Sunday, July 29, 2007

Muggalicious @ MadCo

Having spent most of Saturday doing jobs around the house, up to and including replacing an exhaust fan in the bathroom (and a big Thanks to the electrician that originally installed it: nailing it in instead of using the screw mounts provided, and wiring it backwards were nice touches), I thought it would be nice to at least fly over to MadCo to fill the tanks after the trip to Cleveland last week. Replacing the fan required a few dozen trips and up to and down from the attic, an area that only has two available temperatures: really, really hot, and really, really cold. Yesterday was a 'hot' day.

On the plus side, the replacement motor for the exhaust fan was $53 online, and the entire unit was $49 at Lowes. That's nice because I would have been tempted to buy just the part I needed had it been cheaper than replacing the whole unit, and as it turns out replacing the motor would have been twice the work of replacing the whole unit. Actually, I would have ended up buying the replacement unit anyway - further inspection after removing it shows that I would have ruined it just getting the bad motor out of it. It was spot welded in, believe it or not, and the case got pretty bent up from being pried out of the rafters. Again, thanks dude, that was a real treat. A couple of screws wouldn't have killed you.

The weather today was not all that nice: low-ish clouds, 7 miles visibility, and relative humidity hovering somewhere between 'rain forest' and 'sauna.' In fact, once I was in the plane I couldn't help thinking that it was a lot like sitting in that hypothetical sauna, cozily wrapped up in a wool blanket, in July. Ick.

Still, it was flying, and it's always nice to fly with the tanks low and just me aboard. It's a nice simulation of what the extra 30 horsepower that I continue to lust for would feel like. We're off the concrete after only a few hundred feet, we accelerate rapidly to the "prop unload" speed of 120 mph, and get a great climbing turnout to the west. Coming back full of gas, well, that's a little more like work.

The flight over was ok, although a few wispy clouds keep me down low in the heat. There wasn't much to see with the haze being what is was, but there was very little traffic on the Unicom and it seemed that there just weren't that many folks flying. I hate hazy days because they really reduce the odds of seeing other airplanes before it's too late. My landing was ok, albeit with a series of what I've taken to calling 'mechanical bumps.' Those are the ones that feel like it's the springiness of the landing gears that's keeping them going. I was still able to make my turn-off, though, so it was graded as horrible. Just so-so. The tanks took 27 gallons at $4.09 per, and I couldn't help wondering why the avgas prices have vailed to follow the lower price trend of MoGas, currently selling at $2.59 per. Maybe it's a completely different supply & demand market or something of that nature. Still... a break would be nice.

Anyway, it's one of those days when you could fly somewhere if you had to, but all in all it's a better day for working on the kayak downstairs in the Blue Heron Boat Works. Today's job is fiberglassing the inside of the deck prior to attaching it to the hull. Being as I'm paranoid about running out of supplies, I will do it in sections rather than use an entire 17' length of fiberglass. That way, I can use the trimmings from the mid section to use on the bow and stern ends. On the external surfaces, I won't want to do that out of fear that I won't be able to hide the seams. No one should ever see the inside, so it's not as critical.

It's nice having something else interesting to do when the weather isn't all that conducive to flying, but it's especially nice when the weather is good enough to allow for at least a little bit of practice, a short hop, or both. There's something to be said for having your cake and eating it too whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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