Sunday, October 25, 2009

Awesome Flight

Went flying today with my friend Chris, and it was a saga. Many awesome things happened, which is why I am blogging about it, because i don't want to forget about all the details. 

First, the CAP (Civil Air Patrol) was hosting a huge training exercise out of Murfreesboro. this is good because they're the guys that come and look for you if you crash somewhere. There was like 8-10 CAP 172's at the airport, badass paint jobs and all. We took a long look at the chart and decided to fly to Crossville, TN, which is 60 some odd miles. I'll skip ahead to preflight, because that's when things get interesting. 

The plane doesn't have a POH (PILOTS operating handbook) and according to the FAA, it's illegal to takeoff without one. We decide to do it anyway, because we know how to fly the damn thing. takeoff goes well, and the climb to altitude (5500) is uneventful for about 15 mins.. then my door flies open. trying to fly an airplane requires alot of attention, and people have probably died trying to close their door when they should have just kept flying. I didn't try to close my door. It stayed open for a good ten minutes, until I reached a point where I could divert my attention long enough to fix it. I gave it a good slam and it stayed shut. 
Next came the asshole ATC guy. We called him like 5 times, and he never responded. We called back to murfreesboro FBO to make sure our radio was working. it was. We called him a few more times. He finally responded to us. our tail number was N89539, and he kept calling us N89569, even though we corrected him every time. Our transponder was inop, and he kept telling us to IDENT even though we were telling him it was INOP. it went something like this:

ATC guy: "Cessna 89569 Ident please."
US : "Cessna 89539 has no transponder"
ATC guy : "Cessna 89569 I don't see your ident, please ident again."
US : "cessna 895359 has no transponder"
ATC guy : "Cessna 89569 say location and IDENT"
ME : "Cessna 895 THREE NINER climbing through 5100, transponder inop."

then he says "cessna 89539 you're transponder is inop, radar services terminated, frequency change approved." which is basically his way of saying fuckoff i don't want to talk to you. 

Soo the rest of the flight to crossville goes pretty well, and there were some pretty cool airplanes there, including an ultralight. we had some candy corn and coke and talked to some old guys in the FBO. then it was time to hit the road home. 

Chris was PIC for the trip back to murfreesboro, which allowed me to enjoy the ride a little more, and snap some pictures. About 20 minutes into the trip, I notice that our ammeter is discharging, and there's a red warning light on next to it. Thats probably not a life-threatening problem.. but if we don't fix it, we could lose our electrical system. That means flaps, radio communications, the whole shebang. So we try about the only thing we know to do, which is turn off master switch and avionics, reset, and turn it back on. Problem solved! This airplane keeps you guessing, I'll say that for it. 

So I get this bright idea to open the window during flight, which is pretty cool. I open the window a little, peek out, and close it again. Then I decide to turn the camera on video and open the window the whole way, hold on to the camera real tight, and stick it outside for a panoramic view. I did, and it made for a freaking cool video, if short. Should be up on facebook shortly. I will say one thing.. it is really freaking hard to A) hold a camera outside of an airplane without dropping it, and B) reach outside the airplane and get the window shut after its opened all the way. 

So if a camera ever falls from the sky and lands in your backyard, you can have a pretty good guess how it got there. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Great Idea.

Haven't posted in a while.. it's easy to forget about. I've recently become addicted to the facebook game Farmville. And I hate to tell you, chris, it's getting a little tiring. I'm trying to keep my crops on a regular rotation and i'm probably going to start planting more long term crops so I don't have to check it so often. Tonight I'm going to play some tackle football next to the airport, which will be freaking awesome. 

OK here's the great idea. Last night I came across something I had never considered before. 

- human powered flight. Thats right, someone pedaled one of these sons-of-bitches across the english channel. I am really excited by this. A few years back my brother bicycled up and down the east coast to raise money for childhood cancer research. His original idea was to ride across america to combat childhood obesity. 
I think I might be able to realize Austin's original goal of biking across the country to battle childhood obesity. Except I would much rather do it through the air. Physical fitness is something that has completely fallen by the wayside in our society, and what child's imagination wouldn't be captured by a flying bike? This could not only combat childhood obesity, but be used to raise awareness about being healthy and active for everyone. 
We (humans) invented airframes capable of flight before we invented engines capable of generating adequate thrust to make them fly. Only very recently have we invented materials light enough to allow human powered flight. As a consequence this genre of flying machine is still totally undeveloped. I think a safe, reliable, man-powered machine could be developed for a reasonably cheap price. And I think an organization/company willing to sponsor a trans-continental human-powered flight "for a cause" can most definitely be found. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Its 0045, i'm about to go to bed - which means my woommate is also about to go to bed. His bedtime snack? A bigass bag of doritos, skittles, and a 20 oz. Mt. dew voltage. No wonder he's a fatass. 

In other news, my airplanes engine was kind of fucked up so I've got to find another one. I want an aerobatic plane, or a tailwheel. the tailwheel would be great because i need to build time towards my possible bush flying future. I watched the Hangover tonight - incredibly badass movie. And I'm really hungry but the dining hall doesn't open until 7 A.M. - and i'll be asleep then. Ahhhh college. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Woommate Woes

My woommate, is a fuckhead. He's fat, he can't say his rrrrr's, and he's one weirdass motherfucker. He's driving me crazy!!! Let me describe in detail.-

Every day, he gets back to our room after class and begins studying, around 5 or 6 PM. He DOES-NOT-MOVE from his spot until about an hour after I go to bed. I usually try to go to bed around 11, PM. When I go to bed he turns off the fluorescent light in the room and turns on his desk light, presumedly to be polite. If the fluorescent light is a 10 on a scale of brightness, then the desk light is about a 7. I can't sleep through it. 

This would seem to be a small pwoblem, my woommate just needs to go to the study room, which is conveniently located about 50 feet fwom ouw woom. Howevew, he seems to have a social feaw of studying whewe people can see him, oow something, because evewy time I have suggested this to him, he has refused. 

The good news is whenever I give him an ultimatum, which goes something like this "Hey Bryan, either go to bed or go study somewhere else." He immediately turns off the light and goes to bed. The bad news is I don't want to have to bitch at him every night - it's a pain in the ass. 

I just don't know why I couldn't have had a cool woommate, instead of a fatass loser with a speech impediment. 

SO another option coming down the pipeline, there is an airplane for sale in McMinnville for $10,000, which is dirt cheap for an airplane. My dad seems to be highly interested in buying it, letting me build some hours, and selling it for  profit. This is an awesome idea to me because he will also be wanting to rent a hangar to keep the plane in, and airplane hangars are quite roomy. I might just set up a couch, fridge, TV, and coffee table, build myself a plywood closet, and move into the hangar. The airport is about 5 mins from campus. Biggest obstacle to this idea - Hangars don't usually come with bathrooms. Being an ambitious person, I think this obstacle may be surpassable.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scary Times

I've only truly been scared in an airplane once. 

I was coming back to Gainesville after a cross country trip to Anderson, SC. And it was a clear, beautiful day. Cruising at 6,500 feet I felt the thrill that every aviator seeks. To "slip the surly bonds of earth" as John Gillespie Magee, Jr. put it, is a feeling like no other. About five miles east of my destination airfield at about 4,500, I flew through some moderate turbulence. Moderate turbulence in a small plane is about like if you were sitting in a pop-up camper, and a 7-ton adult elephant decided to scratch his back against your abode. This did not shake me up, because I had had enough aerodynamics drilled into my head to know that airplanes don't just fall out of the sky because of turbulence. The only way sure-fire way for turbulence to directly cause a crash (at altitude) is by structurally damaging the airframe, and that takes a shit ton of turbulence. For example, there have been fatalities on commercial flights caused by turbulence, where an unbuckled occupant broke their head (or neck) on the ceiling of the airplane. The planes landed safely with their expired passenger(s). 

Sorry for the ramble. To continue with my story. I flew through some moderate turbulence, which can make passengers nervous, but is not in any way a safety hazard, unless you're close to the ground.  Notice the foreshadowing. Anyway, this turbulence appeared to not be an issue, and I didn't experience any more significant turbulence until I was on final approach for runway 29 at about 100 AGL, literally not more than one hundred feet from the runway threshold. I had it made. Then a huge burst of wind came from the right, and down, catching my plane and hurling it to the right, and down. In about half a second I had gone from peacefully gliding towards my runway, on the centerline, to about 40 degrees off the runway, pointed at a tree. And I was really close to the ground. It was scary. 

Luckily, I had been well trained, and I just applied full power, held my nose down to prevent a stall, and took a second shot at the landing. I survived the incident without, well, incident. 

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
                              -John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 

First Post

Twitter's pretty gay. And facebook doesn't really allow you to keep a running dialogue of your opinions, experiences, etc. So why not try blogging? I've never been disciplined about keeping a diary, but often wish that I had. I see blogging as a sort of diary, but one which is open to the public. It's more like an inventory of things which I don't mind people reading. So what's the point? I don't think anyone really cares about what I have to say, but I'm bored and I think it may be fun to read this in like 10 years. 

I'm an aerospace student at MTSU, and I want to fly jets in the Air Force. That being said, I have not "signed my life away" just yet and am hesitant to do so, since if I don't get a jet, I'll be on the ground for a while. 

If you're going to follow me, be ready to wikipedia some terms if you want to understand what I'm talking about, because I'm going to be talking about airplanes. There is a story behind my URL [iwantmy172back] and I'm going to tell it now. 

When I was training for my Private in Gainesville, Ga, (KGVL) I did my training in two 2003 Cessna 172SP's. N2132W and N21527. I soloed on July 2, 2009 in 2132W. But that is beside the point. One day about a week before my check ride, I was taxiing out to RY23 with my instructor, and he made the comment that "One day, Reid, you'll be flying an F-something, and you'll look back on these days and say 'gee, I wish I could have my 172 back, it sure was a good airplane.'" This is a moment which stands out to me when I look back over all the time I've spent in airplanes, and I'm not sure why. All I know is that I hope he was right, and if I do get a fighter slot, I'll think back on that day, and remember the trusty 172 that I learned to fly in.