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2005/07/24 More Flying
π 2005-07-24 23:47 by Merlin in Flying

Current Music: AvB - ASOT 206
Current Mood: All right

Tuesday and Thursday and Friday, I went to Palo Alto airport, hoping to go practise somewhere before going to work, but this week we've just had the morning haze, with a ceiling at 1000ft or so, preventing me from going anywhere away from the airport.
Not to worry, Saturday I went later and I flew to Monterrey with my instructor, and we practiced a class Charlie transition, talking to ATC along the way, and transitioning through the Moffett military airport, and San Jose international airspace.
I got a nice view of Santa Cruz on the way back.


Then, since it was my Birthday, they just happened to have acrobatic flight demos, I signed up for one. Since I was a student pilot with now more than 60 hours of seat time, I got to fly in front of the planes and the instructor was behind me (just two seats). It was my first tailwheel airplane, as well as the first plane I took that could fly upside down, or pull 5 positive Gs or 3 negative ones without sweating.
Of course, to put you in the mood, this starts with strapping on a parachute, and a quick introduction on how to use the said parachute should the need ever arise (my guess would be the plane snapping in the air due to over-stressing after some manoeuvre)
The plane was disconcerting to fly since it looked like was more than 50 years old, and all the "new" stuff like radio and intercom had been added in non intuitive places. Also, since the plane was designed for inverted flight and acrobatics, it was a lot more twitchy.
All that said, it was interesting to fly, and have the instructor demo acrobatics to me from the back (including full loops and hammerheads), and have me try to duplicate the manoeuvre.
To everyone who asked me if I was sick or puked, no I was fine, but thanks for asking :) (I did however not pull on the stick nearly as hard as my instructor on loops since 5Gs crushing you in your seat is indeed a bit disconcerting, and you tend to let the controls go a bit to lessen the impact)




Sunday, I did another cross country with lost procedure and find the airport while in flight (actually my bastard instructor made me fly with the hood on, i.e. without being able to see outside, made me descend to 1000ft, told me that I could look outside, and right as I did, cut out the engine to simulate an engine failure and emergency landing), and when we were back from that, I had to triangulate my position from radios with a map, and find my way to an airport of his choosing.
It actually went all right. More next week.

More pictures are here
2005/07/18 M5 at TH (T.E.A.M. Track Event at Thunderhill)
π 2005-07-18 23:34 by Merlin in Cars

After getting my trip to Canada and OLS cancelled (and not being very happy about it), I decided to join a T.E.A.M. track day at thunderhill at the last minute. However, my miata being out of commission (again :( It's at the shop to debug an electrical problem), I was left with taking my backup car, the M5 :)




Yeah, welcome to the track


I got a nice ride in Rick Weldon's car




Temperature was above 42°C, which made some engines hot.
Oh yeah, MPG wasn't too good on the track, but then again, my miata doesn't do much better at full boost :)


My car sure talked to me today, and told me things we had never discussed before :)


By the end of all sessions, I had to short shift to bring the RPMs and temps down, but due to the remaining torque I had, it was not a big deal


My brake pads however totally vanished :)



Unfortunately, I had to bail after 4 sessions because I had just totally ran out of brakes (and did one session with the very little brake pad left warning light on the whole time).
Bonni nicely let me drive her spec miata, and it was such a contrast to go back in a small car that just stuck to the road and had so much grip that I barely ever had to touch the brakes: just gas the whole way.

Even though I only did 4 sessions in the M5, and I did struggle to use any power considering that the street tires would just not hold the massive weight of the car in turns, I was almost able to read a laptime of 2:20.
I know that with a little more practise, and had I actually reached the zone (which I wasn't quite in), I could probably have gone down to 2:18-ish, but still about 4 seconds slower than my miata. Now, if I actually had sticky tires and a bit more practise, I would most likely have been able to beat it, and get in the low 2:10s, but I'm not sure I want the hassle of new wheels and new tires for an occasional visit to the track.

Anyway, good time was had, it was nice to drive the car without traction control on (actually, it was mostly on the slight understeer side of mostly neutral, which I guess makes it safer). My brakes just had a hard time keeping up with the load, and gave up their life trying :)

Trip back was mostly uneventful, due to traffic jams on 80, it took about 2H25. The only interesting part was the chippie coming the other way on 505 when I was doing over a buck-twenty the other way. Either he didn't see me or didn't bother trying to turn around trying to catch up to say hello :)

Pictures are here
2005/07/16 Class Bravo transition / San Francisco in the fog
π 2005-07-16 23:45 by Merlin in Flying

Today, I went flying higher up north to practise navigation and short landing on a pretty small runway.
On the way back, I got my first class bravo transition (flying through SFO airspace), and flew by the golden gate and San Francisco. That was pretty cool :)



see the little piece of Golden Gate sticking out?


San Francisco Piers

The rest of the pictures are here (especially the original sized ones)
2005/07/11 weekend misc flying
π 2005-07-11 23:38 by Merlin in Flying

Short story: went flying twice, did my first real solo (went to pick up the plane, flew it for 2H, did more than 10 landings, for a landing total of more than 180 now), studied the "become a pilot" books, went to play poker with friends on sat night, fixed an empeg, flew a 2nd time, and just worked on various things at home.




This was after my IFR flight, when I got to see outside, all I had was a see of clouds and the instructor said "figure out where you are and get us home"




Couple of picts from my own solo
2005/07/08 My miata
π 2005-07-08 08:59 by Merlin in Cars

Finally, I got my miata back after almost two months. Boy, did I miss it, I had to drive a boring big sedan in the meantime, it was hell :)

Anyway, after much work to fix/re-install the turbo, I got it back.
It's kind of funny how I have to relearn to drive the car, and it does confirm what I tell other people: it can be a scary car to drive at the limit, and right now I have to relearn that :)

For one, no ABS, but especially no DSC (advanced traction/stability control), which means that the only thing that will make sure I don't spin out in a corner is me, not the car :)
2005/07/05 First Solo
π 2005-07-05 21:42 by Merlin in Flying

Current Music: AvB - ASOT 203
Current Mood: Good

After one flight yesterday trying to remember HTH you fly and land an airplane aanyway (and doing mostly ok by the time I was done). Today, Ali (my instructor) and I went for a few more pattern landings, and then he stepped off the plane, and I went for my first Solo: 3 landings by myself.
Incidently, even though I knew what to do, I still was a little tense, and managed ok landings, although none were flawless (i.e. nice, tidy and short). Turns out that I was a bit worried about slowing down the plane further even though I should have since I had less weight in the plane, being by myself (this just means that I glided a bit longer over the runway and took a little more room to touch down and stop)








Ali, endorsing my first Solo on my log book

Anyway, this is good news, time to go back and practise more :)
2005/07/02 Last day in Dublin
π 2005-07-02 22:58 by Merlin in Trips

The day started nicely by being kicked out of my hotel when I thought I was just going out to have a little fun. Turns out they screwed up my stay dates and that night was entirely booked. I ended up having to crash at the office and sleep on a giant been bag (which actually was so big that it was not a huge deal, besides the internet connection was much better at work anyway (I ended up hacking the TV system in the hotel, tap into it and map it until I found all the rooms all a couple of open proxies, one I was able to use to route to the internet with a socks5 wrapper, but I digress... :) ))
Anyway, after having had to pack all my stuff early and move it to the office, I finally went out, late, but at least I went out :) The first mandatory stop was to go to the Temple Bar open market and have a half dozen fresh oysters with lemon or tabasco, another yummy crèpe, and check out whatever else was there to be enjoyed and seen (the previous weekend, I had been more aggressive in visiting all over, which didn't allow for much loitering.
Anyway, after that, and a visit of Christ Church's Cathedral (2nd most famous and old after St Patrick's Cathedral), including its crypt, I went to my 2 o'clock which turned out to be loads better than I had expected, a very pleasant surprise indeed. Even when A isn't the best grade, there are definitely ways to make up for it.
After more walking around the city, checking out a couple of French bakeries that were actually just average (no yummy french pastries), and a visit at Marks & Spencer, I headed back for the office and just worked there until I went to bed (yes, very exciting :) )
You can find all the pictures here




St Patrick's


Christ Church Cathedral in the old city


half a dozen oysters for 10 with a drink. Yum :)


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