Monday, February 10, 2014


This has been one of worst winters in recent memory, and has forced me into a deeper hibernation than usual. At least when I was still building, I was motivated enough to go to the hangar any time the temperature was 15F or above. These days, I won't stir until I see at least 28F.  We have also had a higher than normal frequency of what passes for snow in Central Ohio - it is typically more ice than snow. They call it a "Wintery Mix."

I won't tell you what I call it.

The most recent event was the most egregious example of malicious weather that I have seen in years. It started with a quarter inch of rough ice, followed with six to eight inches of snow, and was then capped of with another layer of ice, albeit thinner and smoother than the first layer. This is apparently such a rare combination that it positively befuddled the snow blower.  The top layer of ice required that I provide a constant lifting force on the handles to keep enough weight on the front of the blower to convince it to dig into the ice, and the bottom layer of ice was left behind for me to slip and slide on. The light snow layer in between was perfect for the wind to blow right back into my exposed face, seemingly from all angles. So much work was required to move the snow blower around that I found myself sweating in my Walmartts.

It took more than two hours to clear the driveway.

There were two possible and not mutually-exclusive outcomes from this: I could be laid up for days with a sore back, or I could be laid up for days with a hideously bad cold.

Pass me a Kleenex, please...

I'm staying home from work today as I endure the third day of this terrible cold, and deploring the sad state of 21st century pharmacological science. I suppose I would feel worse without the panoply of over-the-counter snake oil "medicines" coursing through my system, but that is not to imply that I am not miserable with the stuffy head, periodically alleviated with a runny nose, all punctuated with hoarse coughing.

At least I have some time to work towards my two Instructor written tests. I'm three fourths of the way through the Sportys videos, and I'm starting to look at test prep software.

While work on the plane has been sporadic at best, I have managed to get through the annual inspection. There was only one glaring fault found - the rest of the was limited to filing down areas that were interfering with the paint and routine maintenance. The fault I found was a loose jam nut on the autopilot pitch servo.

I also got the newly bifurcated baggage bulkhead back in place. It appears that I could have spent another few seconds looking for the correct can of spray paint at Walmart.

Unless the tank has developed a leak that didn't show up in the post-SB leak test, that should be the last time that it has to come out of the airplane for a long, long time.

Once the weather and my head clear up sufficiently, I have another project. I'm going to replace the new brake lines with even newer brake lines - these are the final production length and will get rid of the big "bumps" in the lines I have now. They are also protected by a clear transparent coating instead of back - if I'm going to have something as fancy as braided steel brake lines, I want to show them off. The other lines in the box will replace the plastic crossover lines that tie the two sets of brake pedals together.

Off to the right is a consolidated checklist that I wrote up in a word processor and laminated with some DIY laminating sheets from the Office Supplies aisle at Walmart.

I'm about done here for now; a headache has arrived to join in the Festival of Misery going on inside my head. I'm heading back to my TV where I'm watching The Red Baron on Netflix.

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