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This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots

Table of Content for flying:

More pages: April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999




2017/04/09 Flight to Mammoth and Attempted 2ft Powder Day
π 2017-04-09 00:00 in Flying, Snow
It had been several years since I last went to Mammoth, and I was looking forward to finally going there with fresh powder. I carefully watched the forecast several days early including saturday when the storm was hitting the resort, to make sure that the top of the mountain would stay closed and I'd get fresh tracks the next day if I went. I got up early (actually I woke up before my alarm) and by 04:45 started getting ready. Got to Palo Alto Airport at 05:15 and then started loading up the plane, parked the car, and got in the air by 06:00 for a beautiful easy flight:







By 07:15, I landed at KMMH, taxied to parking, found my rental car waiting for me on the tarmac (courtesy of Hertz), but sadly it was a 2 wheel drive with crappy tires (the front tires were not even M+S, they turned out to be crappy summer tires). Driving up to the resort, blowing past several chain control signs, took virtually all the driving skills I had. While I was barely able to drive up in the snow, I knew if I ever had to stop, it would be super unlikely that the car would get traction to restart at all (especially uphill), so I drove slowly with some distance with the car in front of me so I never had to stop when the traffic slowed down. Maybe in hindsight I should have gone to Eagle Lodge at much lower altitude, but powder-wise this was not a good idea, it was the wrong side of the resort and the top connecting lifts would be closed for a while. Yes, I should have had chains, but Hertz refuses to give or rent you chains because they're worried you may put them on wrong :(

Despite the driving challenges, I arrived at the main base around 08:15, had to find a far away parking spot and walk to the ticket counter to get my pass. I eventually got to the slopes around 08:40, which wasn't too bad.

snow all the way up to the base
snow all the way up to the base

the top of the mountain stayed closed until about 11:00
the top of the mountain stayed closed until about 11:00

strangely, there was no line at the gondola
strangely, there was no line at the gondola

that's because everyone got out at mid station waiting for the top to open (that took 2H)
that's because everyone got out at mid station waiting for the top to open (that took 2H)

every other lift had 15mn+ lines
every other lift had 15mn+ lines

and lines
and lines

and more lines
and more lines

while the gondola to the top wasn't open yet, but that's a lot of tracks down for a few ski patrol runs. Mmmh...
while the gondola to the top wasn't open yet, but that's a lot of tracks down for a few ski patrol runs. Mmmh...

sadly, the 2ft of powder were pretty packed by the wind
sadly, the 2ft of powder were pretty packed by the wind

line at the mid station gondola. It was better go to all the way back down and get it there
line at the mid station gondola. It was better go to all the way back down and get it there

Gondola towards top of cloud nine had a bit of powder (only enough for one run though)
Gondola towards top of cloud nine had a bit of powder (only enough for one run though)

snow was good up high, but by 9000ft the powder quality went way down :-/
snow was good up high, but by 9000ft the powder quality went way down :-/

hike up the ridge to santiago bowl/hemlock bowl and chair 14
hike up the ridge to santiago bowl/hemlock bowl and chair 14

The next morning, driving up was easier, the road was mostly clear. I also only drove up to Mill's Café, which put me at the lifts I wanted and is actually easier to get back to, than the main lodge. Some people actually camped there:


The next morning was already spring skiing. Not bad, mostly no ice or slush, which is good, but virtually no powder left anywhere:



During those 2 days, I got some nice pictures of the surroundings:


airport I went to
airport I went to

looks nice to ride :)
looks nice to ride :)


this reminds me of heavenly]



On the way back, saw one of the Alaska planes bringing in a load of passengers:



good way to see the mountain
good way to see the mountain

Mill's Café where I parked, and main lodge at the end of the road
Mill's Café where I parked, and main lodge at the end of the road

Facelift Express
Facelift Express


I hiked up the hill to ski down that face a couple of times
I hiked up the hill to ski down that face a couple of times

2017/01/24 Helicopter Flight from Strahan, Tasmania over Western Tasmania to Queenstown
π 2017-01-24 00:00 in Australia, Flying, Tasmania2017
While in Strahan, we got a 30mn-ish, very expensive helicopter flight to Queenstown and back. While the price was not a great deal (price of helis being always much more), it was quite scenic.

R44
R44



nice non straight road to Queenstown
nice non straight road to Queenstown






queenstown is a big mining town
queenstown is a big mining town






middle station where the steam train stop and can turn around
middle station where the steam train stop and can turn around


2016/12/30 Brussels Air Museum
π 2016-12-30 00:00 in Belgium, Flying
While visiting the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Bruxelles, we entered the hangar where they kept all the planes. That section of the museum is effectively Brussels' Air Museum, with a nice collection. It seems like the museum doesn't get a lot of funds, the hangar wasn't heated (as in near freezing), many plane tires were flat, but it doesn't change the fact that the collection was quite good and well worth a visit.

Considering the airport wasn't nearby, I also came to wonder how they got all those planes there.












some kind of training drone?
some kind of training drone?










another interesting midget plane
another interesting midget plane














what was that?
what was that?

another training drone?
another training drone?

See more images for Brussels Air Museum
2016/08/29 Flight to Burning Man and Back
π 2016-08-29 00:00 in Bm, Flying
This year, I took my friend Arturo to BM, and since I had a fair amount of RC gear to bring, and things I wasn't able to get ready in time for my other friends, Helen and Brian, who drove there week early and took our bulky things, the plane was reasonably full volume-wise with 2 people.

As opposed to last year where it ended up being a one way trip with an engine out landing, this year was pretty uneventful :)

After some successful RC flights last year, I worked almost all year on improving the design and safety measures further in my RC planes, brought a new one this year with better video resolution (4K), and got some great footage shown on this page.

Here is a direct google photos link of most of the flight, airport, and BRC from the sky.

And do not miss my Main Burning Man 2016 report

Pictures of the flight, around 1h45:

it had been 10 years since I last took 5302N to BM, nice to be reunited :)
it had been 10 years since I last took 5302N to BM, nice to be reunited :)


Mt Diablo
Mt Diablo

Alpine Maedows
Alpine Maedows

Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley

Northstar
Northstar

Truckee Airport
Truckee Airport

Reno International
Reno International

Reno Stead, where the Reno Air Races take place
Reno Stead, where the Reno Air Races take place

Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake

And finally we made it to Black Rock:




for a monday noon, it was already pretty full, but there were holes by the edges
for a monday noon, it was already pretty full, but there were holes by the edges

My 30X zoom handheld camera came in handy, sadly it got better shots than my RC plane at times:

Barely any cars arriving
Barely any cars arriving

Very reasonable line, almost no cars
Very reasonable line, almost no cars

the man didn't look like much and was still being built
the man didn't look like much and was still being built



lighthouse
lighthouse

pyramids, still being built
pyramids, still being built

temple, also still being built
temple, also still being built



Shots of the airport:




not too hard to see the runway :)
not too hard to see the runway :)

long runway meant for jets, I was supposed to land very long
long runway meant for jets, I was supposed to land very long

they even had marked taxiways, this is looking way too professional :)
they even had marked taxiways, this is looking way too professional :)

And finally we got on the ground, Arturo helped me install the fly ties while I taped the plane up:



all good here
all good here

wheel bearings don't like playa dust
wheel bearings don't like playa dust

there you go, all done :)
there you go, all done :)

and we were warmly welcomed as usual
and we were warmly welcomed as usual

A few shots of planes:


water was a bit low this year :)
water was a bit low this year :)

a good amount of Ultralights too
a good amount of Ultralights too

And after a week of fun, we left sunday afternoon, as lots of cars were still driving out, and there were many:



traffic pulsing to let people behind in line turn off their engines and just take a 1H nap
traffic pulsing to let people behind in line turn off their engines and just take a 1H nap


lots of cars, must have taken hours to make it to the road
lots of cars, must have taken hours to make it to the road

by then, BM was getting a bit thin, a lot thinner than when we arrived monday
by then, BM was getting a bit thin, a lot thinner than when we arrived monday

the temple was getting ready for being burned a few hours later
the temple was getting ready for being burned a few hours later

what was left of the man
what was left of the man

The flight back to PAO was unevenful, I was just worried about getting there before sunset:

high altitude chips
high altitude chips

my trusty RC planes, going back home
my trusty RC planes, going back home

after landing, we gave the plane a good wash, and headed home
after landing, we gave the plane a good wash, and headed home

See more images for Flight to Burning Man and Back
2016/07/26 EAA Airventure 2016
π 2016-07-26 00:00 in Flying, Oshkosh

It had been 3 years since my last trip to Airventure, and this time I went with Daniel. We both flew to Milwaukee (direct via Southwest) and then drove the last bit with a rental car (1h30 each way, not too bad). I was actually flying from Osaka to SFO that day, and arrived in time to connect to our Southwest flight and arrive tuesday evening around 22:00 at our hotel. This time I picked the AmericInn because it was walking distance from one of the gates (still had to take a bus/shuttle, but it only took around 20mn once on the bus, so not too bad).

Nice to see the heat concentrator during the flight, again
Nice to see the heat concentrator during the flight, again


This year, I probably went to too many talks, so even though we had 4 days, I didn't have the time to see all the expos carefully enough once you add watching at least one airshow in the afternoon. I could have used 5 days, or next time I'll need to cut the airshow (sad) or just see fewer talks (although at least half of them were quite worthwhile, so it's a tough call).
Here are pictures of various parked planes, and warbirds:









that is a _very_ long nose
that is a _very_ long nose

Airbus had a hybrid-electric plane that could burn fuel to recharge batteries if needed
Airbus had a hybrid-electric plane that could burn fuel to recharge batteries if needed



and this
and this




an experimental heli trainer with a single seat? mmmmh...
an experimental heli trainer with a single seat? mmmmh...

prop and engines that retract back inside the glider? cool...
prop and engines that retract back inside the glider? cool...



And then, there was this beast with a big turbine engine. The video barely expresses how loud this plane was:


Center stage had interesting planes on display every day:














Then, we had warbirds:



















I didn't have/take/spend enough time to go see the multiple booths and tents, but here are a few pictures anyway:


very cool, sky surfing behind a tow plane, what could possibly go wrong ;)
very cool, sky surfing behind a tow plane, what could possibly go wrong ;)


augmented reality glasses would be great if the technology was ready
augmented reality glasses would be great if the technology was ready

in the meantime the made up demo looked cool :)
in the meantime the made up demo looked cool :)



Lots of other tents, with random plane bits to buy, or other things:


this one will buff right out :)
this one will buff right out :)

you can learn how to build your own plane
you can learn how to build your own plane


I was even able to get my global entry card fixed, sweet! :)
I was even able to get my global entry card fixed, sweet! :)



Our 2nd morning, we got up early and showed up at the museum to do a heli ride at 08:00 and avoid the long 1-2H waits later in the day:














A few pictures from the museum, they seem to change their displays:








Next, time to mention the many talks I went to, some were quite good:

I've seen Dick Rutan talk several times, but enjoy it each time
I've seen Dick Rutan talk several times, but enjoy it each time






a U2 landing on an aircraft carrier, madness...
a U2 landing on an aircraft carrier, madness...





pilot of the original U2 vs the newest glass cockpit U2
pilot of the original U2 vs the newest glass cockpit U2

Patty, nicely signing autographs
Patty, nicely signing autographs

Dick Rutan
Dick Rutan

And last, but not least, pictures from the airshows: prop planes, jet planes, and a long demonstration from the canadian snowbirds. Then we also had the night airshow and the fireworks:






tora tora tora, attack from the Japanese planes
tora tora tora, attack from the Japanese planes


















lucky us, we got a U2 overfly
lucky us, we got a U2 overfly




The snowbirds were awesome:


















And then came the night show and fireworks:










with a wall of fire as finale
with a wall of fire as finale

This was a good time as always, even if I'm a bit sad to have missed the olden days when you could see an SR71 flyby, or a concorde doing a touch and go in front of the audience :)


See more images for EAA Airventure 2016
2016/05/15 Jeju Air and Space Museum
π 2016-05-15 00:00 in Flying, Southkorea2016, Trips
while visiting Jeju Island in South Korea, I noticed a pamphlet talking about some air and space museum. Initially I shrugged it off, because seriously, how good could it be on a Hawaii style island. But I was wrong, while it's not one of the best I've seen (and to be fair, I've likely seen the best ones in the world at this point), it was much better than average and definitely much better than what I expected. It was a very pleasant surprise.


One hall was a bit of recruitment for the local airforce, showing how they'd like their future air defenses to look like (although it was kind of shown as if it were their current capabilities):


shooting balastic missiles with a bit laser from an AWACS like plane, nice but we're not quite there yet ;)
shooting balastic missiles with a bit laser from an AWACS like plane, nice but we're not quite there yet ;)

The museum had a nice section explaining how flight works, and they had this nice demo of drag, showing how the middle widget rotated longer thanks to the pointy bits that reduce drag:





The top floor was about space and had multiple theater show, albeit all in Korean. The 5D 360 degree screen one was still fun to watch (but content was kid oriented):














Otherwise, while it wasn't a a huge collection of planes, they had a decent one, especially considering the location:








very short takeoff and landing plane
very short takeoff and landing plane





A37-B
A37-B


F-4E
F-4E





See more images for Jeju Air and Space Museum
2016/02/27 Albuquerque Museum of Nuclear Science and History
π 2016-02-27 00:00 in Flying, Sciencemuseums, Trips
After landing in Albuquerque, Arturo came to pick me up, and we went to the Museum of Nuclear Science and History closeby and made full use of the 2H we had before it was going to close. It's a very interesting museum that's a mix of airplanes involved in nuclear delivery, cruise missiles and rockets all the way to ICBMs. The other part was about nuclear energy.



The part on nuclear energy was very well done, and included a fair amount of French nuclear reactors, France probably being the leading country in nuclear energy, and interestingly, I learned that France, and in turn most of Europe, recycles and reuses most nuclear waste to further get energy from it and reduce the waste to much smaller amounts. In the meantime, the US doesn't recycle waste, and has huge amounts sitting in what were supposed to be temporary cooling ponds, where it's more vulnerable to attack, while politicians are still fighting over whether that waste can be transported to its supposed final storage location in the middle of a mountain in Nevada. Go USA!







french poster selling radioactive cream, supposedly to make women prettier. Ooops...
french poster selling radioactive cream, supposedly to make women prettier. Ooops...

let's not forget radium water you can make at home :)
let's not forget radium water you can make at home :)

I didn't get an atomic energy lab kit when I was a kid :)
I didn't get an atomic energy lab kit when I was a kid :)

But outside of nuclear energy, they had quite a good collection of planes and rockets:






atomic cannon, never had seen one before
atomic cannon, never had seen one before



The collection of cruise missiles and ICBMs was very good:














Hello! :)
Hello! :)

the list of broken arrows, lost nuclear missiles, was 'interesting'
the list of broken arrows, lost nuclear missiles, was 'interesting'

ICBMs have multiple nuclear warheads that get ejected on multiple targets
ICBMs have multiple nuclear warheads that get ejected on multiple targets


The first nuclear bomb, named "gadget", tried at the Trinity site in New Mexico


this was used to create fat man
this was used to create fat man

and sadly ended up in Japan
and sadly ended up in Japan

2016/02/20 Ride in Arnaud's Extra 330
π 2016-02-20 00:00 in Flying
Arnaud nicely offered to give me a ride in his Extra to try some acro. Sadly, I wasn't very awake that morning so I may not have appreciated this as much as I could have, but Arnaud says I did ok with the Gs and not getting sick :)


front seat
front seat

read seat has more gauges :)
read seat has more gauges :)


KSJC
KSJC

Quick refueling at KTCY
Quick refueling at KTCY

group of RVs, taxing before takeoff
group of RVs, taxing before takeoff


oops, this one didn't land so well...
oops, this one didn't land so well...

and back in KSJC
and back in KSJC

Quick video of the acro bits:

Thanks Arnaud for the ride, nice flying :)

See more images for Ride in Arnaud's Extra 330
2016/01/29 Melbourne RAAF Museum
π 2016-01-29 00:00 in Flying
[isu:title:RAAF Museum next to Melbourne]

As we got off the plane in Melbourne to drive to Geelong, we stopped at the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). It actually is the oldest still running Air Force Base in the world (goes back to 1913). It was a nice little museum:









They even had a rare F111:



Love this :)
Love this :)





this wasn't part of my pilot training :)
this wasn't part of my pilot training :)









French Dassault Mirage
French Dassault Mirage




See more images for Melbourne RAAF Museum
2015/11/19 Visit of the Golden Gate San Francisco Coast Guard
π 2015-11-19 00:00 in Flying
Thanks to San Carlos Flying Club, we got invited to visit the Coast Guard:







More pages: April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999