Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy T-Day y'all. There are only four days each year I notice in their passing. Starting with the first of each year the four are: Juneteenth (19th of June), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and MsBubba's B-Day (December 22, the most important day of the year). Of the four Thanksgiving is the most enjoyable.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day.

This morning I found a little time for the shop in-between making dinner rolls for our contribution to the feast. MsBubba asked for a small box to hold her Mahjong tiles. How could I say no, besides it will be the perfect project after the long layoff.

After much laying out of tiles, butt scratching and, "whatever" from the boss I settled on dimensions and sawed the sides and ends to final size along with truing the boards.

You can't see much, they are stacked to the right of the #4. That may be all the shop work for the day. 

It is almost time to start getting ready for the turkey. I'll be social, may even put on a stain free and clean t-shirt for the big event.

See you guys on down the road,


Monday, November 21, 2016

Front Garden and Parking Finished

As with most things at Casa Chaos work expands. What was planed as a two day job took six. Whatever, the front garden and parking are finished and I have new rocks to yell at the kids to "get off'".

We removed a row of prickly pear along the curb and moved several other plants to make room for parking and graveled both the motorhome's parking place and the new parking area. As I posted the other day we had10 tons of gravel delivered. I had figured 8 tons were needed but the delivery was free for 10 tons. I figured I'd find some use for the extra 2 tons. Turns out I needed all ten to finish up the front garden and motorhome area.

Anyway photos of the new rocks:


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Odds and Ends

I'm back working....The suits are crazy. So what else is new.

MsBubba wanted to add parking space in front of the house. As always the answer is "Yes dear".

I had 10 tons of rock delivered yesterday. Of course everything had to be moved to make room. Here is almost 10 tons of rock, some of it has already been moved to the area beside the house.

Exciting isn't it. 

Here is some of the rock spread beside the house.

And Mark from the backside removing an Agave for transplant out of the expanded driveway.

And finally something almost woodworking. Several years ago MsBubba carried home a metal chair  from one of her dumpster diving adventures. The frame has taken up room in the shop for all that time while I occasionally tried to figure out how to make a seat. Anyway I got around to doing it a couple of weeks ago,  Cypress slats with screws through the metal rails. Looks better than I expected and is surprisingly comfortable. 

Sam the Wonder Dog is on his favorite patio chair and the motorcycle trailer is there until I finish spreading gravel. BTW, if anyone wants/needs a good motorcycle trailer this one is for sale as I no longer have a motorcycle or ride.


Friday, November 11, 2016

There I Waz....

...with one burning and one turning.....Most aviation stories start that way and end up with "the only thing that saved the day was my great skill and knowledge".

Well, after 105 days of medical leave during which there was not a single thought about airplanes or flying I donned the monkey suit for a 0500 show. Today's show was for a prep flight so I might not embarrass myself too badly when I take my FAR 135.297 flight check Saturday morning. For me there were two take aways from the whole exercise. The first was: After 105 days out of the cockpit you can be a little rusty or in other words, buttons? What buttons? Where in the hell are my buttons? It wasn't pretty.  The second was: Damn technology has come a long ways and if you let it (can find the damn buttons) the airplane will almost fly itself. The aircraft I instruct in is several generations from current technology but it is still an amazing aircraft with auto throttles where you push a button (there's the damn buttons again) and the power levers advance and set correct power for takeoff, climb, cruse, decent, and approach. At 50 feet AGL they close for landing. With the FMS (Flight Management System) you are able to program the complete flight from takeoff to landing if you can figure out the correct buttons to push. The autopilot can fly the aircraft from a couple of hundred feet above the ground on takeoff to 100 feet AGL on landing, To land the aircraft you just have to push a red button to disconnect the autopilot and then don't change anything, if you do you will mess it up.

One of the best things when you are hand flying (not using the autopilot) is the HUD (Head's Up Display). With the HUD all you have to do is put the aircraft symbol in the "donut" and keep it there. The beauty of the HUD system is it is "predictive", in other words it tells you where the aircraft will be in the future unlike a Flight Director which is "reactive" and tells you where the aircraft has been. In addition all the information you need to fly is projected on a small transparent screen (the HUD) that is about 125mm to 150mm in front of your face and is focused at infinity.  You can see the instruments and the world in front of you with no need to change focus or shift your field of view.

After all that clock building I will finally cut to the chase, the there I waz story. The contrast between today's aircraft and the first jet aircraft I "typed" in is chalk and cheese. BTW, the instructor that typed me in Learjets is still teaching in Lears and came to our center several weeks ago to help out our Lear program. I will not go through the whole "I know you" routine but after we peeled off 30 some odd years and I would guess at least 150 lbs between us, it was "wow, it is great to see you".  I really will get to the point, maybe.

Back in the early days jets were not required to have a third attitude indicator. If you lost the attitude indicator you had to rely on the "turn indicator" aka needle and ball to keep your wings level or to bank into a turn. well there I waz in a Learjet 24 Sim, young, dumb and pretty full of myself. Knowing I could fly the box that Lear came in. There was some truth to it, the Lear and I were soulmates, for me it was love at first touch. I had never flown an aircraft that did exactly what I wanted it to do, nothing more, nothing less, and did it with the slightest touch instantly. Not only that but sea level to FL410 was less than 10 minutes and once at altitude the first thing you had to do was pull the power back so the aircraft would not overspeed. What a great little airplane.

Anyway on to the story. We had finished all the requirement and were just having fun before my type check ride and of course having fun for a Sim instructor requires engine failures at V1, fire, blown tires, or what other major failures he/she can think of. I was in a zone and at the top of my game, like I said I was feeling pretty cocky so Joe gave me his best shot. He failed the right engine just at V1 and failed my attitude indicator/flight director at the same time on a 1200 RVR takeoff. I was too dumb to know it couldn't be done, I just scooted down in my seat locked on to the needle ball and airspeed and came around for an instrument approach to a single engine landing.

Durning the debrief Joe told me the longest anyone had gone before without crashing was 20 seconds, as I said I was too dumb to know it couldn't be done. That's the "only thing that saved the day was my great skill" part of the standard aviator's there I waz story.

The point of all this other than an old fart's reminiscing is how much airplanes have changed in a very short period of time. BTW, not too long after my story the FAA required a third attitude indicator in all jet aircraft.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Last Day of Freedom

The Doc signed the papers returning me to work on the 11th, better known as Remembrance Day (aka Poppy Day) in the UK and Armistice Day here in the US, WW1 hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918.

As expected work will start with a bang at 0500 with re-introducing me to the Sim, followed by a stint of flying FO with a client and a early Saturday morning FAR 135 flight check so I'm legal to instruct. Then the fun starts with my giving Check Rides Sunday and Monday....After that, who knows I haven't looked that far ahead.

On the recovery front....It's happening, just yesterday I went from only being able to move one plate at a time from the dishwasher to the cabinet to able to move three plates at once. Not just able to lift the weight but also with no pain. Other than getting strength back, my range of motion and use of the arm is near normal except behind the back reach. I keep stretching and it is improving but damn it is slow going and somewhat painful.


Ebonising Test Strips

Per the English Woodworker's method of ebonising wood I did a few test strips. From left to right are: Poplar, Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, and South American Walnut.

The "test" is quick and dirty, one application of tannic acid followed by the iron solution. For finishing the the tannic acid would require several applications before the iron solution but I have an idea of how the ebonising would work on different woods.

White Oak responded as expected, the Cherry was a surprise how well it worked. The South American Walnut was pretty much as expected, it will go almost black with just oil. Poplar might work better with additional applications of tannic acid prior to the iron and the same would apply to the Red Oak but as tested they were both disappointing.


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I'm Not Sure There Is Enough Whisky

What can I say other than I'm sorry world.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

LED Lights

MsBubba's studio has lights. For awhile I had doubts I would be typing that line any time soon. We celebrated the completion by sitting in the studio with Whisky and Wine while a great thunderstorm complete with pea hail raged around Casa Chaos.

I ran two 20 amp circuits with a total of eight outlets and a 15 amp circuit with 3 outlets for the lights. She is happy, you can't have a much better outcome.

BTW, LED's time has arrived, I found 4' LED shop lights at Costco for less than $30 USD. Not only do LEDs last longer and use less power they put out noticeable more light. Costco had replacement bulbs for my standard 4' shop lights for <$14 USD a pair. So in addition to putting LED's in MsBubba's studio I changed the bulbs in my shop lights and added an additional LED fixture over the planing bench.

The additional light sure looks good to these old worn out eyes.

Next up is a slow change out of all the house lights as LED lights become available.