With Wings As Eagles: Car/Mechanical Entries

Oshkosh 2013: coming home

2013 September 15 13:47

I'd originally planned to arrive and depart Oshkosh VFR. I managed it coming in. However, Wednesday morning, the field was open for VFR traffic, but it sure looked to me like the visibility didn't support safe or at least certainly legal VFR. So since I'd discovered on the way up that IFR reservations weren't a months-in-advance type of deal, I grabbed my laptop and requested a reservation for IFR outbound first thing Thursday morning...and got one!

By the time I made this decision, I didn't have a chance to get to a printer to print out an IFR windshield sign. I didn't have markers to make one. I didn't have transparent tape (or a scissors, really) to cut up the VFR sign and make it into an IFR. So I cut and folded creatively to make the sign into an IFR one:

As it turned out, I left so early that the marshallers weren't in position, so I didn't need it.

I filed this recommended route from the NOTAM:

I took off on 27, got turned south, then turned east to join my filed route at SHLTZ intersection.

It looks like I'm following the lower GPS here. I guess I must have put the filed route into both GPSs, and then when I was cleared direct to SHLTZ I then put that directive into the lower GPS.

I found this pair of indications amusing. Notice the box that the airplane is inside in the upper photo:

That's a restricted zone, probably military use.

Since ATC can vector you around traffic or around the whole area if need be, it's Ok to fly through them flying IFR.

About halfway across Lake Michigan, they just cleared me directly to my destination, Lansing Michigan, so you see here I'm leaving the filed route and going direct-to.

It was a lovely day to fly, but enough clouds that it was firmly IFR weather when I got to Lansing, so I flew the ILS approach.

Here's the route I ended up flying, from flightaware.com.

I had a meeting in Lansing, then I went back to the airplane, which wouldn't start. My first order of business was to set out the tent and sleeping bag since they were wet when I loaded up the plane at 5:30am.

I arranged for a mechanic to look at the plane the next day, so I needed a car to head to a hotel. I asked the FBO to get me the smallest car that Enterprise had; I got a mid-size Jeep sort of thing.

It had the same retro display types as the Chrysler we'd driven April.

I'm not going to go into the long annoying story of my stay in Michigan. Suffice to say that the plane sat on the ground in Lansing for far too long while I ran around trying to get a part fixed that wasn't broken.

Since I had to do a bunch of driving, I got another car, and I specifically asked for a sedan. I got a Hyundai Accent, which I really like, and it got tremendous gas milage. Something over 41 mpg, verified at the pump.

Back in the air, heading south to home. Have a little weather to dodge around.

As it turns out, my course stayed just to the east of it.

The finger of rain in the last photo is the fuzzy middle bit of this photo, looking over the right wing.

Finally, passing Cincinatti on my way home.

Oshkosh 2013: The Show

2013 September 15 13:16

This year, I took comparatively few photos. I was only at the show for three days. Monday I was concentrating on going to the Aeromart, picking up stuff, then getting it back to my camp site. By that point, I really didn't want to go out again. Tuesday I spent the day with my Uncle Bob, from whom I caught the flying bug. We walked around and went to some cool stuff, but I didn't take many photos. Wednesday I had other things to do, so I didn't take a lot of time walking around. Then Thursday I left. Being at Oshkosh is an excersize in becoming used to B-17 bombers flying overhead; so I didn't take pictures of stuff like that.

You know you're at Oshkosh when traffic has to yield to, say, a Sopwith Camel taxi-ing. I didn't catch people having to stop for it, but here it is continuing to taxi to parking:

Various groups have displays of mock-ups of war-style tent-cities. They have authentic vehicles to go with them. Here's a really nice early Willy's Jeep.

And the obligatory instrument panel shot.

The Jeep has a manual transmission. The tall gearshift connects to the main gearbox. It's a dog-leg configuration, meaning that first gear is DOWN from neutral:

R  2
|  |
|  |
1  3
The other two smaller levers control the transfer case. One shifts from 2-wheel-drive to 4-wheel drive, the other selects low range or high range.

Again, traffic yielding to a taxiing airplane.

While walking around with my Uncle, I ran into Bruce King of bkfliers.org and his second prototype. He has designed and built a single-seat experimental amateur-built airplane that he's built two of and is now selling plans for. He first flew his second prototype this spring, and I've been followin his his work via the web. I got a chance to talk to him and look over the engine compartment of his airplane.

Bruce put a flywheel-end drive VW engine in it:

I always enjoy seeing interesting things that people use for cowl plugs.

One thing that was really cool was that for the first time in several years, Mooney itself had a presence at the show. Unfortunately, I only stopped by very very briefly on Monday because I was carrying my loot, and I didn't get there before they closed on Wednesday.

Three WW 1 era planes (replicas, I assume). I think the one in the center is full sized and had an actual radial engine; the other two had flat-4 VW engines.

Oshkosh 2013 1 of 4

2013 September 15 08:17

I got to fly myself to Oshkosh this year, in a plane of my own. w00t! The narrative of the journey, with all the gory details of the flying, is in this entry in August. This entry and the three after it have all the photos (which three weeks after I wrote the narrative entry, I've finally edited).

I had a few things to do to the airplane before going to Oshkosh. One was making sure the lights were all up to snuff. One of the two lights in the rotating beacon was out, so I ordered and replaced the other one.

I also replaced the standard incandescent landing light with an LED one. It was a bit more expensive, but it draws MUCH less current. The specified approach to Oshkosh asks all airplanes to have all their lights, including landing light, on throughout the entire approach. I wanted to go easier on my electrical system. The old light is on the right and the new one is on the left.

Here's the LED light, installed and wired. The old light is a standard filament light, and so it doen't care which way electricity flows across it. The LED DOES, and as it turns out, it needed it flowing the opposite way as the old lights had. Fortunately there was just enough extra slack in the wires to attach them in the right direction without stretching.

In addition to printing out (and studying) the procedures in the NOTAM, I printed out windshield signs to hold up so that the marshallers on the ground will direct my airplane to the right spot.

The bottom one is for arrival, I want to park in "General Aviation Camping" (which is the area known as the "North Forty" at Oshkosh. The top sign is for departure, indicating that I'm intending to depart using "Visual Flight Rules". You'll hear more about that in the fourth entry on this trip.

And finally...I'm off! The Stratus sitting in its door handle

providing backup GPS guidance and weather updates

It was definitely summer Thunderstorm season. This trip was fairly calm, but there were storms to the south behind me that I managed to avoid (this is looking over my left shoulder.

It was nice weather, so I flew the route VFR, but I still had the GPSs tuned in.

All of a sudden the Apollo started warning me a Restricted Zone. There's a tiny tiny one in Indiana that I happened to fly near (I was well above it but I didn't know that).

The restricted zone is the blue thing in the middle, labelled "R-3405". It's apparently a tethered balloon.

I scheduled things so that I was at work a few days before I actually left for Oshkosh, to combine trips. Here's my office, with my iPad and the Stratus recharging.

I flew up to Oshkosh early Sunday morning, but I rented a car for just one day starting late morning Saturday so that I could run around town and get last-minute supplies and stuff. It also allowed me to bring my luggage and supplies back out to the airplane the night before departure, so that when I actually left, I only had one bag to walk out to the plane with. The car I rented was a Nissan Sentra. I don't have any photos of the outside, but here's the instrument panel:

And oddly enough, unliky the vast majority of cars nowadays, it has an actual dedicated "accessory" position on the key cylinder.

In entry 2, I'll actually fly to Oshkosh itself (eventually).