Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shade Hangars Rock!

KFAM 081555Z AUTO 11004KT 1 3/4SM OVC009 M07/M08 A3018

Beats the hell out of tiedowns, that's for damned sure!

Farmington was hammered with a foot of snow. Not a bit was on the airplane itself.

And I didn't have to do this or this.

Friday, May 24, 2013

An Aircraft Owner's Least Favorite Game

KFAM 242115Z AUTO 12008KT 10SM CLR 20/02 A3034

"Guess what broke now!"

The DG. I have those vertical card DGs, they don't seem to last but a few years. The one that was in the plane was an A/N gyro left over from the war. I flew with that one for thirteen years. It was't the easiest thing to use, but it worked until it finally failed. Supposedly it couldn't be repaired, but if I knew then what I know now, I'd have pushed the issue.

I took an old sectional, tore off a corner, and taped that over the dead DG. Here's a fun fact: It's hard as hell to tear up a sectional when you want to.

I did land at Bonne Terre to try it out. The airport is surrounded by small thick trees that play hob with the winds.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


KFAM 121535Z AUTO 34009G16KT 10SM CLR 12/M04

The annual is done, but work remains. The rebuild ASI isn't I-ing too well. It was alive on takeoff early into the roll (when I heck it and oil pressure). After that check, I don't look at the panel again until I'm well into the air. The ASI was't reading where it should have.

Far too late, of course, to just land, so I flew around for a bit to get the engine warmed up and then landed. The ASI didn't fix itself in flight.

I had a CFI at one time who taught "no panel" flying. He felt that in day VFR, if you couldn't take off, fly around and land without any instruments, then you didn't know your craft. So he'd cover up everything, except the oil temp and pressure gauges, and you had to show him that you could fly the airplane.

Which turned out to be very good training, indeed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

20 Years Later, an Airport Reopens

KFAM 062255Z AUTO 03006KT 10SM FEW065 OVC085 18/12 A2997

The Bonne Terre Airport has reopened.

I overflew it last winter and it looked like what it was, at the time: A long-closed airport. I hope they can make it work.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


KFAM 201755Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 12/M02 A3027

No flying, though. 333C went in for its annual three weeks ago. There aren't any serious problems, so far. The ASI tended to stick on rollout, it was sent out for rebuilding and it came back. Engine is healthy. But the mechanic had a serious family emergency that had him closed up for nearly two weeks. He called his customers awhile back to advise them of that. The vast majority of them said something along the lines of "don't worry about it, take care of your family issues."

I got a call from a gent who owned my airplane over 40 years ago. Basement flooding damaged his photo collection and he has found that he doesn't have a decent photo of the airplane. I promised to send him one. Just have to dig them out, myself.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncy Bouncy

KFAM 171915Z AUTO 18012G17KT 120V180 10SM CLR 09/M06 A3008

I haven't been able to go flying for three weeks, as flyable weather and my availability to fly haven't exactly meshed. So even though I don't much care for flying in windy conditions, I went flying. Have to get the oil in the engine hot periodically, you know.

But yeah, not fun. Strong winds across the surface hit things, like slopes and hills, and then some of that wind energy goes up. If you ever get a chance to fly over a large body of water when the winds are up a bit, you may be amazed at how smooth the air is. Buy go over land a bit and blammo!

Strongest surface winds I ever dealt with was on a return flight from Sun & Fun 20+ years ago. Our ground speed, as reported by NY Approach, was 67kts. When we descended below 8,000', we got the crap kicked out of us. My passenger had to hod the controls and stand on the brakes until I got the airplane tied down.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


KFAM 191655Z AUTO 21013G17KT 10SM CLR 09/M01 A3012

I can fly in such conditions, the wind is only 10° off the runway's centerline. But flying around in windy conditions is not my idea of fun. It's one thing if I am going somewhere. It's another thing if it's a flight just for fun.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Day Later

METAR KFAM 131615Z AUTO 31010G15KT 5SM OVC008 M04/M06 A3011

Ice pellets are falling from the sky as I type this.

It started raining yesterday a little after noon. When the rain finished up after midnight, over 2" had fallen. This area is still classified as being in a "moderate drought", so I don't know of anyone who was complaining too hard about the downpour.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Timing is Everything

KFAM 121435Z AUTO 20004KT 10SM CLR 11/09 A2996

That was the weather when I went flying this morning. The forecast was for it to turn, well, shitty. The METAR might have said that it was only 11°C, or about 52°F, but it felt warmer than that. It was good flying, got in a little over an hour of time and shot three landings. "CLR" means "clear below 12,000", the skies were scattered to broken up high at altitudes that are unreachable with my airplane.

Current weather: FAM 121955Z AUTO 02007KT 4SM FEW010 SCT014 BKN019 13/11 A2988, and it is raining pretty hard.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ancient Aviation History

METAR KGON 012256Z 33007KT 10SM CLR M01/M09 A2988

One of the oldest aviation groups online is Avsig. It started out as part of Compuserve, back in the days of acoustic 300 baud modems. After many tribulations, Avsig is still around. And until the 3rd, you can easily join.

I've been a member of the group, off and on, for 25 years, which is a few geologic eons in the online world. It's still a good place to be.