Ma Blog‎ > ‎2009‎ > ‎

November

November 29th The weather forecast was better today, so Vic took the Subaru to McClure to go hang gliding while I was supposed to be going to the airfield and playing with the Flightstar. Except the wind didn't calm down properly - Lincoln was blowing 10mph gusting to 16mph. I thought it would probably calm down as the sun went down, but it didn't seem like it was going to - the wind seemed to be getting stronger. Of course, it then calmed down around 15:00ish - I have to be on the ground at sundown, which is about 16:30, so I didn't then have time to get to the airfield and get in the sky. Oh well, next weekend, hopefully. I did get to rake up leaves, cut the grass and throw the ball for Tilly - her favourite thing other than eating bananas.

In the evening, Vic called to say she'd got a sled run in, so the day wasn't a total loss for us both.



November 28th It's been blowing a gale today, so I stayed in and played World of Warcraft - I'm working on the professions for my death kniggit. I also cleared up wreckage in the garden, and played ball with Tilly.


November 27th Vic got up horrendously early to check out some of the Black Friday sales, while Tilly and I stayed in bed and ignored the rain. I did eventually get up, and picked up Vince to go and swap the VSI for the Flightstar. After that we looked in at Fry's to see about a new spare hard drive for Vince's laptop, but they weren't doing anything special. We picked up some other bits and pieces we both needed for various projects while we were out, then headed home again.

After I'd dropped Vince off at Freedom Field, I was tinkering around with my new PC, and found that Blizzard have given me 7 days free game time to play World of Warcraft, so I fired that up to see that the frame rate is still woefully slow with my 8400GS graphics card. I also found that the netbook will play it tolerably well with all the settings turned right down - if you call 13fps tolerable. I started playing my death kniggit, and managed to get her to level 58. I've tweaked the graphics options to run decently - everything is down except distance, which is all the way up. I'm going to look at a 4650 card in the very near future, methinks.



November 26th Today is Thanksgiving in the colonies. I got up early, and went to the store to get some potatoes for the evening meal. After checking everything was OK at work, we headed to the airfield and did a little tinkering on the Flightstar before I took it out for some landing practice. While I was downwind on my second circuit, Vince arrived in his wobbly. I did another touch and go, then a really smooth full stop and headed over to see how things were going. We chatted for a while, then I loaded Vic in the Flightstar, Vince climbed into his trike and we headed off. He went over towards Freedom Field, and we took some air to air pictures of him, then headed over to fly over the neighbourhood, and back to Lincoln. I then proceeded to do the worst landing I've done in quite a long while - still, any landing you can walk away from, right? We discovered that the radio's really not working the way we thought it was, so I'll probably say "screw it" and get a proper intercom.

After we got home, Vince came over for left over turkey from the weekend :o)



November 24th The headsets for the Flightstar arrived, and I was trying one on when Tilly freaked out. Stupid dog - she's got used to me in all manner of hats, but this was a new one.


November 22nd I reinstalled the vacuum lines that make the cruise control work in the van, then, with Vic's help, drilled out the dead rivets on the downspout, installed new rivets and remounted it to the side of the house. Oh yes, the fun it never stops here.

In the afternoon, while Vic cooked a turkey, Vince came over and freaked out Tilly by wearing a hat - she wouldn't stop barking at him until he took his hat off and she figured out who he was. We then headed over to the airfield and pulled the Flightstar out for a trip around the patch. It was quite funny when we got to the engine run up area and neither of us could remember the registration. No matter, we'll just make something up - it was really quiet there, and it's not like anybody can read the registration anyway. I started out with a longer takeoff run than I'm used to, then a slower climb (hey, there was a lot more weight, and not a lot more power pulling it). The circuit went a lot faster than I'm used to, too, and I had a harder landing than I'd like (but not as hard as when I did the test flight with Don). I've realised that I sit a lot higher in the Rans, so the picture's a lot different. We then left the pattern and did some stalls, turns and so on. It flies really nicely, and isn't quite as twitchy as the Rans. I had another less than stellar landing when we got back to Lincoln, but the radio works and the engine didn't break, so we're calling that a successful day. We stopped at Mike's hangar, behind us, and looked at his welding of his bent plane, then headed home and ate turkey.



November 21st I decided to do something about the downspout that seems to be clogged up, and pushed a pipe snake most of the way down it, and then couldn't get the bloody thing out. I ended up taking the downspout off the wall, and got the snake out, but it was still clogged up. I ended up taking the spout apart to find a 3" plastic clip had been blocking the leaves from washing through, meaning there was something like 6" of dirt accumulated above it. I think the clip was left over from building the house, as I don't see why it would have ended up on the roof otherwise. After this, I went over and picked Vince up so we (well, he) could put the new(er) flywheel on the Flightstar. Of course, out of spite, the flywheel pulled started to come apart, so we went back to Freedom Fiekd so he could weld that back together. And then back to the airfield to find that it didn't fit as well. So we took the bolts out of the exhaust to hold the puller in place, but a little bit proud of the flywheel itself. That all went without a hitch, and then one of the exhaust bolts started stripping threads when we put it back together. We got around that, but then it was too late to consider flying, but we did get to test the engine / ignition system works OK.

After dinner, I dropped Vince home, then came home to find a bug in the Hulu desktop software - the new episode of the V remake is available on the web site, but not through desktop. Luckily I'm not the first to see this, so I logged a "me too" and fiddled around with my new desktop for a while.



November 20th It was a pretty miserable day, with rain and lots of high winds. After work Vince came over, and he drove, that's how bad the weather was. I was picking Fred and Marscha up at SMF, and the tracking data for their flight said they'd be landing at 21:05 until 20:25, when it said they'd be landing at 20:45. I jumped in the Subaru and went to pick them up. There was somethingorother going on at the airport, as the traffic was all backed up, and there were fire trucks and paramedics parked outside. The police were scooting around on their little electric daleks not helping, just making sure nobody could stop to pick up passengers. The second time around, I spotted them, and we loaded up and headed for home.


November 18th After work I managed to sell the old Apple TV. Now I'll think about maybe getting another small PC for the bedroom so we can watch media in there, too.

I gave up trying to see the Leonids this year - there's just too much light pollution, and it's all cloudy.



November 17th It threw it down with rain in the evening... 0.2" of rain in about 30 minutes. I'm sure it's good for the garden, but you try getting Tilly to go out when it's raining that hard. And still no Leonids viewing.


November 16th Vic took the van for a run, to get it good and hot, then went to the smog station where it passed with flying colours. I'm thinking the 45 minute cooldown / waiting was what caused it to fail before, as it takes forever to warm up.

I burnt another Vista DVD and got Vince's laptop installed and running, then spent the evening waiting for somebody to come and buy the AppleTV that I no longer need. Another Craigslist flake :o(

I was watching Big Bang Theory, and realised that tonight's the best night for seeing the Leonids - they were viewing them on the show :o) Of course, it was too cloudy to see anything but the brightest stars.



November 15th I went and picked Vince up from Freedom Field in the van, to bed in the new catalytic converter, and headed over to the airfield to work on the Flightstar. I managed to get the EGT probe fitted, and the compass out (it needs a rebuild, and sadly the rebuilt one I already have doesn't fit the panel), but we couldn't figure out what the problem was with the ignition. After pulling the pullstart cover off to get at the pickups, Vince said the words everybody dreads - "that's not good". There was magnetic dust all over the place. So, we went and picked up his impact wrench and flywheel puller, and had some lunch. When we got back to Lincoln, Ken was taxying around in the Rans. We pulled the flywheel out, and saw that the little covers on one of the 4 ignition coils had come off, disintegrated and taken out a wire on the coil. Vince soldered that back up, and we cleaned out the wreckage and took off another cap that was loose, and everything seems to work properly. We'll look into used replacement parts (new is >$1000). We watched Ken take off in the Rans, and he looked fine. His landing was a little more excitement than I wanted though - I'd told him to just hold it above the runway until it slows down and just stops flying, but he tried to 3 point it. Much like when I was trying to 3 point it, it just slams down on the ground. Still, no harm done.

After all that, we went back to the house so I could install an operating system on Vince's laptop - it has 2 hard discs and the primary had crashed. Windows 7 wouldn't install, as the old Core processor is a 32 bit piece, and I only have the 64 bit install. Vista wouldn't install because it couldn't read the DVD, and XP wouldn't install - we think because it uses a SATA controller, and that's older than Windows XP. I'll look into that tomorrow. I ran him home and figured that I've done enough miles to run the catalytic converter in so it can be smogged.



November 14th I got up ridiculously early and spent a little time getting the network adapter to work on my new PC... this involved a fight with Windows 7, as it believes that it has the latest drivers, so refuses to load the ones that actually work. Anyway... I got that done and downloaded a bunch of other software to it.

Vince came over, and we went to the airfield to look at the Flightstar. On the way, we saw a parachute and a powerpack in a field by the side of the road, so we went to Athens Road to check that everything was OK - the pilot was just leaving to go and pick it up. Vince and I discussed how we should have just grabbed it for grins :o)

At Lincoln, we managed to not get the little tach working, as extending the wire makes it under read, and we didn't get the ignition problem figured out either - we think it might need a new coil. He did, however, point out where I'd gone wrong with the van exhaust. We were standing around when we saw a failed parachute, with what we thought was a parachutist hit the ground on the other side of the airfield. Ken called it in, and Jack drove over to see what he could do. When the police arrived, I was explaining how best to get over there when he suggested that I just get in, so I did. First time I've been in the back of a police car :o) We found out that the guy had cut away his parachute, and what we'd seen was the collapsed chute with probably the backpack - he'd landed just fine on his reserve. Still, it's a bit more excitement than I needed, thanks.

I got home and got the Van exhaust fitted properly. I think it's still leaking a bit, but we'll see if a few cycles helps, or if I need to get some exhaust putty.



November 13th After a very busy day at work, we just flaked out for the evening. I have a bunch of customers who have discovered the logs, so rather than send anything useful, they'll send us 4 hours of logs and suggest that there could be a problem in there somewhere. Can you be a little more specific?


November 12th I got through to the Oklahoma FAA, and they're sending me the registration forms for the Flightstar.

I went and met Scott for lunch - this is the first time I've actually had lunch since I got back from San Francisco :o) I was worried that I wouldn't recognise him, but he hasn't changed that much.

The new, California approved, catalytic converter arrived for the van, so after work I crawled around swearing until I had it sort of fitted. I'm not convinced, however, so I might see about getting it hacked and welded to the flanges for the old one. Which, interestingly enough, you can shine a torch through - I thought they were more complex than that.



November 11th I ordered some of the parts I'll need to fix the Flightstar, and tried calling the Oklahoma FAA office. Oh, it's Veteran's Day, which means the government has the day off. Doh!


November 10th Vince called to say that he'd finished the Flightstar and flown it back to the airfield. And one mag wasn't working, but that's probably a wiring short. And one EGT probe needs replacing, and the VSI doesn't work (this wasn't in the plane when I bought it. I tried calling the Sacramento FAA office to see what I need to do to get the registration forms, to find that you need to talk to the Oklahoma office. Who close at 3pm. Their time.


November 9th Vic took the Subaru for it's smog test. After the fun with the van I was all worried and the thing passed with almost no emissions at all.

Vince worked on the Flightstar while I just worked. I started trying to figure out how to get the thing registered, and found that you can't download the forms - you need a proper copy. Bah, tomorrow.



November 8th I spent the day over at Vince's, screwing with the plane. I tried to tidy up the wiring while he played with the throttle. After a while we figured that the problem with the throttle being so stiff was the springs in the carbs rather than friction in the system. We put some less stiff springs in, and it's helped. We decided to work with the current panel rather than make a whole new one. As it started to get dark, I headed on home with the Flightstar still in a few bits in Vince's hangar.


November 7th We went to the airfield and started fussing with aircraft. I took the throttle conversion off the Rans, and measured up the instrument panel on the Flightstar so we can look at making a new one. Vince had talked about flying over in his wobbly, then we'd take the Flightstar back over to Freedom Field to work on it, but the wind was too strong. After spending time looking at a Rans Coyote that one of the guys has bought that's all screwed up and bent (he's upset, as it had been signed off as having been safely repaired, which it wasn't), we went to lunch. In the afernoon, Vince called to say that as the wind had dropped, he'd left his plane in my hangar, and my plane was now in his hangar. Let work commence.

In the evening, I tore a bunch of computer stuff apart, and now I have the media centre PC running with Windows 7 on the 750Gb hard disc.



November 6th My new PC was delivered, and I booted it up to make sure it works. I'll be swapping the 750Gb hard disc out of that for the 250Gb disc in the media centre PC. It doesn't need the disc space, and I don't want to buy another disc for the media centre PC just yet.

In the evening, before Vince came over I changed the oil on the Subaru. We then ate spaghetti while we plotted what we're going to do on the Flightstar.



November 4th Ken called in the morning to say that the Flightstar was at the airfield, and we figured everything out. So, we met up after work to get everything sorted out, and now I have a new plane, and Ken has the Rans. Vince and I went to look at it in the hangar, to figure out the conversion. It was weird, the Rans being there and not being mine, but I'll get used to it :o)


November 3rd I spoke to Ken about the Flightstar, and there are a few funnies, but we'll see what we can work out.


November 2nd As the Subaru's been starting harder and harder, and sometimes not, I decided to put a new battery in it. I had to get Vic to help me get it out, as it's the stock (10 year old) one, so has no easy carry handle. Still, we dropped it in an old Dr. Pepper can box, so I could pick it up without getting all messy, and I headed off in the van and got a new one. The car now starts up without hesitation. I also swapped the air filter, as it's due for a smog test... I'll change the oil when I get a moment.


November 1st Checking the solar panels shows that we generated 394KWh last month. As the clocks changed this morning, I spent the usual 20 minutes walking around the house changing clocks and trying to remember how to change clocks. The most irritating one being the DRZ, where you ignore the "Time Set" button and use the "Time" button to put it into "Time Set" mode. Whatever, I'll have forgotten this next time it's time to change it.

I got up on the roof and washed the solar panels for the first time in what seems like ages, and pulled a pile of leaves out of the gutters. It's fun spraying Tilly with water from the roof when she forgets that I'm up there, but she has no sense of humour about it.

In the afternoon, Vince and I went over to Cameron Park to see the Flightstar, and I took a quick test flight in it. It's pretty nice - it doesn't climb as well as the Rans, but it's heavier and not a lot more powerful. Anyways, I'm seriously considering it. Cameron Park's funny, as it's an aviation community, so the roads are wide enough to be taxiways, and the houses have hangars rather than garages - I'd live in one if I wasn't so poor :o)

We went out to dinner, and then I ordered a new refurbished PC for good measure... Dell had a 15% off sale as it's daylight savings change day. Hopefully that'll be here at the end of the week, and I can look at upgrading it to Windows 7. I might swap the big (750Gb) hard disc into my media centre, to save me buying a new one.