Today’s excitement

Ok, this is not what I wanted for today: 13WHAM-TV || Rochester – Police Searching Kodak Site for Armed Man

There were about a brazillion cop and Kodak Security cars out front, and lots of rumours flying around. When the rumour came that they were shortly going to start evacuating the building, I decided to beat the rush and leave right away.

Ok, that link went away. So I’ll just paste in the current story

No Gun Found at Kodak Park

(Rochester, N.Y.) – Police did not find an armed man at a Kodak complex on Mt. Read Boulevard. Just before 9 a.m., Kodak security got a report of a person carrying a firearm at Building 205. After police found no apparent threat, Kodak evacuated 1,100 workers from Building 205 and the adjacent Building 214.

Kodak workers will get full pay for the day, and are expected to be back on the job tomorrow.

Kodak and police are still investigating whether someone brought a firearm into the plant.

Building 205 is a very large building with industrial and office parts, and I’m sure somebody could hide something there pretty easily. On the other hand, people carry a lot of stuff in and out of the place and I’m sure somebody bringing a long object like a rolled up movie poster could be mistaken for a gun.

It’s good to be a geek.

Driving to work today, I see the police blocking off my normal exit to Hwy 104. And up the road, a huge lineup of cars waiting to exit on the only alternate route I know, Ridge Road. Fortunately, I’m a geek, and a pilot. I reach back to my flight bag on the back seat and pull out my Garmin 296 GPS, fire it up in Automotive mode, and hit the “Waypoint” button, find the waypoint I set on Work, and select it. It immediately tells me to turn right on some road in 400 feet. I reach into my backpack and pull out the car kit, so I get voice directions for the rest of the trip. After a couple of turns, I was back on Hwy 104 and on my way, no muss, no fuss, no bother. Yeah, I probably could have figured out something, but I didn’t have to.

Anatomy of a failed plan

Radar pictureThe plan was to go up and visit my daughter. She asked me to bring my plane so we could take her new boyfriend for a ride. Unfortunately, the plane wasn’t available until 3pm on Saturday, but that’s ok because she was working until 5pm, and so we could go out to dinner and then flying on Sunday. And maybe my long distance friend Mark. So I booked it. Then came the first hitch – the boyfriend wasn’t available to go flying on Sunday after all. Oh well, we could still do dinner, and Liane and Mark and I could still go flying. And then Mark remembered a former commitment. Oh well, dinner was still on the menu, and Liane and I could go for brunch and a flight on Sunday.

At 1pm, I was checking the weather, and there were thunderstorms to the south. I thought that was ok (because storms around here generally move to the east), except the flight service weather briefer pointed out that they’re moving north. I checked the radar just before leaving for the airport, and the thunderstorms were now over Buffalo, but still a bit south of my route. I decided to go to the airport anyway, but when I got there I checked the radar again and those little red echos had moved right onto my route, and looked like they were heading straight for my destination. At this point, I gave up. The Aviation Weather site showed a SIGMET (Significant Meteorological warning) for thunderstorms in the area.

The image above is the current radar picture. If I’d left when I’d originally planned, I probably would have been landing about now. Or crashing. There is hail falling here in Rochester right now, and the dog won’t leave my side because he’s scared of the thunder.

I’d love to help you, buddy, but I’d prefer to keep my license

I got a curious email just now.

Good Afternoon- I got your name through the Rochester Flying Club website. I live in Hemlock and work in Rochester. I am looking for a
way to be in two places at once…..I have two children graduating from college on the same day in different parts of New York State. My
daughter graduates from [college in upstate NY] at 10:30 in the morning and my son graduates from [another college, near here] at 4pm in the afternoon . There isn’t time to drive between the two, but there might be time to get to them both if we fly. I’m hoping that you or someone you might know would might be interested in flying 4 of us from [first location] to [second location] on the afternoon of May 21st. If you can lend any assistance, I’d love to hear from you.

I feel for the guy, and this sort of need to be in two places at once is a pretty compelling reason to become a pilot. But if I, or any other private pilot, were to take him up on the offer, the FAA would be all over the pilot for offering an illegal charter. Plus there is the little matter that for his four person family, the pilot needs a six seater, and at 4pm on the 21st I’m going to be flying the club’s 6 seater home from the rec.aviation fly-in.