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Root Cause?


I have yet again engaged in an argument on Twitter with people who think Root Cause Analysis is a terrible, bad and misguided thing, and I've decided to put this very simplistic explanation of why I don't agree with that perspective here so I can just point people at it the next time I need to have this discussion.

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Das fliegenwagen

Flying Those of you who are of of the loop (reading this blog rather than following me on Twitter) are probably unaware of the fact that I went out and bought a plane. I've been rotating my training using my plane (N8031W) and the flight school's aircraft, and recently switched over to mine full-time. I've been slowly working down my list of squawks and stuff I want to do to the plane. Since it might be of interest to the one or two people who read this who are also into aviation, I figure I'll throw a few figures and numbers out there. Purchase price of the aircraft (1965 PA28-180 "Cherokee 180C"): $35,000 (including getting it from TX to NY).
Misc. parts, maintenance, etc. since I bought the plane: About $3,500
Cost difference in training since switching to my plane: $0 (because of maintenance, buying parts, and because I've been flying more often).

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Dear FAA/Aeronav...


 Holy Hairballs - A Blog update!  Dayum it's been a while!

So, what the hell do I want to talk about?  Well, I want to expound for a bit on the FAA/AeroNav proposal to start charging for digital chart data. And, because this is my blog, I can!

Really everything I want to say can be said by an appropriate LOLCat:

Pleez don't take mah charts!


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Flying I'm not dead.... The plane isnt broken.... I suppose we can call that a success. Today's lesson was steep turns and landings. Steep turns are basically 45-degree constant-bank & constant altitude turns. I did OK on the first turn, but I'm chalking that up to a fluke, since the rest of them were pretty lousy. My first turn I nailed the bank and held altitude easily. Then we went the other way, and things started getting funky (couldn't make the plane stay at a 45-degree bank, which then made the altitude go all over the place). I started getting the hang of it again toward the end, but steep turns are on the top of the list list for next weekend (along with a bunch of other stuff that I want to work on to get closer to PTS). Then we headed back to the airport to work landings... hence the THUDs. First landing was OK. I flared a little high, but we landed pretty decently. This was my first touch-and-go at FRG, and the pace is definitely fast-and-furious, no sooner does the nosewheel touch the ground than you need to yank the flaps up and firewall the throttle (before someone lands on your slow ass). The other two landings.... not so much with the smoothness. They were definitely safe landings, bud they were definitely THUD landings - the main gear pretty much banged into the ground. Apparently I'm entering the flare too high, so that's going to need some work next lesson too. And of course, the next problem - Apparently at some point my brain and my feet stopped speaking. Because of the left-turning tendencies of properller-driven aircraft, you need to pretty much STOMP on the right rudder pedal whenever you're moving slow with lots of power on. My brain knows this. It's known this for a while. It has made my feet do this on climbout every single time I've gone up. Unfortunately my brain or my feet werent paying attention during the touch-and-go's. We were constantly drifting left on the "go" portion. I kept us on the runway, but well off the centerline. I'll need to figure out some way to keep my brain and feet on speaking terms for the next lesson. That's it - short cuz I'm tired :) I'll write something tomorrow about the next lesson, and maybe a more thorough review of this one.

Lions and Tigers and Landings, Oh My!

Flying Sometimes I question my flight instructor's self-preservation instincts. He's had me preflighting the A/C unsupervised since lesson 2 (not that I'm not thorough, I'm probably pickier than he is, and the mechanics throw things at me when I walk by (the sparkplug wires were chafing damnit!)), and unless he's far more sneaky than the other instructors he hasnt been doing the "peek at the student from behind the fuel truck" thing). And last weekend for whatever reason he decided to go pretty much hands-off on the final approach and landing. Surprisingly I managed to keep 1933H shiny-side up and rubber-side down (although I landed with more of a "THUD!" than a "squeak"). Continue reading "Lions and Tigers and Landings, Oh My!"