As is typical... a few rentals cancelled because of weather or things that come up... and I haven't flown for a very long time.
Not a problem. Just need to get a currency check. Always a good thing after being away from it for a few months.
Called this past Wednesday and set up a time to go flying this Sunday (today)... with Jake. Arrived at the airport at 0850 to make sure that we have wheels up at 0900 (Jake had to be outta there by 1100). Jake... a nice guy. Got to talking with him and we both know quite a few of the same people. When I found out that he flys commuters for Air Wisconsin I asked if he knew Dean Borghi. Turns out he was going to be flying with him today up to Albany (?). I digress...
Other than a few gusts, it was a real nice day. Went up to 2000 feet and could see forever... could see Atlantic City off in the distance. Did a few turns, step turns, power on and off stalls then came back for some landings. Landing on zero-niner-zero it was a little turbulent. The trees at that end always does something with the wind and wanted to throw the plane around a bit. Never did grease it... but I managed to make decent landings except for the one time when I planted all three down at the same time.
Not a picture from today...
but just as nice.
May 3, 2015 It's been a week or two...
Back up today for about an hour. At the cost of rentals nowadays it'd be cheaper to buy another T-craft to fly with all it's associated bills. But with the rental... I fly. I park. I walk away without having to think about any issues with the plane.
Another beautiful day in South Jersey. Just a local flight as usual. Dialed in the Woodstown VOR and put the instrument's needle at 85degrees (N73's bearing from the white cone). Lined up with 27 and pushed the throttle forward.
For the most part... it was butter smooth up there.
Swedesboro - May 3, 2015
Interchange at 322 and Rt. 55
Swedesboro - West-end
N.J. Turnpike near Swedesboro ?
Cross Keys - shutting down.
In spite of all the development going on the Garden State is still pretty green.
May 16, 2015 Any amount of time... is good enough for me.
I've always thought this... I don't have to really even be flying, to be flying. Every time I think about building this biplane. Every time I work on it... I'm taking part in flight. It's the mindfulness that I like; focusing on the now.
Today I went up... got a late start on the pre-flight check; had to get a gift certificate figured out and Josh needed copies of my citizenship and medical. (I thought I gave that to them last week). After doing the pre-flight I had about 1/2 hour that I could go flying. A system was moving in and the ceiling and visibility was getting low so I stayed in the pattern. Had it all to my own... as I was turning down-wind to base a Bonanza asked if I was the only one in the pattern... he wanted to make a straight in approach.
A funny thing... recently I've imagined myself flying the biplane. Imagining what it would be like base-to-final. What it would look like in the pattern... pulling up to the FBO.
May 25, 2015 Close...
but so far away...
I'm becoming delusional. I'm actually visualizing my biplane being finished in two years. Two year, you say ??? That's a LONG time... not when you've been building on it as long as I have. And the list of things still to be done on it is pretty long.
Grant it, a lot of those list items are for finishing off the plane. There's a lot of deciding going on with these parts and peices. I've spent a lot of time on the look of the instrument panels. Why so much time ? I don't really know. I'd be happy with the curved but, I guess, since I'm making it I want it to just so.
I caught myself staring off into space on Saturday: looking past the fuselage into nowhere... thinking things through. Had to snap myself out of it and get back to work. Staring off into nowhere can be done when I'm away from the project and add more time to this build !
June 1, 2015 The move back...
I've been beating myself up living in Philadelphia and working on the biplane project in New Jersey. A few nights a week... driving to Jersey to work on the biplane for an hour or two then rushing over to Philadelphia to catch a late diner with Andrea. The other nights of the week I come home to Lombard Street to take care of the pup and basically do nothing. It's a brand, spankin' new place. There isn't really anything to do on it. And, since the pup has been crated all day I don't want to put him back in the crate to go out for a bite to eat.
Saturday, the same thing. Drive over to Jersey to work on the plane for a few hours, after mowing the lawn and doing whatever. Some Saturdays I'm lucky and I can put 4 - 5 hours on it. Others... just an hour or two.
A little over a year doing this. And my work areas look like CRAP ! The time I have there I want to spend working on the biplane so I let the wood chips lay where they fell. The tools left where I last used them. And on and on... Not a pretty picture at all.
Trying to change all this. Andrea and I spent Saturday packing up my stuff and Sunday... loading the truck up on Lombard and unloading it on Woodstream. Long hot day...
There actually is a stream behind my place... and woods.
June 3, 2015 Managing...
the unpacking AND the project.
With a meeting today... I worked out of the house. Five o'clock spins around and... I start unpacking the boxes.... uugh !
Need to get the unpacking to a manageable level... close to somewhere liveable. Right now... crap EVERYWHERE. Boxes... boxes... and... more boxes. It really hasn't been lived in for a little over a year so I need to wipe everything down before putting things away.... uugh !
I did manage to go out to the biplane frame and take a look-see to make up a short punch list... 1. Flooring/heel rail: unsure now if I'll be making the front floor out of ply (for the look) or all aluminum. Leaning toward all aluminum... but I'VE GOT to make that decision. 2. Turtledeck door: wood ? metal ? and how ? 3. Looked long and hard at the support for the pilot's shoulder harness (belts). Thought I could weld up a few tubes inside of the turtle deck. No way no how... it wouldn't allow me to slide the turtldeck into place. 4. Finish the upper wing fuel tank: get it welded up !
(Side bar:: Phillys were down 4 - 0 in the bottom of the eigth inning. I'm thinking it's going to be an early game. Clock said 9:10PM. A few base hits and a home run by Franco and it's tied up. Back and forth a few inning... bottom of the 11th. Asche gets a base hit. With a few ground outs he makes it to 3rd. Freddie Galvis hits a single and Asche steps on home plate for the win.)
okay... Back to business. 5. Battery rack: solenoid bracket and ? floor for battery (.o32 with lightening holes?). 5. Work on the firewall: go to Whitey's to see if I can figure out where lines need to go on the firewall.
I've got my work cut out for me...
21, 2015 Stolen...
Drove over to the airport today... nice drive into the farm
fields of South Jersey...
It's been about a month since I was last there, and the last
time I went the only person I saw was Tony sleeping in his
truck in front of his home-built Aeronca. Nobody else around.
And... that seems like it was the norm lately.
Today I get there. Drive past Whitey's house, where there
are quite a few cars parked, and drove back to the hangars.
Again, nobody around. Looked through the window of the main
hangar and nuthin': doesn't look like it's been used in months.
The only chair I see is pushed under one of the wings of Whitey's
home-built Bellanca 14-19.
I walk around a bit 'cause it's nice just to be at the airport.
Reminds me of walking around Bridgeport Airport when I was
just a little guy. On the drive in I actually took the photo
below of the hay field just down the road from Whitey's...
thinking, yes, this is my South Jersey. One that's being chewed
up by too many housing developments.
Time to stop wasting time... so I climb in the Challenger and wind my way back out to the main road. On my way out I see Whitey coming out of his house with a few people. He doesn't recognize me (he say it's been a while since I was last there... well, he's right if you don't count the times I was there when nobody was around). Said I had come over to take a look at how he did his firewall. Whitey said he was busy right now... was showing a few people the airport. Asked if he was selling it and he said he was thinking about it. Asked if he had a shrinker/stretcher I could borrow... said he thought he did. Asked if he'd be around next weekend and he said he would. Said I would stop by to talk then.
End of another era ??? Maybe so. But Whitey thinking of selling the airport got me to thinking again. (when Spitifre airport was for sale a while back I was thinking... I don't really like the location of that airport but if Whitey ever sold...) Man... would I like to buy that airport. Win the Lottery... buy it have what I've always wanted. Be like Rich's Lee Bottom Flying Field. Doing something for the love of it. I'm sure there are a lot of others out there more capable of running it but we can always dream.
June 24, 2015 Power...
One helluva drive home last night. The weather radar was saying red and yellow thunder boomers were suppose to hit just about the time of rush hour going home... and it did.
Took me 2 1/2hours to get back home. When I got close to home there were trees down everywhere. For some reason I decided to go food shopping; needed stuff but why tonight. Well, it was open and nobody really in there shopping. Pulled out of the parking lot for the three mile drive home and it took over 1/2 hour. All the lights from the supermarket to home were out. (this was last night and the power is still out 8:32AM this morning).
December 10, 2016 Looking back on
If you had asked me when I started working on the biplane, even when I started up again working on the biplane... would I still be building it 4000hrs into it, I'd laugh and say you're crazy.
Yesterday I hit that magic number... and I'm still working on the fuselage and I haven't touched the wings, other than the making of the built-up ribs.
The build hasn't been a cookie-cutter build; far beyond that. I've had to design the shape of the fuselage just for starters. I built the landing gear twice. It took 400 hours to make the turtle-deck. I designed and built the re-designed and built the seat-backs. If I think about it I could keep on listing things that have added hours to the build that normally wouldn't ? Maybe not.
The hours... are mostly hours spending on the actual build. It doesn't include probably another 4000hrs of me thinking things through.
I've said it before... there's a mindfulness about the build, about flying; I'm "there" when I'm involved with it and no place else. And when I'm building... I'm still involved with flight; that feeling you get when you're doing what you love.
January 1, 2020 Thinking about the past year...
and... I need to do more working than thinking!
Is this entire upcoming year going to be hind sight? ya know 20/20?
This past year I was doing more thinking than building... it seems. And, it's reflected in my total hours of work on the project... 150 or so hours? DAMN! I know I thought long and hard about the fuel tank, and the locking of the turtledeck hatch. Seems like I need to do some work while I'm thinking... instead of just sitting and thinking.
I'm happy with the learning I discovered this year. Un-happy with the hours...
A new year... and a lot more hours. And more learning.