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About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

28 September 2008

Need for the Bailout Explained (in 2007 by John Cleese)

I saw this in 2007, after that first big blip in the market, when the first cracks in the thin veneer of mortgages began to appear. Rather astute for a few comedians, wouldn't you say? Call or write you congressman and tell them to VOTE NO on the bailout plan. This plan is bad for America and bad for Americans. Free markets should be free to succeed and free to fail. If you rescue the "dodgy" risk-takers, it will only be a matter of time before they take dodgy risks again.

21 September 2008

Wings Over Coshocton 2008

This weekend, I went to the 3rd annual Wings Over Coshocton Airshow. It was a beautiful day for the airshow, and probably about 6000-7000people showed up! It was a really good crowd, and a great airshow. It's really nice to have an event like this in the community, that gets people out to the airport and get kids excited about airplanes and flying. As one of the "big kids" in attendance, I had a really good time and can't wait for the next one! Thrills, spills, chills....it's all part of the show, folks!

Jack Kuntsen's American Firebird Extra300

C-47 crossing air show center...look at those clouds!

A C-130 Hercules from the Mansfield ANG wing

Jim "Fang" Maroney leaving the smoke trails for his Hammerhead turn

The Dodge "RamJet" jet truck act and Jim Maroney competing for smoke effects

Me and Jim "Fang" Maroney in front of N470DS

Me & Beth in front of N470DS (on static display at the airshow)

Two Hundred Thousand!

Quite the milestone for my ol' 2000 Passat V6 GLS sedan....the green funkmobile, the stickermobile....passed the 200,000mile mark on my way to choir practice tonight. When I bought it in September 15, 2000, it had 36 miles on the odometer. Eight years later, I driven it the equivalent of 8 times around the world. Of course, it only took me 3 years to pass the 100,000mile mark back in 2003. So, here's to holding out for 300,000miles until I pass it on to a college kid and get the 2012 Passat GLS V6....or maybe a BMW 5-Series....Hmmm......

20 September 2008

Aerobatic Introduction

Last night, I got to have the most incredible 15 minutes of fun that I've ever had in an airplane. I had an aerobatic introduction ride with Jim "Fang" Maroney in his highly modified Super Chipmunk aircraft. We flew loops, a cuban 8, 4-point rolls, 8-point rolls, inverted flight, a vertical tumble, a tailslide, a hammerhead, a couple of snap rolls, spins, an extreme power-on stall, and just tons of fun. It was basically a shortened version of his show routine, except at 3000ftAGL. It was totally awesome. I'm going to sell our house and move into a trailer so that I can own and fly an aerobatic aircraft. It was that cool. All I want for Christmas is an Extra-300.

17 September 2008

My New Toy

Thanks to Hurricane Ike and all the fallen limbs in my two yards, I have now become the proud owner of a brand-new 3.8hp, Stihl MS290 Farm Boss Chainsaw with a 20" Bar. While not the coolest chainsaw out there, this one is very powerful and cuts wood like butta. Butta, I tell ya! It's totally awesome and I have a very fun weekend ahead of me between lumberjacking and attending a local airshow.

Hurricane's A-Comin'...

...Board up the door....Worstest calamity that folks ever saw.....girls run and hide, brave men shiver....I'm Mike Fink, King of the River! (click here for the video of the song)

Here's the METARs from Sunday at about 1:40PM in the afternoon. I was sitting at Port Columbus at Gate A2, contemplating that I had made the right decision to fly commercial and not attempt to land for fuel somewhere with 35kt gusts. The remnants of Hurricane Ike had been blazing up the Mississippi River Valley after landfall in Houston. I was pretty amazed to see the gusts at 55-60kts, and then promptly loaded onto Southwest Airlines' "Shamu One" 737NG for a whale of a trip to St. Louis. It is a pretty cool paint scheme for the 737...complete with Sea World Themed overhead bins! No sooner had I landed at my destination and had powered up the ol' CrackBerry when my wife called with a panicked sound in her voice. "DAN! TREES ARE BLOWING OVER! THERE'S 70MPH winds here!" Well, that was just great. Here I am in sunny Omaha, with a light breeze and I have missed the fun of Hurricane Ike roaring through Ohio. Apparently, we had some serious excitement - a total of 8 trees blew right over....and I was 600miles away and totally missed the fun! Oh well, at least I've got a chainsaw and some firewood out of the deal....

06 September 2008

Sleeping Bear Dunes & Traverse City, MI

It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend. I honestly can't remember when the weather was this clear and calm. There was a frontal system waaay up north over Montana, and Hurricane Gustav was threatening New Orleans and the gulf coast. However, up here in Ohio and Michigan, there was a beautiful high pressure system that was responsible for tons and tons of clear air dropping out of the sky. Originally, my plans for this weekend were to fly up Saturday and spend Sunday and Monday camping and swimming on South Manitou Island (awesome photos of Lake Michigan at this link) with my brother Sam and his wife Kate. However, my wife was struggling with some serious congestion after a week of work in the germy middle school where she works, so to avoid a repeat of painful sinus infections and decompressions that she experienced on our recent trip to Hilton Head Island, we decided to scrub the trip. So, here I am sitting, looking at the NOAA website and all that calm, clear, air all over the Great Lakes, and I was starting to get a little wistful about missing the view of those lakes on that clear, clear day. Well, all was not lost. Beth's congestion cleared up on Saturday, and so we made plans on early Sunday morning to dash up to Traverse City for Sunday evening. South Manitou Island was out of the question, but Sleeping Bear Dunes wasn't! The flight up was fairly quick - only 2-3/4hours from I40 (even with a slight headwind!), and the weather was clear, clear, clear. Literally....not a cloud in the sky for that 330 miles. Beautiful! I finally got to see this wonderful area from the air without a rushed schedule or inclement weather - it was truly the most beautiful area that I have ever visited from the air. I'm usually a little let down when I fly down along the Atlantic - the water is too green and turbid for my liking. This water? Clear and cold with a million shades of blue ranging from deep dark midnight to nearly lumenescent sky blue. Awesome.

The twin lakes of Cadillac, Michigan from 8500ft MSL

Grand Traverse Bay with Mission Peninsula dividing the waters of the East and West Bay

Crystal Lake, Michigan - quite possibly the prettiest lake I have ever seen from the air.

Lake Michigan shoreline, just north of where the Platte River empties into the lake

Looking up the shore of Lake Michigan, with the Empire Dunes, then Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands further past them to the north

Sleeping Bear Dunes with Glen Lake and Little Glen Lake in the background

South Manitou Island from the south and about 4500ft MSL

Sleeping Bear Point in the foreground, with the sweeping shoreline of Glen Arbor Bay and Pyramid Point off in the distance

Wheeling over the natural harbor over South Manitou Island

The lighthouse at the southern tip of South Manitou Island

The remains of the Francisco Morazan, shipwrecked in 1960

The dunes at the southern tip of North Manitou Island

Look at how absolutely CLEAR that water is!

The steep sand dunes of Pyramid Point

Looking north over Lake LeeLanau

Cherry Orchards near Lake Leelanau

Suttons Bay on the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay

Grand Traverse Bay

West shore of the West Bay

Lots of boats in the water on the West Bay

Downtown Traverse City, Michigan

Final for Runway 18 at KTVC - Cherry Capital Airport

Clear, calm Lake Michigan at Glen Haven, MI

My beautiful wife relaxing by Lake Michigan, near Glen Haven

Pebbly beach near Glen Haven, with the dunes of South Manitou in the distance

The mottled sand dunes of Sleeping Bear Point

Waves slowly eroding the sandy shoreline at Sleeping Bear Point

My very best Michael Phelps impression - I'm going for the gold!