Number one son came home from school today and told me that I really needed to get the power steering fixed on his Jeep already.  When pressed for details, it seems that for the last week the Jeep’s turning mechanism had been steadily failing, to the point of not really working so good, at all.   Since I’d been in North Carolina flying for the last week, I asked him when would I have had the time to look at his Jeep.  Oh, and seeing that this was the first I’d heard about it, how did he expect me to fix a problem I didn’t know about?   As he struggled to form a complete sentence in rebuttal I was reminded of the speech I give to new pilots when I hire them to fly jumpers at my skydiving school, Skydive Twin Cities.  One of the first things I tell them is to let me know immediately about any maintenance problems they encounter when flying my aircraft.    All too often when discovering some minor discrepancy instead of bringing it to my attention the pilot would proceed to bitch behind my back to the other pilots,  probably calling me a cheap S.O.B. for not fixing the problems and putting their very lives in danger.  When the pilot can no longer stand to fly such a poorly maintained aircraft they screw up their courage and demand that I have the problem fixed.  That’s the point where they find out that I haven’t flown that particular aircraft in weeks and had no idea there was an issue and then they got to hear my speech again.    Pilots are so hard to train.

“Squawks” are problems noted by U. S. Air Force pilots
and left for maintenance crews to fix before the next flight.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints logged by those Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.

(P) = Problem

(S) = Solution

(P) Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
(S) Almost replaced left inside main tire.

(P) Test flight OK, except auto land very rough.
(S) Auto land not installed on this aircraft.

(P) # 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
(S) # 2 propeller seepage normal – # 1, # 3, and # 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

(P) Something loose in cockpit.
(S) Something tightened in cockpit.

(P) Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
(S) Evidence removed.

(P) DME volume unbelievably loud.
(S) Volume set to more believable level.

(P) Dead bugs on windshield.
(S) Live bugs on order.

(P) Autopilot in altitude hold model produces a 200 fpm descent.
(S) Cannot reproduce problems on ground.

(P) IFF inoperative.
(S) IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

(P) Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
(S) That’s what they’re there for.

(P) Number three engine missing.
(S) Engine found on right wing after brief search.

(P) Aircraft handles funny.
(S) Aircraft warned to straighten up, “fly right,” and be serious.

(P) Target Radar hums.
(S) Reprogrammed Target Radar with words






Ferry Flight Pic Of The Day


Some interesting rock formations SG and I saw in Brazil last month.  There were more interesting formations coming up that I wanted to take pictures of but air traffic control called to inform me that there was traffic in my area and then started to freak out when neither the other plane or I could see each other.  It sounded like we passed within 2 miles of each other.  OOOOOO! scary.

Lightning will ground F35 fighter jet known as the Lightning II

Attempts to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the jet’s weight have also made it more vulnerable to enemy attack than the generation of aircraft it was supposed to replace

The production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – the world’s most sophisticated and expensive combat aircraft – has been derailed after engineers discovered that the jet’s fuel tank could explode if struck by lightning.

Great, another setback for the overpriced White Elephant.  Should’ve bought a few thousand Super Hornets and F-22’s instead, just sayin.

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Last day of filming in beautiful North Carolina this morning and it couldn’t have been nicer.  Sunny, 80 degrees and light winds, perfect flying weather.  Of course the professional weather guessers looked into their muddy crystal balls and predicted the exact opposite, but I digress.  Today’s mission was to film ground to air footage.  I’d be solo today because SG had finished her final interview yesterday and had jumped on the first plane back to collage having missed the first three days of the new semester, she was really happy about that.   The cameraman positioned himself at various positions on and around the runway and I would fly takeoff and land in front of him, fly past him and generally make a nuisance of myself for any local traffic.  One of the shots we got was an overhead landing shot where the cameraman stands on the end of the runway and I see just how close I can get to him without cutting his head off with my propeller.  He has his back to me as I come in and just has to trust me on this maneuver, apparently he wasn’t counting beers last evening.  It’s a dangerous shot because if I miscalculate my approach by just a few feet I could hit the cameraman and his camera, and I’m sure I’d have to pay for the camera.

We finished up, landed and I went inside the FBO to check the weather for the flight back to Greensboro NC where I was to drop off the plane back off for the owner and catch a flight back home to Wisconsin.   The FBO was just the kind of airport office/flight school building I love the most.  The walls were covered with pictures of airplanes,  pilots and memorabilia.  It even had a couch with an old Chocolate Lab laying on it’s back inviting a belly rub.  In my opinion no airport is complete without an airport dog.  Howie the owner and airport manager was a great guy who as it turns out was the only man to fly on Air Force One with five presidents.  As the chief steward for these powerful men he had a ton of pictures and stories to share with anybody who would listen, and boy did he like to share!  As a parting gift Howie gave me a golf ball with the presidential seal on it.  “You can’t buy these anywhere.”  Howie proudly said as he handed the ball to me.  Howie was pretty proud of his balls.   I pulled up the weather on the computer and thought “Oh goody!” I thought as I found out that Greensboro had low ceilings, visibility, moderate turbulence and rain.  The cameraman decided that he wanted to fly with me to Greensboro to catch a flight home despite my warnings that this flight might be a doozy so off we went.  Almost immediately my non-pilot co-pilot regretted his decision.  The weather was as bad as advertised and it wasn’t long before I was scrounging behind my seat for something to catch anything that might come forth from the green man in the right seat.  I found a Santa hat, don’t ask, and lined it with a plastic bag and handed it over.  I really hoped he wouldn’t puke because there was a difficult instrument in my future and if I smelled puke in the enclosed cockpit I would probably puke as well, not fun when you’re trying to land in heavy rain.  But I got lucky, the cameraman held it together and even though it was one of the more challenging approaches I’d flown, very windy, bumpy and low the runway lights finally appeared out of the gloom and I was done.  Thus ended my Bonanza flight from Uruguay to North Carolina.  SG had been a great co-pilot and I think we’d grown closer over the two weeks and she’d become a lot more independent.  And you can’t ask for more than that.