Name: Frank


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    Feb 11, 2020 – Dying Inside!!

    February 11th, 2020

    Ok – so the title is a little melodramatic. I am sitting here in my living room looking out on the C&D canal over my beautiful deck. That very desk is bathed in soft blue accent lighting, and covered completely with an inch of water. More rain is coming down, making the deck look like a pool in the early morning darkness. Visibility in the area is around 2 sm this morning. The ceilings are less than 800′ overcast. This is definitely NOT the weather I need for testing my airplane. Well, Shit!  I knew this last night and canceled then.

    The weather will be clear tonight, and just wonderful tomorrow. That only rubs salt in my wounds and doesn’t help one me one damn bit. Starting tomorrow I will need to be at work by 10 am every day through the weekend. My mechanic has another 747 trip to do starting Thursday. It seems that I cannot catch a break, and will not be able to try again until NEXT Tuesday. I hate February, scheduling, and waiting.

    I had a conversation with one of my clients yesterday concerning this first flight. He reminded me that I’d be a full power for an hour; down low at 2000′. He said that It might be a good idea for me to also wait for a calm wind day so that turbulence doesn’t rattle my teeth out. Oh how I hate February weather. He is right, but I’ll be going if the winds are 20 knots or less. Try keeping me on the ground.

    I am aware of putting pressure on myself to complete the flight regardless. I canceled yesterday afternoon to address this risk; I write this blog to verbalize my frustration; and I’ll make the right call when it comes down to it. I’m venting here…..   can you tell?

    So I’m going to work instead today, to practice classroom teaching to an empty room. As I mentioned yesterday, I need to be ready for Savanna and for new clients in June. There is allot of work to do before I can seem comfortable with all this material.

    Lunch today with my son Chris will ease the frustration. I’m having a hard time with this. I want this project to be over with. I want to fly myself to Savannah in March. I want my airplane in the hangar I’ve been paying for.

    Patience Frank.  Patience.

    Fly Safe!   I’ll be at work.


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    Feb 9, 2020 – Exciting Developments

    February 9th, 2020

    Note of appreciation: Josh and others. Thank you for the feedback I’ve been getting on this blog. It is encouraging to see that what I write occasionally has value. 

    What a really great week! In the month where I normally curtail my flying and hunker down to wait for spring, I’m actually ramping up aviation activities.

    N833DF is coming back Tuesday! Naturally, it is currently forecast to rain well into the afternoon. The opportunity to get this flight and inspection done that day is in question, and rescheduling it to meet our respective schedules may be a challenge this week. Once again I’ll have to control my deep desire to get the flight done now, balancing the weather risks against schedules. Further delays are possible.

    Actually being able to fly will be a last minute decision. I’m booked through the weekend otherwise, and won’t be able to fly during daylight easily. Acknowledge the pressure, verbalize the risk, and defer the flight if I have to.

    I’m exceedingly happy that the airplane will be ready to go, in any event. I’ll be ecstatic when I can see it in my hangar and available for my personal use. So exciting!

    I want to use the airplane to fly to KSAV for work in March. There will be an inspection after the first flight, but no oil change after the initial break-in flight. If I can get the flight in Tuesday, I can fly off the entire 10 hours this weekend. Then I’ll schedule an oil change with Paul, and be able to fly it to KSAV and back with fresh oil.

    Westwind Flying: The planned flight earlier this month was canceled. The airplane was in for ADS-B at the last minute, and it wasn’t completed on time. It is apparently ready now, and I understand that I’ll get a call for one last flight in it later this month.

    G280 Opportunity: I am very excited at the prospect of developing a new opportunity to contract fly in the GulfStream 280 aircraft. My friend who has been contracting me in the Westwind is transitioning to a new company that just purchased a G280. As a result, he requested me as his instructor for himself and his co-workers. I’ve scheduled myself to work with him and his teammates in June.

    I have no idea wether or not they’ll ever need contract pilots, nor wether or not they’d even consider using me as opposed to pilots they are familiar with. I do know I have made a good impression on my friend. Now I’m going to work very hard to impress the hell out of these guys he works with, and maximize a potential opportunity.

    What a cool synergy having this turn of events amplify my motivation to learn and practice how to instruct in both the classroom and sim for this new jet. I think I have the sim stuff down already, as I’ve said before, but practicing the classroom delivery to an empty room has been boring. I’m on it now though! This beautifully timed motivation will be great for me, wether or not I ever get to contract fly with these clients.

    Improved schedule for February: The Astra team needed some help this month, and asked my current boss to borrow me. I’m current and a TCE in that airplane, so he asked me if I was interested. I really wanted to be home more than I’ve been, and told him I’d never pass up a chance during this training to be home more. Training in the Astra would be fine for now, and I could practice the G280 on the available days up north.

    He set all that up for me, and went further by arranging my March training to be in Savannah instead of DFW. There is just a little more to the story, considering that DFW had some conflicts with bringing me back down in March anyway. What I saw, however, was a program manager who went out of his way to motivate me to continue my progress by meeting as many of my needs as his could while manage his program effectively.

    Opportunity to train in Savannah instead of DFW: Providing training in Savannah instead of DFW will be a nice change for me, and my boss knew it. Working in KSAV means I can fly myself down and back, avoiding commercial flying while enjoying my beautiful Twin Comanche. My boss is working to arrange a break in the training schedule that will allow me to fly home for 4 days. I see it as a significant break. I’m flying home to break up my time away; getting to spend some time with my wife; and using my airplane like I’ve been wanting to.

    My boss earned major points on all of this. If it ends up not working out the way it is currently planned – I’m ok with that too. I really like the fact that he took the time to do this for me.

    Motivation: I said this earlier in this post, but I’m still amazed at the timing of the news that my Westwind friend is becoming my G280 friend. My motivation had been waning working solo to prepare for delivering voluminous classroom training. Couple that with the frustrations of trying to get my own airplane moving and the times I’ve been away from home down in DFW.

    I am in a very good place mentally to get this work done. This summer will be amazing.

    Fly Safe!


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    Jan 30, 2020 – Success is Inevitable

    February 1st, 2020

    Success is inevitable – if you don’t give up…..

    N833DF is ready to go! I haven’t flown it yet because my A&P had a medical issue at the last minute. His wife told me about it, and that the airplane is finished. Presuming that is accurate, my airplane and paperwork are locked in his hangar until he could get there. The break-in flight I’d so been looking forward to and preparing for will have to wait. My level of patience is matched only by my frustration.

    Paul’s wife Kamal told me that the airplane is all done, so I’m assuming that the new left mixture cable has been installed, the annual completed, and the engine projects wrapped up. I’m also assuming that the paperwork is done, but it might not be. Hopefully there is nothing left to do but fly.

    Of course I’ll be kept on edge until I confirm that with Paul, but I won’t call him while he is recovering. This delay costs me another 10 days of waiting since I’m leaving on a westwind trip. I will now be at least the second week of February before I get to fly my airplane,

    G280 Training has progressed nicely. I was signed off to instruct sims for both recurrent and initial clients. Also completed HUD and EVS training which was pretty cool. Next up is classroom that was scheduled for another trip this month, but there is good news there. Really good news.

    Turns out that we need Astra instructors up north this month, after one of our guys got sick. That cancels my February trip. On top of that, DFW has hired new people there that are competing for training slots we were set to use. I may be headed to Savannah for my March quality assessment in classroom instruction. I look forward to a break from DFW and plan to fly myself down and back instead of relying on the airlines. Good news all around.

    Westwind review: I’m giving myself a review of the Westwind this morning, to prepare for the upcoming trip. While I’m on the trip, I’ll review the Astra instruction plans I haven’t used for awhile, to prepare for doing that later in the month.

    N833DF Test Plan: I’ll post an outline of my flight planning for breaking in the new engines in an upcoming post. I’ve read allot and collaborated with a number of folks on this. I’ll sketch out what my plans are and see if anyone has any further suggestions.

    Fly safe.


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    Jan 21, 2020 – Four Airplanes

    January 21st, 2020

    Hey everyone. I’ve been really busy instructing – guiding discovery really – in the Gulfstream G280 these past few days. I have the rest of the week to wrap this up, when I’ll transition into four days of HUD training for myself.  That is one of the airplanes I’ll be flying and playing with.

    When I get home, I’ll be breaking in my engines for N833DF. The annual has been completed, engines and the accessories (including re-overhauled fuel controller) are all back in. My only lingering concern is the availability of the left mixture cable I have trouble with, but that is to have been delivered today. Work on replacing that cable commences tomorrow, and I’ll be expecting to go flying when I go home.  That is the second airplane I’ll be flying and I’m so looking forward to it.

    I was contacted yesterday to gauge my interest in a Westwind trip early February. I talked with Bev and thought it was important for me to do it. Bev does what Bev does. She always supports me and I decided to go flying. This is a strong contact and I want to keep doing it. I haven’t been in a Westwind since we retired the simulator at FSI some months back, so I’m reviewing the books on the airplane. This is the third airplane I’ll be flying over the next few weeks.

    Today I hear that an Astra crew is coming in for training after Westwind trip, and one day of their training remains uncovered. I volunteered to do this if no one else steps up. That would be my fourth airplane to be dealing with and studying over the next few weeks.

    When it rains it pours.

    Fly safe!


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    Jan 12, 2020 – Anticipation Update

    January 12th, 2020

    Yesterday Bev and I had the chance to get out of the house for a few hours. We were trying to figure how how to make a nice romantic day out of it, but realized we’d have to have her back home by 4pm. Then I thought about doing a nice lunch somewhere. Finally, it occurred to me that this really was all about her – getting her out to do something fun for just a few hours.

    I decided to take her to Dover Downs for a few hours to have some fun. I don’t like gambling at all really, except maybe low stakes poker. Rather than stare over her shoulder, I figured she’d have more fun exploring on her own. I dropped her off at noon with a promise to keep myself busy until 2:30. We’d grab a quick bite on the ride home.

    N833DF Update: It was Bev’s idea to stop over at the airport, and it sounded like a plan to me. I dropped her off and drove back north for 10 minutes to 33N airport. Paul and Ralph were there, working on a beautiful Comanche 260. My airplane was sitting out while they worked, but will go back inside before the end of the day.

    I learned that Penn Yan did indeed find a problem with the right fuel controller; overhauled it correctly this time, and sent it back. The repaired unit is now installed and the only thing left is the left mixture cable and the annual sign-off. Both A&Ps are dreading installing the cable, and the cable itself is on back order. I pray that the airplane will be ready when I get home. I’m running low on patience. I very much want winter to be over; travel to end; and flying my airplane to begin.

    GoPro and vlogging: I purchased a GoPro Hero 8 camera to add to my collection. That collection now includes the Hero 4, Hero 8, Chinese knockoff, and of course, my phone. I am looking forward to documenting the break in process and capturing another return to flight series.

    In order to get ready, I spent some time configuring mounts, installing one on my relatively new motorcycle helmet, and assembling a microphone attachment from parts I pieced together. I recorded a few thoughts on my way to work the other morning, and used the Filmora 9 video editing software to publish it out to YouTube. The project kept me occupied for an afternoon, and was fun to do. Enjoy the resulting VLog embedded below:

    Fly Safe!


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    Jan 9, 2020 – Waiting for N833DF

    January 9th, 2020

    Yes – I’m still waiting for my airplane. I had been hoping to fly in December, but one of the fuel controllers didn’t get overhauled properly, or was jarred in transit. It went back to Penn Yan just as my A&P, Paul, went on a holiday vacation to Florida.

    An additional complication was the mixture cable on the left side that I’d previously squawked hadn’t been addressed. Paul noted it was still a real problem. the issue is that the opportunity to do it while the airplane was apart was lost, so he’ll have to take it apart again now and replace the cable as I’d requested. He is going to do that now that the airplane is down for a bit longer.

    Meanwhile, I’m heading back to Dallas for G280 instructor experience for the next few weeks, so it will be February by the time we get airborne. Patience Frank, patience.  I really want to fly.

    What will the future hold? It needs to hold more flying, that’s for sure. Either contract flying, or time off to travel in N833DF.

    I am looking to develop opportunities that would encourage this. I may never take advantage of any of them, but it pays to look around and be ready in case one comes along. Work is encouraging us to fly and offered to set us up with a contract pilot vendor. I’m not impressed with that service, so I’ll wait to hear the feedback from others.

    I have faith that I’ll fall into an opportunity that will allow me to fly something fun every now and again. Wouldn’t it be nice to fly a King Air out of Wilmington 2 times a week and have the rest of the time off? How about flying somewhere to pick up Astra or G280 trip to break up the monotony? Cool to think about. I do not want a full time flying job that keeps me in hotels and away from home allot.

    N833DF is coming back soon, God willing. In the meantime, Bev continues to provide 24×7 care to my mother in-law. Mom is in hospice and amazingly continues to struggle along. Once those two variables resolve themselves, Beverly and I will be looking to get out of the house! Either the airplane or the Harley will be waiting for the occasional jaunt, and that might be enough to add variety to the FSI experience for Frank. We’ll see how that goes, but it should be coming about as the Dallas travel comes to an end.

    The key for my FSI future is quality of life. I trust that my current PM understands this. He is a good man for this job.

    To hopefully flesh out alternatives, I did change my LinkedIn profile as a means for getting the word out in a more cogent manner. Enthusiastic aviator actively seeking opportunities to fly. Currently a full time Gulfstream G280 and Astra Flight Instructor/Examiner. Typed in the G280, Westwind, Astra, Dash-8, and B-25 Mitchell Bomber. Trained in King Air C90 and BE200.

    Piper Twin Comanche owner and active GA pilot with a strong work ethic and a solid business background.‘  Don’t hesitate to mention my name to your pilot friends. You never know…..

    YouTube update: I have my own PA30 videos out there, but watched my friends Gary and Mike both doing a better job at building videos than I do. Those are fun projects to get involved in, so I updated my software and purchased another GoPro camera – the GoPro 8 Black. Once I get going again, my first new project will be to put all the pictures I’ve collected during the maintenance work over the last 3 years on N833DF into a timeline movie; voiced over by yours truly.

    After that, I’ll play with the idea of video blogging like some of the motorcycle followings I enjoy. It may go somewhere or nowhere, but I’ll be having some fun and learning some new things.

    Meanwhile – I’m counting the days until I get my airplane back. It cannot be soon enough. I am acutely aware that I’ll start flying during the very month I normally abandon the effort. February is typically too damn cold to fly, and just no fun at all. I don’t care now – I’m going anyway.

    Fly safe!


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    Nov 27, 2019 – Test Flying N833DF

    January 9th, 2020

    This blog was written some months ago in anticipation of going flying soon. It was a way for me to re-engage in general aviation, buoy my mood, and motivate myself to hit the books again. We didn’t get back in the air in 2019, but we will very soon.  I’ll get to that….

    N833DF was returned to flight about this time last year after replacing the landing gear box bulkheads deep down in each wing. The work spanned 2016 through 2018, and has been adequately discussed in previous blogs. I won’t torture myself by re-living the experience here. Instead, let’s talk about the test plan I put in place for last year’s return, the events that affected how the plan was used, and the lessons I learned along the way. I’m going to need to apply those lessons again very soon when the airplane comes back once more. Note: Very Soon is now defined as friggin’ February, 2020! Couldn’t be helped.

    After the structural repair work had been completed in November, 2018, I realized that I’d be flying a light twin again after 26 months of not flying GA at all. I was instrument current and had earned three additional type ratings in that time (B-25, Westwind, and Astra), but had not flown small airplanes in awhile. This meant that I’d be flight testing a seriously deconstructed airplane with no recent experience in type. The post-maintenance return to flight would be a serious endeavor and I was more than a little apprehensive. However, I was incredibly excited to get going again.

    As it turned out, the #2 cylinder on the right engine had retired itself during all the downtime, and would prevent me from flying in November and December. It would be January, 2019 now before the first test flight could be taken. That additional delay was rather difficult to swallow. It was not a happy time for me. As most airplane owners know – cost and time estimates in aviation are like weight loss goals for the year – evasive and ever changing.

    Mulling over things I cannot control creates stress. To avoid being constantly reminded of the issues with my airplane, I hadn’t been reading the aviation magazines I’d followed for so long. Subscriptions were allowed to lapse and the new issues that arrived were thrown into a pile unread. Successive challenges and delays with the airplane project had taken its toll, and I was frustrated beyond belief. I just didn’t want to think about it.

    The rebuilt cylinder was found and installed, and once again it was only the paperwork that was left to complete. I set a date for the first flight in January, 2019 and began to prepare. Opening the books and using the desktop simulator helped me to prepare. Within a few hours I could recite the limitations and emergency procedures and felt comfortable that I could program an approach if need be.

    Every system in the airplane had been touched with this work, and anything that was touched could have had a problem introduced into it. I cleaned up the hangar and updated a flight test plan I intended to use to evaluate the landing gear, fuel, engine, propeller, radios, autopilot, and navigation systems. I felt that I was organized and ready to respond to any emergency.

    Since I live in Chesapeake City, MD now, I planned to leave around 7am for the 2 hour drive to Delaware Coastal Airport (KGED). Matt and I would then go flying to break in the cylinder and run my test plan to see how everything worked. No pressure. Winds were forecast for clear skies and calm winds at the planned time of flight, though the winds would be big later in the day. We’d fly for an hour or two to ensure everything worked, then I’d be able to drive home triumphant. I’d move the airplane on a subsequent day.

    Arriving at the airplane at 8am on the appointed day, I was disappointed to see that there was more to do than paperwork. The remaining odds and ends would take us into the fading light and building winds of a late afternoon January day. I had the choice to defer the flight once again, or go fly a light twin for the first time in 2 years, and one that has been heavily maintained at that. I had waited long enough for this time that I just couldn’t wait another day. I recognized the hazardous attitude at the time, and certainly acknowledge it now. I was primed to get this done!

    With only an hour of daylight remaining and the winds now at 25 kts gusting to 36 kts, I loaded Matt in the airplane and started taxiing out. I was under the gun and putting myself under tremendous pressure. Get-there-itis without going anywhere. I realized with the engines running that I hadn’t visually checked the fuel and admitted it right there. This was more of an issue than usual, since I had Matt drain the old fuel and refill only the mains with fresh. They weren’t full. Matt confirmed we had fuel and I took his word for it.

    If I shut down now and check it, the day is done and I drive home for 2 hours kicking myself. If you missed it – that would have been the right call. Instead I took Matt’s word for it, shortened the planned test flight, and relied a little on the fuel gauges. We continued with the take-off and I surprised myself with how well I did in the wind after so long. I ignored my well thought out test plan and we flew the cylinder break-in profile in the local area.

    I shortened the planned test flight based on less fuel than I’d planned and fading daylight. The good news was that I flew really well in challenging conditions. The test plan I’d put together was generally in my mind, but I left it on the back seat and reduced the testing to only the basics. We flew less than an hour to break in the cylinder, and then did a landing in very high winds. At the very least I got to drive home knowing that I’d be getting my airplane back, and would have all the time in the world to do my testing now.

    Lesson Learned: I had waited two years and two months to get my airplane restored and back in service. Myriad delays had utterly sapped my patience over a long period of time, and led me down a path I didn’t want to be on. My skills were strong, but that is no reason for test flying an airplane whose type I hadn’t flown in some time.

    Fly safe…..   More to come.



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    Nov 24, 2019 – Can’t sit still……

    November 24th, 2019

    As you know, my PA30 N833DF is coming back with fresh engines and I’m sitting on my hands waiting. No – actually I’m getting caught up on things Beverly needs me to do now, before I leave for training or go to my hangar. I am very excited and looking forward to going flying instead of just working, reading, and enjoying my waterview.

    I put up a few Christmas decorations, picked up some paint and other supplies, and assigned a plumbing job out to my volunteer son-inlaw. Good man to jump in there and take that off my hands.

    Looking at this table my recently passed father in-law had left to me, I decided it might work quite well as a replacement to a beat up old one that I was trying to use. The desk would hold airplane pre-heater and battery tender equipment while it was in use. I took it apart and loaded up the wife’s van to go visit the hangar.

    I hadn’t seen Hangar 22 in months and it was nice to be back. Cars were everywhere and airplanes were going flying. I was there to swap desks, so I opened up the door and got busy. I loaded the old desk into the van, and eventually cut it into burnable pieces for Scot’s fire pit. The new one is in place, and I’ve ordered retractable casters that will allow me to roll the desk from the side of the hangar to the center front when I’m using the heaters and tender.

    Waking up way too early this morning, I reviewed some of the test flight videos I’d put out there since the airplane came back in January of this year. You will hear lots of wishful thinking in this and other 2019 test flight videos (one linked below) concerning the autopilot, engine vibration, and a few other things. After extensive testing all year, I confirmed mechanical vibration in both engines, and an autopilot control head that had internal issues. I have not taken any short cuts in correcting all identified issues, and my intention is to achieve a zero squawk and high quality aircraft on the line very shortly.

    Beverly and I have a few things going on today, but I’m headed upstairs for a bit to simulate approaches on my home simulator. Later today I’ll re-activate my sirius weather and update my Jeppesen data card. I’ll also order a new Canada sticker so that when we come on line, we’ll come equipped.

    I’ll make a point of doing a video shortly after the first few flights. I’m so ready for this.  Thanks Beverly, for your continued support of this significant investment.

    Fly Safe!


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    Nov 22, 2019 – I’m getting excited!!

    November 23rd, 2019

    N833DF is almost back! I am having trouble containing my excitement at the prospect of using these days home to go fly. This Wednesday I stopped to check on the progress of the overhaul and found both Paul and Ralph working hard inside and outside of the airplane.

    The battery tender is sitting in position inside the nose now as Ralph is in the cockpit wiring the new engine monitor from the inside. The tender is still in its original packaging, but ready to go in when they get to it. The difficult to manage quarter-turn fasteners on the nose bonnet have been replaced at this point, with simple stainless screws.

    The props were due back yesterday, and Paul thinks he might make enough progress to do a test run this week. I can’t get too excited because there is still so very much to do before I’ll get to fly it.

    Light Switches: I’ve had a burr in my saddle concerning the placement of switches. Paul had installed a new switch for me years ago when I had him add wing tip strobes for me. I didn’t specify where to put the switch for those strobes, and it ended up on the extreme far right of the panel. Nowhere near the other light switches, and I found it to be aesthetically insulting. I like everything just so, and this was annoying. Today we agreed to combine this switch with a double pole switch. The down position would be beacon only, middle would be off, and up would be beacon and strobes. PERFECT!

    Avionics Switches: If you go flying with me, you might notice that both my avionics master switch and my Aspen master switch are installed upside down, and are located right above the VOR Head. This was done because I had two instances where I inadvertently knocked off all of my avionics in the middle of a low instrument approach! When that happens, the entire panel except the Aspen goes dark.

    The picture here shows the current installation with the VOR Head right under the avionics switches. The outages I described occurred as I was centering the course on the VOR Head when turbulence caused my extended arm to fly up. I knocked off both switches in one case (Aspen on Battery), and just the avionics panel in the other. When the panel goes completely dark all at once, the GPS loses its course immediately and you aren’t talking to anyone. The Aspen will retain the missed approach course it its memory, but you have to go around and reset the Garmin to the approach you are on and the missed you need. You are suddenly busy close to the ground.

    When I get the airplane back, the VOR head will be moved to the right (next discussion), and that will help in and of itself. Additionally, these switches will be replaced with locking lever switches like my gear handle. Now an inadvertent bump will not affect you. You’ll have to pull them out first in order to change their position. Another satisfying solution.

    VOR Head Movement: I had no idea that the temperature controller for the new EDM760 would be so large behind the panel. I just had a FlightStream 210 put in when I got the airplane back in January, and that might have been in the way a little as well. There isn’t allot of room behind (or in front!) of my panel. In order to fit this new engine monitor in, Paul had to move the VOR head further to the right by one position. I’m lucky there was enough room to put it in at all, since it wasn’t at all cheap to buy and I really wanted one.

    Below are two repeat pictures that show the old and new left engines. Turns out that the clean baffles I spoke of in the last post were actually the ones I did. The work passed muster and did not need to be redone. I like it!

    On with the shiny and new!

    Fly Safe!  I’ll be joining you very soon!


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    Nov 15, 2019 – Engines are back!

    November 18th, 2019

    Today we’ll do a brief update covering an accomplishment on the old jet, my progress on the new jet, and some exciting news about my Twin Comanche. The travel to get all this done continues to be a drain, particularly with the holidays approaching. Bev and I soldier on though, and look to 2020 as a year with more balance in our lives.

    My mother in-law’s health began to deteriorate rapidly during the October trip, and the professionals told us to expect the end within a short time. People came to visit and left food for the inevitable celebration of life. Delores is one strong lady though, and an adjustment to her treatment brought her back relatively strong for a few days. After an initial period of relief for her, the gradual decline phase we’ve been seeing returned once again. Beverly does amazing work with her Mom day to day. She is helped in the process primarily through the support of a sibling, hospice professionals, and a loving Aunt and Uncle who are there most days. The loving maintenance continues to be a focus of our lives, and Beverly’s in particular. It’s all good, as she will say.

    Old Jet News: After a day or two of being home, I headed into the Wilmington center to prepare for yet another check-ride in the Astra. This one would be to earn my TCE (Training Center Evaluator) rating with the FAA observing. This particular check had been scheduled before and canceled for reasons beyond my control – maintenance or scheduling conflicts mostly. I volunteered to deliver two sim sessions as a warm up for the check, and was finally able to earn my TCE during the third session. Earning a TCE in the new jet will be easier as a result.

    N833DF Update: I had gotten busy and hadn’t heard from my A&P in awhile. I knew my engines were due to be shipped back, but was concerned I hadn’t heard anything. Paul is an active cargo pilot and goes away allot, so I wasn’t concerned not hearing from him. I just figured the engines were delayed being shipped, and I’d have to wait. I sent him a note looking for an update on what he knew. I didn’t feel a pressing need to speed things up or put pressure on him, since I’d be busy with the new jet for the rest of the year. I’d also be busy enjoying holidays and home catch-up, so it is likely I won’t fly much in December anyway.

    After a few more days wondering where all this was, I received a surprising update on my airplane. Two pictures showed up that answered all my questions and gave me something wonderful to look forward to. I looked these over and began day dreaming about flying this wonderful machine all of next year, with Beverly at my side!

    I was over-joyed to see that not only had my engines been shipped, but they had been hung on the airplane already!

    Look closely enough and you can see the wires leading to the new electro-air ignition systems, and those systems themselves mounted on the firewall. I couldn’t pick out the GAMI injectors, but the nose cowl is off, so the battery tender will be either installed already or close to it. The tender leads will extend through the nose gear shroud.

    The baffles look much sexier than when I repaired them, so I’m guessing Paul got Foy working on them.. He has done a much more credible job of cleaning those up, and they look great from here. Skytech lightweight starters can also be seen all shiny and new. She is starting to look fast again. I can not wait!

    New jet News: I completed my practice Recurrent Sim training on the last visit to DFW in October. My time at home went incredibly fast, and I found myself back in DFW in early November doing the same routine for Initial sim practice teaching. I hadn’t taken very good notes on the recurrent experience, but I was much more prepared to get more out of the initial. This project I am in requires a significant amount of studying, learning, and practice. The learning curve is steep, and I have a long way to go.

    My supervising instructor is a real professional with a great attitude. As for myself, I was better prepared this time to accept what he was telling me, so it all came together for me on this trip. Each session he delivered was organized and goal oriented, with one supervising instructor training two fledgling instructors.

    While I wasn’t being taught how to conduct and instruct these sessions, I was the pilot flying to allow my fellow fledgling instructor to test his skills on me. The supervising instructor was kept very busy refining the flying pilot’s skills while simultaneously developing the fledgling instructors skills (behind him on the operators panel). Both sessions held tremendous value for me.

    When I was instructing, I was very busy running the machine while documenting and refining the plan I’d use to conduct these sessions. We began each sessions at 3am and wrapped it up with a debrief around 8am each day. The three of us had a great time and made the most of it, even though the schedule was difficult. It was inspiring to see the professionalism and enthusiasm our supervisor brought to the table. He set an example for us, and I’m excited at how much I have improved during this work with him. The learning continues in both my instruction and in my flying.

    I have a number of days off waiting for sim availability. HUD training is all that remains for this trip. I understand I’ll be flying a considerable number of approaches to get the process down, so that will be fun. Train to proficiency with no jeopardy.

    I can’t wait to get home and see my wife – and then down to see my airplane. I’ll be teaching in the new jet during December, so the pace isn’t slowing down any.

    Fly Safe!


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