All in all, a flyable evening looks to be in store.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
KDCA 192328Z 2000/2024 11010G20KT P6SM -RA SCT050 OVC080
FM200500 10012G20KT 5SM -RA BR BKN012 OVC040
FM201000 07010G20KT 4SM -RA OVC008
FM201400 10010G20KT 5SM -RA OVC012
FM201830 15012G20KT 3SM SHRA VCTS BKN015CB
FM202300 15010KT 5SM -RA BR OVC010
At the time of interest, light rain and an overcast at 800 feet, four mile visaibility and an east wind at 10 knots with gusts to 20.
For arrival, two hours later at KBDR, here is the forecast:
KBDR 192324Z 2000/2024 11010KT P6SM FEW060 SCT120 BKN250
FM200600 10009KT P6SM SCT060 OVC120
FM201200 09013G21KT P6SM SCT025 OVC080
FM201500 09015G24KT 6SM -RA SCT025 OVC050
FM201700 09018G27KT 4SM -RA OVC025
FM201900 09020G28KT 2SM RA OVC015
FM202100 09017G27KT 2SM RA OVC008
For arrival about 0930 local, wind from the east (favoring Runway 6) at 13 knots with gusts to 21, better than 6 miles visibility, a scattered layer at 2,500 and overcast at 5,000.
The freezing levels throughout the route are forecast to be at from 8,000 MSL in the south sloping to about 6,000 MSL in the north. I have filed for 5,000 up along the New Jersey coastal route and over KJFK.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Nobody ever claimed that flying GA aircraft is an inexpensive pastime. As posted on previously, N631S recently came out of annual at Three Wing Flying Services and the bill has arrived. As these things go, it isn't too bad -- all up, about $5,000.
Appendix D to Title 14 CFR 43 specifies exactly what your A&P-IA needs to inspect in an annual inspection. Most shops have a flat rate (varying with aircraft type) for the inspection and in the case of Three Wing they provide for 17 hours (at $85/hour) to perform this task on a Cessna 182. But there are a variety of additional work items that many people think of as "part of" the annual -- and they aren't! The annual is just what Part 43 says it is; no more and no less.
So a bunch of routine items get accounted for and charged separately, such as...
- Inspect, clean, gap and rotate the spark plugs -- 1 hour
- Check magneto timing -- 0.4 hour
- Service and inspect filters -- 1.6 hours
- Lubricate all flight controls -- 1.5 hours
- Service tires, battery and brake reservoir -- 0.6 hour
- Inspect, clean and lubricate landing gear and wheel bearings -- 2.6 hours
This brings us to 24.7 hours (plus $45 worth of parts). Then there's the oil change, which is another 1.5 hours and $115 in supplies, parts and consumables.
And then there are 3.3 hours to research and verify accomplishment of AD's (including three that just needed to be shown to be "NA").
It's probably more clear to think of the cost breaking down along these lines:
- Annual inspection...$1,445
- AD compliance check...$280
- Annual maintenance...$700
- Oil change...$260
That adds up to $2,685 before we actually "fix" anything! This time around the "fixing" went like this:
- Service the ELT...$105
- Repair a cylinder baffle and clear wire chafes...$170
- Inspect and repair right magneto...$765
- Replace expander boot in carb inlet air duct...$600
- Repair cracks in plastic and fiberglass...$125
- Miscellaneous minor repairs...$300
Add in about $300 for inspection of repair items and final runup and leak check, and, well, that's how it becomes a $5,000 affair.
Friday, April 10, 2009
KBDR 101120Z 1012/1112 VRB05KT P6SM FEW100 SCT250
FM101600 19008KT P6SM BKN080 BKN250
FM102100 12008KT P6SM SCT040 BKN080 OVC250
TEMPO 1021/1101 5SM -RA SCT030 OVC080
FM110100 06010KT 4SM -RA BR BKN016 OVC030
TEMPO 1102/1106 2SM RA BR OVC010
FM111000 01010KT P6SM OVC015
For the time of interest (about 2100Z) it looks like layered clouds with periods of light rain (the TEMPO group) accompanied by lower ceilings and reduced visibility. Still, nothing too bad.
The freezing level plot is not comforting:
But for me the DCA terminal forecast is the decision-maker. Here it is:
KDCA 101131Z 1012/1112 13005KT P6SM SCT090 BKN150
FM101600 17009G15KT P6SM SCT040 BKN150
FM101900 19011G18KT P6SM BKN050CB BKN120
FM110200 03008KT P6SM VCSH BKN030 OVC050
FM110600 04010G14KT 5SM -RA OVC015
For the period of interest (about 2330Z) I'd be looking at gusty southerly surface winds and cumulonimbus clouds at 5000 feet (that's the BKN050CB).
Put it all together: IFR departure, risk of icing enroute, chance of convective activity on arrival in the gathering dusk -- on the whole I opt for Amtrak.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
It was hard enough that I was seriously opposed to another dog -- but I got outvoted, and in the spring of 1995 Henry came to be with us. He's a bichon frise but we got him cheap because he's defective. The breed standard calls for an entirely white dog and Henry is a very nice buff/apricot color. Pretty but very wrong. So he was on sale at half-price, and so he came home with us.
About the name. It seems that the bichon frise clan was the preferred dog in the court of King Henry II of France -- well before the Revolution. So, Henry was named for his ancestral royal patron, and he quickly adopted a suitably Parisian attitude. Henry and I have had a cordial disagreement for fourteen years over which of us was the Alpha Male. He weighs twelve pounds on a good day but that doesn't impinge on his royal certitude.
He is not what you'd call a "nice dog". He barks at other dogs, regardless of size, he snarls at people who initially think he is "cute", and he has bitten me on a couple of occasions. His "mom", of course, can do no wrong.
Having Henry around has never been dull. He had his fourteenth birthday last March 15th -- we had a little observance, and he got a fraction of a cupcake out of the deal. But that's a long time in dog years. A while ago we were warned by Henry's vet that he had a heart "murmur" and that someday it would be a problem for him. Well, "someday" came around a week ago last Saturday. We had some folks over for a party, and our never-fully-socialized Henry got all spun up and suffered a severe seizure due to congestive heart failure. He lost consciousness and we really thought we were losing him, but he got up and shook it off -- albeit with very labored breathing. He passed a quiet Sunday and went to the vet on Monday. They kept him to administer industrial strength diuretics in order to clear his lungs, then sent him home with prescriptions for Lasix and a cardiac med.
Weird stuff happens. We were supposed to give Henry 1/2 a Lasix tablet each day -- but the veterinarian had intended that to be 1/2 of a 20 mg tablet but the pharmacy dispensed 50 mg tablets. So our 11 pound dog was heavily overdosed with the strong diuretic. After a brief improvement, he stopped eating and his condition deteriorated to the point where we brought him back to the vet Saturday in a state of despair over his health.
They did blood work and called us with "alarming" news -- Henry was suffering kidney failure. His BUN and creatinine numbers -- indicative of kidney function (or lack thereof) were very bad. Dehydration had taken a toll. This was a very hurtin' puppy. The ER vet explained that normally they would flush as much fluid through the animal as possible to wash the toxins out of the kidneys -- but this would probably push him into heart failure. All they could do was to start him on a slow fluid flush for 48 hours and hope for the best.
As I said to begin with, I never liked this dog. Didn't want him in the first place. So, would someone please explain why I was (a) continually on the verge of tears, and (b) spending enough money to make this the most expensive dog per pound in the Commonwealth of Virginia? I was in an advanced state of despair. Then my wife, the lovely Patricia, said, "Don't write him off yet...he's a stubborn little bugger." Right! That's our Henry. We would just have to see what developed.
We promised each other that if Henry didn't show real progress by Monday we'd let him out of here. I knew that was our final responsibility as his protectors. I tried to get used to the idea that he was going to die in my arms, but that wasn't going to make any of it any easier.
On Saturday, Henry's blood urea nitrogen (BUN) value was 180. Normal is around 45. Scary. When we talked to the vet on Monday his BUN was down to 96 and he was livelier and had eaten a bit. This is good! At noon today his BUN was down to 50. Maybe...just maybe...the immediate crisis is ending.
He is still an old dog. Maybe we've bought him a year. I want very much to see him enjoy this spring and the coming summer. I want him to warm his old bones in the sun on our deck. And if, six months or a year from now, his heart and kidney problems recur, we'll let him go.
Pat and Richard (our son) brought Henry home tonight. He seems alert. He is on three medications and has a number of follow-up appointments scheduled. One day at a time.
I never liked that dog...but I do love him.