Inching Toward Perfection

I continue to make little improvements to the plane and significant improvements to my flying. Antoine Wilson came to lunch with me in Camarillo and I am pretty sure that he’d say that nothing scary happened. It might not be pretty yet, but it certainly isn’t unsafe. And it is getting better bit by bit. (Photos by Antoine.)

The flight with Antoine was on Thursday. A gorgeous day to be sliding along the Malibu coast. We tried to find his son’s field trip at Leo Carrillo Park, but there was no recognizable activity down there. The WayPoint Cafe did not disappoint, delivering their usual diner fare but tasty than just diner fare. Coming back we did another circle by the state park. Negative contact.


New pads

I finished the layout of the new kneeboard pads. I am jumping the gun on the tail number, since I am still waiting for the slow grind of the workings of the federal government, but it is as correct as flying with N971RD on my kneeboard is. And I now have a hint for my IFR clearance (CRAFT, right there along the side), and the drilled hole no longer interrupts the text.

The first thing I did when I climbed in was do a VOR check, which I hadn’t done since I got the plane. 204 degrees of the SMO VOR, no error. Date and sign.


Shiny new book

I updated the flight safety book for passengers. I will eventually up date the page here, too. The engine that was on the front of the Diamondstar has a failure rate of one inflight-engine-failure (IEF) every 100,000 hours of flight time. The Centurion engine that is on the wing of the Twinstar has a failure of 1.1 IEF every 100,000 flight hours. So it decimated the number of failures. Then I have two engines, so both would need to fail simultaneously. Dexter started to figure out the odds and said, “It basically never will happen.” (I will discuss on the page why that’s not exactly true, there are things that can fail both engines at once, but they are much more in my control.)


Not a To-do List

I don’t believe in checklists, I believe in flows. So I have the checklist that I bought from Angel City Flyers, but I need to turn it into a list that confirms what I have done with the flow of my hands around the instrument panel and controls. This is the first draft of that. I’ll use it the next couple weeks, edit it, and then laminate on of the later drafts. The photo of Nell on the top and the boys midway down is a reminder of why I want to be a safer and safer pilot.

The gust lock for the plane had been lost over the years. The broker ordered me a new one from the factory. I haven’t gotten it perfectly situated yet, but it is good to have it in place and, more importantly, available for trips.



I took a quick flight from Santa Monica through the mini-route to Hawthorne. I landed and then took off, did a box climb over Hawthorne until reaching 4,500 feet, slipped back through the Bravo airspace via the Special Flight Rules, and descended onto the right downwind for two-one via a left descending 270 over the pier. It was short but a flawless flight where I didn’t do anything wrong and a lot of the time had the plane exactly where I wanted it.

Better bit by bit.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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