April 2015 PAGE 392.

April 18, 2015:  Let us remember on this day in 1942, a band of 80 men in 16 B-25's medium bombers took off from the flight deck of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier and bombed Japan in the only aviation event of its kind.  Jimmy Doolittle was in command of this mission that led these men into the history books and changed the course of World War II in the Pacific theatre of operations.  Here is their OFFICIAL WEB SITE.

Now for the other BIG news for today:  I have created a page showing How to Load GPS LOG FILES into Google Earth and "fly the route" from previous adventures that are part of this web site.  The first offering in this process is the Flight to Alaska made by Wendell and Terry in 2007.   You get started by clicking the web link at the beginning of this paragraph.   I hope you are as excited as I am about this new addition to this web site.   You can fly along on these trips. 

April 25, 2015:  Tonight I finished editing the GPS flight logs from the 2007 flight to Alaska.  I have created missing segments of GPS data and merged the data points into the appropriate LOG files.  I finished the departure from Folks Field and connected the flight path to the original GPS log files I downloaded to my computer in 2007 after the return of Terry and Wendell from Alaska.

I have learned much about how Google Earth operates and how to edit existing Garmin GPS database files in the past week.  There may still be some bouncy landings or takeoffs due to some incompatible altitude data from the GPS and the Google Earth data base for elevation contours.  I saw some strange things this week as I found missing data point information in the files when I was editing.  You may see the GPS data points "cut corners" at some airport locations when taxiing across the field.   I was able to repair this for the Litchfield Airport departure in LOG file 02.   I still have to fix it for the arrival at the end of LOG file 01.  This should only be an issue for ground operations at any airport.  I am still working to fix this minor annoyance as I continue to explore these files myself.  If you notice something in any of these flights, please send me an email with the details at email1.gif (2101 bytes) and I will respond.

I made a last-minute addition to the HOME PAGE cautioning visitors to REFRESH web pages after loading.  This will insure your browser is not loading old files for pages that have been recently updated.  Using REFRESH on the browser is less invasive than deleting browser history files as that process sometimes removes cookies used on some web sites.  No cookies are use on my web site.

April 26, 2015:  Sunday morning is a good time to review and update the web site.  I was looking at the work I published yesterday before breakfast and found some dumb grammar mistakes in the text on the Google Earth instruction page.  Those are now fixed as of 10 AM today.  I also tried downloading the Garmin data base ZIP file to my smart phone and that worked well.  I then discovered I did not have a ZIP program on the phone and installed one.  The Google Earth app for Android does not have the import option for anything but KML files.   The desktop Windows Google Earth takes care of the file import and conversion automatically.  The extra features in Google Earth for Windows desktop or laptop computers makes this project possible.  The APP for my Android phone cannot do any of what I am creating.

Now I get to do takeoff and landings at all the airports in the Alaska file and correct the "cut corners" airport taxiways, etc.  When that is completed and any other anomalies I find are also corrected, I will replace the current ZIP file with a new one.  As I go forward with uploading more GPS Google Earth flights, I will create a Google Earth Flight Menu page where all my Garmin GPS track files will be available for download.  I also mentioned that I will add links to the Flight Menu page on all the OLD pages that have a matching GPS track file.  Any "NEW" visitors to this web site will be automatically introduced to flying with me using Google Earth.

April 27, 2015:  I have added a Google Earth screen capture to PAGE 15 of the Alaska story showing a comparison to a real world photo taken July 23, 2007 near Fort Saint John, British Columbia in Canada.  I am still working to clean up the GPS file to make things smoother.  The Dawson Creek Airport is not FLAT in the Google Earth presentation.  The real photos taken on approach show how smooth the runway is in reality.  See the Alaska PAGE 13 to see what I am talking about.

I have also added a 5-second delay to the Google Earth GPS departure from Folks Field at the beginning of the Alaska trip.  I will update the ZIP file with ALL the changes when I have completed landings at all their stops and verified if there are more problems and corrected them.

May 2, 2015:  Saturday again and an update on the 2007 Alaska trip via Google Earth.  The online program follows the GPS tracks from Wendell's Garmin 396 used on the trip from Folks Field near Chickamauga, Georgia to Anchorage, Alaska.  I have devoted a lot of my spare time and the end of the process appears to be in sight.  I have discovered the elevation issues in Google Earth on a users forum and have been editing the GPS track data points to make the terrain errors and the GPS altitude errors mate up to provide realistic take off and landing experiences for your enjoyment.  I also made up for the low sample rate between data points in ground operations to minimize "cutting the corners" of taxiway, ramp, and runway travels.  These edits give a view of what actually happened as they followed the runway and taxiway center lines at each airport.

The view of the runway at Mitchell, South Dakota gives a visual of the ground elevation errors as the runway has "waves" in it.  The solution was to assign a constant elevation to the GPS track data points to be about SIX feet above the runway for a "normal" view from the cockpit.  I have applied this method to all GPS ground movements along the entire route. 

I found TWO really BAD GPS data points in Canada that needed to be removed to get rid of an altitude change of several hundred feet and a course location error.  The route was in a turn not far from a mountain and the turn was normal after taking out those two data points. (UPDATE MAY 4, 2015)  I called Terry and mentioned the above bad data points.  He told me why they flew up near that particular mountain.  There were mountain goats there and Terry wanted to get a closer look.  He also used that course diversion as a training example of "how to leave a way out" when flying in the mountains.   See LOG 11 at 43 minutes 30 seconds in file AK_2007Fly8AFolks.gdb where Terry turns away from the mountain side and flies parallel to it going back to the Alcan Highway flight path. 

The new ZIP file was posted late today, May 4, 2015.  The earlier FILE WITHOUT the LETTER A between the "8 and Folks" SHOULD BE DELETED from your hard drive and replaced with the NEW AK_2007Fly8AFolks.gdb file.  After that is done, open Google Earth and DELETE the GPS device seen in the SIDEBAR of the Google Earth screen.  If you have MORE than ONE GPS device, you will see the LOG file numbers for each extra GPS device loaded into Google Earth.  Each of the track END POINTS will have the LOG file numbers, 01, 02, 03...up to 15 for the last flight in this GPS file.  If you have TWO GPS devices with the same files loaded, the tracks will lay on top of each other, and there will be TWO LOG file numbers like 10 next to 10 for all the LOGS.

I had to create GPS route segments at several locations where the GPS data was non-existent.  This usually occurs as the GPS is getting stabilized after power is restored on the ramp.  There was about a mile of data points missing near Des Moines, Iowa up at 6,500 feet as they were in cruise flight.  Ground operations at Mitchell needed GPS data corrections and additions.  I took out some delay in the runup time prior to takeoff at most of the airports.  Some of them were over two minutes long.   I cut the time to 30 to 45 seconds.  I noticed these engine run-up delays were usually at the hold line near the runway, or at the end of the taxiway not far from the runway. The departure from Miles City, Montana had no GPS data.  I created a reasonable takeoff GPS track after calling Terry to confirm the departure runway.  The real GPS data points started a couple of miles west of the airport for a short time, then no data for about half a mile, then the GPS resumed taking data and was stable for the rest of the trip to Great Falls, Montana.

I referred to the 50 pages I published in 2007 as I have been testing and editing the GPS files and finding the Google Earth images that match the photos taken in flight by Wendell and Terry during the trip.  With Google Earth, you can now see all the terrain in between the original 2007 photos.

May 3, 2015:  I have reviewed most of the GPS LOG files for the Alaska trip and made some edits for better viewing in ground operations.   I have also been compiling a few notes about the flight log segments with some time stamps for points of interest seen along the way.  I took some time to look at Murdo, South Dakota where there are plenty of local photos to see.  You will find the location at 71 minutes flight time in LOG 03.  Get down on the ground and "drive" the Google Earth photo car to see the sights here with 1880 buildings and relics. You may want to "drive" in the Badlands National Park along route 240 north of the flight path at 103 minutes into the flight.  Click on the photo icons here as well to see photos other folks have published to Google Earth.  You can also pause the flight and manually set the eye elevation down from 100 feet to 1000 feet above ground level to see this area using the Google Earth terrain map.


May 4, 2015:  As a result of the changes and my ideas above, I will not edit ALL the original Alaska web pages to give reference to some points of interest from the Google Earth GPS tracks and what can be seen at various locations along the way.  Any of you who want to contribute to this process, please send me an email describing what you have seen that is interesting.  Please give the time stamp of the LOG FILE from the playback slider in the bottom left corner of the Google Earth screen and I will update the relevant web page when they flew past that location in 2007.  Terry's answer to that course deviation is a typical bit of information that adds something to the original web pages.  Unfortunately, Google Earth does not capture those types of images, but it does show an airplane parked in front of Wendell's parking spot at Miles City, Montana.  When track LOG 04 begins, you see that airplane "on the ground" as the movement begins for the flight to Great Falls.

In other news today, I made a third attempt at getting a GOOD treadmill exercise stress test for my FAA medical certificate renewal.   I went in for a 12 noon appointment, was wired up for the EKG, on the tread mill, and nothing.  The treadmill motor would not run more that about 1 foot of movement of the belt.  The nurse knew this was my third time for this and took immediate action.   She found another doctor nearby with a working treadmill and the stress test monitoring program, then sent me there with the needed paper work.  I kept all my electrode pads in place, put on my shirt and drove to the other site.  They were expecting me and worked me in with their normal patients.  I was the only one who needed the treadmill, and the lady doing the test was well experienced.  The test went smoothly to 8 minutes and I reached my 100% target heart rate of 153 beats per minute after exercising only 5 minutes and 8 seconds.  My maximum heart rate was 176 before approaching the end of the test.  I glanced at the screen and noticed a rate of 160.   After that, I just kept going to the end of the test period.  YES!  I passed the test with room to spare!

About those three attempts:  The first one was in February when I came in for the test and could only get to 120 heart rate.  No one told me to avoid one of my medications for 24 hours prior to the test.  A few weeks later in March, round two was going well as I reached a heart rate of 143 when the technician noticed I had reached the six-minute mark and stopped the test.  I pointed to the FAA letter and advised him that was the length of time for patients over 70 years of age.  For technical reasons, we could not repeat the test that day.  My cardiologist reviewed the EKG from that attempt and saw something he felt needed further testing.  I went for a nuclear stress test (not on a treadmill) and had the radio isotope scans of my heart that showed I had no blood flow restrictions in my coronary arteries.  That paved the way for today's test where I made sure the nurse running the test knew I would not stop until reaching EIGHT minutes.

When I have the report from my cardiologist, I will take that and my FAA authorization letter to my aviation medical examiner (AME) to finish the process.  After that, the "Joy and Freedom of Flight" will be mine again!  Doing the Google Earth Alaska GPS project was my way of filling my "DOWN TIME" when I could not go flying.

May 8, 2015:  I have been reviewing recently updated web pages and found some errors the spell checker missed.  It was a case of the wrong word like "the" instead of "they" at one point.  I received the last of my medical information to get my medical certificate renewed.  I will see the aviation medical examiner next week. 

May 11, 2015:  Monday morning at 10:30 AM I paid a visit to my local AME. I have the new medical certificate in hand and I am legal to fly!  When the doctor presented me with my medical certificate, I noticed the date printed on it was March 14, 2014 when I had my last medical exam.  The difference is the expiration date now shows March 31, 2016.   That was the date I expected to see.  I thanked him and reminded him I would see him in March 2016 after passing my next required exercise stress test and return with new test results in hand.

My project to get the next GPS files ready for Google Earth flying now turns to my October 2005 LOE5 flights from the Chattanooga area to the Dona Ana Airport near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.  I found my original GPS files from Fort Worth to New Mexico and back home, but I could not find the westbound flight from Folks Field with two stops I made in Oklahoma before landing at the Alliance / Fort Worth Airport (KAFW).  I have been creating that GPS file from the hints I left in my published web pages from 2005 and the photos that went with it.  The process is smoother now that I have learned the skills to create Garmin GPS data base files.  I currently have the flight from Folks Field to Idabel, Oklahoma where I stopped for fuel that day.  I have created the GPS data points for the short flight from Idabel over to Hugo, Oklahoma.  I have not filled in the date and times for these new data points to get the speed correct along the route.  I also learned the runway at Hugo was extended not long after my stops there in 2005.  The Google Earth archived aerial photos confirmed the runway was extended on the south end.  

I will also need to edit my real GPS files for altitudes on the ground that match the Google Earth elevation data base.  I don't want to be "bouncing" at the airports where I landed on the route to LOE5 and back to Folks Field.  I will create the GPS file page when the LOE5 GPS route is ready for "flight" on a computer near you.  I am considering what to do after that as there are so many choices.  The flights to Florida offer some choices, but the day I had to land in a light rain to wait for a weather front to clear the Atlanta area should be interesting as I looked for a way to get around it.  I finally had to spiral down LOW while remaining VFR to get on the ground at the Thomaston, Georgia airport.  One GPS project at a time!  I need to get LOE5 finished first.