`Twas the Night Before Christmas (Aviation Style)

I know we have a few pilots, "wanna be" pilots and many passengers who read this Blog.  This "takeoff" on the poem `Twas the night before Christmas has been making the rounds of aviation websites and other publications for over 20 years. No one seems to know where it came from. Enjoy ...

 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.


Blue Moon on August 31st

 A rare "Blue Moon" will arrive in the Eastern US at 9:38am Friday, August 31, 2012.  A blue moon actually has several definitions, but this one is because it's the second full moon during the month of August.

For many of us, this blue moon is bittersweet because it's also the first full moon after the death of Commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, who died on August 25th.

Lots has been written and said about Armstrong's life.  For me, his stepping on the moon on July 22, 1969, instantly brings me to exactly where I was and who I was with.  It does that for many people who were around in the crazy 1960s when "all heck" was breaking loose at the same time mankind was doing incredible things. For a lot of us, the moon landings meant that "we" could do anything.  Just think of all that has been developed since 1969.  

Yes, I want us to go back to the Moon.  And send people to Mars.  And fix the issues here on Earth.  It's all within our grasp...we just need the drive and perservence to make it happen.

For now, I, along with many others remember Neil Armstrong.  His family issued this heartwarming statement the day after his death:

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Rules of the Air

Although these are rules primarily for pilots, there is good advice here for nearly any endeavor.  

~ Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

 ~ If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.

 ~ It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

 ~ When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.

 ~ A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.

 ~ Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.


A trip across North America 2

In June 2011, Larry Baum, CEO of The Computing Center, his wife Trudy, and two close friends traveled across North America to Alaska and Canada in Larry's airplane.  This Blog of the trip was originally published on the East Hill Flying Club web site. It is divided into separate entries in reverse order.

Whitehorse, YT Tue June 14, 2011 @ 20:00PT:  The best laid plans Part 2 … Sometimes, mechanical devices just fail.  So it was with us today.  The left fuel boost pump on the Aerostar quit today as we were leaving from Prince George to Whitehorse.  Obviously a “no-go” item.  Most big engines have an electrical backup boost pump in case of failure of the engine driven fuel pump.  That pump is also used for starting and to boost fuel pressure if needed at higher altitudes.   It was most frustrating to watch the rest of the group depart for Watson Lake, our first a stop. Fortunately, there is a GREAT shop in Whitehorse.  Bobby did a fabulous job replacing the brushes in the pump.   We had brought an extra set along “just in case” thanks to Joel at Juliet Delta Aviation. So we were on a way in a record 1.5 hours.  Given the rest of the group was stopping for lunch and fuel, we thought we could catch-up. The route to Watson Lake from Prince George follows a river up to Williston Lake, then through a relatively narrow area called “The Trench”.


A trip across North America 1

In June 2011, Larry Baum, CEO of The Computing Center, his wife Trudy, and two close friends traveled across North America to Alaska and Canada in Larry's airplane.  This Blog of the trip was originally published on the East Hill Flying Club web site. It is divided into separate entries in reverse order.

 Kalispel and Glacier Park, Mt: Sun June 12, 2011 @11:30am MT: I didn’t

 get a chance to post Saturday’s flights till Sunday.  We stayed at the Lake McDonald Lodge on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.  There is no Internet or cell service at this area – I needed to use a pay phone for the first time in what seems like forever to call the FBO with our fuel order!! How quaint!!! The trip from Green Bay (KGRB) to Glacier Park International Airport (KGPI) took almost exactly 6 hours with a stop in Bismark, ND (KBIS) for fuel and lunch.  It’s a long way with many changes in scenery.  We dodged some thunderstorms and heavy rain showers throughout eastern Montana and ended up at Flight Level 220 for the last part of the trip to be able to top some of the lower level rain showers and to see the cells clearly enough to fly around them.  The locals call these “popcorn” thunderstorms, single cells with not frontal association.  They also didn’t move much. KGPI is in a large valley and the only rain that we actually experienced on the way in was on the ILS into the airport.  Kind of a difference experience starting an ILS at 12,000ft, intercepting the localizer about 20 miles from the airport at 9,000ft, and intercepting the  glideslope at 7,800ft. Glacier Park  and Lake McDonald are nearly indescribable in their beauty. We didn’t have a lot of time there, but we were able to take a short hike Sunday morning.  In just three miles we saw a small lake (called a pond in the east) and a creek that’s the size of most rivers in the east.  The large snowpack this year has kept the rivers and creeks really high. I’ve uploaded a batch of photos (unedited) at: http://larry72.slickpic.com/a/GlacierPark