A New Beginning · · PAGE 207.
February 5, 2006: This one photo tells the story
of flying in the highlands of the West!
As we neared the Sacramento area, I put away my computer bag, including my
camera. When I sat back down in my window seat, Lake Tahoe was below the airplane.
The next time I was able to pull out the camera was in the baggage claim area where
these two "works of art" tell the tale!
By the time I got out of the airport rental car parking lot, I had been on the ground over an hour. The rest of the travel day was driving down Interstate 5 to the Stockton area, then heading East on California highways 120 and 108 to Sonora, California. The arrival time at my hotel was 7:25 PM Eastern Time (4:25 PM Pacific Time). The travel time from getting on the shuttle bus in East Ridge to arrival at the hotel was just under 14 hours! That is probably about 1 hour quicker than I could fly my airplane from home to this location in California.
Right after I arrived, my boss invited me to a Super Bowl party that was already in progress. He came by the hotel to pick me up and we got to the party during half-time. After dinner, the game carried on and so did the billiards games in the den. I had a chance to get in a few games on the slate with the others already playing when I arrived. By the time the game was over and I got back to my hotel, it was the end of a 22-hour day.
February 7, 2006: I have had two days at the company home office to get back on track in the broadband cable communications business. The office is located at an elevation of about 4,800 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Sierra mountain range. From the first time one of the engineers gave me a chance to look inside a fiber optic node, the surrounding amplifier circuitry was easy for me to recognize all the major components and the RF testpoints. I have been updating some of the software on this computer to make my sales engineer job easier. The next thing I get to do is set up a fiber optic node with correct laser input levels and RF output levels. After that, the SNMP status monitoring computer system will be a refresher to some of the work I was doing in 2001-2002 at an earlier company.
I had a chance to stop by the airport at Columbia, California to talk with the guy at the FBO front desk. The tie-down fees are very reasonable and the place looks good for a visit with N2PZ sometime in the future. More to come when there is something worthwhile to report!
February 11, 2006:
Heading home from California provided some views of Utah and Colorado. This view is
near Capitol Reef park in southern Utah not too far from the Colorado River. My
seat on this Boeing 757 is near the trailing edge of the wing on the right side facing
south on the ride to Atlanta.
Here is a view that includes the Colorado River and part of the Canyonlands
This shot covers some of the area south of Moab, Utah.
Later over Colorado, there is no doubt where the foot hills of the Rocky
Mountains begin. Trinidad, Colorado is near the upper left of the photo.
Here is the last picture of the day with the same area from a bit farther away.
This is looking to the southwest behind the 757. That is New Mexico visible
far to the south beyond the end of the wings. Everything going East from here is the
great plains of Kansas. A few minutes later I found myself looking down on Liberal,
Kansas and Buffalo, Oklahoma before the cloud cover below obscured everything when we
crossed over Tulsa.
By the time I got to Atlanta, the connecting flight to Nashville, Tennessee was running late since the airplane was coming from Boston where a blizzard was about to hit up there. The trailing edge of that front dropped some snow on middle Tennessee. It almost got me stuck on Interstate 24 on the north side of Monteagle Mountain. The shuttle van I was riding in was among some of the last traffic to cross the mountain that night heading for Chattanooga. By the time we got to the top of the mountain, there was NO traffic coming from the south side going across to the north side of the mountain -- NONE! We got to Chattanooga one and half hours later than planned, but we got there. When I got to my car in the shuttle parking lot, I had to scrape off about a half-inch of snow!
February 19, 2006: It has been eight days since I took those photos above. I have been a bit busy with the new job, but only from my office and not on the road. The weather has been dreary, so the "Enterprise" is still in the hangar at Wendell's place. I had some time on one day to give him some guidance on the next steps in the building process for his RV-8. He has received his landing lights, the mounting plate for his autopilot servo, and has ordered his strobe light kit. I will have photos soon of some of that work in his section of the web site.
Next weekend is looking like it may be good to get some flying done in my RV-9A. It has been sitting in the hangar since my last trip returning from Florida on January 9th. I am really ready to get some flight time in the air again!
February 20, 2006: It is President's Day in the USA - a day off from the new job and time to help Wendell with his RV-8A. There are a few new pictures and some text at THIS LINK to his pages. I checked the battery voltage on my airplane and found it in need of a charge. I plugged in my battery charger to the cigarette lighter socket and had the voltage up near normal by the time I went home at the end of the day. I also plugged in the engine oil sump heater on the clock timer to warm things up a bit.
As a result of the passenger joy stick microphone plug problem I had during one of recent visits to Florida, I have put a cork in it! Really, I did use a cork with a hole drilled in it to pass the push-to-talk wire through it, then put the cork into the socket where the co-pilot joy stick gets inserted. Sorry, I did not take a picture of this work, but it was really quite simple. The cork was drilled from top to bottom, then a notch was cut to open the hole along one side to make the hole into a slot. I cut off the excess cork on the large end of the cork and finished it on the Scotch Brite wheel to leave the outer diameter of the cork just a bit larger than the 1-inch socket where the passenger/co-pilot joy stick is installed. Once the PTT wire was centered in the hole/slot running through the cork, I inserted the cork into the socket, then drove it down using a hollow pipe and my rubber mallet while the PTT wire and phone jack were up inside the hollow pipe. Now the phone jack cannot fall down inside the socket and jam the ailerons, etc. It was January 2nd on the ramp at Lantana, Florida when I had to pull out my seats and seat panels to get the PTT phone plug out of the joystick linkage. At least I won't have to do that again!
February 21, 2006: Back to work on the new job with phone calls, emails, and flight reservations for a trip to Central America next week. The weather forecast for the weekend is pointing to Sunday as the most likely day to get some flight time in the "Enterprise" again!
February 26, 2006: Finally, the airplane was back in the air again today adding 0.9 hours to the Hobbs meter. The winds were blowing from the North and Northeast on the windsock as I took off from "Chickamauga International Airport" (Wendell's grass strip). It was really bumpy as I crossed the ridges heading East. I also noticed my stall warning indicator was pegged to the LEFT stop instead of the right side of the meter. I realized I must have swapped the air lines on the back of the gauge after my last work behind the panel.
It was a short flight over into the next county to fly over a grass strip in the north end of the Whitfield County. After that, it was up to the Collegedale Airport for a little bit of landing practice. The wind was blowing 25 MPH from the North at 3,000 MSL. The winds at Collegedale were about 10 to 15 MPH down the runway. The descent from pattern altitude to the runway was short and unusual as my ground speed was around 45 to 50 MPH until I got down low to the runway. I was holding 75 to 80 MPH indicated airspeed all the way down until the round out and flare to a landing. I took a few minutes to visit with Leon at the front desk and watch part of a documentary about the German Battleship Bismarck. Then it was back to the home strip with a good landing with the wind coming right down the runway. I taxied into position at the South end of runway 3. With no flaps, the cool dry wind had me off the runway with no flaps before I reached the 400-foot displaced landing threshold line.
Wendell was there to meet me when I landed. He and his wife had been out to lunch when I left in the early afternoon. When I was pulling the airplane out of the hangar, the right wing tip had scraped up against Wendell's roll-around tool box. I finally checked the edge of it and discovered three white gel-coat areas peeking through the gold paint in the last three inches of the wing tip. I also pulled the instrument panel and corrected the stall warning tubing on the back of the LRI gauge. The only picture I took today was with my new company cell phone with a built-in camera. The photo was of the airplane to become the screen on the phone.
At the end of the day, I spent some time with Wendell to inventory his autopilot materials and the installation instructions with him. He has other things to do this week, and may not do anything more than install the wing servo mounting plate and doubler to the left wing spar. He had also been working on the front baggage compartment floor during my work week last week. He had a few trouble spots and I coached him on how to get things going again to correct his minor problems.
March 11, 2006: I have edited this page and moved the Nicaragua pages to the OTHER TRAVELS section of this web site.
The weather on Saturday was warm, windy from the SOUTH, and threatening rain
storms with varying visibility due to the cloudy conditions here in the Chattanooga area.
It was a good day to work inside with Wendell. I also had a chance to
complete the minor repair to the control stick linkage under the passenger control stick
in my RV-9A. This photo is looking down inside the passenger control stick socket
showing the cork I had previously installed, but did not mention since I had not taken a
photo. The cork has a hole drilled in it from top to bottom, and a slot cut to allow
it to be wrapped around the push-to-talk wire before it was driven down into the socket.
The other thing that was repaired in this photo is not really visible. When I
was at Lantana on one of my recent trips to South Florida (January
2, 2006), I removed the stick for one non-pilot passenger. When I was putting
the stick back in place, I discovered that large silver phone jack you see below was at
the bottom of the socket threatening to jam up the aileron linkage. I made a quick
repair on the field that day, by disconnecting the aileron pushrod from the control stick
assembly. After getting the push-to-talk phone jack out of the linkage and up where
it belonged, I was unable to get ONE spacer washer back where it should be in the linkage.
Today was the day to put that washer back in its proper location. The tool
that made it possible was that piece of Scotch Brand rivet tape seen in the upper right
side of this photo. I can see that my flying "tool box" will have a roll
of clear tape added to it for the future. My normal aluminum tool for washer
placement did not get the job done in these tight quarters.
I had to take out the seats and floor covering to get access to the seat panel and the control stick linkage area shown above. With all that stuff out of the way, I realized it was time to do some house keeping. I vacuumed out some dust, debris, and some scraps from a spilled bag of M&M's from one of my trips to Florida. I even found a missing dead AA battery that was removed from my camera when I was taking all those pictures enroute to Florida back in late December. Everything is back in the airplane and it ready to fly again.
I have one non-aviation item to
add to this page. Some may think it is silly, but it is one of life's little
pleasures that has been lost to me. That is the last of my ice cream cones with Mint
ice cream wrapped in a chocolate waffle cone with chocolate and nuts on top. Mayfield Dairies was making these frozen delights
up until May 2005. When I discovered they were discontinued, I scoured a number of
grocery stores in the Chattanooga area last summer to buy up all the 6-pack boxes I could
find. At one time, there were over 30 boxes of these treats in my freezer. The
last one is now history and it was delicious as were all that came before it. IF you
enjoyed this lost treasure and want to tell Mayfield how much you miss this frozen treat,
you can provide feedback to their consumer affairs department via this web link: http://www.mayfielddairy.com/company_contactus.html.
My next trip to the grocery store will have mint ice cream with chocolate chips as
one of my items.
The other part of today was spent coaching Wendell and giving him some guidance on his RV-8 project. I have some new photos posted in his new pages of the OTHER RV section of this web site.
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