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2009/07/28 Oshkosh/EAA Airventure 2009 Flight and Report
π 2009-07-28 01:01 in Flying, Oshkosh
Here's the complete track of our trip:


As you can see the flightpath went north somewhat to avoid restricted airspace, and then south for the way back to avoid thunderstorms over the rockies.

Flight From Palo Alto to Oshkosh

This year I picked the club's Mooney Acclaim and an experienced CFI. Unfortunately, the plane's payload is abysmal and between the two of us, we could only put 70 gallons of fuel instead of the full 102 gallons that would have allowed for a flight with a single refueling stop.
We left soon after 7 in light IMC conditions (typical morning overcast), and picked up some favourable winds which put us in KRKS with around 15 gallons to spare.

IFR Departure from Palo Alto
IFR Departure from Palo Alto

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe


Salt Lake City's Salt Lake
Salt Lake City's Salt Lake

bis
bis

Fuel stop #1
Fuel stop #1

Weather wasn't bad, but we picked up our IFR flight plan for the second leg as there were still some clouds around our altitude. My forcast said that winds were less favourable at higher altitudes, so we stayed at 19,000ft. In hindsight I kind of regret not knowing what the true airspeed at FL250 was going to be. We only got around 200kts TAS at 30.5" MAP lean of peak.

IFR over the top
IFR over the top

Bad weather on the way, but south of us
Bad weather on the way, but south of us

We were watching the weather on the way, but thankfully the bad weather was moving south and allowed us to land at Appleton without problems and on schedule (before 20:00). I totally could have landed at Oshkosh proper, but I figured we'd try Appleton this time (a reliever airport) to have more leeway on when we could arrive and leave. In hindsight, the $50/1H-ish cab ride each way actually made it longer and more expensive than staying at Bassler FBO at Oshkosh proper, but eh, you can't always know.

Second fuel stop
Second fuel stop

Weather getting worse, even closing up behind us, but clear ahead
Weather getting worse, even closing up behind us, but clear ahead

On the ground at Appleton, just north of Oshkosh
On the ground at Appleton, just north of Oshkosh

Just 45mn before sunset or so
Just 45mn before sunset or so

Flying the Acclaim wasn't too hard, but I totally sucked at landing it, apparently because I didn't quite get the nose up picture during the flare which I thought to be the same than the SR22/TB20, but wasn't the same at all.

Planes on display

The first day, I visited the Airbus 380 despite the hellishly long line.






The terrafugia roadable airplane was moving along nicely



heavy load carrier, mostly used for carrying water and dropping it over fires
heavy load carrier, mostly used for carrying water and dropping it over fires


the border patrol UAV
the border patrol UAV




Overflies

Although I missed the simulated army overflies because I'm a moron, there were still many to see




Airshows

Of course, Airventure still had its daily airshows








The Redbull Helicopter, still doing what helis aren't supposed to do
The Redbull Helicopter, still doing what helis aren't supposed to do


The Spaceship 1 Carrier
The Spaceship 1 Carrier






Flight back home

Flying home was not going to be a piece of cake due to bad weather forecast, but thankfully it passed through in the early morning and we were able to take off by 11 local time. However, this put us quite behind schedule.

my flyties came in handy for staying on the grass
my flyties came in handy for staying on the grass

ready for a flight back
ready for a flight back

bad weather just passed us, ready to go
bad weather just passed us, ready to go

first fuel stop was Winter airport
first fuel stop was Winter airport

fuel was self serve, based on the honor system (you wrote your own fuel use and receipt)
fuel was self serve, based on the honor system (you wrote your own fuel use and receipt)

at least we were still able to fly high enough to benefit from O2 (headwinds died down as we proceeded forward)
at least we were still able to fly high enough to benefit from O2 (headwinds died down as we proceeded forward)

a bit on IFR, allowing me to log a few approaches
a bit on IFR, allowing me to log a few approaches

Evanston, a good place for our fuel stop and deciding how to proceed ahead
Evanston, a good place for our fuel stop and deciding how to proceed ahead

I was joking that if we walked to the end of the runway, we'd be in Utah. I was actually right :)
I was joking that if we walked to the end of the runway, we'd be in Utah. I was actually right :)

thunderstorms over the rockies were nasty, but we found a course around them
thunderstorms over the rockies were nasty, but we found a course around them

well, kinda, with some help from ATC
well, kinda, with some help from ATC

clouds at FL200 gave us traces of icing, but nothing too bad
clouds at FL200 gave us traces of icing, but nothing too bad

nice sky pictures though.
nice sky pictures though.



250kts in the descent, woohoo! :)
250kts in the descent, woohoo! :)

home, sweet home
home, sweet home

Flight times were 8.5H to fly there (air hobbs) and 9.5H to fly back with the headwinds and weather detours. Not as fast as the supposedly 220-240kt airplane should have delivered (POH quoted 220kts+ for our density altitude, which was apparently a sack of lies, by a whole 20kts), but still pretty good and a personal record for me :)
A big thanks to my trusty CFI, Don Styles, for salvaging my poor landings in the plane, and teaching me about dealing with weather, which was part of the point of this trip (we rarely have "weather" in california :) ).

More pictures

  • flight from PAO to ATW
  • EAA displays
  • Planes displays
  • Parked Planes
  • Overflies
  • Airshows
  • Museum
  • Talks
  • Misc
  • flight from ATW back to PAO
  • 2009/07/19 Upgraded to Jaunty: Network Manager Still Sucks Balls, 2.6.30.1 not that stable, and Comcast Business Exceeding Expectations
    π 2009-07-19 01:01 in Linux
    I had been running a half upgraded Jaunty for a while now and it was time to upgrade to full Jaunty to 2.6.30.1 (including the recent security fix).

    The upgrade was relatively eventless after I realized that pulseaudio had broken my sound and some X server problem broke mythfrontend (alias mythfrontend='XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS="1" \mythfrontend made it all better).

    And then, I figured I'd try network manager again, just to be fair.
    Well, after close to an hour, I could not get it to manage any of my interfaces, even after commenting them out in /etc/network/interfaces and playing with its sparse badly documented config files.
    I searched a net for a howto or something that would explain how to beat that piece of shit into submission, but it would not manage either my wired or wireless interfaces, and output bullshit messages in syslog like
    NetworkManager: <info> Unmanaged Device found; state CONNECTED forced. (see http://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/191889)

    Its /usr/share/doc still had no useful documentation, so I got fed up quickly and just removed the piece of crap, and re-installed wicd which was up and running 20mn later.

    Network Manager probably only works for wipe-reinstalls, which I'm not about to do, and is otherwise the most unintuitive, badly documented, and still buggy piece of software I've had the displeasure of working with. Seriously, how many years will it be before it doesn't suck balls for people who try to upgrade and may have their own network configuration already?

    In other news, I upgraded both my laptop and server magic to 2.6.30.1, but it proved to be slightly unstable on my laptop and majorly unstable on my server, which forced me to drive to the colo twice to power cycle it (BUG spinlock lockup on CPU#1 nicely prevents serial console sysrq), and in the end I just drove the server home in the weekend to make sure it was still stable on the old kernel (it was), and then racked it back 2 days later. So far, so good, so the good news is that my hardware is likely still good and that the problem is triggered by 2.6.30.1 (vs 2.6.27.8) and/or some changed config options.

    Another small but interesting fact: I got comcast business to actually do reverse DNS delegation for my block of static IPs from them. I did have to walk the guy through replacing the PTR records with CNAMEs pointing to my name server, but in the end, it was done 10mn later on a sunday morning at 07:00. Honestly, I'm impressed.

    2009/07/13 Lost My Minimag RC Plane
    π 2009-07-13 01:01 in Rc
    Today, I had just received my new batteries from Hong Kong. I soldered the connector on the Zippy 3S 4000mAh and headed for Rancho San Antonio Park.

    After the first quick 1mn flight to check the weight, I added my camera to enjoy a longer flight with the bigger battery (I figured over 25mn since I get around 15mn with batteries half that size).
    And then... well, I went downwind a bit too much before I realized that to fly back I had to have the plane point straight at me, at which point it would become absolutely invisible due to how far it was and its cross section becoming almost nil. I was however getting back slowly by making turns so I could see the plane when maybe 7mn into the flight, the battery crapped out and the plane went down so far out of view that I could not really tell where it went down.
    The next 2.5 hours were spent with me walking all around the search area, which was quite big. I got to hike around Rancho San Antonio trails, go through the cemetary, jump 4 fairly tall fences that were stopping me from proceeding further ahead, and I brought my controller with me in the hopes that I could maybe hear the plane around me by moving the controls, but no such luck.
    Instead, I got to see some hiking/biking trails, scale a few fences à la Jackie Chan, see several deer, more than 10 bunnies, an abandonned railroad track, a horse farm and more.
    For now, I searched the Cemetery, Canyon Oak Way, Serra St, Madrone Ct, Manzanta Ct, the traintracks there, and the nearby power plant on California Oak Way.

    But no plane :(

    Map of the area I searched
    and a couple of pictures of the area to give an idea:



    Kind of sucks since I had my camera on it, a brand new battery, and $250-ish of electronics in addition to the plane itself :(
    If I'm very lucky, someone will find the plane, notice my name and phone number on it, and call me, but I'm not holding my breath...

    If someone somehow happens to have found a crashed remote controlled plane and found this post through google, please call me :) 408 7(zero)2 22(seven)1

    (update) I went back this morning (the next day) to scope other pieces of the area, but it's basically not in anywhere easily visible. I however dropped 80 "have you found my plane" flyers in nearby resident's mailboxes, just in case it's in their yard, but at this point I'd say my chances of getting the plane back are below 30%.

    (update #2) Got no answer from my flyer, or anyone who found the plane, so at this point, my chances of ever getting it back are below 5% :(

    (update #3) I ordered a couple of SkyKing RC Lost Model. It would not have guanranteed that I get the plane back, but it would clearly have improved my odds.

    See more images for Lost My Minimag RC Plane
    2009/07/13 Poison Oak, the return
    π 2009-07-13 01:01 in Cats
    Jennifer started showing symptoms of poison oak again, and our best guess is that when I washed the couch's surface to clean some spots on the cushions, I think I got some latent poison oak from a year ago that 5 brought back home after he escaped, back to the surface.
    Unfortunately, Jennifer got quite impacted by the poison oak, I did too, but I just got less on my skin and the reaction was as bad for me as it was for her.

    Long story short, we did many laundry loads because we didn't quite know what was tainted and what wasn't, I first tried to wash the couch by hand and later had a professional detergent/steam/water cleaning just to be sure. Jennifer is slowly recovering but had to take some anti inflamation/reaction drugs, and five got two baths out of it, which made him a "lapin chat"

    hair drying with licking :)
    hair drying with licking :)

    See more images for Poison Oak, the return
    2009/07/05 Hiking/Backpacking in Mt Diablo, China Camp, Pt Reyes, Muir Woods, and Mt Tam
    π 2009-07-05 01:01 in Hiking
    It had been a while since we had gone really backpacking because Jennifer had been struggling with getting hiking boots that worked with her narrow ankle, where an incorrect fit was causing boot shift and ankle blisters leading to very painful raw skin exposed where the boot rubs, and the other option was to tighten the boot so hard with two pairs of socks, that it was causing constriction pain. Really, it was a no win situation for her. Mind you, I also have difficult feet to get boots for, but my blisters were more manageable (putting aside the small toe split and two toenails I did lose during our John Muir Trail 94 mile backpacking trip.

    Anyway, Jennifer, while looking for usable snickers (having given on hiking boots), managed to find some non water proof hiking boots that seemed to be a good fit for her ankle, while I found wider toebox hiking boots myself. Neither are perfect but much better than what we had, so it was a good excuse to go try our new footwear over July 4th weekend.
    Jennifer planned a half car camping, half backpacking trip for us through local state parks we had never been to, and that it would have been a shame not to see if they do indeed get closed with the budget cuts (but we sure hope not).

    Here's the complete track of our trip, including the park visits and scenic flights:


    Mt Diablo

    We started with Mt Diablo since neither of us had ever visited it thoroughly, and it indeed has some nice views from the top as well as nice short hike areas like the sand stones by Rock City. Oh, and we also got a little visitor during lunch time, which we did have to turn away for his own good :)







    hello you
    hello you

    feed me :)
    feed me :)



    I like this place, I think I'll stay here :)
    I like this place, I think I'll stay here :)


    China Camp

    Jennifer thought we should go to see if there were any Chinamen left to free. Unfortunately, they had been driven off almost 100 years ago for fishing all the shrimp they could get their hands on in the San Francisco Bay, and shipping boatloads of dried shrimp to China :) (well, actually that part is mostly true).
    Anyway, we saw the old camps, which had some historical value, and the state park itself was reasonably nice a quiet. Nothing super special, but still enjoyable. That might be one of the first in the list of parks to get cut though.

    home sweet home :)
    home sweet home :)




    San Raphael Fair and Fireworks

    This is where we spent the night on the way to Pt Reyes the next day. We happened to catch a county fair and some nice fireworks, so no complaints :) (actually the fireworks were better than the ones we got at home on the 4th).





    Pt Reyes Day 1

    The next day, we drove to Pt Reyes, and drove to the outside edges, which are quite a distance away and not too reasonable or interesting to hike to (although interesting to hike at).
    That evening, we then backpacked to our camp site at Sky Camp with view of the ocean (kinda).






    those sea lions were really good at climbing rock
    those sea lions were really good at climbing rock

    but food was scarce, and the newborns were not doing well
    but food was scarce, and the newborns were not doing well

    at all :(
    at all :(

    view from our lunch spot
    view from our lunch spot


    many stairs down, which were fun back up
    many stairs down, which were fun back up

    the lighthouse is way down to be below the fog/haze layer when possible
    the lighthouse is way down to be below the fog/haze layer when possible





    we had a few fresh oysters there
    we had a few fresh oysters there

    a few oyster shells :)
    a few oyster shells :)

    the trail up to our campsite
    the trail up to our campsite


    it was a fairly nice campsite
    it was a fairly nice campsite

    Jennifer warming up her hands with hot chocolate
    Jennifer warming up her hands with hot chocolate


    Pt Reyes Day 2

    The next day, we hiked from Sky Camp to the water and back some other way. By then, Jennifer wasn't feeling too well unfortunately, with stomach problems and low sleep, so I hiked a bit more in the marshlands by the sea while Jennifer took a nap in the car.

    next morning was very hazy and foggy
    next morning was very hazy and foggy

    the water in the air condensed in the trees and fell as light rain
    the water in the air condensed in the trees and fell as light rain

    lots of deer there too
    lots of deer there too

    hello
    hello







    marshlands
    marshlands




    back to our tent
    back to our tent



    Mt Tam Day 1

    So, initially we were supposed to just go through Mt Tam on our way back, but we managed to get the unreserved handicap spot at the 14:00 auction for a nice camp down between hwy 1 and the ocean. It's a camp where the few spots get booked months in advance, and where the handicap spot isn't actually so good because it's car accessible, and very exposed to the wind, and boy does it get windy there. Luckily we were able to get a slightly better spot in a regular reserved camping spot where the relevant people never showed up. That said, even that spot was very windy until the sunset.
    The site and views were pretty good though, even if the ocean view was actually pointing south and not west, so we did not see the sun set in the water, which is a bit of a shame, but oh well...
    But before we got there, we drove up to the top of Mt Tam, which has quite nice views, and then hiked around the area until it was time to head down to our camp site. Among other places, we hiked past the West Point Inn, which is a backpacker hotel in the middle of a trail where old train tracks used to be. It looked like quite a nice place to stay at in the future.




    bay bridge as seen from the top of Mt Tam
    bay bridge as seen from the top of Mt Tam



    West Point Inn
    West Point Inn



    the cabins you could rent next to our campsite
    the cabins you could rent next to our campsite


    the unused campsite we found that was better than the handicap spot
    the unused campsite we found that was better than the handicap spot





    Mt Tam Day 2

    Since we slept there, the next morning we hiked up back the Matt Davis Trail to Pan Toll Ranger station after first hiking through Stinson Beach for some light breakfast. It was a nice little hike up (1500ft from sea level), a good place to have lunch and then we hiked back down the Dipsea trail back to our car.

    Nice Owl
    Nice Owl




    Muir Woods

    Well, how about that, it had been just 10 years since my first hike ever in the US, which also happened to be in Muir Woods, so it was kind of nice to come back to it 10 years later. We actually did a kind of rushed 2.5 mile loop becuse we were running out of time, and also because the trees weren't all that different from some of the ones we had seen on the way down on the Dipsea Trail.
    Yet, it was still a nice little loop.



    we were very tempted to pick up a couple for dinner :)
    we were very tempted to pick up a couple for dinner :)


    San Francisco/Wicked

    This gave us just enough time to drive to drive to San Francisco for a very quick dinner, and some last minute tickets to see Wicked (quite an enjoyable musical).



    You can see all the pictures from the trip here.

    2009/07/03 More Pictures from San Antonio RC
    π 2009-07-03 01:01 in Rc
    I'm not too sure yet how I should organize random pictures and videos from Rancho San Antonio, but I guess for now I can post a few like this from time to time

    Nice converted T-Rex 700
    Nice converted T-Rex 700

    with a nice FPV setup
    with a nice FPV setup

    A T-Rex 600 in comparison
    A T-Rex 600 in comparison


    Rancho does have deer :)
    Rancho does have deer :)


    See more images for More Pictures from San Antonio RC

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