February 27, 2015 – Schedules; People Caves; Writing a book; and Logging Flight Time

Managing Schedules: I am sitting in my chair this morning on my 3rd scheduled Golden Day off. Having just returned from an early start / late finish four day trip, my first day off is a recovery day. I got into the house in Smyrna around midnight; woke up as usual at 5am; drove north for an eye exam; and then came home to take a nap.

Man and Woman Cave Update: Yesterday – Scot came down and painted the stairwell. Scaffolding and skill was involved, and I’m content knowing I don’t have those skills. I have a new monitoring and security system – fully IP based – coming in so we’ll be able to enjoy the basement and still hear and see visitors as they come and go (all the way around the house). Bev’s business machines got moved in yesterday (Stitching4U), and my simulator is fully networked and running as well. Our new leather recliners won’t be here until end of April (we had a very cool Janosik’s experience), and it is all  coming together and exciting. We’ve opened up two rooms on the main floor now, and are talking about some remodeling up there next. Exciting changes for our long term here in Smyrna.

Satisfying trip: The four day trip in 300’s I just returned from allowed me time to practice my landings in those longer birds. Here I go again with the flat landing sight picture where I tend to pitch up toward 6 degrees and get a caution light. Allow that to go to 8 degrees or more and you risk a tail strike. I had at least two really sweet touchdowns on this trip – flattening the blades and adding drag just inches before touchdown. This airplane is incredibly capable and I absolutely love it when I get it right. I had one in the middle of the trip where I pitched up too much, but the rest were cool. Experience will breed consistency.

Avionics Experience: On one night leg, I noticed a similarity between the 300’s displays and the Aspen PFD in my PA-30. I began a discussion with the Captain by asking what about the full function of a displayed magenta bug on my EHSI display. He wasn’t sure off the top of his head, so he pulled out the manuals and read about it. Sounded to me like the function was similar to the ASPEN’s blue trapezoid ‘trending indicator’, which I rely on in my airplane, so I was thinking I could use it to refine my hand-flying in these machines.

Now this Captain has over 22,000 hours in these machines, I find it utterly magnificent that he stopped what he was doing to listen to what I had to say. Not only that but he took the time to pull out the books and check it out. What he did next in the middle of this night flight pleased me even more.

After having me describe how the Aspen PFD works in my airplane, and how I thought the one in the 300 would work, he read the description of the ‘Drift Bug’ on the EHSI out of the manual we have onboard. We agreed that Drift Bug should function in the way we expect, so he then had me turn off the autopilot to do a few simple maneuvers to test the theory. Open manual in his lap, our flight testing (gentle turns to a heading) proved the theory correct. I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange, and was excited to bring my PA-30 experience into play here.

I am now getting even more out of the EHSI and other avionics in both the PF and PM roles by digging deeper. Interested and professional Captains make a difference, and it is refreshing being part of a professional crew.

Building Flight Time: Stop laughing. I remember excitedly telling one of my instructors I had reached 100 whole hours. He was 80 or so years old at the time, and patiently explained I still knew absolutely nothing, but was just slightly less likely to kill myself.  500 became the next target we talked about – with him implying I’d know something by then. When I got there a few years hence, I went to see him again. Some story, only now I knew enough to know he was right. I wondered what I’d know later, but I’ll get back to this in a minute.

Writing a book: It has been on my bucket list to write a book about my experiences in aviation. I’ve recently gotten an increasing amount of attention to this blog, one from as far away as England, which has given me some added energy into moving forward a bit more on a book. I have a plethora of content in pictures, written blogs and other text, and certainly tons of amazing aviation memories.  I guess the next thing I need to do is to define my audience and structure the story.

Supporting a story board development, I began reviewing digital pictures dating back to 1987. It’s been fun wondering through them again, but it can be difficult keeping the topic solely on aviation. So many life events have happened along the way that it is difficult not to be distracted. The peripheral experiences shaped and flavored my aviation existence in a positive way, so they are all pertinent. I’m currently using Microsoft Movie Maker to identify milestones, aviation and otherwise, into an organized timeline that will be good for reference. It is not easy.

The movie maker process itself has distractions. I’ve successfully refurbished and put to good use two airplanes, as I was reminded in the pictures. Just on that subject, I certainly have plenty of text and pictures that I will use to document both of those wonderful adventures; whether or not I incorporate them into a book.

Logbooks: Another incredibly valuable source of material to me is my logbook history. I have all that electronically – back to my very first flight – as well as in the paper form. 2015 Flight ExperienceWhat a joy this ride has been –  with flights and events documented that coincide with the pictures and the Movie Maker Timeline. I will spend more time going over my accumulating flight time – thinking about where I was and what I was doing that led to more or less time in the air. Interesting in itself.

Flight training for various objectives; Airplane ownership; flight instruction in various aircraft and for various schools; and finally flying professionally. The people and places associated with these times and events are exciting to recall. I’m just crossing 4000 hours now – notice the spike in flight experience at the top of the graph….  My ride is far from over.

Fly safe and enjoy every single flight hour you are privileged to obtain.

Frank