Thursday, April 2, 2020

April 1st

It's a new month, so here are the stats:

Power billed
Power generated









I'm off this week, so I went out to the airport and did some tinkering on the plane, then helped Steve pull out the SNJ and Rob's RV-14, then put the SNJ in the back and the RV in the front.

At this point, I took the plane out for a toddle around.  It was pretty thermally as everything's starting to warm up in the sun, and at one point I was suddenly climbing at 800' a minute, without doing anything.

I got back to the airport, and remembered I wanted to replace the drain hoses on the plane, so set about doing that with a hot engine (doh.)  Rob arrived, and I helped him weigh his RV, as he's aiming to get it inspected at the beginning of next week.  Once I'd got everything back together on my plane, I headed home.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March 31st

The weather was starting to brighten up a bit, so I went outside and chopped more stuff off the shrub along the side of the house.  Once the green waste bin was full, I gave up.

After a rest, I went to the airport and went flying... nothing in particular, just pottering around.


March 30th

I'd taken the week off originally to try and go to the UK, but then had to cancel the second week because a cow-orker wanted the week to take his kids away (it's their spring break).  I kept the week anyway, thinking I could fly, so obviously the weather sucks.  I just sat in and caught up on some tidying up and videos online.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

March 29th

I started the day trying out the 4K TV as a monitor thing, and pretty much hated it.  The corners are too far away, so I ended up putting everything in the middle of the screen, and I couldn't get the brightness to where I was comfortable with it.  Also, 30Hz refresh on the screen is miserable, and that seems to be the fastest rate that the laptop can support.  So, having cleared everything out, we put the TV back on the wall in the bedroom, and I put my 2 monitors back on my desk.  Oh well.

I went and met Chris and Randy at the airport for lunch - there was a lot of clouds around, so I didn't feel I had to fly, so we just went to Mary's.  I did some fiddling with the power line to the transponder in Chris' gyroplane, and when he got home, he texted to say it worked just fine, so the problem is the fuse holder - that can be replaced pretty easily.

March 28th

I went to the airfield and tinkered with the plane (it was raining - Randy got out for 18 whole minutes).  I wanted to look at the dragging right brake, but found a bump on the tyre, so I ended up replacing that.  I also cleaned and re-oiled the air filter.  Other than that, I gave it a clean and headed home.

At home, I've been thinking about getting a curved TV to act as a single display, rather than have 2 monitors, so we took the TV off the wall in the bedroom, screwed its foot back on and put that on my desk.  It took a while to get everything working (my home desktop with a GTC1050Ti said "OK, I see that monitor", but my work laptop's UsB-C extended claims to not have the bandwidth for 2160p at 30Hz, so I ended up plugging the HDMI straight into that and having to generate a custom resolution for the driver.)  I'm on call tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes then.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March 27th

After work I went to the airfield and took the plane out for a bit.


March 26th

We went shopping, past all the empty aisles where there should be toilet paper, and when we got home, watched "Bombshell".  I find it difficult to feel sorry for the two real women in the show, as I feel they helped do an awful lot of damage to American discourse.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

March 23rd

Vic came home from work early, and we got her work computer all set up so she can work from home now.

As we're stuck in the house, I figured I'd work on some of my projects, so I made up a cable to power Vic's heated gloves from a standard 12v accessory socket (like one of the two in the back of the plane).  It took me several goes with the solder to get the wires in just the right place to put the damn thing back together again, but it works now.

Monday, March 23, 2020

March 22nd

I went and met Randy at the airport, and we took the gyros out.  We did a touch and go and go at Sutter County, then flew around the North of the Beale class C airspace.  We talk to each other on 123.45 while we're flying, and could hear 8 Cubs talking to each other on that frequency who were hopping up and down in a river somewhere.  I called them, but I don't think they could hear me, as I was concerned that the river they were talking about was the river we were flying along at the time.  After I heard one of them mention the Van Dyke (private) airport, I realised they were on the other side of Lincoln.  Anyway, we were all heading back towards Lincoln, and they landed a few minutes before we did.



After lunch at Mary's, we headed home.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

March 21st

Randy and I met at the airport, then headed out to Cameron Park via touch and goes at Georgetown and Placerville, and an overflight of (private) Swansboro.


We had lunch with Chris (sitting outside, as the deli was pretty much closed down), then tinkered with his non-functioning ADS-B for a short while, before heading out towards Nyack.  I ended up in the lead, and as I was approaching 4,000', I was getting a bit of a battering and looking at clouds that weren't much more than 1,000' above me - Nyack's at 5,200', so we'd need to be at 6,200' for pattern altitude.  There was also snow on the ground in front of me, and they don't plough the runway, so we probably wouldn't have been able to land anyway.  I called the Randy and Chris, and said I was just going to head back to Lincoln.


There were a few people at Lincoln, and we chatted and worked on Chris' radio - it keeps cutting out.  We checked the connections, then I suggested we just swap the power lines from the radio and the transponder for his flight back to Cameron Park.  He texted me when he got home to say now the transponder is cutting out, so we know at least that it's a power problem.

I got home to a very tired Tilly - Vic had taken her for a walk, and Tilly'd led them to the dog park.  Apparently she played for about 10 minutes, then wanted to go home, having to stop and rest a couple of times on the way. While Tilly slept, we watched Jumanji: The Next Level.

March 20th

After work, I went to the airport and pulled the plane out.  Randy was there, so we went for a little flight around the area - down towards our houses, along the ridge then up to Camp Far West Lake and home.


March 19th

We went out to the airport and mounted the new throttle unit on the plane.  I'd forgotten how much force it takes to get the brakes on (you're using a lever, after all), and the thing twists alarmingly when I use it.  I'm pretty sure I'll break it soon, so we put the aluminium and steel unit back on and called it a day :o(

March 18th

Using my new cobalt drill, slow speed and a lot of WD-40, I drilled a hole through a stainless steel allen screw and mounted it to the throttle unit for the plane.  This even looks like it might work.

March 17th

We went out to get some supplies, and I bought a couple of cobalt drill bits to hopefully drill a hole in a stainless steel allen screw.

March 16th

I tried to drill a hole through a stainless steel allen screw to make something to hold the brake cable on the plane.  I didn't get anything useful done, other than ruining a few drill bits, but I did figure that the trick is going to be using the Dremel to flatten off the threads so I can centre punch a guide point.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

March 15th

We went over to the airport to install the new throttle unit that Dave's printed for me (a couple of parts he sent finally got here).  It all went fine until I found I need a new way of clamping the brake cable to it, so we put the stock one back on while I work out how to make that.  Boo.

March 14th

I went over to the airport to help Rob drop off the wings for his RV-14 project that he's going to be building in our hangar.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

March 10th

My ADS-B Raspberry Pi has been dropping some of the aircraft positions due to the CPU being overloaded, so I ordered a Pi 4 (they're on sale at the moment), and that showed up.  I swapped that in and got it running.  Here's hoping that's fixed now :o)

Monday, March 9, 2020

March 8th

I'd agreed to meet Chris and Randy for breakfast in Auburn at 09:30, forgetting that the clocks were going forwards overnight.  So, I got to the airport at what seemed like a really early time in the morning - well before Randy was there.  Having pre-flighted my plane, I built up a shelving unit I'd brought with me, and put the stuff that was previously stored on the ground away neatly.

I decided to do some circuits while waiting for Randy, but by the time I took off, his plane was outside and the circuit was busy, so I decided to just head out.  I ended up tracking South for a bit before turning East, as there were a lot of low clouds raining around, and I didn't want to get wet.  I spent a lot of time carefully explaining my position to a Cessna also on its way in to Auburn until they saw me, and I slotted in behind them in the pattern.  And ended up extending out quite a way because flight instructors like doing loooong patterns.  They ended up going around, so I landed and parked and went to wait for the others in the restaurant.


I watched Chris take off on Flightaware, and he and Randy both landed on the opposite runway to the one I'd landed on.  We were waiting for our breakfast when we saw a bunch of CHP fliers looking at Randy's gyroplane, so he went out to chat to them while his breakfast got cold.

After breakfast it was an interesting flight back to Lincoln - we all had to fly around clouds along the ridge between Auburn and Lincoln - I was originally thinking I'd head a ways North and fly down a canyon to avoid them, but then saw a break and headed through it.  I spent some time giving way to an RV-9A at Lincoln, then parked up.


Chris had bought some vortex generators for his RV-6A, so we taped a bunch of chopped up shoe laces to his right wing and went up to do some stalls.


I shot some video of the wing, and you can see the laces detach just as the wing stalls.  We stalled clean, with flaps and with power, then headed back and installed the vortex generators on the wings and a few on the tail (we were about 50 short of doing the whole tail).

We then went out and did a bunch more stalls - all at a lower speed than before, thanks to the better airflow over the wing.  The laces didn't detach several times, and the powered stall is now just a mush down at ~700'/min rather than a breakaway.  It's also supposed to be better in a crosswind, which is why Chris really wanted them, but we didn't test that.


Of course, this was all for a tennis tournament down in Palm Springs that he was supposed to be flying to.  That got cancelled today.

March 7th

The weather sucked, so I drove over to Cameron Park to help Chris install the ADS-B out box on his gyroplane.  He's got a Trig transponder, so there's an add-on box for that that we had to wire up.  While we were there, we took apart and fixed the push to talk switch for the radio, and soldered up a broken connection in the passenger headset socket.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

March 5th

I've been noticing the 1090 listener dropping out on the ADS-B Raspberry Pi:


The darker blue is where there have been more positions - the listener process has been just stopping hearing anything for great long periods of time until I notice something's up and restart it.  The 978 listener is working fine during these times.  I tried reconnecting everything, and it didn't help for long, so I figured it could be a problem with the USB connector on the Pi - I was going to try swapping in a different Pi when I remembered I have a newer Pi B+, so I spent some time getting that all set up and working.  It's still complaining about the CPU load, but it seems to be collecting data better than it was.

I'd ordered some antennae from the software defined radio manufacturer that were supposed to be tuned for 978 and 1090 MHz, and they arrived.  I still wasn't seeing much 978 traffic, but my 1090 range went from ~90 miles to ~35 miles, so those came back off and got sent back - I have a feeling I'm going to have to build my own antennae to get better reception, but the good news is I'm not the first to come to this conclusion :o)

Monday, March 2, 2020

March 1st

A new month, so here are the stats:

Power billed

Power generated









The forecast was for the weather to suck, so I gave up on flying and worked in the garden pulling a lump off the shrubbery in the back garden, and cutting it up until it was all in our (and Jim's) green waste bin for pickup next week.

February 29th

I got up early and flew up the Feather River to Oroville to meet Chris for lunch.


After lunch, I flew back.  I have to go round the Beale Air Force Base Class C, so I can't go direct :o)



Monday, February 24, 2020

February 23rd

I got up early and went to the airport, where I flew to Cameron Park.  I've been playing with the antenna length on the UAT receiver, so I flew down Woodcreek Oaks, then over the house to see how far away it'd see me - about 5 miles was the result.


At Cameron Park, we put my gyro in Chris' hangar, then took the RV down to Columbia Airport.


The RV is a lot faster for doing distances - this was about 25 minutes.  We looked at the Aviat Husky that had crashed the day before (the pilot was OK), then went to lunch in town with Kim.


We flew back, and did a couple of go-arounds before finally landing at Cameron Park.


Having put Chris' plane away, I flew back to Lincoln.


While the gyro is (a lot) slower, it's a lot less bumpy :o)

February 22nd

We went to the airport early and met Randy, Jamie and Chris (who was flying with Randy as he's hurt his arm), then flew to Auburn for breakfast.


After breakfast, we flew home :o)


(The little orbit was to get some separation between us and Jamie to make the pattern easier.)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

February 19th

I spent a little time getting my ADS-B receiver in the house upgraded to PiAware 3.8.0 to pick up 978/UAT traffic as well as 1090/ES.  It's not collecting a lot, as that's going to be general aviation traffic and it's mid-week, but I'm hoping it'll be busier at the weekend.  978 doesn't seem to travel as well as 1090 anyway.  I needed to find a couple of USB cable extenders, as the slots are too close together for the built in ports on the Raspberry Pi to work, and then my old Blackberry (700mA) power supply wasn't strong enough to power it all - a 2,000mA power supply from one of my old tablets seems to be doing the trick just fine.

In the evening, I went to the EAA membership meeting and ended up cooking burgers.

Monday, February 17, 2020

February 17th

Today was Presidents Day, when Americans celebrate George Washington's birthday by going shopping.

We went to the airport and flew to Auburn for lunch.  It was pretty windy, and Vic found it funny, heading up there sideways across the ground.  There weren't a lot of people flying at Auburn, so there wasn't a really long line for lunch.

The wind seemed to have picked up on the way back, and I managed to touch down doing about 5mph ground speed.  We sat just off the runway and let the rotor spool down before heading back to the hangar.


Funnier is the altitude / speed chart - can you see where we turned downwind?


February 16th

I got up early and went to the airport.  Chris had a couple he wanted to take for rides in the gyro, and I'd offered to help out.  The wife had decided against flying in the morning, but I went over to Cameron Park anyway (in a 20+mph headwind!).


After he'd flown the husband, we went to Auburn and had lunch.


After lunch, he headed back to Cameron Park, and I headed back to Lincoln.


In the evening, we watched "Zombieland: Double Tap".

Sunday, February 16, 2020

February 15th

I cut down more of the shrub on the side of the house, then went to the airport and took the plane out for a ride.


February 14th

I sloped out of work a bit early and went for a ride with Chris in his RV-6A.  I was his first passenger since he passed his test :o) 

February 13th

We watched "The Good Liar".

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 12th

I got up stupid early and drove to San Francisco to heckle Dave's presentation at work.  It took about 2.5 hours to get home, but I went there and back on one charge, and arrived home with 39 miles left :o)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

February 10th

Jen came over on her way home from work to play with Tilly.  Oh, and pick up some prawn cocktail chips I'd ordered from the old country.

February 9th

It was pretty damned windy, so I spent the day hacking lumps off the garden.

In the evening, we watched "Terminator: Dark Fate".

Saturday, February 8, 2020

February 8th

I got up early and headed to the airport - it was an EAA lunch (I wasn't cooking) and I wanted to fly beforehand.


Randy took off slightly before me, heading towards Folsom Lake.  It was really hazy that way, so I pottered around, then decided I'd join from the East rather than do an overhead join.  I heard Chris coming in, then saw Randy on the ADS-B display, so I collected him and went back to the airport.

I'd been looking forward to flying with Chris in his RV-6A, but he was in the gyroplane, so after lunch we headed over to Marysville, where we landed then agreed to do some touch and goes on the crosswind runway.  In the ~12mph wind.  A couple of touch and goes later, we headed home - me to Lincoln, him to Cameron Park.

February 6th

I managed to slope out of the office early, just as the car had finished charging on the most expensive charger I've ever seen (49c/KW/h).

February 3rd

I got up early and drove to the office for the sales / tech services kick off.

February 2nd

It was misty again in the morning, so I spent time getting ready for my upcoming trip to San Francisco.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

February 1st

A new month, so new stats:

Power billed

Power generated









I started the day at the airfield in the fog, thankfully not having to cook for once - Scott, Shirl and Amy were cooking burritos.  John and Jana came up to see the airfield, and by the time they got here the fog had burned off.  We walked about looking at things and stuff and meeting people.  Then I took Jana out for a flight in the plane - I believe it was her first flight in a little plane.

When we got back, Chris arrived in his RV-6A.  John and Jana headed home, and Chris, Randy and I flew up to Auburn for lunch - my first out landing of the year :o)


I had been thinking about playing around on the flight back to Lincoln, but it was looking a little hazy, so I just went home.

In the evening, we watched "Alita: Battle Angel".

Friday, January 31, 2020

January 26th

I went out to the airport and took the plane out for a little toddle around.


January 25th

I'd been hoping to go out and fly, but the cloudbase was at 300' or lower.

We did meet Randy for lunch, then headed out to run errands - the weather forecast didn't show it cheering up, but it did.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

January 20th

Today was Martin Luther King Jr Day, when Americans remember the civil rights pioneer by going shopping.

It was cold, damp and foggy, so I wasted the day working and dicking around while waiting for a delivery.

Monday, January 20, 2020

January 19th

We headed to the airport to try to fly up to Auburn for breakfast, but it was foggy at home, despite the Lincoln AWOS saying everything was fine.  As we got closer, it obviously updated, because the visibility suddenly dropped to 1/4 mile and the cloudbase to 100'.  We drove towards Auburn, but pretty much as soon as we left Lincoln, it cleared up.  I thought about turning around for most of the journey, but looking at the AWOS, it stayed foggy at Lincoln pretty much all day.  We met Chris and Chris, and had breakfast, then drove home and worked on cutting lumps off the shrubbery in the garden for a while.

January 18th

I went to the airport and spent some time getting the cabling in from the back of the plane to the radio.  And huzzah!  It works!

I took the plane out for almost an hour, and pottered around for a while.  With all the new bearings and ball joints, the steering is pretty heavy, but I'm expecting that to loosen up as things wear in.


I was supposed to be meeting Chris for lunch, so when I heard him on the radio, I started heading back.  I landed and put the plane back in the hangar, then texted him.  He was in Rio Linda, which has the same frequency as Lincoln, which is why I hadn't heard him in the pattern.  Still, he showed up a while later and went through his logbook endorsements to do his private pilot's practical test (like me, he's a sport pilot right now), by which time he had to leave to get back to Cameron Park before it got dark.

In the evening, we watched "Joker".

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 17th

We went out to the airport and started installing the new antenna on the plane.  The first attempt had the base getting trapped inside the keel, so we changed where we tied the string to the base, and tried again.  We managed to get it through to the end, but it was upside down, and the keel is too small to turn it over, so we pulled it out again.  The third attempt made it, and we managed to pull it out of the hole.  We got the base all mounted up properly, and called it a night there, as it was damned cold.  Now I just need to run the cable to the front and put back everything I took off to get the old cable out.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January 15th

We went to the EAA membership meeting, where Dan talked about vertigo.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 12th

We'd intended to go to San Francisco for bURNING vAN, but Vic's been sick all week, so we passed on that.

We went and met Chris at Lincoln for lunch, then went and checked on David's RV-9A.  He wasn't there, just John told me he'd tested the engine and it was OK, then he'd flown it and everything seemed fine.  Now he needs to put ~10 hours on it before testing the compression on the new cylinder.

January 11th

I went to the airport and started getting the antenna cable removed.  I've cut a lot of zip ties, and removed some stuff, and pulled it out of the keel with string attached, so hopefully I can pull the new cable back in "easily".

I went and helped cook lunch for the EAA meeting - we had over 30 people show up and eat, which is great for a cold day.

After the meeting, I went and got in David's way while he worked on his RV-9A.  He's replaced a cylinder, and I suggested he run it up before flying it - first of all it was throwing fuel out because there were a couple of loose fittings, then the EGT on the new cylinder wasn't going up like the other cylinders.  I was dropping a headset off with Chris when David called to say he hadn't mounted the probe correctly.  Doy.

January 10th

I went over to the airport and bolted the remaining parts of the antenna back in place so I could show Greg, the Magni dealer, exactly what's broken.

January 9th

I took the van in for an oil change.  They pointed out that one of the tie rod end boots is torn, but it's not a problem yet.  I don't think the boot can be replaced, but the whole tie rod end should be around $15.

I took the van over to Vic's work, and swapped it for the Bolt, then took that in for its first service.  All they needed to do was swap the wheels around.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

January 8th

I spent the day at the airport working on the annual with Randy.  Everything's done, we just need to go for a test flight.  We're talking about using a handheld radio, as my radio isn't going to be working due to the broken antenna.

January 7th

I went to the airport and spent the day bothing Bill while he rebuilt the gearboxes on my, Randy and Jamie's planes.  Mine needed one spring replacing, and the slipper clutch tightening.

Unfortunately, somebody broke the antenna off my plane, so I need to replace that before I start flying anywhere :o(

January 6th

I've taken the week off to get some work done on the plane, but I didn't have anything that needed doing today, so I just took it easy.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

January 5th

We had planned to meet up at Auburn for breakfast, but the fog here meant nobody was going to be flying from Lincoln at the very least.  Kim and Victoria were going to come up from Columbia, but their plans went awry too, so we ended up meeting Randy at a local diner instead.

When we got home, I pulled some more lumps off the shrubbery along the side of the house until the green waste bin was pretty much full.

January 4th

I got up early and went to the airport to cook a crap load of breakfasts - the weather started out looking grim, so I guess people were looking for something to do.

After that, I went and helped Randy replace the stereo audio plug into his GPS with a mon plug - this involved some cutting, wire stripping and soldering.  A quick test makes me think we've solved the noise on the line problem, but he needs to get out and fly it to be sure.

Chris also came over from Cameron Park to safety wire his prop bolts having replaced the pre-rotator pulleys.  We got that done, too.

I pulled the prop off the plane in preparation for the gearbox rebuild on Tuesday, and headed home.

January 3rd

I'd noticed the ADS-B statistics were dropping off, so I went to look at the Raspberry Pi that's gathering them.  The device was fine, but the antenna had fallen over so it was touching the metal window frame.  I've fixed this, and extended it a little to get to half the 1090 wavelength.  I've also taped it to the window so it won't (hopefully) fall over again.  The stats are coming back up, so I'm calling that an easy fix :o)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1st

A new month, year and decade, so here are the solar stats:
Power billed

Power generated









Chris came over from Cameron Park to pick me up, and we flew with Randy down to Columbia, where we spent the afternoon with Kim and Victoria.  As it was getting on, I flew back with Randy so Chris could go straight home.

December 31st

We went and met Jen for dinner, then went and saw "The Rise of Skywalker".