Sunday, November 13, 2016

Super Moon

KFAM 130056Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 03/M01 A3034

Waiting for it to get a little bit darker before going flying. I try to get to the field early enough so that I'm not doing a preflight by flashlight. One can miss things in the dark that will pop out by daylight.

It probably helped that I had flown earlier. The transponder light was out; my mechanic recommending climbing up high enough so that Kansas City Center could see me, so see if the bulb was out or if the unit was out. ZKC could see me, with a good altitude readout. All I need to know.

The bright moon helps a bit. At least I can tell the difference between forested land and fields if the engine quits. I can't see if there are any significant obstructions or power lines, though. I'm less willing to take that risk than I once was.

I shot four landings on this flight and four the night before. The first few were kind of sketchy. All were straight, but a couple were more "arrivals". If MAC has a seismograph, they might have seen one or two.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


KFAM 052156Z AUTO 17010KT 10SM CLR 24/19 A3001

I haven't flown for a few months. I was away on a trip in late June and, when I came back, a flight showed that there was a problem with the left brake. The annual was scheduled for two weeks later, so I opted to wait for that.

Probably a good thing. The brake became a real clusterfrak. They are Bodell brakes, which I like, because they have just enough braking authority without too much. Too much braking power in a tailwheel airplane is not a good thing.

The left brake took two pumps to activate it. The friction disk was shot and the return spring was old, so both were replaced. But the brake still didn't work right. Getting the parts proved to be a problem. It ended with sending the lower brake assembly back to the vendor, who apparently replaced either the hydraulic piston or the floating disk (I haven't seen the invoice). Getting that back was a good part of the overall wait. That frustrated the hell out of the shop, as my airplane was sitting on blocks and couldn't be moved.

But yesterday, it was done, everything put back together, logbooks signed and I flew it after work. I flew around for a bit to ensure everything was good, then shot three landings: One on the grass, a 3-pointer on the pavement and a wheel-landing on the pavement. Sad to say that it doubled my flight time for the last four months doing that (haven't bought any 100LL since then), but I'm back in the air and in time for the Fall foliage to turn.

Life is good.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


KFAM 291356Z AUTO 29004KT 10SM CLR 24/19 A3013

It felt stronger than that, judging by the flags and the windsock.

It was almost a direct crosswind, which was good. I shot some crosswind landings a few weeks ago and I sucked at it. The grass was long and wet, so I used the paved runway and quickly saw that I had gotten sloppy. When you land on grass, there's some drag on the wheels and it helps keep you straight, a little.

Today, I took advantage of the crosswind to practice basic fundamentals. Line up with a little extra energy in the budget. Keep the nose aligned with the centerline. Use the ailerons to control lateral position. Watch the airspeed, as flying cross-controlled means a little more drag.

It was all good.

This time of year, it pays to get the flying done early. The thermals start building by late morning and it makes for a less-than-fun ride. I took a newbie up last week; we met at the filed at 8:30 and were tied down by 10. Smooth air all the way. An hour later, it would have been like driving down a corduroy road.