese and cheddar, topped with bacon.

Used my homemade dry rub on the ribs and pork.... mmmm, so good you don't even need sauce.

Also went crabbing the day before, got our full limit (10) of dungeness crab. Ate two, gave away two, need to figure out what to do with the rest. I'm thinking crab cakes? No luck on the salmon, but it's not really the right time of the year, only one small area is open. Threw back a few flounder.

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