No Co-Pilot Needed

When I wrote up my impressions of the Diamondstar after my first few flights, I didn’t dwell on the three drawbacks that I noticed even after my first test flight in the plane:

1. The canopy offers incredible views, but that means that you get warmed by the sun. A lot.

2. The seats, which are engineered to help you withstand a 27g crash, do not move. That position you are in when you sit down? You’ll be in that position for the duration of the flight.


3. The controls for the airplane are the rudder pedal and the control stick. That comes up through a hole in the seat, right between your knees. It makes you feel like a fighter pilot, but it might not be that nice for the passenger in the right seat.

I have now moved to a new plane [link: New Purpose], but those three disadvantages remain. And I have a few other minor ones that I have added to the list. Part of the time with the plane is nudging forward (toward perfection), looking for solutions to each of these issues. Continue reading

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No Fly Zone


Not Approved

Please stop flying below mandatory FAA regulations over Venice. Actually, stop flying over Venice period.

That was a comment posted on one of the pages of the blog. I don’t approve comments if they are from an anonymous account, I think that’s a bad policy for a web presence unless there’s some sort of physical danger to the poster revealing their identity (whistleblowers, people under oppressive regimes). I wrote to the email given (email addresses do not need capitalization) and it bounced back. So it’s someone spoofing an identity. They misspelled “principal,” which flatters all sorts of prejudices about the Los Angeles Unified School District (which does not actually seem to use the identified domain).

So, basically, we have a drive-by authored by a coward. That’s an excellent time for a civics lesson. Continue reading

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Where are dee batteries?


(Many thanks to Demetri Martin for the hours of laughs as we buzzed through the sky. Dexter found Demetri on YouTube, then downloaded his comedy albums and would often be laughing hysterically in the back seat as I was preparing for an instrument approach. Demetri has a bit about batteries and how D batteries must be difficult for foreigners to ask for.) 

There are small upgrades like the little circuit breaker collar to call out the autopilot circuit, large upgrades like the new autopilot, and the medium upgrades, like LEMO. Continue reading

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Otto, You’re Fired


Heading Mode

Oh, that’s sort of sad for Otto. So trustworthy (except when he’s not). In my head, the KAP 140 in the new plane is the same pilot as the one that was in the old plane. The operation and display are identical, and I talked to Otto the same way when I am flying solo: “Time to climb, Otto,” “Let’s get you ready to follow that approach, Otto,” and near the end of each flight, “Otto, it’s my turn to fly.” Continue reading

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Photo Crossing, Beta

I appear to have lost the “blog roll” portion of my sidebar. I’ll have to fix that eventually. But one of the blogs over there is Photographic Logbook, which always seems clever to me because you want to snap some photographs anyway, your logbook does not include enough description and the pictures are worth thousands of words, and getting an entry up should be a little less work.


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Departing Mid-Continent Airport

I occasionally peruse the online community of Reddit. I’m not an active member and I don’t even change the sub-reddits which are shown when I login. One of the sections I read regularly is called Today I Learned, or TIL for short. It is a good reminder for me that there is a depth to human knowledge that I will never plumb, that there are random facts, stories and  histories out there which we aren’t taught in general but are important and interesting when you read about them. So “Today I Learned” is now something I think about on occasion. Continue reading

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New Crossing

The first crossing in the new plane seemed important to document. I failed on a few fronts (as soon as I announced I was on the east coast my brother asked how many gallons of fuel I burned; I realized I had neglected to log that), but I’ll try to make up for it on the return flight.

I started on Monday morning in Friday Harbor and took off a little before 7:30am. As described in my previous post, I needed a repair at Boeing Field and had a weather diversion. But, if we pretend that wasn’t necessary, that I had everything working perfectly and was able to skip out of the Seattle area ahead of the weather, I believe I would have been in Great Falls at about 10:30am, perfect for a nap and an early lunch.
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