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 were 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)