Jul 31, 2019 – Stress

I’m am stressing about getting ready to leave home and train on a new jet. Bev’s mom is in failing health, which is a long term thing. Her siblings, for the most part, can’t be relied on to be there to help her with the physical aspects of senior care giving. Finally, I pulled the trigger on a $100k overhaul of theĀ  engines one N833DF. I’m a little pre-occupied, thank you.

Overhauling N833DF is the next big project for our airplane. I just got it back on January 6th of this year, after a two year restoration of the airframe. Now I’m accepting another 4 months of down time to get the engines and props overhauled. This is an amazing amount of investment to make in a 1967 airplane, but I obviously feel it is worth it. I cannot wait to fly behind smooth running engines again, and take this airplane to distant get-aways in the coming years.

The engines will be Penn Yan overhauls to new limits. I’ll also be overhauling or replacing the oil coolers, engine mounts, and the prop governors. We’ll be adding electronic ignition in place of one magneto on each engine, and the props themselves will all be overhauled again for a fresh start. Thank God I have been preparing for this for years, and and have accumulated a significant portion of the expected investment. I’m going to need it.

Wrapping up my Astra work and leaving home meant completing one more Astra recurrent during my last week here. This entire work week became focused on just that task, rather than studying for the G280. Originally scheduled to have a client partnered with me, I’d have 2.5 days of classes, a written test, 3-5.5 hour sim sessions, and a part 135 check-ride on Friday.

When the client didn’t show up on time Monday, I immediately let my boss know that I would not even consider working on Saturday. I’m leaving Sunday for a month, and wasn’t about to work up until the last minute. Nope. FSI tends to do whatever the client wants, but I have limits and insist on being part of that equation. I may have been looking for a battle and lashing out a little (stress), but we got through it.

The client ended up canceling without even so much as a courtesy call. Hearing that, my teammates stepped up to move their schedules around to accommodate getting me through the recurrent a day earlier. As a result, my sim sessions were shorted by 2 hours, and the check-ride was shortened as well. That was good news all around, and an appreciated gesture from my co-workers and my PM.

Mike J did the training and made sure I learned something new with each session. For my part, I improved my CRM and have been managing the crew more smoothly. Mike reinforced reading and briefing ALL of the notes on an approach plate, as well as including the runway length and lighting to expect in the brief. The training was fun and my co-pilot, Kelly, did a great job supporting the crew.

I successfully completed my check-ride yesterday and feel like I did pretty well. My PM, Scott, has visions of me doing my TCE check in the Astra SPX while I’m in Dallas now, but that is not a priority for me at this point. We’ll see how I feel once I get into the training. Maybe I’ll take my TCE book back with me on the next trip, when only a recurrent is at stake. We’ll see.

Replacing me on the senior care front should be relatively easy for Beverly, assuming she can find reliable help. Too many people who should be here just aren’t around. There is always a swim lesson or a meeting somewhere they absolutely have to attend, so Bev takes on the full load. I am always here to help by moving Mom into and out of bed, making runs fo the pharmacy, taking out the considerable trash and recyclables that accumulate, and by fixing anything that breaks in the house with all of the extra traffic. Someone needs to do those things, and it can’t be all Beverly.

It isn’t all bad news. Kudos to the folks that do support us directly in this effort. Sister Patty shows up allot to relieve Beverly of some of the household duties; Aunt Pat and Uncle Guy are here almost every weekday providing direct care in all aspects; and Michelle P (Hospice Care) is now part of the family – chipping in with every aspect of the care being provided. Michelle also gives of her own personal time by making sure Bev and I get some time together. Good people.

Even though I don’t personally do much directly with Mom’s care, I still feel a need to be here for Beverly. She never left my side during the entire process of losing each of my parents – one at a time, and I had vowed to be here for her.

All things considered, however, we both feel like I should go do this now as the opportunity presents itself. So here we go.

So that is it. My work week is done and I’m pack for my trip. N833DF is with my new A&P, and the engines should come off and be shipped this coming week. I’ll be sure and share pictures of the progress and keep you informed. It will be like Christmas getting this airplane back. I cannot wait.

Fly safe!

Frank