Thursday, 26 February 2015

Why no one gets Canada

Pictures says it all

Further food for thought to all you fine people back in the UK (or in the southern hemisphere!), it is currently warmer in your freezer than it is outside my front door.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

All about the numbers.

I attended a Transport Canada safety Seminar last night. My first one. These events are run monthly, usually at the TC Canada offices (where I sat my written exam, I did get momentary flashbacks of exam anxiety!)

They fulfill many purposes: general interest, safety information, TC updates and finally attending one in the previous two years negates the need for you to do a two yearly check ride for currency.

So some numbers:

The first number you need to know is 95
This is the version of windows that the computer in the seminar room runs.
Unsurprisingly, for a no-longer-supported-twenty-year-old-operating-system, it crashed about 5 minutes in.

Not impressed.

The next number you need to know is 8.
This is the number of females I spotted in the audience of maybe 40 people.

While that is a little disappointing, the next one is even more alarming.

The next number is 50.
This is what I calculated roughly the average age of the attendees to be. I’m not trying to be ageist or anything but this seems to mirror the demographics of anything I attend that is flying related. It actually worries me that my generation and younger don’t seem to be involved in general aviation. I guess cost is one thing but I can’t help wonder if it just isn’t seen as something cool or worthwhile. I read of airports closing, flying schools folding and it makes me sad.

The next number is 6
This is the number of lines taken up in my log book by the huuuuuuuuuuge sticker that TC issues to prove that you attended the seminar. Seriously? Log books are of a standard size, could you not design a sticker that fitted in a reasonable space?

The final number is zero.
Unfortunately, this is the number of useful bits of information that I felt I came away with after this Seminar on “Aviation medicine”
Now I have to give some context here, I’m very aware that I’m a lot closer to my initial training than most people attending so it’s fair that most of the regulatory stuff should be very familiar to me but people who are twenty years into their PPL might benefit from a  refresher.
Still the speaker wasn’t massively engaging and while, given the demographic that I’ve outlined above, it’s understandable but irritating when he kept referring to “your wife” and constantly gave the validity of a class 3 medical as two years (it is 5 if you are under 40).

The one next month is on float plane flying, which has the potential to be a bit more interesting I hope.

Monday, 16 February 2015


The skies are a beautiful bright shade of blue; the day has all the hallmarks of a brilliant winter day. Except it is incredibly deceptive. Because the weather app tells me this.

Yep folks, with windchill we are looking at the business end of MINUS FORTY !!

On closer examination you can see that the light morning condensation that usually sits on our windowsill has been replaced by this.

Yes that is ice, stuck to our windows. On the inside.

Today is not a day for going outside. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

January achievements

Mostly non flying….

·         I kept my neighbours cats alive for a week while she was in Mexico. Despite one of them trying to Ninja-escape into the corridor every time I opened the front door

·         Level 1393 on 4 pics 1 word and level 409 on Candy Crush – I haven’t spent a cent on either game but I am stuck on CC at the moment.

·         First City Tour flight with a passenger – and first flight with Bob post license as well

·         I assisted in the construction of one Lego sand crawler and two Lego “creator” sets – fun but on some occasions it does highlight my lack of spatial awareness when I’m trying to “mirror” a construct RTH is doing

·         I read 4 novels that I hadn’t read before – am enjoying playing around with Overdrive on my e-reader. It’s a fine art of stacking up your holds so that they become available when you want them

·         Got hooked back into online gaming again; yes, World of Warcraft…. I’m back! Still not 100% sure if this is a good thing or not.

·         Surviving the ongoing winter onslaught

Monday, 9 February 2015

I’m going to politely disagree.

Wonderful inspirational quote in the latest e-blast from AOPA’a E-Brief

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."
-- George S. Patton,

When it comes to landing though, I’m going to politely disagree !!

On a more serious note I seem to have dissuaded myself of the habit of my rather firm landings of late, thankfully! Even dispatch started to tease me about my “confident” landings as RTH calls them.

 When I denied all knowledge of what they were talking about, I also demanded to know who had been spreading such vicious lies.

The reply?

“No one needed to, we’ve seen the videos”


Sunday, 8 February 2015

I have such cool friends.

After my last flight with A, it occurred to me that I have really cool friends.

Friends who are, for a start, willing to get in a plane that I’m flying. It might sound a bit trite but it does take a certain amount of trust to get in a light aircraft piloted by someone who does this for a hobby. People have an inherent distrust of flight in general. Let’s face it, it does seem to be somewhat “unnatural” and couple that with the fact that my friends have had a pretty much blow by blow account of everything I’ve found tricky or had issues with. I’m intensely flattered that they trust me enough to fly them anywhere.

Then add in to the mixture that the weather is so unpredictable this time of year that you have maybe a 50% chance of actually getting the flight in, and an even smaller chance of going where you initially planned. My flight with K and M had to be cut short because I encountered some snow.

My flight with A didn’t look like it was going to happen at all.

On the Friday night the TAF actually looked pretty optimistic, in comparison to what the forecast had been predicting all week. In fact I was so sure that the weekend weather was going to be cruddy for the weekend and that I wasn’t going to be flying, that I hadn’t bothered to think about passengers at all.  RTH had plans in the morning, so I’d probably just go up and have a little solo wander around the sky. After a circuit check with Bob to renew my currency.

Well when I saw the TAF, I fired off a quick text to A, enquiring as to whether she had any plans for the morning. Once she realised what I had in mind, she was very quick to reply. We agreed on a time and place to meet. The next reply I got is testament to how well trained my friends are, as it was a text with her weight in pounds. See they know what I need from them!

I have an email that I send out to potential passengers, explaining what to wear, what to bring, what not to bring and emphasising the fact that we can still get to the airport and then have to cancel. This flying business is a fickle beast at the best of times.

Well sure enough, we got to the airport and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts the weather took a turn towards the sucky, and for the longest time it looked like I’d dragged her down for nothing but eventually we did get up, even if it was just for my currency check. She was quite content to sit in the back while I flung it round the obligatory 3 circuits, finishing off with a quick city tour.

The contrast between different passengers is interesting as well. K, being slightly nervous, needed me to explain everything that was going on. Both during and after the flight. Whereas A was so laid back that I actually got worried about how quiet she was.

I explained afterwards that passengers normally go silent, just before they are about to puke. She assured me this was never an issue!

I’ve already booked myself a couple of flights in February, hoping that the weather will cooperate for at least one of them and have potential passengers already lined up.

Cool friends indeed.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Spam poetry

One of my email accounts gets a fair amount of spam.
I’ve decided to write some poetry based on the subject lines

Here goes….

Mouth extension foregoneconclusion
Fire Hydrant disapprove
Lip play inferiors
You be the tree and I’ll wrap you like a Koala.

I am not making this up

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Back in the saddle

My last flight was waaaay back at the start of December. Sucky weather and other stuff has gotten in the way of my flying since then. As I mentioned this leaves me out of currency with the flight school, as well as itching to get back in the air.

I booked a reasonably generous time slot, the plan being for me to whizz around the circuit a few times with an instructor on board and then head off for a sightseeing flight somewhere.

The TAF on Friday afternoon/evening looked promising, I sent out a text inviting a friend to join me and had a nice little jaunt out to the east planned.

The weather, of course, had other ideas.  I woke up to conditions that were looking kind of marginal.  Reasonable visibilities, but light snow and questionable ceilings.  A phone call to flight services didn’t shed much light on the matter.

I resorted to the ultimate old fashioned method of gauging the weather and stood at the window peering intently out. To the west I could see the odd cloud dropping some of the white stuff but I also noticed a couple of Cessna’s taking off from the flight school. I waited until I was sure that they weren’t staying in the circuit and headed down. Figuring that by the time I got to the airport they’d have landed and I could get a PIREP of the conditions out east.

Well I got one, not what I wanted to hear though. Apparently by the time you got out to the two towers, you couldn’t climb any higher than 2000ft. So east was a no go.

I’d dragged my passenger down here early on a Saturday morning, I really wanted to take her flying somewhere, but at the same time, now wasn’t the time to be trying stuff I wasn’t comfortable with. It was quiet and dispatch had time to chat through some options with me. My passenger, A, being content to look at shiny planes and probably shiny pilots, knowing her!

Their suggestion of a city tour was a reasonable one, but being that low over the city is kind of intimidating and I was starting to have second thoughts. Out west was another option, but another call to flight services put paid to that idea. Snow over Hamilton, extending to Oakville. Confirmed by the local radar feed and leading to a whole host of instructors sitting at the computer bemoaning “where is this stuff coming from?”

Eventually we threw our collective hands up in disgust and just decided to get the circuit check out of the way, stick my passenger in the back and maybe do a quick city tour afterwards. That way I could pick up some of the finer points of orbiting the downtown core with an instructor on board and A would still get her flight.

Which is how, after over 3 months, I found myself in the familiar situation of having Bob back  in the right* hand seat.

Déjà vu anyone?

* yes I put left to start with :(

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Perfect accompaniment

If you haven’t read this blog post, do so now as this one won’t make sense without it.

Basically a couple of years ago we started work on a shiny new building at work and had a ground-breaking ceremony to commemorate the occasion. The cookies i ordered were somewhat dubious in shape to say the least

Now the building is done and we just had the opening ceremony, complete with local press and everything.

Cookies were also involved, the perfect design to complement the previous offerings.


apparently of the basket variety

I attach a picture of a pair of them, for your viewing pleasure.

No, I was not involved in the ordering of them this time!