Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not so fast.

Looks like the triplane won't be headed west for a while. When the owner of the airport, who is the purchasers US representative, found out that they were planning on taking the airplane on an open trailer, a severe pissing-match ensued. The result was they unloaded the trailer and left without it.

I've volunteered to take it to California the second half of next month. We're looking at options now, including getting a truck to take it out and drop the truck and rent a car to drive home so I can sight-see. Do you think I ought to take Skyler?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Triplane goes away.

Dot Kotik, widow of the late Ken Kotik, has sold Ken's Fokker Triplane project and the guys stopped by today to load it onto a trailer. They are taking it to Sonoma and from there it will venture on to New Zealand. Sad day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tempted fate again.

I pulled the leading edge aluminum of the other wing this morning and cleaned it off. This one wasn't as bad as the other, having fewer mud dauber nests and no mouse nests. I got it ready to reinstall which Sky and I will do tomorrow. I feel a covering party coming up!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Screwed again.

I hate #4 sheet metal screws. My fingers are too fat to hold onto them. I don't know how many times I've fumbled them onto the ground trying to get them into or out of a little tiny hole in the leading edge of the wing. My little girl can't count that high. They fall to the ground, and bounce and bounce hither and yonder. If it weren't for that eagle-eyed little girl who can walk standing up underneath the wing (on sawhorses) and pick them up for me, I'd be lost. She feels she's helping and little does she know how right she is.

The good news: one wing is 10 minutes away from being ready to cover. The other about a day. We put an extra gas tank in the left wing in anticipation of putting an O-200 in the airplane in the future. Still haven't heard from the engine guy on how my second set of cylinders is fairing but should early next week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Night Current again.

Tim, Cooper and I went out in their Citation V tonight to do our 3 full-stop landings each in order to update our night currency. Tim had me ride upfront for all 9 landings and swap seats so I could get more comfortable in the airplane. The company I previously flew for had a Citation V that I flew for 4 years but I hadn't flown the airplane in 5 years except for last weeks flight. It's hard to land a V when you're light (and you haven't flown one in 5 years) but we all had pretty respectable landings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Slow but steady progress.

Sky and I started in tearing apart the A65 a couple days ago that we got from Glenn's friend, Roger. It looks freshly-majored, no evidence of being run. As of Friday morning, we had it all apart, the cylinders sent out to be checked and the rest mostly solvent-cleaned.
Lindsay helps by coloring and playing with Legos. Here she's telling me which part to clean next.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

America has lost it's rock.

Now you're probably wondering what a manly-man like me is doing watching American Idol on tv. Well, it was Rolling Stones night and I wanted to see how the kids did covering the the iconic songs of the Stones. (Who are still not as good as the Beatles, but close. I don't care what you say.)

Frankly, I was disappointed. All the kids sang the songs like they were at a funeral. The only exception was Casey James and he wasn't much better. They all just stood all the mike, no showmanship at all. The whole show was boring with a capital B. In Simon's words, "Easily forgettable." It's like all the kids were auditioning for the Frankie Avalon show.

The Rolling Stones are all about rock 'n roll. They epitomize it, they live it (except for Keith, he's the walking dead), they set the standard for what makes a rock star.

These kids have no ideas. And you can't really blame them with the current rock stars being Justin Timberpuke and New Pervs on the Corner to learn from. America has lost its Rock.

What happened to the days of "Whole lotta love" and "Sunshine of your love"? Have kids become so tame that they think Britney Spears is cutting edge? Last nights show sounded like the "Best of ABBA."

So what makes my show? Easy. Hendrix's "Star-Spangeled Banner "to open the show. Follow that with McCartney's "Rock Show/Jet". Move on to Clapton's "Sunshine of your Love" and keep it going from there. No country-rock. Definitely no metal or rap or reggae crap. The Who would have to be in there, George Thorogood too. A little Bryan Adams perhaps.

Get our your lighters man, tonite we rock!

All is not lost.

After not flying let alone thinking about a jet in the past 13 months, I went up with my friend Tim Akey in his company's Cessna Citation V yesterday to get landing current and comfortable in the airplane. I was somewhat apprehensive, the only thing I'd been scanning during that 13 months was frozen pizzas at the checkout line in the grocery store.
We sat in the airplane, hooked up to a power cart for 45 minutes reviewing switches and speeds and then decided to brave the sky gods and go flying. We hopped over Lambert to Alton, shot a RNAV 29 and a BC 11 before heading back to Spirit to do the ILS 26L and three landings.
The good news is I was never seriously behind the airplane, I didn't bust mda or the 200 kt restriction under the Class B and I made 3 very good landings in an airplane that ususally just arrives on the pavement. It felt like old home week to me because I'd flown a V for 5 years, I just had to relearn where the switches were.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bringing the wings down to remove the fabric.

Sky and I bringing the wings down to strip the fabric this morning. We're at the point where we need to fit the new fuel tank and associated plumbing so it's time to do the wings. The outside is terribly stained by bird-droppings and discolored from the sun. We didn't know how the inside would look unless we took the fabric off. The fabric is 18 years old, so it was about time to do it anyway.

Engine news: Glenn's friend Roger Teagarden has a core A65 sitting in his basement and has graciously allowed us to send the cylinders in to have them checked out before we decide it we want to purchase it. No logbooks, so it's only value is as a core. But we'll have a spare crank and cam too.

Oh good golly.......

I had sent my 4 A-65 cylinders off my Cub in to be inspected. The previous owner had thrown a rocker arm boss in 1996 and had parked the airplane. He had 4 cylinders in boxes in his basement, but never put them on. Good thing.

The shop called yesterday with the results and it was the last thing I wanted to hear. All 4 cylinders had exhaust guides in the intake guide spot. One cylinder was 15-over but otherwise okay. One cylinder has the exhaust valve seat peened into place but was otherwise okay. The last two cylinders were both shot and one of those had deep divots in the head that he didn't think chroming could fix.

I'm going to take the crank and cam shaft in on monday to be magnafluxed and see if they're okay. Then I'll decide what to do about the cylinders.

Anyone have a spare C-85 or O-200 laying around?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Where we are.

Sorry, it's been a while, I know. Lots of things going on here. First of all, I had an interview with an airline in Atlanta. They turned me down, which is good because I didn't have to turn them down. My airline days (being on reserve, being junior available, working all holidays, maintenance delays, lying dispatchers) are fortunately behind me. I've also become a house husband, taking care of our 4-year old. My wife has a temp job that may lead to full-time so my time to work on the Cub is limited.
One of my friends has asked me to fill in for two weeks on his Citation V. We're going to go get me somewhat current next week. See if I can fly a Cessna around the patch. The job is in april so we have some time and I'll be riding shotgun anyway so all I have to know is how to close the door and talk on the radio and I'm set.
That's leads to the question of "Where are we?" Well, I put the brace wires on the tail today. You'd think it would be easy, but no, it's not. You have to clean the holes for the bolts, find all the fittings, nuts, bolts and wires. Okay, that's about 2 hours. Then you can start to fit the parts together to make it pretty. I'll level it tomorrow and hopefully attach the elevators and connect the control cables.
I sent the engine cylinders off to be checked out yesterday. The were either new or yellow tagged in 1996 but they'd been sitting ever since then. We took out the pistons and hot-tanked them before sending them off. Should be back in 10 days.
Sky has his spring break next week so I'm hoping we can make great progress then.
That's where we are.

Amazon Sucks.

I ordered a book from amazon last week, Mark Steinmetz's South East. I had been interested in this book for a while, even before Mike Johnston featured it on The Online Photographer. After he did, the book became unavailable at list price, only used and collectible ones being offered. When I saw one pop up on Amazon for $37 I went ahead and ordered it. I ordered it on Monday, they shipped it on thursday and I received it today. Almost. They sent the wrong book. They sent Greater Atlanta which is an okay book but I really wanted what I had ordered. I went to the Amazon website to see how to send it back. A few clicks later and it told me I had to call customer service. A phone call later and I was talking to Rinja in New Delhi. She said she couldn't help me because they were changing out the computers and could I please call back in an hour?

Now I was mad. I tried calling Amazon's Corporate office in Seattle only to play ring-around the phone tree. When you press either 5 or 0 for the Corporate Operator, it just takes you back to the recorded message. So now I'm on a misson to get people to buy from local booksellors and tell Amazon to take a hike.

BTW Amazon, the person who packed my book at Warehouse Deals in Lexington, KY should be fired. How ironic that a booksellor employs people who can't read the title and the listing on the invoice, compare the two to make sure they agree and then ship the book. It's like ordering Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter and getting Little House in the Big Woods. There's even different pictures on the cover!? You would think you would want them to ship the correct item, it'd be cheaper, but from your response and lack of customer service, it's evident you don't care what they ship. You don't care about customer service because you outsource it to India. When I order something from a US company and have a problem, I want to call customer service to fix it in the United States! The last thing I want is to call and hear the person speaking with a Indian or Pakstani accent. Even my e-mails asking for help are sent from New Delhi. And back up your computers so when you have to take a system down, the customer service people can still access the information they need to help your customers!

Now I could crack some joke about how most of the people in Lexington, KY where Warehouse is located, have some of their teeth, they just can't read. But I'd hate to disparage one of your vendors.

Sign me...a very dissatisfied customer.

"Thank you very much"

ps...the Book is now available from No discount on the price but at least you'll get what you order.