Category Archives: SoCal

Off the Grid

By Lex, on October 8, 2008


Magic Mountain all day, at the behest of SWMBO V3.0 and one of her cohort. The Hobbit having taken a pass.

Pray for me, and talk amongst yourselves.

Update: A pretty good day. Traffic up the 5 was smooth at 0730 – herself can be quite the slave driver when it comes to her entertainment – and we got to the park with time to spare. Your correspondent immediately saw the X2 ride and determined to have at it, but the lady insisted upon intervals of warm-up in lesser contraptions. Wise beyond her years as it turns out.

Only $29.99 if you purchase on line, as against $59.99 at the door. Which makes it a no-brainer. They still nickle and dime you here and there: It costs a dollar to stow all loose gear in a little locker for the two minutes spent shrieking on the ride. A smarter man might have left it all in the car, but who goes anywhere without a cell phone anymore?

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A couple of data points


By lex, on September 28, 2008


The limits we impose on our Vargas for dogfighting are +/- 60 degrees of bank and +/- 30 degrees of pitch. Any more than that and we’d be in aerobatic flight, upping our insurance premiums and forcing the use of parachutes.

Which, who needs that?

I have come to the tentative conclusion that while demonstrating the bank angle limit is appropriate and in fact necessary (bank angle plus g turns the machine), demonstrating the pitch limits is probably a bad idea. I’ve got a very high correlation between showing a guest pilot the transition between 30 degrees nose high to 30 degrees nose low on a hot day – a self-evidently stomach churning sixty degree change taken all together – and himself speaking into the white plastic megaphone.

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Posted by Lex, on June 12, 2008


There are planes that land on airstrips and planes that land on water and then there is a third, more rare category of machine: One that can do both.

Amphibious aircraft saw their heyday back in World War II, when such versatile Grumman variants as the GooseWidgeon and Mallard were adopted from their civilian designs for military work. One workhorse was the Grumman J2F Duck, a biplane atop a monocoque pontoon that housed retractable main landing gear. During the war, Grumman designed a replacement monowing before pitching the contract at Columbia Aircraft to focus on the fighters they were building for the Navy.

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A real treat

By Lex, on June 9, 2008


As I hinted earlier, Tailspin Tom offered your correspondent the right seat of a C-45H from Palomar all the way up to French Valley, near Riverside. Hating to let a good man down, I reluctantly said, “Sure!”

An uneventful toodle up the 5, and and eager transit back towards the private hangars until, there she is. The first thing that strikes you is what a beautifully maintained machine the Beech Belle is. And then your eyes are inevitably drawn to those two, big Pratt and Whitney R-985s, each of them holding 450 trembling horses in check. These were built when Wildcats and Hellcats ruled the skies. It can make a man ret pondersome.

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Checked Out!

By Lex, on February 14, 2009


Well, that was easier than I would have thought. Ended up calling a different IP that Mr. I Won’t Go Flying if the Wings are Dirty. Hizzoner was proud of the opportunity, so long as payment was made in cash. I’m quite sure this has nothing to do with an aerial underground economy. The two being ontologically exclusive. Opposites, like.

Never a brief, per se. Just you preflight whilst I go and fetch some paper towels.

It’s always fun when you get checked out in a new airplane, especially if it’s anything like complex. Constant speed props, fuel flow meters for leaning the engine out and cowl flaps turn those boxes red for your host, even if retractable gear are something of a yawn. Pre-start checklist: Cowl Flaps – Open. Jolly good.

How does one open the cowl flaps?

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Maybe it’s just me

By Lex

On April 11, 2006

I’ve never had a bumper sticker on my car. Never really had anything I felt all that strongly about, maybe.

Or maybe I just never had anything I felt really strongly about that I thought could be captured on a bumper sticker. Or that anything that could be captured on a bumper sticker, and widely understood, necessarily had to be so simple a thing as to be trivial, even trite – and therefore insufficiently descriptive. So simple as to almost be insulting to the depth of complexity in thought and experience we grant ourselves free of charge. Even as we all too often tend to ascribe ill motive and bad faith to those we do not know well, but with whom we disagree on some topic. Believing as we do, that our complexity affords us some degree of authenticity in which The Other, acting as he is in manifest bad faith (for daring to disagree with us) cannot share.

Disagreeing as he does on some topic, like the one you can occasionally see on a bumper sticker.

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Judgment Day

By Lex

Posted on December 30, 2005


You want to feel judged? Evaluated? Sifted and weighed?

Placed in a box?

Then let your 14-year old daughter, who has recently taken a fancy to vinyl records and record players sort through your collection of music from Back in the Day.

Your complete collection of the Beatles albums brings with it a kind of grudging admiration. Eyebrows are raised at the sight of your Bob Marley collection, too. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young confer credibility upon you as well. You momentarily bond over Fleetwood Mac. Your chest swells a bit at this unlikely bit of appreciation. But nothing lasts forever, alas:

Not withstanding the worlds coolest album covers, the sight of the Molly Hatchet collection does nothing for your standing, and your stock starts to plummet as she breezes quickly past the Charlie Daniels Band albums you bought when, for 35 seconds, southern country and rock successfully fused – in your mind anyway – into southern rock. You can only shrug as with a quizical look, seeking some explanation, she pulls out the soundtrack for Urban Cowboy. You try to explain that “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas seemed to really have some sort of deeper meaning that was just out of reach back in the late ’70s, but she’s clearly not sold. By the time she gets to a seemingly endless series of Genesis/Phil Collins platters you just sit there in the corner softly weeping, hoping that the humiliation will soon end.

Sic transit gloria.


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