Around the Pattern

Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Tag: Shanghai

Back at work so I can get some rest.

Time Off?

I was at home for about a week and a half toward the end of June. During that time I went back to work rebuilding the landing gear on my Swift. I’ll make a few posts on that process in the next day or so. I even managed to take some pictures of the process this time. The left main gear rebuild took me two months of working during breaks between trips. The right one is now 90% finished after a week of steady work and long days in a 95 degree hanger. Between the heat, the solvent, the hydraulic fluid and the paint, I had to change clothes just to get into my truck and drive home. My wife would always stay upwind until I got a long hot shower and changed clothes yet again.

Another Hat

I manage to wear several hats when I’m around the airport. The most often worn hat has the general “airport bum” identifier, but two more are associated with my involvement with EAA. One hat is labeled Technical Counselor and the other is labeled Flight Advisor. They are both great programs for the amateur aircraft builder. As a Tech. Counselor I visit the builder as the building project progresses, look over the work that is accomplished and, if warranted, make suggestions or answer questions about alternate ways to approach a problem area. I then write up a short description of the project, the progress that has been made and the things that were discussed during the visit. The builder signs the form and keeps a copy for the aircraft building records, I keep a copy and I send the original to EAA headquarters. There are several aircraft under construction on our airport. Two that I have been involved with lately are RV models. I took a look at an RV-9A the other day that is being build in the person’s garage.

RV-9A Fuselage

RV-9A Instrument Panel

You can see that the builder is well along in the process. Something like 80% completed with another 90% to go. That’s the way is always seems, anyway. Lots of detail work to be done that seems to take forever. It’s a nice instrument panel with the Dynon flat panel displays. The empty space in the center is to be the home of a Garmin 495 or 496.

Other Work

Now I’m out on the road again. I just had a layover in Hong Kong, but was so beat that I spent the majority of the time asleep, trying to catch up after several short nights. Tomorrow is a short flight to Shanghai with a quick layover at the airport hotel, than back here to Tokyo and home the day after that. With a bit of luck I’ll finish the Swift landing gear rebuild this time at home and possibly get most of the annual complete. It would be nice to go flying again – the real kind, not the high altitude programming that widebody airline flying has become.

Overnight in China

The Flight

The past couple of days have been taken up by a flight from Japan to Shanghai, China, a short overnight stay at the airport hotel and then a return flight to Japan. The weather in Japan has been really nice lately, partly cloudy and in the 70s (F). China has not been doing so well. Shanghai had for both the arrival and departure 90m (~300 ft.) broken to overcast clouds with 3000m (~2 mi.) visibility and light rain, mist and/or fog. The arrival in Shanghai wasn’t as bad as trying to get through customs, though.

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On the Airway Again

I’m out on another trip in the far, far west. This one is a 6-day jaunt with three layovers. I was just about to leave my commute hotel room for my check-in when I got a call from scheduling. Just a 3-hour delay in the departure time. OK, so much for trying to pre-plan my sleep cycle.  Once we got started, though, things seemed to work smoothly. Well, except for the time I was in the bunk. Sometimes sleep just doesn’t come, no matter how hard you try.  So, those last 3 hours of the 12:30 flight time were pretty nasty. A night arrival, one hour bus ride and I was in a real bed again, though almost 180 out from the body home time zone.

Now I’m almost through day four, a 30-hour layover in Taipei (TPE). Wake-up is at 4 am tomorrow morning for a 3-hour flight to Osaka (KIX). Then a 24-hour layover and a 12-hour flight back to the US.

I’m not sure what will happen then. I’m at the mercy of the scheduler for the rest of the month, temporarily a reserve pilot. Next month my schedule-holder position becomes active and I will be able to control my life a bit more.  The bidding program gave me two trips next month, one of these 6-day KIX-TPE trips that I’m on now and then a 9-day later in the month with layovers in Tokyo (NRT) and Shanghai (PVG).

Sounds exciting unless you’ve been doing it for 20 years. After a few months of going to the same places, you get sort of jaded. You have a routine that you develop, going to safe, familiar places for your meals and tend to not look around. Once in a while a ‘new’ crew member will talk you into a different outing, but the more trips you repeat, the nicer it is to have something familiar to make it feel sort of like home.

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