Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trial Run

We had another one of those quirky Global Warming days today - 60+ degree days in January continue to make me wonder what precisely is wrong with a little bit warmer globe, although if asked in August I will probably be able to come up with a pretty good answer. It would have been foolish to waste the opportunity as the forecast for tomorrow takes us right back to the normal miserable wintry crud we usually have.  

Truth be told, it is tomorrow's weather that better reflects my current mood - three weeks into a six week audit and I have had enough of probing and repetitive questions. Don't get me wrong - there are very good reasons for these folks to be in here looking at my stuff - but it gets difficult when they demand evidence of something that happens invisibly. For example, the applications that I build determine who the user is and what that user should be able to do (or, more importantly, not do) by "asking" Windows who that user is and what groups he/she belongs to. This is great for me because it lets me trust Windows to manage their passwords - no more "Dave, I lost my password!!" interruptions to deal with. Corporate HQ also sets and enforces the password complexity rules, so I am automatically in compliance with their standards through no additional effort at all. It works wonderfully, right up until an auditor says "Prove it!"


Still, a little warmth in the late afternoon this time of year is a gift and it would be churlish not to appreciate it to its fullest, so Pete and I gratefully took the opportunity to button up the plane. That meant removing the spark plugs and re-torquing them with heat sink compound on the threads, putting on the cowls, and finishing up the installation of the fuel filler neck. With all of that done, the plane was ready for flight except for two outstanding tasks: the brake pads needed to be conditioned, and the fuel level part of the Dynon needs to be calibrated. I was able to do one of those.

We pulled out the plane and I managed to get it started. Five times. I'm still not very good at the transition from choke to throttle and it dies on me until I get it just right. I called Bolton ground for taxi permission, but there was no reply. That can mean one of two things: the day has been so slow and boring that the controller has nodded off, or that the volume is turned down on the radio. Because the first is so common, it took me a couple of seconds to test for the second. I did it just in time to hear an irritated "two eight four delta golf, how do you hear this radio?"  Oops. He must have thought that his primary radio was broken, which is also not uncommon at Bolton.

I replied back that I could hear him just fine, the fault was mine, and that I apologize. Not  accepted, it would seem, because he was surly for the remainder of our interaction. I asked to taxi down to the runway where I would need to perform "a high-speed taxi." I realized too late that from where he sits, 40mph was not going to look anything remotely like "high speed," but given his mood I just let it go.

The winds were fairly light at 8 knots, but I still had trouble taxiing in a straight line. That huge weather vane on the tail combined with a swiveling nose wheel had me punching at the brakes the whole way. I think this airplane is going to go through brake pads at a prodigious rate.

The taxi test/brake conditioning went fine. The idea is to accelerate to 40 mph, brake hard down to 5 mph, repeat three times. By the third time, I was able to get the tires to screech a little bit, so it would seem that full braking authority was attained. I also had time to monitor the airspeed indication on the Dynon and see that it's working fine.

While taxiing back in, I tried to engage the tower guy in a little chit-chat by saying that "next time out will be the first flight!"

He replied, "                                              ."


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