Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Had An Off Day

  The morning had clouds on the mountains but the city was clear. All the clouds moved away by 5 PM.  Today was one of those rare ' Off ' days where everything I did or tried did not come about as planned.

  So after some fun, it was time to do the vans yearly oil change. cue dreadful music. 

  I have done all the oil changes since this van was brand new in Feb 1995. It was one every 3000 miles until we started the Snowbird thing and then once a year in May. I was late doing it this year and had to add a quart last week. I was stunned at how black the oil was on the dip stick. Yep, it was past time for a change.

  All went well and for the first time ever I used a Wix 51085 filter instead of the always Fram PH-16. The Fram filter has a sand enhanced rubber grip surface on the can to make it easy to hand tighten. The Wix has high slip polished paint, that was where the problem began. I had my first ever filter seal leak. That caused me to remove it and compare to the Fram ( had I bought the wrong filter? ) The gasket appeared to match the Fram and I attempted to install the filter tighter using two hands. 

  I started the engine again and now had no oil pressure indication???? I was quite sure I had oil pressure as the valve train was quiet. At least it was not leaking oil anymore. So I was dirty, not happy and cleansed myself to surf the net to find where the oil pressure sensor was. Down the internet rabbit hole, I went, found something on the Jeep board which had a link to the Merc Cruiser board, which had the answer to my mystery. AutoZone had the part and special tool to replace my sensor. I checked my van with a flashlight and the sensor is less than a finger thickness away from the filter in that dark hole. The two hand trick had cracked the plastic device. Finally good advice from the net. I contacted my local Autozone and they could have the parts in their store by noon, So now I had a plan and it only set me back $ 20. The van is now happy again and shows good oil pressure and bright Check Gauges lamp was not in my face anymore.

  Then it was check mailbox, fill the van with gas and pick up my meds. The meds were a cluster f*#@ as they gave me wrong meds and then did not have mine in stock. But no worry they can be picked up in Florida by 6 PM tomorrow. Did I mention this day was not my friend, hope tomorrow is back to normal?

UPDATE: I got a call from Walgreens in Florida, your prescriptions are ready for pick up. Well, that is just great as I am in Alaska until 14 November.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Fun Day Playing Airplane Mechanic

  I spent the day at the local air museum. It was to just get out of the house and enjoy looking at old aircraft. I followed a small group who was being led around by a local pilot as he explained what everything was. Everything I knew about that he explained was correct and he explained more things that I did not know about, so I learned more. I thanked him at the end of the tour and told him everything he said was correct. He asked if I would follow him home and tell his wife that.

  While it stormed heavy rain at my house, it was Sunny and clear at the airport. I went into the maintenance hangar to look around and enjoyed the volunteer mechanics shenanigans so much I stayed until 6:30 PM. Before I knew it I was holding things and then using wrenches, I was really enjoying playing mechanic with the guys.

  I soon discovered half of them had a common friend with me. One of them was in the same military unit I retired from. Aviation is a small world after all.  They were a nice group of guys and fun to be around. 

  It was an enjoyable day and I had great Mexican food for dinner. Not often I can do that.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hiked Above The Treeline Today

  No pics again tonight, technical problems.

  Last week on our warmest day this Summer at 83 degrees, We drove to the lake and planned to hike the East mountain only to the crashed car that rests about one mile and 1000 feet above the lake. It was a good hike but we both knew that making it to the top was not going to happen. 

 We then had a lot of rainy days and today was clouds without rain. So we drove to the lake again and started walking. It is flat from where you park and then the trail starts 2.6 miles and 1800 feet up. The 1800 feet up happens in the first two miles and it is hard to find level ground to stand and rest. With the clouds, we were sure the steepest part of the climb above the shade of the trees would not be a problem. At the top, we rested for thirty minutes to let our pulse and breathing a chance to return to normal. 

 The walk down is hard on the shins but otherwise easy. It was a great day to enjoy the simple things in life.

 A shower as soon as we got home to remove bug spray and sweat was greatly needed.

 I will add pics later if I can get them off the phone. This last Windows update screwed me again.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Plane carrying 11 crashes near Ketchikan with only minor injuries

 Another DHC-3 Otter crashed yesterday and luckily it was gentle rising terrain and the floats under the airplane absorbed a lot of the energy. Everyone survived. The DHC - 3 Otter crash in 2015 was not so lucky and all souls perished. 

  The common factor was CFIT ( controlled flight into terrain. ) That is what can happen when flying in clouds in mountains. It happens way too often up here and many have lost their lives.

 The  FAA tested a system called Capstone back in my flying days and it made CFIT accidents almost disappear. I do not know if this plane had it but suspect not. Capstone was a GPS map with detailed terrain info and weather updates, navigation and a few more bells and whistles.

 I had my share of scud running and only once nearly killed myself. I think all my acro flying saved my ass that day. Back in my teaching days, I got three pilots good at flying PA-31Navahos and all went well for them for a while. Then they got into larger twins and all three had CFIT crashes with no survivors. I quit instructing after the last crash, too many went on to do something stupid years later and end their lives. I had an old cartoon I showed every student, I do not remember who did it but it was a view from behind two pilots out the windscreen. " Say, what is that mountain goat doing way up here in the clouds?" That was the CFIT issue in a nutshell.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July

  Today was a busy shopping day for us. Just life errands that needed doing. It was our warmest day this year also. It officially made it to 80 degrees F, although it was cooler at our home. It was a lot nicer than power washing the back deck yesterday. The good side of power washing is I now have a pair of jeans dirty enough to use the weed eater this week. It always bugs me to weed eat in clean clothes.

  The airplane above is stationed at JBER in Anchorage. It is an F-22 Fighter Jet. More noise on takeoff than an F-15 and it awakens me most every weekday. An amazing airplane in my opinion.

  The airplane above is a C-17 Cargo Aircraft stationed at JBER. It was showing how it can take off and land using only 3800 feet of runway

  The new gas valve works on the motorcycle.

  My neighbor informed me I missed the three black bear cubs playing in my front yard woods. This is the only place I have lived where I look outside before going outside as there are animals that could eat me.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day!

  Nephew Dave and his crew enjoyed the local town parade and partook of the activities. Not much work going on anyway as the heat index requires 30 minutes of indoor rest for every 30 minutes worked. They have had very high humidity and temps for last few days.

  Up here it is still high to mid 60's and low humidity. We enjoyed the airshow a lot. Sure glad we went and almost went again the 2nd day. They had some great pilots performing. I enjoyed all the military equipment on display also.

 I got a bit too much Sun but otherwise just fine. 

After the airshow we enjoyed a very good concert by Arlo Guthrie, We got home about 11:00 PM before the Sunset.

Pilot Wanna Be

  Today I removed the motorcycle gas tank and replaced the failed fuel valve ( $186 ) and put it all back together again. I tested the old one and it definitely had a failed diaphragm which was causing me problems. Plan to add gas and test tomorrow.  

Eurocopter AS 365

Friday, June 29, 2018

Air Show Weekend in Anchorage

USAF Thunderbirds are practicing today. Pic from my driveway.

  This afternoon there has been plenty of F-16 aircraft zooming over our house. They are doing about 300 knots or less and need room to turn around. After being buzzed several times I went inside and got my camera and was lucky to get a pic. Fridays are used to stir up interest and practice.

 Hopefully, these low clouds will move away on show day. Attending the show has changed a lot. A list of what you can bring in was in the local paper and it is worse than Disney. We do plan to attend.

  I got the part for my motorcycle and might get it installed this weekend. I have now driven 10.2 miles on it and have not exceeded 65 mph. That was a short blast in a 55 mph zone between the two exits of our hood. I do not plan to get into the power band this year. 

 Kathy has been enjoying exercise classes and riding her bike. 

  I attended a get to know your stock trading account meeting yesterday. I had to show up in person with two IDs as I had forgotten my account number and password. This was an account set up for me in 2011to keep my hobby of stock trading alive. I created it with $1000 and put 90% of it into BP stock and had plans to play with it. I lost interest in stocks as the market climbed like it did in the late 1920's.  After a lot of questions and sales pitch for professional wealth management, he asked at what age do I plan to retire. I told him " my wife and I retired in 2011." He then changed strategy, are you living on peanut butter sandwiches and sitting at home in rocking chairs?  I got my info and new password and discovered that $1K forgotten about was now worth $10K. Of which $2K is cash I can use for trading or take out and spend. Glad I took care of that task. I may start looking at some stocks I can buy with my $2K, or just forget it all again.

Saving accounts are now paying 1.7% APY and five year CDs are paying 3.25% APY. So interest rates are rising again.