Thoughts for the Old Year and New Year PAGE 235. 

December 31, 2006:  That was a fast year!   Or so it seemed.  I am reviewing my pilot log books and my earlier web pages for the information to fill this entry today.  When the year began, I was flying back and forth to Florida and looking for a new job.  The details of that trip can be reviewed beginning on my PAGE 200.   The Hobbs meter had 144.6 hours on it when I got to Lantana Airport on the afternoon of December 30, 2005.   I met some new RV friends in South Florida and went flying of course. 

By the end of January 2006, I was working again and flying commercial to California for the second week of the new job.  With the need to keep "office hours" and travel on company business, my RV-9A spent more time in the hangar and less time in the air in 2006.  One big trip to Denver was on company business in June 2006.  That was the first trip with the new video camera installed in the airplane. 

I made a day-trip to Kentucky and South Carolina on business on August 7, 2006.   After that, all my flying has been on my time and my expense or shared with Wendell.  The need to keep office hours kept my flying time to a minimum in 2006.   The current reading of 212.5 hours on the Hobbs meter gives a total flight time in 2006 of 67.9 hours.  Of those flight hours, 20.7 were on company travels, 11.3 hours were flown going to and from Oshkosh for AirVenture 2006 with Wendell.  The video camera produced nice results on the approach and departure for Oshkosh.  These videos include the sound from my audio panel of the radio calls from the controllers and the conversation between Wendell and myself.  If you have never flown into the worlds biggest air show, you will want to spend some time reviewing my video files.  A high-speed connection is recommended due to the VERY LARGE size of these files.  You can find links to those video clips on PAGE 228.

Looking at the calendar year for the airplane, the first Hobbs meter readings began with taxi testing on June 6, 2005.   By the time June 5, 2006 rolled around, the Hobbs meter had 172.3 hours on it when I completed my test flight for the first annual inspection.  The next entry in my pilot log book is the first leg of the trip to Denver on June 18, 2006.  In airplane years, the 40.2 hours flown during the second year of the "Enterprise" will not compare to the hours flown in her first year.  Phase 1 testing of the airplane ended on July 1, 2005 with 40.1 hours on the Hobbs meter.  That was pretty good considering the first flight occurred on June 9, 2005.  I wonder if the Hobbs meter will get to 230 hours before the next annual inspection.  Maybe there will be a chance to do some additional flying on business in 2007. 

As for this Sunday update to the web site, I wanted to recall the past and talk about the upcoming business trip to California in January 2007.  No, I won't be taking the RV-9A to California.  The commercial air fares are just too cheap compared to the price of AVGAS for a trip that far.  The route will be from Nashville, TN to San Jose, CA via Salt Lake City on Delta Airlines.  The return trip will use the same route.  All four legs use MD-90 airplanes.  After I booked the flights, I thought about that day in June 2005 when I was flying near Nashville at 12,500 MSL in my airplane looking down at a Delta MD-90 descending into Nashville.

I will go back to the hangar today to check on Wendell's airplane and the status of the Dynon internal battery.  I may take the time to install my video camera again after removing it when I was looking for a filter to go on the front of it.  I found that the metric threads on the barrel were not the fine pitch thread used on common photographic filters.  It is a rainy day here in the Chattanooga area.  There is a lull in the rainfall at the moment, but another wave of heavy rain is visible on the radar and it is headed this way.  It is a good day to stay inside, somewhere.   We shall see what the day brings by the time midnight arrives and the 2006 year comes to an end.

  The Year 2007 Begins as the work continues on Wendell's RV-8.

January 6, 2007:  Saturday was a bad weather day with low clouds and overcast conditions.  It was a good day NOT to fly, but to stay inside and work with Wendell on his RV-8 quick build project.  It is just after midnight on Sunday morning as I publish this to the web server.  I have spent all of Saturday afternoon with Wendell getting wiring and Dynon programming updated.  All the relevant details and three new pictures are on his PAGE 38.  This was my week to learn more about the Dynon D10A and the Garmin GTX-330 radar transponder.  There is much to be done with wiring as I teach Wendell how it is done and why the sequence of wiring is the way it is.  It will prove to be challenging in the weeks ahead.

January 7, 2007:  It is almost 6 PM late on Sunday afternoon.  It has rained most of the day here in the Chattanooga area.   We have needed it since the rainfall in 2006 was about 8 inches below normal for the "average" year.  I looked at the weather radar online and on the Weather Channel via Comcast Cable and decided to stay home to watch TV and do my laundry.  The weather outlook for the week ahead is gloomy for me since the only day when flying would be good is a day I have to work here by the computer and phone on Wednesday.   The temperature on this rainy Sunday afternoon topped 60 degrees in the downpour.   It was not raining hard enough to cause any flooding, but I could see one of the storm drains outside was flowing better than the one on the other side of the street.

As for the week ahead, it will be colder here after the rains move off to the northeast.  Wendell has a good heater in the "warehouse" airplane factory where the wiring of the engine monitor will continue.  I will teach him about thermocouples and engine monitors.  Then each new device will be connected to show manifold pressure, tachometer, carb temp, etc.  The Dynon unit is put away for now since the initial work on it is completed.  The fuel gauges will soon be wired up and tested with the fuel float assemblies checked out before we install them in the fuel tanks.  The goal is to finish all the wiring and air plumbing up front, then remove the instrument panel to allow the front top skin to be installed between the firewall and the cockpit area.  It seems foolish to do it all this way, but it is much easier to get all the wiring and support clamps installed before the forward top skin goes on the fuselage.  Unfortunately, some of the stuff that is installed there has to be removed to make room for the bucking bar during the riveting process of installing the aluminum skin.  The building process involves the assembly of the airplane at least TWO TIMES.   In the case of this quick build version, let us say 1.5 times.  More later as time and opportunities permit...

January 10, 2007:  The weather forecast for Saturday MAY be good enough to get in a local flight in my RV-9A to show Wendell how the EIS engine monitor functions when changing power settings, etc.  I worked with Wendell again on Wednesday evening to finish up the connections to his engine monitor and complete the initial setup of the unit.

January 12, 2007:  The weather outlook for the Chattanooga area now indicates Sunday could be the day to get in some flight time.   My plans for my business travels next week are moving ahead.  I reserved rooms in San Jose and near Sonora, California.  The commercial flights on Delta Airlines are from Nashville, Tennessee to San Jose via a connection in Salt Lake City.  We shall see how it all comes together with the weather forecast.  The trip will last six days with my return scheduled for January 23rd (weather permitting).  With the weather patterns in the southwest, this is one trip where I do not want to be flying myself to California.  The other reason is that the round trip air fare is about half the cost of the AVGAS to make the trip to the Columbia, California airport.

January 13, 2007:  I spent Saturday afternoon and early evening working with Wendell on his RV-8 project.  The details of that session are on his NEW PAGE 39.  I also had a chance to put back the empennage fairing on my RV-9A to get it ready for a possible flight on Sunday if the weather will cooperate.

January 14, 2007:  I was looking at the cloud layers and the wind conditions during my ride to Wendell's home field and work shop today.   The wind sock at the field was standing out straight and with a 45-degree cross wind to the runway.  I decided it was a good day to work inside to complete another phase of the wiring that Wendell cannot do for himself -- soldering.  The details are on HIS PAGE 39.

January 21, 2007:  Sunday again and an update on life with a job this year.  Last year, I was un-employed.   This year I am in California relaxing after a sales meeting at the company headquarters this past Friday and Saturday.  I will go back to the office Monday morning, then head back to San Jose Monday afternoon to beat the bay area traffic.  I will be heading for home on a 6:30 AM flight Tuesday out of San Jose back to Salt Lake City, connecting to Nashville, TN.  If my connections go as planned, I could be at home by 7 PM on Tuesday evening.

  The First Taste of Winter Weather in Chattanooga

February 1, 2007:  We have had really cold snaps, but no snow, sleet, or ice until today.  At least this morning, the weather outside said WINTER.  This is the view from my upstairs window this morning.   This is typical for this part of the South -- just enough snow to look pretty, not enough to make life miserable.  We dodged the ICE STORM that was predicted.   There are not many salt trucks or snow plows in this part of the country.  The utilities are all still working.  Nobody slid off the road to clip a power pole, etc.
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February 11, 2007:  On the road again!   Tonight I am in Shepherdsville, Kentucky at the beginning of a week-long trip to the Midwest.  I was in Florida last week.  This week I will go all the way up to Minneapolis, then over to Sioux Falls, South Dakota before heading back toward home.   Along the way, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Omaha, Kansas City, and Saint Louis will come into view through my windshield.  The little bit of snow that came to Chattanooga is nothing compared to what I will be seeing in the week ahead.

Oh, just a side note, I actually took the car through a local car wash before leaving Chattanooga this morning.  By tomorrow night, I should be passing through an area where snow and a "wintry mix" of precipitation could be coming down.

February 21, 2007:  To sum things up, I finished my travels in the upper Midwest states last week as planned.   A small amount of snow greeted me last Tuesday morning (12th) in Galesburg, Illinois.  Some blowing snow during my departure northbound to the Quad Cities on I-74 was the only thing to consider.  The remainder of the trip to Minneapolis went well.  My Wednesday morning appointment lasted just over two hours allowing me to reach Sioux Falls, SD around 4 PM to complete two sales calls in the same day.  I made it to St. Joseph, Missouri that night, with stops in Kansas City and Sedalia, Missouri the next day.  I made an overnight stop south of Saint Louis before my customer visit on Friday morning.  I managed to get home around 5 PM Eastern time on Friday afternoon.  Wendell called me on my cell phone just as I was coming into the Chattanooga city limits on Friday afternoon.  We had a Sunday afternoon session and worked for a couple of hours evenings this week.  You can see new photos on his NEW PAGE 43.

February 25, 2007:  It is now "Oscar Sunday" and a big day for Hollywood and the film industry.  We had rain and thunderstorms last night and it felt like spring is on the way here in the "sunny south" of the Chattanooga area.  I actually got out the vacuum cleaner and made a good effort at cleaning up my abode.  The temperature outside is a balmy 63 degrees and the storms have moved toward the Atlantic Ocean.  The only thing that prevented this day from being a GOOD day to go flying are the winds gusting to 25 MPH from the southwest.  The weather man is predicting one more "cold snap" in March.   There was quite a snowstorm in this area in March 1993.  Let's hope it is only low temperatures that make one more attempt to hold off the arrival of spring and the blooming colors that come with it!

I have updated Wendell's page 43 with three new photos as we get closer to completing the wiring inside the fuselage. The next step is adding the forward top skin that will fix the position of the firewall and the dimensions of the forward baggage compartment.  When that skin is riveted into position, the pace of milestones will pick up again as the cowling gets fitted to the prop spinner and the firewall.

February 28, 2007:  I took my car into the dealership to get some service done on it.  It has an oil leak from the engine compartment which has been getting worse recently.  The 1996 North Star engine in the Caddies has been known to leak a bit.  The guys who rebuilt the transmission at 90,000 miles commented on how the engine was NOT leaking any oil at that time.  My engine now has over 163,000 miles on it.  The gas mileage is still in the 25 to 27 miles-per-gallon range cruising the interstate highways at 70 MPH.  The diagnosis was plain to see when the car was put up on the lift.  The oil gaskets on the bottom of the engine have to be replaced.  Unfortunately, that is not an easy task.  I will have to be without the car for FOUR days next week.  It sounds like a good time to be on a road trip (in a rental car of course).  Those repairs will set me back a big chunk of change, but much less than trading cars.  I found out a set of spark plugs usually get replaced at 105,000-mile intervals on this car.  It is time for a new serpentine belt and a new thermostat.  The fuel-injection throttle body also needs servicing.

The other thing going on is about this web site.  I could not post in the usual way from Front Page 98.  I contacted the folks who run the web server and along the way trying to fix the problem, they reset all my hit counters.  I can still put new pages on the server, but not using Front Page.

March 4, 2007:  This Sunday was a flying day AT LAST! The weather was clear, and winds died down around 12 to 15 MPH from the NW.  I got in a good refresher flight with a trip over the ridge to Dalton, Georgia (KDNN) where the 8 MPH wind was right down runway 32.  The short trip up to Collegedale (3M3) was a bit bumpy with the winds coming across the ridges that run roughly North/South.  I called Unicom for a wind check.  The suggestion came back to fly over mid-field and check the wind sock since things were changing so much.  I crossed the field at 1500 feet above the field to see the wind sock straight out and aligned with runway 3.  Mind you, Collegedale is between two ridges and the wind was blowing at right angles across those ridges.  I flew the pattern and was making a nice approach.   I looked at the windsock just as I touched down to see the sock now pointing the other way.  Since I was alone in the pattern, I rolled down to the north end of the runway, made a quick turn, and took off in the opposite direction on runway 21.

I saw one airplane departing Chattanooga as I headed back to Folks Field.   The Piper Malibu was above me at about 2,500 feet MSL as I flew below and behind him crossing his path at about 1,900 MSL.  When I entered the pattern back home, I noticed that Wendell had moved the Aeronca Champ from the place where I left it on the grass by the hangar.  After making a good cross-wind landing on the turf, I pulled up in front of the hangar to see the Cessna 182 was out flying.  I called Wendell before I departed the airfield to discover he was down at the Fort Payne, Alabama airport.   He had hoped to visit some RV/EAA pilots down there, but the airport was quiet.

Here is the only photo I took for the day just before putting "Enterprise" away after the flight.  The Hobbs meter now shows 213.3 hours.
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And for those who like to see maps, here is the GPS ground track of the flight path for today.  It was a nice day to just "hand-fly" the airplane without using the autopilot.
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March 17, 2007:  I spent the afternoon working with Wendell on his RV-8 project.  The details of that session are on his PAGE 47.  With the arrival of warmer weather, Spring is not far behind here in the Chattanooga area.  Here is some photographic proof from the colorful trees on the ride home from Wendell's place in North Georgia.  The blooms on these trees last for just a few days as green leaves will quickly displace them.
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The late afternoon sunlight is fading as I took this photo showing a bush with yellow blooms along the road home.  Some of the trees have not yet reacted to the warm weather.  Of course, there are plenty of evergreen trees that remain green year-round.
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This past week had two short business trips on Wednesday and Friday.  I traveled to Virginia Tuesday evening for Wednesday session with the chief engineer of our company.  That meeting was to test satellite and fiber optic equipment for a client in California that I will visit in the coming weeks.  The second day trip of the week was on Friday to meet a new customer here in Tennessee.

March 24, 2007: I helped Wendell reach another milestone today with the final fit of the cowl to the fuselage.   You can see the results on his NEW PAGE 48.  As for me, Sunday will find me flying to Los Angeles on Delta Air Lines.  The round trip air fare is still cheaper than the AVGAS to fly there in my RV-9A.  The non-stop flight in a Boeing 757 will take about five hours.  It would be at least 13 hours for me, not counting fuel and comfort stops.  As for my travel time, I will be on the shuttle bus from Chattanooga to the Atlanta Airport at 8 AM, arriving there at 10 AM.  The flight to LAX departs at 11:40 AM (EDT), arriving at LAX at 1:41 PM (PDT).  By the time I get my bag, rental car, and get to the hotel, it will probably be after 3 PM local time.  The total travel time from home to hotel should be 10.5 hours if all goes well.  I hope to get a chance to get out to Whiteman Airport with a new friend and maybe meet some RV pilots.  We shall see if all goes as planned.

Monday I will be at a movie studio in Hollywood working to put in a fiber optic demonstration system.  Tuesday I should be in the San Diego area.  Wednesday will find me back in Anaheim at a convention.  Wednesday evening is my ride back to LAX for a departure on the red-eye flight back to Atlanta.  The flight will take only four hours coming EAST, arriving around 8 AM.  The shuttle bus should get me home before lunch on Thursday.

March 29, 2007:  The return trip from California was as expected.  I picked up my mail and visited Wendell to check on his work while I was gone.  His page 48 is updated with a new photo before I head out to Florida on another business trip.

April 9, 2007:  I am in the Washington, DC area tonight with a good high-speed internet connection in my motel.  I got an email from an old friend inquiring about my web site not being updated lately.  As a result, this page has been amended along with updating Wendell's section with new photos.   My day job has me up here this week with the schedule still a bit fluid at this point.  I should be in Philly on Thursday, but Wednesday is still up for grabs.   If all goes well, I should be back home Friday.

April 16, 2007:  I actually made it home last Thursday evening.  I had a brief visit with Wendell on Friday afternoon and then had our usual Saturday session to finish the preparations to the cooling baffle for the last steps before priming.

April 22, 2007:  I was working with Wendell providing guidance on the various steps in preparing the cooling baffle for the oil cooler installation.  I took some time to clean my airplane before a possible trip to Florida and back in the coming weeks.  I realized when I took this photo that something was going haywire with my digital camera.  The hangar door was open with plenty of daylight coming in to light the photo.
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Just to prove my thoughts about the failure mode of the camera, I closed the hangar door to take this flash photo for comparison.  There are still problems with the camera, but it seems to be less of an issue when the flash is used.  Either way, it is time to get a new digital camera.
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Next time we go to a new page with a new camera one way or another.

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