Annual Still in Progress

by on June 22, 2015

I’m still working on the Swift Annual Inspection, so there was no flying the past couple of weeks. It has been slow progress, not because things need fixing but because of the lack of time to get out to the airport to do the work.


This past weekend the Carson City airport had their Open House event. The EAA Chapter (#403) provided a pancake breakfast, gave rides in their ‘GroundBound’ biplane and set up a BD-5 carcass for picture-taking. The also signed up kids for Young Eagle flights to be conducted the following morning (Father’s Day).

Unfortunately the weather Father’s Day morning wasn’t very conducive to fun introductory rides. The 5 pilots volunteering their time made one flight and decided to call off the remainder of the event. Winds were forecast to be gusting over 30 mph by late morning and the forecast was holding true.

Here are some random shots taken at the Open House:

Landing Currency

by on June 11, 2015

Swift-Flight-June-2015I finally got back into the air for a short flight last week. We had a good day in the middle of the week with storms predicted to move in the next day and throughout the weekend so I took a break from website work and headed out to the airport.

I wasn’t the only one who had that idea – there were 3-4 planes in the pattern most of the time I was in the air.  I just pulled the power back flew around north and west of the airport for a while – getting as far as Beckwourth/Nervino (O02) before I turned around. The air was a bit bumpy so I stayed below the top of the green arc as I flew around and at various times fed the engine from each of the tanks to even the fuel load out.

I got back to the pattern about a half hour later and joined the other two planes practicing landings. One made a full-stop fairly quickly but the other stayed in the pattern with me as I completed 5 touch and gos. It takes a bit of planning for me to share a pattern with another plane. It seems that I fly my patterns much closer to the runway than anyone else. Maybe it’s because of the glide ratio (see crowbar)  of the Swift and my attempt to  stay within reach of pavement if the engine quits. I have had Cessna and Piper pilots fly with me say that if they flew my pattern ground tracks they would never be able to get down to the runway with enough pavement to complete a landing. That’s what makes flying fun – no two planes and no two flying days are ever the same.

June is my annual inspection month, so when I got the plane back in the hangar I got out my inspection checklist and started taking things apart. Since the engine was still warm I did the cylinder compression check first, then got the oil change started.  While things were progressing on their own at the front of the plane I moved aft, removed all the fairings and started looking in all the nooks and crannies for things that didn’t seem quite right.

With my work schedule and some weekend commitments with the Carson City EAA Chapter it will probably take me the rest of the month to finish the 100-Hour/Annual. At least it has rained the past couple of days…

If any of you are in the eastern part of the country and need somewhere to fly this week/weekend, the Annual Swift National Convention is June 10-14 in Bowling Green, KY. Lots of fun activities planned.

My logbook says that I haven’t had the Swift in the air since April 12th. That’s not something I like to do, but I made the choices to not when I could have at least flown the pattern a few times. I spent 2-3 of my free weekends polishing the plane – sort of a Spring cleaning. The idea was to have it looking nice for the AOPA regional fly-in this past weekend in Salinas, CA (KSNS). Best laid plans.

By Wednesday of last week it was obvious that it would not be a good time to go flying from here to there. I cancelled my rental car and decided to drive down. It took me about 5.5 hours each way – I drive at the posted speed limit and make everybody else drive around me. On the way down to Salinas I drove through rain, then snow with 1/2 mile visibility as I got to the top of Donner Pass on I-80. On the way back home it was just rain, heavy at times, as I cleared the pass eastbound.

The weather at Salinas was generally overcast to broken and varying from 1500′ to 2800′ for most of the weekend. Around 11 am or so on Saturday it broke up enough to let quite a few planes in VFR. I would guess that even with the low clouds they had 100-150 planes fly in but I don’t think many of them made it for the pancake breakfast that ended at 10am.

All in all it was a fun weekend with seminars, good food and a large tent of vendors. The Friday night BBQ was a nice addition.  I highly recommend that you see Brian Terwilliger’s new movie Living in the Age of Airplanes. It is an excellent film that reminds you just how special flight in any type of airplane really is – something that the majority of us, pilots and non-pilots, tend to take for granted. Consider this…

The first revenue flight of a Boeing 747 (Pan Am) was Jan 22, 1970. Assume that it took 5 years for the 747 to be in wide use by airlines around the world. Then there is a very good chance that if you were born after 1975 there has been a 747 in the air somewhere around the world every minute that you have been alive.

There were a lot of other planes at Salinas that probably deserved their own photos, but I only took three – looking at them now they span a pretty long period of aviation.

It was a fun event, as was the one I attended last year. Again, I recommend that if there is an AOPA Regional event near you, try to attend. You’ll learn something, meet a lot of aviators from your area and have a chance to talk on-on-one with people like Rod Machado, Mark Baker, Tom Haines, Melissa Rudinger and your AOPA Regional representative.

Still Here and Flying Around

by on April 13, 2015


Looking Southward toward Reno from just NE of Stead (KRTS).

I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Wow, I just checked and didn’t realize it had been 2 months. Life happens.

According to Logbook Pro I have flown 4 times since then, including yesterday when this photo was taken. There is still snow on the top of Mt Rose but nothing anywhere else.

During the break in writing I have changed hosting providers so maybe you will notice quicker page load times than you were getting. The change will also give me more capabilities with my website development business – which pays for my flying habit.

During that 2-month period I also helped an EAA friend/flight instructor conduct a Private Pilot (PPL) test prep ground school. It was an interesting exercise in remembering all those things that the FAA considers important to new pilots. It had been years since I had even picked up an E-6B much less worked a wind problem with one. The same could also be said for the plotter and determining a Magnetic Heading to fly after drawing a line on a sectional chart and measuring the True Course. All the GPS units available and the online flight planning software has made us lazy – like losing your hand-flying skills if all you do is turn on the autopilot after takeoff.

There were 9 students in the class, of which 7 made it through to the end (7 weeks, two nights per week). It was a quick trip through the text and test-prep book (both ASA products).  In order to receive a course completion certificate which would enable the student to take the FAA written exam, the instructor set a requirement to pass one of the available practice tests with a score of at least 80.  The tests were available on the ASA website as a benefit of purchasing the course materials from ASA.  Unfortunately, only one of the seven who stayed through the entire course had taken any practice tests and met the instructor’s minimum score.

The instructor is starting a new session of the course next week and has invited all the students to attend again at no charge to get ready for the test. A nice gesture. The amount of material to be covered and the time allowed meant that if you ever got behind with the study assignment it was almost impossible to catch up – especially if you had a life outside of class.



I saw this guy/gal land in the back yard the other day. Not something that you expect to see in a residential area of Reno – at 5000′ MSL.

Most of the lakes in the area are severely low. Washoe Lake, just a few miles south of us is almost completely evaporated. I imagine Mr/Ms Duck was looking for something green and our backyard appeared pretty inviting.

On tap next – this-coming Saturday is a pancake Breakfast – but since it’s only two hangars away from me I doubt I’ll fly to it. It will be a good reason to get out to the airport early. Then I can grab a plate and, hopefully, spend the rest of the day trying to finish the Spring polishing on the plane. I have the top of both wings and one side of the tail finished so far.  Have to look good for fly-in season, right?

I’m planning on making the AOPA regional fly-in again this year. This time it is a 2-hour flight to Salinas, CA (KSNS). It should be a fun time.