Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Gut

The nerves of the gut know when essence is too low.

They steal essence from the brain.

Fuel gets low. The ceiling gets low. Salary gets low.

Clear thought decreases.

Turbulence increases. Fatigue increases. The scorn from the corner office increases.

Errors increase.

A pilot, told to ignore a broken nav light,

Feels his essence drain away with the daylight.

Cancel and lose my job?

Fly and lose my license?

Worse, fly unlit and strike another craft?

No essence remains after questions such as these.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flying Fun Food Friends Family and Photos

The flying business has been a little s-l-o-w around here lately, partly because of lots of demand from my day job, and partly because of little things: one student's airplane is out of annual, a pilot needing an Instrument Proficiency Check has to repair his glideslope receiver first, a pilot with an incomplete Flight Review is ... too busy? Really?

So I was missing being in the air. And then there was the $500 I was owed that arrived.

But I hate to just bore holes in the sky, so I needed a mission. The meaning of "mission" depends heavily on context. For many in this primarily Mormon community, it means a church calling. For military types I guess it means a flight to get the enemy. To me it means: tax deductible.

Last night, a large Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hit the Earth, disrupting the ionosphere and interfering with geostationary satellites. (A CME is a big chunk of the Sun; read more about them here.) So my mission was to collect data on GPS performance.

Wink, wink.

Now it being a reasonably nice weekend day there are other things to attend to besides flying. So, I had to go check out the local ski area, even though my hip has been acting up. We've had very little snow this winter (see the picture), and the locals have been getting restless. Our local ski area was finally open. I just had to go by.

And, despite the hip, I need some exercise.

And usually I do the family's grocery shopping on Sunday. How was I going to fit all of this in?

So after a look at the ski area I headed up to Blackfoot. Blackfoot has a large Hispanic community and is the place to go for good Mexican ingredients, and the store is within walking distance of the airport. So I walked to the store, filled a bag with dried chilis and queso fresco and a jalapeno and cilantro, and walked back to the plane.

Well, sort of. My friend Richard was puttering around in his hangar, so I stopped in to visit.

The GPS worked perfectly throughout the flight.

So: data collection, skiing, walking, cooking, shopping, visiting with friends, taking pictures, and flying.

And I did it all in 0.9 on the Hobbs!