This Little Light of Mine

Well, Arduino Ken and I finally had our session with the Jr High group.  We taught them some really basic schematic symbols and drew up a sketch they had to decipher and then build.  It turned out making a flashlight was the easiest thing to sketch and make.  They put all the components on a breadboard first to test the circuit and then soldered them together on a prototype board. They had fun and they seem to be an age group that appreciates what you do for them.

The flashlights work!!!

The flashlights work!!!

Student Pilot – Lesson 15, Cross Country

Another mini-milestone.  I made my first Dual Cross Country.  We flew to Lewiston and then to Augusta and back to Pittsfield.  Navigating by dead-reckoning.  I planned the flight and chose landmarks to identify on the way down that I could verify whether or not I was on course.  For the most part, it went well.  My first bearing had to be adjusted because the winds aloft were not as high as forecasted.  Four planes enroute, two of them “talked” to us.  One bald eagle that needed to be given it’s space.  And I had my first “greaser” of a landing in Lewiston, no bounces or skips.

WEEK: 23
LESSON: 15
HOURS LOGGED: 16.6
MILESTONE: Dual XC

Ninety Revolutions Per Minute

I was shamed into it really.  Partly by the wife, partly by a co-worker.  I know how much better I feel after I exercise, but I haven’t been terribly motivated or have had much time.  I didn’t even get a winter hike in this year!

But, the weather warmed up, and that always makes you feel like stretching the lungs a bit.  So I dusted off the road bike, pumped the tires up and donned the biking shorts.  I usually start out with a quick five mile jaunt, but decided to stretch it out to a seven mile trip.  My legs were feeling it after I stopped, but it wasn’t so bad.  As long as the wind isn’t bad, it’s usually a nice ride.  Now to beat my average of 1.5 rides per year.

Fourteen miles per hour... a bit lower than my usual sixteen.

Fourteen miles per hour... a bit lower than my usual sixteen.

Your Mamma Wears Combat Boots

Okay, Jess doesn’t wear combat boots… (anymore, she used to have a pair of tactical boots for riding the motorcycle, but that’s not the point).

We decided to get the 15-22 out again now that it had warmed up.  Jess said she’d try shooting again, after all, it’d been ten years since she shot a gun.  I tried a new target medium today.. blocks of ice.  I’d say they were a lot of fun to shoot, but I didn’t even get a chance at one. (It looked awesome though).

Jess exploded the ice and moved on to the plinker, but didn’t quite make it through the 25-round clip before her arms tired.  But, she did great.. good job hun.

Line 'em up, knock 'em down.

Line 'em up, knock 'em down.

It’s Not Delivery, and It’s Not Done.

For over a year I went without getting pizza on Friday nights.  Jess was on a new diet..er.. eating lifestyle, and Nathan was claiming he didn’t like it.  We were invited over to some friends house and they served pizza.  We told Nathan he was going to eat what was put in front of him.  He did.  He liked it.  So Nathan and I have been getting our pizza fix each Friday night for the last six months.

So I called tonight for my “usual” and they said… “Sorry, no pizza tonight, the oven is broke.”  Nuh-ah. I need my pizza! She joked, “Unless you want to cook it yourself”.  Okay.  I will.  So that was that.  I ordered a raw pizza and cooked it myself.  Of course it didn’t taste the same, but it was pizza. Next week, hopefully things will be back to normal.

Ready for the oven... right out of the box.

Ready for the oven... right out of the box.

Student Pilot – Lesson 14 (Solo!!)

Finally!  I’ve solo’d!  What a feeling.  I was no more anxious than I normally am.  We had flown three take-offs and landings and he asked to be dropped off.  I made three take-offs and landings and parked it.  Did the whole ritual with the shirt-tail you’ll see in the video.  After soloing, the student has his shirt-tail cut off.  In the early days of flying, the student was up front and the instructor in the back.  Radio-less, The instructor would tug on the students shirt-tail to instruct directions.  Cutting the tail off, signifies the student no longer needs the instructors tug.. they’re ready to do it themselves!  (Somehow I think they’ll be plenty more tugging going on!)

Now let the cross country flying begin!

WEEK: 22
LESSON: 14
HOURS LOGGED: 14.6
MILESTONE: SOLO!

Student Pilot – Lesson 13

Lesson 13… it wasn’t magically.  I was expecting to Solo today.  It’s been four weeks since I’ve flown.  The weather has been windy and then I was away for a week.  Forecast winds were for 4kts.  When I arrived at the airport, the wind sock was nearly out straight (15kt sock).  We canned the solo idea and planned a trip to the Bangor Airport.  But, once we were ready to take off, the wind died down.  So we stayed in the pattern and practiced some landings.  Ron asked me if i wanted to “drop him off”, but because it had been so long, I was too rusty to take it myself.  I asked for another trip around the pattern, and then the winds shifted so no solo.  I know I was out of sorts from the long break, because I botched the GPS track.  The video was kind of boring (circles and rough landings.) so I just mixed some music to some clips and called it a “wrap”.  Enjoy.

Numbers: Week 21, Lesson 13, Logged Hours 13.4

A Southernly Vacation

We did it again.  We went on a real vacation.  I think Jess may be getting a little too fond of this habit (2007 was the last one).  We’d been wanting to take Nathan to a Yankees game in NY, but ticket prices were pretty ridiculous.  It turns out, Spring Training games in Florida are reasonable and you can add a few other activities in there to call it a vacation.

I did a little something different this time.  Because of my awesome Droid cell phone, I was able to do occasional LIVE video blogs of what we were doing.  I “broadcasted” about five times a day and ended up with over thirty videos telling of our activities.  Each video is about one minute long and they can still be viewed online.

Of course I took a camera also.  I opted to shoot with my “good” digital camera and left the Fuji home.  I had my eye on a new one, but it wasn’t released until I was in FL. I took over 700 photos on this trip and I have around 300 online.

Some of our activities included: two baseball games, two days at Busch Gardens, beaches, biking, parasailing – but sadly no snorkeling.  It was “cool” down there the first three days.. temps in the 60′s.  The last three days we enjoyed 70+ degree temps.  Besides the missed connection in D.C. on the way down, stranding us for the night, we had a fairly relaxing week.

Photos by the day… (and I always recommend the Slideshow option in the top left)

DAY 1DAY 2DAY 3DAY 4DAY 5DAY 6

Our ONLY family photo from the trip!!?

Our ONLY family photo from the trip!!?

Tower Tour

My CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) put together an ATC (Air Traffic Control) tower tour for his students and other interested pilots.  I jumped at it.  We visited Bangor’s control tower and it was a good thing to do. Maine only has two controlled airports, Portland being the other one.  As private pilot students, we need to fly into an airport with a control tower as part of our requirements.

They were certainly more laid back than I expected and quite eager to help us fly the friendly skies.  No cameras in the facility so I just have the external view shown here.

Bangor International Airport (KBGR) - Air Traffic Control Tower

Bangor International Airport (KBGR) - Air Traffic Control Tower