Wednesday, November 27, 2013

PilotsNPaws Mission

I joined PilotsNPaws some time ago but with my hectic schedule I just hadn't been able to make a rescue mission work yet.  Today with the help of an awesome PilotsNPaws advocate Sue Clark I was able help rescue two great dogs.  The mission was straightforward...  a Lhaso Apso and a pit mix were about to be put down in Bakersfield.  They needed to get out to another shelter/rescue center where they might have a chance to find adoptive families.  I was headed south anyway to fetch some family for Thanksgiving, so why not make a little detour?

I greeted Sue at KCCR this morning.  I had never met her before but came to find out she was a highly experienced, retired professional pilot with 20,000+ hours and lots of interesting stories to share.  She volunteered to accompany me on my first mission to show me the ropes and help me handle the dogs, provide crates, and maybe a few piloting pointers.

We were expecting some weather but it turned out to be a beautiful day, albeit windy and blustery.

Typically when you see that kind of haze on the ground in California it means smooth still air, but this time it was actually dust kicked up by strong surface winds.  We fought against 40 kt head winds on the flight south, and moderate turbulence in the mountains over GMN.  I picked up my passenger and then we made our detour to KBFL where we picked up our other "passengers".

I have mixed feelings about pit bulls.  This one was a mix but clearly a lot of pit in her.  I don't blame the dogs, but unfortunately when you mix a lot of breed specific behaviors with all the idiots out there who abuse, neglect and generally miss care for this type of dog, bad things result.  I have no doubt that breed tendencies cause these dogs to act unpredictably, often in terrible ways.  The fighting breeds are dangerous, clearly.  Therefore it was with some trepidation that I agreed to help rescue this one, on assurances that it was sweet and totally 100% socially adjusted to both humans and other dogs.  When I met "Stacy" I  was relieved to realize that was indeed the case.  This was a very sweet dog. She just wanted to be pet and had no aggressive tendencies whatsoever.

The Lhaso Apso was just a total love.  A lap dog basically who just wanted to be held.  He was very timid and was shaking with fear when I took him out of the plane.  This one... "lucky"...  will make someone an excellent companion.

The counter benefit of the winds was on the way back we saw 214 kt ground speeds at 6500 ft, staying low for the dog's ears sake.  Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Professional Instrument Courses PIC (

With the winter weather here and being that it's been 11 years since I got my instrument rating, I figured it would be good time to do a comprehensive IFR refresher. I do an annual IPC for insurance and proficiency reasons, but I live in California... nearly all of these have entailed flying around for 1.5 hrs in CAVU conditions. The last real actual I got was last May unless you count blasting through the summer marine layer at Colemill Baron climb speeds over 2000 fpm which means 1-2 minutes in the clouds at most.

So I just blocked off three days from work and hired PIC to come to me for some IFR adventure time. The plan is to take a little trip and go hunt down a lot of actual instrument conditions. Low approaches, clouds, rain etc. Typically these guys come to you and you put them up in a local hotel for their stay and they prep you for the IFR rating at your local airport. Instead we will go up the western coast towards Seattle and we'll be bound to find some bad weather. I'm already instrument rated so that pressure will be off... just about practicing some stuff I don't often encounter with the family in tote and adventure! Should be fun... departing Dec 22nd!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Soon, another Don Copeland masterpiece...

Don Copeland pinged me with a last minute slot he has open for the paint starting next week... unfortunately I have a trip planned for Thanksgiving so that's not going to work for me, so he is going to put someone else in front and slot me in after that which means I'm finally getting close.  Paint is really the final mile in the total restoration of this wonderful airplane and it's going to look amazing.  I also finally decided on the stripe color, it's going to be...  :)