Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A month!

Looking at the last posting, it appears to be very nearly a month that has slid behind with no notable events to report. That's not the case, if course; in reality I am looking even further back to when I was worried about what I would do to fill my time without having an airplane to build. That has yet to become an actual problem. The bad news is that it truly had been almost a month since I had flown, and what with this being something of a flying blog, well, I simply never found the requisite grain of sand around which to form a pearl of a blog post.

So, what I have I done with all of that time?  In more or less chronological progression:

  - I had to take my little sports car to the dealer for maintenance. It had developed a squeak up in the front of the engine that I wanted to have looked at to ensure that it wasn't a bearing of some type that was getting ready to seize. The maintenance experience at the dealer is surreal to someone like me that's more accustomed to being met in the actual service area by a guy with greasy hands. The service at my new dealer is far more formal. I have an assigned Service Manager that I deal with any time there is a problem with the car. Given the type of customer they're used to dealing with, it came as no surprise that the entire experience was professional and dispassionate to the extent of being almost somber.  Obviously, I had to lighten things up a bit.

Service Manager, nervously wringing hands: "And what seems to be the problem with her?"

Me: "I would describe it as an expensive-sounding noise. I debated whether or not to bring her in - it might be nothing, but I was afraid that it might be a bearing getting ready to seize."

Service Manager, exhibiting an interesting mix of empathy and encouragement: "You did the right thing, bringing her in."

We sat down and went through the paperwork, detailing everything that should be done. Naturally, I was trying to calculate each order from the a la carte maintenance menu, thinking that in the same manner Wi-Fi is free at Motel 6 but $45 a day at a Hilton, this was really going to hit me where it hurts. Finally we got down to brass tacks: the assignment of my complementary (which I assume to equate to "hidden cost") loaner car, which turned out to be a nice, new C300 coupe.

Service Manager, brimming with the good news: "Oh! It looks like they have number thirty-seven ready for you!"

Me, faux seriously disappointed: "Oh, no! Not number thirty-seven! That one averages one and a half stars on Yelp.com!"

Service Manager, quite obviously trying to decide whether he should laugh at my joke or get busy finding a suitable replacement for number thirty-seven: "                 [pause]                           Oh! Ha ha ha!"

I picked up my repaired car on Saturday morning. They had performed a factory service bulletin, tightened and lubricated an idler pulley, and washed the car inside and out.  I could practically feel my Visa card screaming out in an almost visceral fear of the lashing it was soon to receive.

Me: "Soooooo... how much?"

Service Manager: "Oh, no charge at all."

Me, quite obviously trying to decide if this was a payback joke: "                    [pause]                 Really?"

Yes, really!

  - I expanded my bicycle riding distance and saddle-time limits from the seven or eight mile ride detailed in the last posting. I moved to a paved trail and found that my distance limit increased commensurately. Near the area that I departed towards the round barn is another trail head that is part of the Ohio Rails-to-Trails program. The trail runs pretty far to the west, but I thought I would be satisfied with a more achievable goal of reaching London, Ohio, which is a mere twelve miles to the west. The first effort found me only three and a half miles down the path before calling it quits - the 10 mph headwind was too much to fight. I made it as far as Lilly Chapel, a very town only known to me because it is home to a grain elevator that acts as a local reporting point when approaching Bolton Field from the west. This was the first time that I have ever seen it from the ground.

I tried again the following week and found it a much easier ride without the headwinds.


As a result of that ride, I expanded my mileage limit to twenty-four miles and my saddle limit to twenty miles. The last four miles were something of a torture - I am simply not well-endowed in the areas that allow for extended sitting on hard objects.

The following week was an even longer ride. There is a very nice trail that runs through the Wayne National Forest from Nelsonville, OH to Athens, OH - a round trip ride of thirty miles. It was a great ride and it expanded my mileage limit to thirty miles, but sadly left my saddle limit at twenty miles. Yeah, the majority of the return ride was pretty uncomfortable.

 - The RV-6 came due for its annual inspection. I had hoped that given its light flying duties over the last year, there wouldn't be much work to do. And there wasn't, really, but it did need new brake pads. I also decided that it was time to do some touch-up paint that has been on the to-do list for quite awhile. That meant two things: a lot of fiberglass prep work, and finding someone to do the painting. With all of the disassembly, parts replacement, sanding, sanding, and sanding to do, quite a bit of time was spent.

 - There were a few days spent in Chicago on a business trip and a game review to be written as well. Busy busy busy!

 - The annual London Cobra show came up. Pete and I went out to look at the pretty cars and I also took the opportunity to meet up with some old high school friends, one of whom has built his own Cobra.

 - Pete and I also made a trip to Xenia to see my brother racing the Schmetterling Aviation sponsored NASCAR Modified at Kil-Kare Speedway.

 - And finally, at long last I flew the RV-12. It wasn't far, and it wasn't long. After a month on the ground, all I wanted to do was get over to MadCo and see if I still remembered how to land it. I did. I also upgraded the Dynon to Version 6 firmware, the most notable feature of which is a simplified control scheme for the autopilot. I didn't have any trouble with the older scheme, but I still find the one-push operation that turns on both Nav and Altitude hold at the same time to be beneficial. As an added plus, the altitude hold seems to be working again. Time will tell if this is just another temporary spell of compliance to my commands or if it will keep on working this time.

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