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  • I saw one of these a few weekends back. I was out riding my bike and we have a grass airstrip a few miles south of here on HWY 41 in Manatee county. We pulled in to take a brake and see if anything was going at. At first I thought I was seeing a large RC plane. Then I realized there was actually a human pilot! It takes some balls to fly one of these:

    "Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." H.L. Mencken

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    • I've seen a Cri Cri once. (I know a few EAA guys who build airplanes.) I don't really have a desire to fly that thing. It looks fun, but I like more practical aircraft. That's why I'm not big on the Rotax powered LSAs or home-built airplanes. I want something that will fly cross-country. The only real advantage to the bush plane home-builts is that they can land anywhere, so if you do have trouble, you can get down in a hurry. Some guys like that kind of adventure flying and I see the appeal. I'd rather fly higher, faster, not get bounced around so badly that my jaw hurts, and then actually get somewhere in the end. Probably the most impractical airplane I would ever own is an RV-8 with the tandem seats. It's not easy to pack anything for a trip in those airplanes, but they do have powerful engines and they can fly cross-country like any Part 23 certified airplane.

      If any of you are in town and want to take a ride with me, let me know. Flying in the Arrow is pretty fun. It's like a little fighter plane. It just came out of a 6 week long annual inspection that addressed a bunch of things (nothing that was dangerous, AFAIK). I think they updated some equipment, but I'll have to see.
      I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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      • These are some short vids I took with my phone on the B-17G last Saturday. We took off from runway 16 and flew down the lake shore to around Navy Pier and then returned to the airport (Chicago Exec.). It was an awe-inspiring flight even though it was short. We had the opportunity to go everywhere in the airplane, with some ground rules, and see everything.

        The radio operator's hatch was wide open (during the war, they had a machine gun mounted up there to fire behind and above the aircraft) so we could stick our heads out and feel the blast of air at 150-200 mph. The airplane was restored to wartime condition and had every piece of weaponry that is normally mounted, except the radio operator's gun. The waist guns were mounted and the ammo feeds led to the original wooden ammo boxes mounted to the fuselage. The tail gun position was blocked by a canvas curtain and we weren't allowed back there. We also weren't allowed in the ball turret, for obvious reasons. They had simulated bombs in the bomb bay and the original Norden bomb sight in the nose. I actually sat in the original bombardier's chair and looked through the bomb sight when we were over the lake. That moment alone will be forever locked into my memory.

        The pilots were off limits, as well as the bomb bay doors and the rear entrance/egress hatch. The rear hatch can be removed with only 40 pounds of force, so they cautioned us not to even lean on it or it will release. It was meant to be an escape hatch for the crew. The cockpit controls were absolutely familiar to me, as a pilot, and they had modern radios and a GPS system. It was really amusing to see those things, but it makes perfect sense to have them when operating in the 2018 NAS.

        The sounds of the 1,000 hp radial engines was incredible. The noise was staggering. It was truly the sound of my grandfather's war. Even the smell of the exhaust, oil, aluminum, and old cloth on the seats was overwhelmingly memorable.

        The entire time I was on board that airplane, all I could do was imagine how young boys, young enough to be my sons, went up in those aluminum cans every single day. They flew to freezing cold altitudes and breathed through smelly and uncomfortable O2 masks (the airplane has the original O2 bottles and compression systems) and all the while they wondered if they would make it back. All that stood between them and death was a thin bit of aluminum. Knowing how airplanes, electronics, and mechanical systems work, I looked around and saw all of the things that could be damaged by cannon and machine gun rounds. It's amazing that any of those guys did make it back.







        Last edited by Just Jon; 07-31-2018, 08:53 AM.
        I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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        • I've been spending a lot of time flying IFR cross-country flights to get used to flying by instruments and to build my cross-country time. I need 50 total cross-country hours for the instrument rating. I have probably half that now. All of this instrument flying has made me probably twice as skilled a pilot as I was before. It's difficult and the workload is high. I'm flying the G1000 airplanes now, so that makes it a bit easier. But having to fly the plane, navigate and change flight plans in the air, communicate, brief approach plates on my ipad, and generally stay ahead of the plane without deviating from course and altitude while not being able to see outside is exhausting. Even copying down an IFR clearance on the ground is difficult and it took me a few flights before I could read them back correctly each time. It sure is rewarding to get everything right and look up and see the runway exactly where it should be when you reach the decision height/minimum altitude on an approach. This is real flying like the big boys do.

          I'm also studying for the written exam. It's not quite as difficult as the private pilot written exam, from what I can tell. IFR flying is all about following directions. Understanding procedures and what information to follow is most of it. The FAA provides things like approach plates that give you everything you need to know to safely fly an approach to landing at a particular runway at a particular airport using a particular method. Just do what the plates tell you to do and you're fine.

          Last weekend was my first time flying in the clouds in actual IMC and it was unbelievable. Dancing through the clouds makes you feel like an angel.

          I'm glad I can keep busy now. It was really hard to lose my best buddy last month.
          I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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          • Originally posted by Just Jon View Post
            I've been spending a lot of time flying IFR cross-country flights to get used to flying by instruments and to build my cross-country time. I need 50 total cross-country hours for the instrument rating. I have probably half that now. All of this instrument flying has made me probably twice as skilled a pilot as I was before. It's difficult and the workload is high. I'm flying the G1000 airplanes now, so that makes it a bit easier. But having to fly the plane, navigate and change flight plans in the air, communicate, brief approach plates on my ipad, and generally stay ahead of the plane without deviating from course and altitude while not being able to see outside is exhausting. Even copying down an IFR clearance on the ground is difficult and it took me a few flights before I could read them back correctly each time. It sure is rewarding to get everything right and look up and see the runway exactly where it should be when you reach the decision height/minimum altitude on an approach. This is real flying like the big boys do.

            I'm also studying for the written exam. It's not quite as difficult as the private pilot written exam, from what I can tell. IFR flying is all about following directions. Understanding procedures and what information to follow is most of it. The FAA provides things like approach plates that give you everything you need to know to safely fly an approach to landing at a particular runway at a particular airport using a particular method. Just do what the plates tell you to do and you're fine.

            Last weekend was my first time flying in the clouds in actual IMC and it was unbelievable. Dancing through the clouds makes you feel like an angel.

            I'm glad I can keep busy now. It was really hard to lose my best buddy last month.
            That all sounds pretty amazing! Sorry about your buddy. It was a year ago on 9/11 I lost one of little girl pups, but her sister is still kicking along.

            I would like to get a pilot's license, but I would probably have to win the lotto at this point to have the time and money to do it but it's pretty cool how.far you have come Jon. For now, bikes will have to do the trick for me.and there is something to be said with the way my mind works about the fact there are a lot less rules and procedures.

            Lots of fly in communities down here in FL Jon.
            "Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." H.L. Mencken

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            • The owner of the Arrow that I was occasionally flying decided to take his ball and go home with it. I now no longer have access to the plane. My only other options for rentals that aren't being used for a 3 hour training block are a fairly expensive Cessna 182 or ridiculously expensive Cirrus SR20 and SR22s. I can't even fly the CIrruses until I finish up my instrument rating. The club's insurance requires pilots to have an instrument rating in order to fly one of them.

              This means that owning an airplane makes more sense. It's too bad we're not at that point yet, though. I would really want a hangar to store my own plane and they're extremely tough to come by around here.

              Maybe we'll move to southern WI.
              I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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              • Wisconsin is looking better every day.

                Pete (probably won't have a choice but to move out of here if Trump's deduction changes hold and Illinois Democrats get their way)

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                • I had a great IFR flight to Rockford yesterday. It was the first time I flew in a month and the first IFR flight in probably two months. I was a little bit rusty on my IFR comms. It's hard to copy down a clearance in flight and read it back exactly when the controller is handling a dozen airplanes and talking super fast. The approach clearance from ATC is something like this: "Three Eight Victor, you are 12 miles from HIGUH. Cross HIGUH at or above two thousand five hundred. Cleared for the RNAV 16 approach at Executive. Executive altimeter 30.39." We were flying VFR on the way back, so the controller also added, "Maintain VFR." I have to read back the altitude instruction as well as the clearance for the approach, the type of approach and runway, the altimeter setting and then the VFR instruction all while setting up the GPS to take me to the HIGUH waypoint by activating the appropriate approach and keeping the airplane on course and on altitude. Single pilot IFR is probably the hardest kind of flying.

                  On the way out, we punched through a low but thin layer of broken clouds. Flying above them was beautiful. (I took some peeks while wearing my IFR hood.) When we went back, we left Rockford VFR so we were at low altitude until we found a hole to fly through. We climbed up through a large hole in the clouds and climbed back up to cruising altitude. We got to see a "pilot's glory" rainbow on the clouds below and it was gorgeous. When we got close to home, we performed a steep spiral descent through another hole. That was really damn fun. We had the airplane at about a 60 degree bank, so we were pulling about 2 Gs in the turn.

                  The hardest part of the flight, honestly, was performing non-published holds at a GPS waypoint. We did that on the way home. My instructor kept throwing increasingly harder hold angles and pulled me out of the holds to try different entry procedures (there are 3 types). I was a little rusty on that stuff, but I knew exactly which entries to use and managed them ok. I'm not sure if I would have passed a check ride, so I need more practice.

                  At least my handling of the airplane wasn't rusty at all. Both landings were greasers. I love this flying stuff.
                  I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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                  • I forgot to mention that since I have to build cross-country flight time, I took Jen on a short trip to Milwaukee last month. She got to see what it's like to fly a small airplane into a Class C airport. That's like flying into Midway, Ft. Lauderdale, or Ft. Myers. Major airlines fly at those airports but they're not as busy as the biggest airports. She did really well and, fortunately, the air was calm.
                    I'm for defending all rights for everyone.

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                    • Sounds like a great time! I have terrible auditory memory, so stuff like hearing, processing, and remembering those kind of instructions and then reading them back intimidates me. If i can see it, I can remember it, but you can't do that while flying.
                      "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." –Mark Twain

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