29 May 2012

ePostal match closing weekend.

May ePostal entries are trickling in.  Thursday is the last day of the month but I'll hold it open through the 1st weekend in June.  So you still have one more weekend to get out and shoot. 

Hopefully the June match will be up before then to make it a two-fer weekend.  Shoot both targets in the same shooting session.

23 May 2012


The SandCastle Son and your humble host spent the evening training to join the SkyWarn network.  We have our SkyWarn member ID numbers and in theory know the difference between a bonafide tornado and the usual imposters.  More important, we learned what phenomena they are interested in, and how to report.

Tornadoes are pretty rare in these parts, but we do get plenty of weather phenomena worthy of note: Severe thunderstorms, flash floods, hail, heavy rain, sustained dust storms, etc.

The SandCastle is only a couple miles from our local towered municipal airport where the controllers are certified weather observers.  However the class D airspace disappears at 9PM local, and there is much exciting weather after they shutter the tower and the airspace reverts to class G.

Also the SCSon seems to have a school requirement for "community service"  (Is mandatory volunteerism actually voluntary?)  This may check the box and in a far more interesting way then the ones they propose. 

One of the questions on the registration form was "Do you have a rain gauge?"  I answered "Not Yet".  IOW I'm willing to shell out some shekels to set one up to satisfy my inner WX geek and by extension through the SkyWarn network, the public good.  I first have to coordinate with the HOA CCR's, but I don't recall any restrictions (OTOH, the general attitude of the CCRs is "everything is banned unless specifically allowed...").  Ideally we'd have the sensors mounted well above the roof to avoid surface anomalies.

In the meantime, I'm open to weather station recommendations?  I'm be interested in something I can connect to the computer and post current conditions and graphs of past weather reports, maybe add some "current conditions" widget here to the webpage.  Amazon offers some solutions starting in the low C-note range.  Scientific Instruments has some in the 2-3x C-note range but it's not clear if that connects to the computer (since they don't mention it does, I assume it doesn't).

The other problem is the physical weather conditions we experience here in the Sonoran Desert and how well the hardware will withstand the conditions.  Some of the comments suggest the hardware will not survive the local climate.  The plastic parts just can't take the heat.

There are hard metal solutions that will survive the heat but these tend to be North of a kilo-buck and thus out of the budget.

Ideas?  I'm open.

Update:  I just ordered one of these.  The price is in budget and does a whole lot more than I had in mind.  Dad has had an older version of this for several years and he gave it a thumbs up.  Now he lives in Northern CA, a climate a little more benign than the Sonoran Desert.  We'll see how long it lasts.  But Oregon Scientific is a respected name and they've been around as long as I can remember.  Will advise on the longevity.

20 May 2012

Eclipse Photos

We tried to watch the eclipse with the East Valley Astronomy Club but the parking situation was impossible and there didn't seem to be any advantage to seeing it there.  Instead we headed back to the SandCastle where we had all the comforts of home.

Thanks to Cap'n Bob & the Damsel for the heads up on the event.  That gave me time to get our Eclipse Glasses ordered.  I only needed three but the minimum order was 25.  I figured I'd be able to sell off the other 22 as the date got closer.

The glasses may also be useful for the transit of Venus June 5th in the US.

BTW, Be sure and Check Cap'n Bob's blog.  They went to Page, AZ which was directly on the line.


The SandCastle Crew

19 May 2012

Sooooo true

Every now and then I come across something and think "Gee, I wish I'd written that."  This was the third time

Just to be clear, I did not create this.  I wish I knew who to credit for the work. 
If I had created this, Cel 5 would feature an SR-71, but that's just me.  I can see the P-51 attraction.

If there is one quibble with it, it's Cel 4 and it largely depends on who does the work.  In my experience there is little relationship between the quality of the work and price charged.  I have seen all four quadrants:  High quality, Low cost;  Low Quality, High Cost; and the inverses of each.  The "low quality" half is too expensive no matter the dollar amount.  I just want the quality and will pay the price whatever is asked.  Fortunately the guy I'm working with now is in the High quality/low cost corner.

And the Champ in the last cel is classic.  If you haven't flown one, you owe it to yourself.  Go get an hour instruction today.  It will be money well spent.  Great airplanes.  The only down side to the one we had were the straight pipes off the engine (no mufflers and fatigue-ing-ly loud).  That and heel brakes (WTF were they thinking?)

H/T to On a Wing and a Whim which you will now find linked to the left under "Daily Reads".

15 May 2012

Weapons grade stupidity


Story in the local fishwrap.  Two guys been drinking and figure that was a good time to get some range time in.  One ends up dead.

The victim's wife and son knew who he was out with. How could he possibly think he'd get away with it? 

"I was shooting and he walked in front of me"?  That sounds pretty fishy. 

09 May 2012

Things I'm thankful for...

... people that care enough to let me know when I have a light out on my car.

As a pilot, we are taught to do a preflight check of the vehicle.  Checking anti collision, position and landing lights are a big part of the preflight check.  Now most flights take place in conditions where these checks are 99% meaningless.  The lights are simply not bright enough to be effective during day VFR conditions. Making them bright enough to be effective would require spotlights and simply not practically effective.

Drivers are not drilled to the same extent.  We had a rainstorm today and had to meet someone at the airport.  I pulled up behind a van and noticed a difference between the L & R headlight reflections.  I wrote it off as a bad angle on the R light.

Fast forward a couple hours.  Friend surprised me with a call 2 mins after we'd said good bye.  Friend tells me the right headlight is dead.  Now the weather today sucks and it could be a simple short.  But it could also be a blown bulb.  I am 100% thankful for the call.  I would rather know there is a light out than learn about it from a pair of flashing lights in the rear view.

In the same vein, anytime I notice a similar problem, I will offer up the same alert in a friendly way.  ("Wouldn't want to give officer friendly any excuse....")

Anytime you notice a friend with a brake or position light out, let them know.  They may not be especially thankful, but they should be!

01 May 2012

Drilled it!

I just sent JimmyB my April ePostal entries.  This was on a target that didn't make the cut.  I would have had trouble getting a hole that centered at point blank range. Unfortunately this was one of the few hits on the center target so it's no testament to my skill.

I got lucky.