September Hurricane Report and more PAGE 425.

October 13, 2017: I have been busy for much of the month of September.  Hurricane Irma came right up through central Florida with winds of 70 to 75 MPH here in Melbourne on Sunday night September 10-11, 2017.  I started the cleanup of the yard on Monday, September 11 and the few days after that. There are FOUR PAGES in another section of this web site that have plenty of BEFORE and AFTER photos of my home.  GO THERE to see what can happen when a hurricane comes close, but not a direct hit.  The last of the four storm pages has a link to return to this page.

The last aviation related posting to this web site was on the previous PAGE 424 at the bottom of the page about the replacement battery being installed.  The weather and my schedule did not line up to allow any flights in my airplane since the return trip from the great American Eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017.  It is time to fill in the list of activities from the past month that do not appear in the recent aviation web pages.

September 20, 2017:  This was the first day of a road trip for a couple of business meetings in Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.  I got a later start than usual when I travel from Melbourne to the Chattanooga area.  I did not get a chance to see Wendell on this road trip, or my son in Kennesaw, Georgia.  My hotel reservation was at the Quality Inn at exit ONE on Interstate 75 just across the state line in East Ridge, TN.  It was convenient and near where I built my airplane at the beginning of this web site.

September 21, 2017:  The next morning I had a meeting in Spring City, TN on US highway 27 after a drive that took just over one hour.  The local cable operator was interested in a couple of CATV fiber optic devices sold by the company that has employed me since January 2006.  We discussed his plans to expand the size of his cable system to serve more customer homes on the west shore of Tennessee River near the Watts Bar TVA Dam in his county.  I had a late lunch there and finally got on the road northbound after 3 PM.  My day ended at the Quality Inn near Dublin, Virginia.

September 22, 2017:  I met our company Director of Engineering in Christiansburg, VA to consult on some issues with upcoming orders.  He had a couple of specialized video/audio fiber optic transceivers needed to fill a customer order.  Those two pieces were shipped to our California factory where the order will be assembled and shipped to our distributor that I will see on Monday morning, September 25. By the time lunch was over it was nearly 3 PM as I resumed my trip northbound toward the Shenandoah Valley on Interstate 81.  The end of the day would find me visiting an old friend in Easton, PA for the weekend.

September 25, 2017:  Monday morning meeting at my largest distributor for product training for an inside sales person before heading over to New Jersey.

September 26, 2017:  Tuesday was a day of training for the sales people and management of the company that bought the communications division of my current employer. Our Director of Engineering gave a presentation on fiber optic theory for communications.  Our company President and engineer gave a presentation of products that fill some unique applications in CATV on the ground and even for in-flight movies.  I was presenting an online review after lunch of our current popular communications products. I used the company web site showing where to get data sheets and manuals for our products.  I had my demo units for show and tell as needed.  Our outdoor CATV fiber optic node was a big part of the training session.  At the end of the day, I returned to the motel in Horsham, PA where I stayed on Sunday night.

September 27, 2017:  I was back for a morning meeting with the President of my largest distributor and the President of the company that bought our communications division.  The meeting was cordial and confirming that business as usual continues, but now with two sales groups working together on product lines that are complementary, not competitive.  

After the meeting with my distributor, I headed for a small town in Maryland to meet a customer who has ordered some of our optical products from that distributor for a CATV fiber optic system.  We had spoken on the phone several times before, and I had sent a schematic diagram of how all the equipment will be connected.  The face time at his office that afternoon was helpful as we could discuss the fine details of how each item is setup for normal operation.

September 28, 2017:  There are times in my business travels where I get a chance to do something for myself.  Today it was a stop at the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) in Frederick, Maryland.  I met with Senior Medical Certification Specialist Jacquie Brown to discuss Basic Med and my special issuance I have passed each year to maintain my third class medical since my 2011 cardiac event.  There is a road that passes in front of the building.  The area in front of the grass mound is a special aircraft parking area for pilots who fly in to visit AOPA.  The paved area where I am standing to take this photo is an aircraft tie-down area.

Here is the sign from the photo above.

My first special issuance medical certificate was processed in 2012 by the FAA Oklahoma City office. My most recent one in 2016 was also processed there.  I qualify for Basic Medical flight privileges.  My doctor's examination for Basic Med is set for Monday, October 2, 2017.  I dropped off the FAA forms before I headed out on this road trip.

The rest of Thursday was traveling south on US 340, Interstate 81, and I-77.  The day ended for me at the Quality Inn in Rock Hill, SC.  The next day was Friday and I returned home to Melbourne, Florida and had dinner with my wife after a ten-day road trip.

October 2, 2017:  My annual physical this year included the paper work for the FAA Basic Medical certificate.  I took the written test on October 5 and provided all the required medical information using an FAA online form confirming no change in my prescription drugs.  At the end of the online written test, my passing grade allowed me to print the Basic Medical certificate and wallet-sized card to carry when I fly.  The actual certificate and the medical check list signed by my doctor are folded up in a packet in my current flight log book per the instructions for Basic Med certification.  I also have copies in my file cabinet here in the office with all my previous third-class medical special issuance paper work.

October 13, 2017:  The weather tomorrow is not expected to be good for flying.  I will update these web pages when I fly again.

Success in the simple flight tests today!

October 14, 2017:  In the words of Marty McFly from "Back to the Future" 1985:  "Since when can weathermen predict the weather, let alone the future?"  No storms today in this part of Florida.  Other than some stiff breezes here and there, it was a good day to go flying.  The flight today was to go get fuel and test out the NavAid wing leveler in standalone and GPS tracking mode.  All that work I did on September 1 & 2, and the new battery have made things right again.  The alternator and the battery provided stable DC voltage to the instrument panel.  The RED LED bar graph on the front of the NavAid AP-1 was stable and did not wander off to one side as it did before I got it out for testing on the kitchen table on September 1, 2017.  The unit would engage with the GPS course line in a smooth manner today.  ALL is GOOD AGAIN!  A cross-country trip will be more relaxing to concentrate on radio work keeping the altimeter setting current as I am cruising along.

For the first time, I failed to retrieve my fuel receipt from the credit card machine at Umatilla, Florida (X23).  When the sale is processed, I will know how many gallons of fuel were purchased.  I also did not take a photo of the airplane and the RED CUP when I was standing on the ramp.  I have been here enough since 2012, I think we can let it slide today.

Here is the Shell Aviation fuel sign with the current price per gallon for 100 Low Lead at $3.75.   November 1, 2017:  I managed to look up my credit card charge for this day of flying to see the receipt for $100.96.  With the price of $3.75 per gallon, that amounts to 26.9 gallons of fuel purchased.

I did not take a single photo going from Rockledge to Umatilla, so I am making up for it on the return trip with the autopilot following the GPS course.  On the way over to Umatilla, I was weaving around the rising cumulus clouds until I topped them as I was turning westbound.  This photo is to check the reflection from the black duct tape I put on the brace bar connected to the roll bar that secures the windshield.  I was putting the tape on the bar in the hangar this morning before lunch.  I realized the tape had a reflective surface and scuffed it with a 400-grit sanding sponge before I applied the tape to the bar.  The bubble level from the video camera has come off and needs to be secured.  The other thing that is shiny is the black cover over the GPS antenna.  I will have to try the sanding sponge on that as well.

With everything working well again, I can just take pictures as I fly back home today.  The thin barrier island is seen as a strip of sand beyond the wider green strip of land with Florida route 3 on it connecting the mainland to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island.  US 1 is visible on the mainland in the bottom right corner of this image.  And of course, Indian River Lagoon is between the mainland and the route 3 strip of land.  The wind from the ocean over the top of those low clouds was blowing at about 30 MPH during my flight to Umatilla.

The wing in the photo below is a reminder that I am sitting in the pilot seat of an airplane I built in my garage from October 2002 to the end of April 2005.  The first test flight was on June 9, 2005 as seen on PAGE 136 of this web site.  That flight was made from the airport at Collegedale, Tennessee.

That looks like the I-95 interchange near Mims, Florida in the photo below.

More of the Indian River Lagoon out there on the left.

The good news in this image is the ONE RED LED light on the Navaid unit in the middle of the display.  The skid ball on the Dynon is not perfectly centered, therefore the wings are not level with the horizon on the display.  A 12 MPH cross wind from the ocean is indicated by the arrow pointing to the right.  The true air speed is 145 MPH since the cross wind is very close to 90 degrees from the course line.  The main battery bus voltage into the Dynon unit is 13.5 volts DC.  The internal backup battery is showing 15.7 volts DC.  The outside air temperature probe is reading 21 degrees Celsius (C) which is 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit (F).  It makes a nice cool breeze coming in the air vents.

Distance to Rockledge is shown here at 32.6 statute miles.  The ground speed is 149 MPH at 3:03 PM.  The bar on the right side of the GPS is letting me know it is almost time to begin descending.  You can also see the way the black duct tape wraps around the gray painted steel brace bar/

The Shuttle Landing Strip and the Vertical Assembly Building are definitely eye-catching as you fly down the US-1 / I-95 corridor clear of all controlled airspace.

Again, please... with a few low clouds on the side.

Look just off the left front corner of my cowl and you will see Dunn Airport (X21) where parachute jumping takes place.  I always take a good look UP and listen to their CTAF channel when I pass this way.  Now I get to figure out what that straight line reflection is in the upper left quadrant of the photo below.

Back in the hangar, I took this photo to show the scuffed black duct tape installed on the brace bar to roll bar for the windshield.  I also wrapped some of that scuffed tape around the case for the "whiskey" compass.  The bright fluorescent lights are all working in the hangar now.

It was good day for flying and getting some practice at both airports for cross-wind landings and take off maneuvers.  It was bumpy taking off between the trees at Rockledge.  This is how you keep your stick and rudder skills sharp.  The Hobbs meter ticked from 405.3 hours to 405.4 when I taxied from the hangar to the run-up area.  At the end of the day, the total time is now 407.0 hours with 1.6 hours today.  

October 16, 2017:  My pilot log book shows 598.5 hours total pilot time with 817 landings since October 11, 1991 for my first student pilot training flight.  That first flight had me doing the takeoff, and instructor making the landing when we returned to Lantana (KLNA).  I had a chance to show my instructor the flying skills from my radio-controlled airplane flying since 1978.  The main thing I needed to learn was the location of the main landing gear of a Cessna 172 compared to the seat of my pants.  All the RC airplanes I had flown were easy since I could see when the wheels would touch down.

This is Monday as I update this latest web page about flying my Van's Aircraft RV-9A for the past 12 years.  I am preparing for a flight tomorrow via Delta Airlines from Melbourne to Denver via Atlanta.  What to pack and how best to do it for a trade show this week is what is on my mind.  I prepared a check list and will red line each item as it is accomplished.  I do the same thing with the weekly grocery list.  I discovered last night that my battery-powered toothbrush is giving up the ghost and went to get a new one this morning.  My flights to Denver are tomorrow afternoon and evening with a nice layover at the Atlanta Airport for a real sit-down dinner instead of the usual fast food to take on the airplane.

I think back to this same trade show in June 2006 when it was held in Denver that year.  The weather was great in June compared to the variable conditions October brings to Denver.  I did this same show a few years ago in October and had to deal with snow driving the rental car on the second day of that trip.  I learned about driving on snow in north Georgia where I grew up.  Starting a 60-mile drive in January 1966 with 10 inches of snow in Dalton, Georgia was good experience in my college years.  Flying my RV-9A from Chattanooga to Denver in June 2006 was my longest cross country trip at that time (1,181 miles) with one fuel stop in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  See PAGE 213 for all the details of that flying experience.

The week ahead is all planned out and the weather for departure from Melbourne tomorrow is expected to be scattered showers.  Atlanta and Denver are north of the weather front and looking good for no flight delays.  Denver temperature should be around 60 degrees when I get there tomorrow night.  Low temps in Denver forecasting mid-to-high 40's, so I am taking a light jacket with me.  These are the things I consider when I start across country with the airlines.  As always, I have window seats reserved to watch the land below to pass the time.  I always sit on the north side of the airplane to stay in the shade.  In the days of the great ocean liners, "PORT OUT and STARBOARD HOME" gave the same advantage when leaving New York heading to England or Europe.  I return home on Friday night and should have some new photos to post next weekend.