Here goes nothing

Thanks to a post in rich text, I’ve discovered a pretty cool little plug-in that should cross post all my posts here over to my fake blog on LiveJournal. Even better, another plugin puts a comment link on the bottom of my fake blog that directs back there so I don’t have to check there and here for comments.

In other blog news, I installed Akismet which supposedly works with SpamKarma2 to further reduce the spam problem. But for some strange reason it seems to be double counting the spam. I wrote down what my SpamKarma “spams killed” count was when I started, and since then the Akismet count has been increasing at almost, but not quite, double the rate the SpamKarma2 count has been. The SpamKarma2 count delta also agrees with the number of spams I see in the review and clean-out pages that both SpamKarma2 and Akismet present. Very weird.

Speaking of blog spam, another thing I’ve noticed recently are trackbacks where some site has copied my entire blog post and surrounded it with advertising. I don’t know what they’re playing at, but every time I see one I mark it as spam and delete the trackback. I notice that other bloggers, David Megginson for instance, don’t delete them. They probably should – I can’t see these things as anything other than an attempt to confuse search engines into directing people to their site instead of yours. It’s hard to draw the line between these trackback spammers and a legitimate “Planet” site that puts your RSS feed on a page with other blogs of a similar interest group – for instance I know my blog appears on “Planet LUGOR” and “Planet Linode”, the first because I’m a member of LUGOR and the second because I’m a former customer of Linode’s virtual private servers. It’s hard to draw the line, but I know the difference when I see it and I do draw the line.

Not a good flight

I went flying today. The “mission” was to deliver Paul P out to Batavia to pick up N9105X from its annual. The secondary missions were to see if the Lance, N43977 was still holding a charge from my flight two weeks ago, and could start itself, and also to get a bit of practice for my upcoming BFR.

I jumped in, hit the master, the fuel pump and moved the mixture up to prime, and hit the crank as quickly as I could. The Lance turned nearly two blades before the battery died, without catching. We hooked up the pre-heater cart battery same as last time, and as I discovered last time I needed to turn on the battery master to get both the cart battery and the Lance battery involved before it would turn over. It started pretty easily, but it sounded like it wasn’t hitting on all cylinders at first. It idled as I finished my pre-flight and office set-up and Paul P put away the pre-heater cart, by which time it was as smooth as ever.

The ceiling was at 2600 ft. Not a great day for buzzing around. Flew out to Batavia and while we’re on the CTAF I hear somebody calling in giving their aircraft type as “Boeing”. Oh, those Stearman pilots, I think, they love to confuse people with that “Boeing” call in. But then I heard him say “B-17 taxiing across the runway”. B-17??? I couldn’t believe it. But sure enough, out in the distance I could see something huge and green moving around on the airport. After we landed, Paul identified it as “Memphis Belle”.

Because of the difficulty we’d had with starting 977, I did something I’ve never done before, and would never do with a non-pilot – I let Paul out of the plane without shutting it down. Even though Paul is a pilot, I still kept my hand on the mixture in case I saw him walking towards the front of the plane. Everybody makes mistakes, and that one has killed even experienced pilots in the past.

The idea was that I’d fly around doing my stuff, and he’d call on the CTAF or text my cell phone if he had trouble and needed me to come pick him up. But the low ceiling was putting a damper on my fun – I didn’t particularly want to to steep turns 500 feet below a solid cloud deck, nor did I want to do stalls that close to the ground. I flew up north, because the cloud deck looked a bit holey-er up there. I got to the lake shore, and after buzzing up and down the shore sight seeing a big I found a hole and flew up over the clouds into severe clear at 3,500 feet. I did some steep turns, but for some reason I was starting to feel queasy. I wonder if that’s because I couldn’t see the ground? I hadn’t heard Paul on the CTAF, but in the course of my travels I’d gotten 20nm away from Batavia and had been down low at some points so maybe I hadn’t heard it.

I decided to head back to Batavia to see if I could see 05X on the ramp or in the pattern. I overflew the airport at 2100 feet, barely 500 feet below the solid ceiling, and didn’t see 05X anywhere around. My airsickness was getting pretty bad, so I turned on the autopilot and the altitude hold and opened the vents. In spite of the fact that the original plan was to wait until I’d heard from Paul P or until 13:00, I decided to head home in spite of the fact that it was only 12:40.

Almost immediately after checking in with Rochester approach, I heard 05X being told to extend his downwind, so I knew that I’d missed him on the CTAF. Good thing he didn’t need my help. I was given another long vector way around the runway 22 approach corridor, and eventually told to enter a left base for runway 25 and contact the tower. In spite of the fact that I was 15nm out, I was cleared to land. I made a nice greaser of a landing, and managed to get home without throwing up, although I made a bit of boo-boo by not taxing over the hold short line before doing my after landing checks. I blame the airsickness.

Because of how crappy I felt, I decided to deal with the faulty battery problems next weekend. And maybe schedule my BFR for some time after I can go out and practice without getting sick.

I’m now home, and of course the clouds have all broken up and instead of a broken layer at 2500 AGL like when I was flying, I’m now looking at one tiny little cloud at 3000 AGL and other than that, “clear and a million”. Sigh.