14 April 2018

Fun trip

I used to live and base SCS-1 on the North side of the Phoenix metro area.  Back then flying up to Sedona was as easy as falling off a log as there is nothing but Class E airspace between the two.  The attitude was something of "Oh look.. 'tis a day ending in 'Y'... lets have lunch in Sedona!"

Now SCS-1 is based on the southside and there is a whole lotta complex airspace in the way.  The SCSon yearned to visit the airport.   And for good reason.  The airport is kinda of a special one in that it's up on a mesa, and likely the closest most of us will come to a carrier landing.

We tried for last week but the winds were reported as 16G20 80 degrees across the runway :-(   Abort - SEZ is no place to visit with high winds in the vicinity.

Today we are seeing VRB-003 even though winds aloft suggests perhaps otherwise.  At least this gives us a window.  So we depart (SCSon PF, me Navigating) northbound and stay at or below 2500 to stay under the Phoenix Class Bravo, then climb through the Scottsdale class Delta (In radio contact and with their permission".  More complicated but still doable.
The flight up to Sedona was uneventful though rather bumpy with the turbulence of the winds over the mountains.  But the red rocks were beautiful as ever.

And here we are Wheels down @ SEZ.

On the return leg (Me flying, SCSon Navigating) we contact approach and get flight following just east of Cottonwood..  I'm surprised Phoenix TRACON has RADAR services that far north.  I'm old but willing to learn.  

We had a bit of a hiccup where we were given a radio handoff...  And we called 3x.  He was kinda busy so we didn't sweat it.  Then he called us. and we responded... to no answer.   We called asking radio check - no answer.   OK flip over to the other radio where we finally re-established contact.   The radios are both Icom A-200's though one antenna is on top while the other is on the belly.  The belly antenna has less "vertical" than the top antenna.  That might have been the difference.

As we near ~30 north PHX, approach clears us into PHX class bravo..Meaning we don't have to worry about the class bravo shelves, everyone else is above you.  Eventually they clear us direct DVT @ 5500  then for the EAST bravo transition.

We are later cleared down to 4500.  But while identifying landmarks, I inadvertently descend through 4500.  Upon recognition of the deviation I initiate corrective action.  Nary a peep from the controller.  Good maybe he'll let me slide!  

Keep it east of the runway threshold but west of the freeway.  Clear of the corridor once south of the freeway.  Request direct destination, granted "Remain on transponder code, contact tower".  And we do.  That left us a bit high for the destination arrival but we made it work out.  Still....Arrival "uneventful" and that is the best answer to the question of how was the flight?

A Great flight!  The SCSon logged 1.3 (uphill and upwind).  I logged 1.1 downhill & downwind.   That choice was not an accident.

How was your Saturday?   I score this one a home run!  Now excuse me as I file an ASRS report for the altitude deviation in the Class Bravo :-(  Unintentional, My Bad and fixed it immediately before the controller said anything...  Still gotta file.

11 April 2018


I only regret I don't have any BofA accounts to close... because I came to the conclusion that BofA stood for Bank of A$$holes about 45 years ago and closed all my accounts then!  And actively avoided them since.  Now they have gone political with the decision not to finance ar-15 manufacturers.

It did result in an uncomfortable moment at a summer party where the host offered a choiceof many cozy's to keep one's drinks cool.... many featuring BofA themes.   I spouted off with my 45 year opinion of the  company: BofA = "Bank of A$$holes"

Had I known our host worked there, I wouldn't have brought it up.  That's just being social... But it doesn't change my opinion of the company.   They have had no business of mine for 45 years running!  I said Alpha Mike Foxtrot before I was 10 and haven't looked back.


29 March 2018

unexpected benefit

The SCDad (my dad that is)  was born during the great depression and grew up on a farm.  Needless to say he's of the mindset that doesn't spend money on "frivolous" stuff... like personalized license plates.

A couple years ago we were struggling with what do we get Dad for Christmas?  What do you get a senior citizen that has everything he needs.  He served 20+ years in the US Army and is very proud of his active duty + Reserve service and we are too.

The SandCastle Crew proposed to purchase and annually fund a personal plate in a military theme so his money is not going to frivolous stuff.  His state does not specifically honor veterans but they do have a vaguely pro-military plate.  We put our heads together and came up with an appropriate plate recognizing his service.  It starts with O5 for Lt. Colonel and a few more letters to details his specifics.  ~6 months later he proudly installed it on his car.

Also, he's a widower.  Talking to other widower's thet tell me worst part is the empty feeling in the evenings when there is no one to talk to.  They tell me it's very important to find activities to fill these hours.  To that end he's an amateur musician and works with several local community bands.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago.  He pulled up to a 4 way stop about 9pm coming home from band practice.  Checking both ways, he entered  the intersection.... and caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye and hit the brakes.  He was promptly hit from R to L  in the front end removing the entire front end of his car by someone speeding ~15 over the limit and never slowed for the stop.

The crash was loud and drew a 50+ crowd from the apartments on the corner.  Fortunately for Dad, one was an off duty, out of jurisdiction police officer.  He noticed the custom plate noting military service and took Dad under his wing.  Step one, escort him to his truck to sit down.  Step two, find the front plate and stash in the trunk.  Step three explain to local PD when you are ready to interview Dad, he's right over here and YOU WILL GO TO HIM! (And they did).  Step four, drive Dad home (about 3 blocks).

Thank you to the off duty PD office for taking good care of SCDad.  And amusing to hear the plate is what triggered him to treat a vet with kid gloves.

SCDad gets his car back today (Friday)

23 March 2018

WooHoo!! A real Red Letter day!

This is what the SandCastle's driveway looks like tonight:
There is a new pilot in the SandCastle!

The SandCastle Queen painted this to celebrate the SCSon's passing his Private Pilot checkride!   He's been working on it for the better part of a year.  He completed the requirements last August but had a devil of a time to get scheduled with an examiner.  Today he had a 3 hour oral and 1.5 hr flight and walked away with a temporary pilot certificate.

This makes him a 4th generation pilot.  Great GrandFather (& Grand Uncle), Grandfather, Dad a couple cousins and now the SCSon.

Dave Hirschman wrote a very good article last year that well describes why we made this investment in him titled "Because he flies".  Let me humm a few bars.

Because he flies, he’s learned to plan for the worst, to prepare for aerial emergencies, and to always be ready to implement a Plan B (or C, or D) when things go awry. He’s experienced the limited value of forecasts firsthand. And he knows limitations such as how far, how fast, and how high his aircraft can fly; how much fuel it needs to reach a destination, and how much weight is safe to carry.
Because he flies, he’s learned to focus on the immediate task at hand. He can push the nagging trivialities of daily life aside and—at least during his time aloft—live entirely in the present.
Because he flies, he’ll be less tempted by the dangerous impulsivity that does such harm to every generation. Driving recklessly means nothing to those who know they can fly far faster than any highway speed limit. Excessive drinking and drug abuse can ground aviators, so hopefully he’ll steer clear of them. Flying rewards healthful moderation.

Congratulations to the SCSon.  Now don't get cocky
(Drive way artwork & photo credit SCQueen, copyright 2018.).

11 March 2018

How'd you sleep last night?

How did that "spring forward" work out for you?

Me? I'm good.  See I live in the most stable time base ever, AZST (Arizona Standard Time) "We never change!"

I hope one day the rest of the world will come to it's DST senses.  Pick a timeoffset and stick to it!

14 February 2018

Gotta love modern technology

TL;DR:  modern technology allows me to send lunch money to SCSon via his phone.

Long Form:  The SandCastle Queen called just before 5pm "The SCSon left his wallet when he left to meet his instructor".  Tried calling and texting so he can swing by the DayJob(tm) and I can give him some $$$.  Good news, this proves he doesn't use his phone while driving (this is a good thing).  He finally checked his phone at his destination while getting ready to order supper... and no dinero to pay with.

I didn't want to drive over and deliver cash because it means ~10 miles in rush hour traffic in the wrong direction.  Discover Card used to let me generate a one-time use CC# that I could use, but that's gone the way of he dodo bird,

Fortunately the internet is now a thing, and by golly, did you know you can send an eGift card over the internet!  So I was able to send him a sawbuck to his phone to buy supper with!   Maybe I should have let him suffer to learn the lesson.  But that would sacrifice the primary lesson :-(

Still 'cuz Internet, I could send him an egift card via his phone.  This saved a whole lotta driving in ugly rush hour traffic in  the rain with accidents practically on every corner.  Gotta love $TECHNOLOGY!

And the unpaid plug this was Panera Bread Co  though I suspect many other chains offer something similar.  And a hint to those that don't,  Figure it out!