Monday, October 2, 2023

San Diego

 One reason I bought the TwinBo was to have enough room for everything when doing family trips.  We go down to San Diego once or twice a year and with the four of us, a small suitcase each, a boogie board and a surf board, some bags of groceries, drinks and snacks even the big beast ends up pretty full.  The concern is often how we're going to fit it into the rental car at the other end.  We had some weird weather on the way down but very pretty.  It ended up being an IFR approach and then we woke up to rain.  That's pretty unusual for California in September!

Friday, July 28, 2023


This year I made my 3rd pilgrimage to Oshkosh.  Last time was in my Baron and a Meridian geared it up in front of me, so they shut the airport and after circling for 45 mins I ended up landing at Fond Du Lac so missed out on actually landing at OSH.  This year I went with the Tbone crew and camped so I got to do the Warbird arrival with 4 other planes in a 5 ship arrival and then setup a deluxe camp for the full experience.  I went with my buddy Joe and we met up with friend and fellow Tbone owner Martin who flew his own Tbone.  We had a blast.  It was a lot of flying but well worth it.  Logged 21 hrs of flying in 4 days without a squawk!  Not bad for a 60 year old machine.  

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Wing bling

Decided to bling up the wing a bit and chrome the landing light lens frames. Gregg Cadieux had some spare frames so rather than wait to have mine done he did his for me and sent them over to exchange with mine. They look great. I was a bit concerned the different frames mightn't line up with the screw holes perfectly but they did. Amazing the precision the Beechcraft craftsman achieved 60 years ago.

Here's what the painted frame looks like

Here is the chromed lens frame

For good measure I decided to also see what I could do to improve the old magnesium trim wheel

It was a pain in the butt to get that anchor screw out but once I did the wheel came right off and I replaced the old wheel with the bling version.  

Friday, October 14, 2022

Leather recolor

When I did my interior I decided to punt on redoing the seats.  They were in good condition and comfy, so it seemed like a waste of money to recover them considering how expensive that is these days.  So when I got the interior walls done I tried to pick a color that would fit with my existing seat color which is light beige color. 

When I did the interior I went with a light brown which I thought would be a good neutral compliment to the seats.

But the contrast of this brown vs the beige seats just isn't working for me.  The carpet is dark gray and I feel like the plane should go from dark dark carpet, to lighter seats, to lighter sidewalls, to lighter headliner.  The beige against the brown sidewalls just isn't quite right.  

Needs to be a dark brown or chocolate color to contrast properly with those sidewalls.  Rather than recover the seats I decided to try to recolor them, so I bought a leather recolor kit from

It's turned into a bigger project than I expected but it's entirely manageable.  I'm able to get a professional looking output with a lot of tedious work and a little elbow grease.. 

Basically the process involves scrubbing the old leather with a cloth soaked in leather prep chemical which removes the leather protectant and penetrates into the old dye until it starts to come up.  Then you wipe the down with alcohol cleaner and get all the old chemicals removed and expose the raw leather to soak up the new dye.  Then you wipe with leather dye color of your choice and the seat soaks it up.

It takes numerous coats with time in between each coat to let it dry, and a lot of time to find all the little nooks and cranny's that you miss, but eventually you end up with a seat that is recolored and looks new.  Then you spray a protectant sealer on it and you're good to go, and it's on to the next one.  It's not difficult, but exceedingly tedious.  I've got 2 out of 6 done so far but I think the darker chocolate brown will look much better and vibes with my vintage theme.  At least that's what I'm hoping for...

Monday, September 5, 2022

Rail Bikes on the Noyo (KLLR)

If you live in California you need to put this on your bucket list and doubly so if you're a pilot.  The old logging rail line aka "The Skunk Train" in Fort Bragg CA that has been running since the 1800's had adopted to the times and had turned towards running a scenic rail line between Ft. Bragg and Willets CA.  They were felled by some bad luck when one of the tunnels they relied on collapsed blocking the full path to Willets.  To keep the business alive they converted the open section of track to guided rail bike tours.  Rail bikes are side by side seated metal framed four wheeled pedal powered rail cars that also have a lithium ion battery assist just like modern e-bikes.  You can get as much or as little exercise as you like by peddling and throttling along the track in quiet smoothness through the incredible scenery of the pacific Northern California redwood forrest.  

Driving to the area is painful in my opinion.  Google will tell you that it's a 3.6 hr drive with no traffic.  I can tell you from experience Google is wrong!  It will take at least an hour longer to drive it.  The last 30 miles will take nearly 2 hours and you'll need to stop multiple times or else everyone in your car will be ready to throw up from the twisty and winding road (though beautiful).  

If you're a pilot however, the calculus changes drastically in your favor!  The winding 30 mile section of road becomes a quick hop over the forrest.  With about any GA airplane the 4+ hr journey becomes a beautiful 45 min flight from KCCR.  With temps in the Bay Area blasting through 100deg over Labor Day weekend, we took off and minutes later were landing at Little River (KLLR) with clear skies and temps in the low 70's.  An enterprising woman who flies Beechcraft professionally out of Sacramento saw a need and created a side hustle business doing self service rental cars at LLR.  I called Mary at Air-Galore (707-972-4498) and she left us a key to an old but reliable and clean Nissan Sentra.  

There are so many things to do and explore.  We checked into a beautifully classic North Cliff Hotel with pano views of the ocean.  We explored the marina there and ate some really great local blackened cod sandwiches at Princess Sea Food and listened to live music and drank Boont Amber Ale.  We went to Glass Beach and enjoyed the sunset and my boys scrambling up the rocks. 

But the really awesome part was the rail bikes!  We got going in the morning for a 9:30am tour.  It starts with a hike from the starting point down to the Noyo river about a half mile hike down a steep switch back trail.  From there you cross a rail bridge and then board the bikes and head into the forrest following the rail line along the river.

This is an all day adventure.  We arrived at Camp Noyo around 1pm, which is a campground and swimming hole in the middle of the redwoods.  They provide you with a really good box lunch and there is about an hour to chill and swim if you like, although the water is freezing.  The drought has the river level much lower than normal, but it's still flowing.  The bikes are turned around on the tracks and it's back on the bikes for the return trip.  

Departed and headed down the coast for a beautiful flight home along the coast.