Thursday, September 21, 2017

Picture of the Day: September 11th to September 17th

September 11th: I had a lazy day after the mid, and at some point, Mark suggested we have waffles and bacon and whisky for dinner. I wasn't about to argue that. 

September 12th: I got a few things done around the hangar today, then went out for a solo flight later in the afternoon. It was a little cloudy, but really pretty out near the mountains. 

September 13th: We're going on a trip next week, and Mark spent a good part of the day packing for it...including the most important thing: drink selection. 

September 14th: Back to work. I was working west departures toward the end of the night when the tower called me to work a go around. I got the plane on course, gave him back to approach...then noticed him breaking out to the east a few minutes later. He did eventually land, but his flight path made a neat bow tie just south of the airport.

 September 15th: Another evening shift; I managed to squeeze in a lap around the track right after sunset.

 September 16th: Today was one of the very few Saturdays that I didn't stay to work extra on the end of the day shift (mostly because I hadn't even started to pack for our trip). My reward was seeing this truck truck truck truck on the way home. (And don't worry: I was safely stopped at the light when I took this picture.)

September 17th: I had day/mid today, and managed to get the whole cafeteria to myself on one of my breaks in the morning. That meant I had the TV remote all to myself, too, so I was able to catch part of the Formula 1 race in Singapore before I had to head back.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day Trip to Tangier Island

I've been trying to check some things off my summer bucket list here and there, and one of the big things for this year was a day trip out to Tangier Island. We had to reschedule a couple times, but the weather, our schedules, and the airplane finally all cooperated and in early August, we were off!

Mark got permission from Patuxent Approach to cut through their restricted areas, so we were able to cut about 15 minutes off the flight time. This is on left downwind for runway 20; you can just about see the whole town in the picture.

Success! I made a nice short landing and put the plane away while Mark set up the bike and scooter.

The very fancy FBO at TGI.   :)    We put out parking fee in the box, then biked and scootered into town for some lunch.

I'll eventually try one of the other restaurants on the island, but it's hard to pass up a crab cake sandwich at Lorraine's. We managed to beat the lunch rush, which meant I barely had to wait at all to stuff this delicious sandwich into my face.

A few minutes of biking and scootering past Lorraine's brought us to the beach.

Ahhhh.   :)

Our beach setup. The umbrella folds up and fits very nicely in the back of the plane. I really like this beach; while it's a little narrow, it's very long, and the water is warm and fairly calm since it's the Chesapeake Bay. Even better, we're usually the only people hanging out for any length of time; once in a while a few people might wander by, but for the most part we get the entire beach to ourselves.

One of my pilot buddies told me there's a shipwreck near the end of the beach, so we decided to walk down to find it. We passed a bunch of marshy areas along the way.

A whole bunch of walking later, we found it. It looked a lot closer when I saw it from the air! At any rate, it was neat to see up close, and the water on this side of the beach was really nice and calm.

Looking down toward the beach. There was a couple with a boat at the very end, as well as a whole bunch of birds. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes, then walked back to our towels to hang out and swim for a bit.

It would have been nice to stay all day, but we knew we had to get home to the doggies at some point. We packed up our things and said goodbye to the beach. (What you can't tell from the picture is that the sand was lava hot. Even with flip flops, that was a toasty walk back to the bike!)

We enjoyed the views of the marshes as we made our way back into town...

...and stopped for a few minutes at an ice cream place to grab some watermelon water ice before heading back to the airport.

Mark got permission to cut through the restricted areas again, so it was another relatively quick (if hazy) flight back. I'm really glad it all worked out; it was a fun day trip!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Picture of the Day: September 4th to September 10th

September 4th: I was originally supposed to work a day shift, but I was able to take holiday leave and took the day off instead. I spent part of the day playing with some of my tools in my hangar, and even managed to rivet two pieces of sheet metal together all by myself.   :) 

September 5th: My buddy Dave made the mistake of asking me for a flight review, so I made him take me down to Williamsburg (JGG) for lunch. I also made him do a full weight and balance problem, including takeoff distance calculations, and only let him use pilotage to get us to JGG. We did eventually get there, lunch was very tasty, and I knocked some of the rust off of Dave's VFR skills.   :) 

September 6th: My area started bidding days off and leave for next year earlier this week, and today was my turn. See the initials TW on the left side? That's me. And I FINALLY got off of Tuesday/Wednesday for next year!!! Starting sometime in January my days off will change to Monday/Tuesday. I've wanted those days for a long time and always miss them by one or two spots, so I was definitely doing a happy dance when I managed to snag the last spot on the crew this year.

September 7th: Two nights of random bad sleep in a row did me in and I called out of work. As soon as Mark left for the eve shift I went back to bed and slept through half the afternoon. I eventually dragged myself out of bed and dug up some dinner...leftover zucchini noodles with a chopped up avocado and a whole bunch of grated parmesan cheese,  and a couple deviled eggs. It was delicious.

September 8th: A whole bunch of sleep later, I was a functioning human being again. And even better, my plane was functional again, too! It runs so much better now, it's almost like they dropped a whole new engine in there; it's amazing what a small intake leak can do. I did a quick trip around the pattern before heading in to work.

September 9th: The weather has been gorgeous lately, and the big flowery bush by our front yard has been full of moths and bees. I took out my big camera for a bit and played around with some macro pictures. 

September 10th: Day/mid today, and lots of hurricane updates in between. It's been crazy to watch this thing over the past few days on Foreflight. This is from when I checked it Sunday afternoon; it stretched from Cuba to South Carolina. So far all of my Florida buddies are's hoping it stays that way.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Picture of the Day: August 28th to September 3rd

I'm back in business, computer-wise, and much earlier than I expected! A very big thank you to my dad for letting me use his Microsoft Surface Pro 4; this thing is fantastic and I'm really having fun with it. I've just finished setting it up with Photoshop and all of my pictures, so I should be able to make some decent progress on getting this all caught up.   :)

August 28th: We wound up playing Yahtzee after dinner, and I somehow managed to actually roll a Yahtzee on one of my first tries. (And of course, that was the only one I rolled all night.) 

August 29th: We spent part of the evening watching a Bollywood movie. It was over three hours long and almost painfully cheesy at times, so we decided to break it up into two nights. We're clearly out of practice when it comes to Bollywood movie watching! 

August 30th: We decided to dig around a bit in the garden to see if any of the sweet potatoes were ready. Um, yup. We didn't even dig them all up yet! 

August 31st: Back to work again, and another pretty sunset on the track.

September 1st: My buddy Bob built the little platform and helped me set up my DRDT-2 dimpler (or as Bob likes to call it, the R2D2). We still have to bolt it to the table, but it's just about ready to use! This is going to make dimpling sheet metal for the flush rivets in my kit so much easier. 

September 2nd: I found some slices of cake when I was digging around in the freezer a couple days ago, so I thawed one out and had it with a little whiskey after work. 

September 3rd: I bumped into Mark on a break at work and we went for a walk around the track. The giant turtle was swimming around in the pond; my picture doesn't really do it justice, but the turtle is that lighter blob with the bubbles in the middle of the picture.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Picture of the Day: August 21st to August 27th

August 21st: Today was the solar eclipse! I almost didn't get to see it because I waited too long to try to order eclipse glasses, but one of my airport buddies hooked me up with an extra pair that he had, which was awesome. I hung out in our backyard and watched it for a while. I took this with my cell phone through the eclipse glasses, hence the not-so-great quality.

Bonus picture: I didn't feel like trying to make one of those fancy pinhole cameras to see the eclipse, so I used my colander instead.   :)

August 22nd: I was originally supposed to fly with my student all day, but she asked if we could reschedule so I wound up with an unexpectedly free day. I didn't make very good use of my free time, but Mark made good use of his day by filling in an old cistern in our side yard with rocks and cement. Hopefully this cuts down on the mosquitoes we've been dealing with.

August 23rd: I thought I was supposed to fly with my student today, but apparently not...she never showed! I went back home and had another listless lazy day. Wembles seemed like she was having the same kind of day.

 August 24th: They recently redid the front sidewalk at work, and when they did, they ripped out the benches I used to sit on. I was a little bummed about it until I got to work today and saw all of the new benches they put out there instead!

August 25th: I've been spending some quality time with one of my fancy coloring books lately.

August 26th: I had to stop for gas on my way in to work in the morning, and these guys happened to be at the pump next to me! I was pretty bummed that I was running really late and didn't have time to go tell them how cool their cars were.

August 27th: Another early Sunday morning walk on the track. It's been really nice to have some cooler weather lately.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Women Can Fly at HWY 2017

I'll apologize in advance; I probably won't be able to update this quite as often for a little while. My laptop is broken; after years of hauling it everywhere, one of the hinges starting crying uncle. Mark patched it up to make it last a bit longer, but I'm trying to limit how often I open and close it, so no more editing posts on my breaks at work for now. I'm hoping to get a replacement soon, but between a broken airplane and a possible government shutdown next month (which might mean I don't get paid on time for a while), it doesn't make financial sense to replace it right now. Oh well, can't win them all.

Back in June, we had our annual Women Can Fly event. This was my second year as event coordinator, and man, was it a lot easier now that I actually had a clue of how to put it all together! I lucked out and had a ton of pilots volunteer to fly, so instead of shutting down registration early like last year, I just let it go and figured it would be fun to see what we could do. I also got smart this year and was able to take the day before the event off from work, too, which was a huge help with getting things set up.

Zach came down the day before to help. Between me, Dave, and Zach, we were able to get my hangar set up for the preflight briefings and get a lot of the other supplies in place for the next morning.

That was about as much as we could set up the day before, especially since it was drizzly. We were out of there with enough time to grab dinner, hang out for a bit, and for me to stare at the forecast for a while. It didn't look the greatest, and I was starting to hit the point where I would be happy if we could get any flying in at all.

The alarm went off early the next morning, Zach and I grabbed breakfast, and we drove over to the airport. We jumped right into setup, and a few small hiccups later, got everything set up and on track.

This picture doesn't do the pilot safety briefing justice; every seat was filled, people were sitting on the floor, and a bunch of people were standing off to the side. We wound up with 29 pilots by the end of the day!

Remember how I was worried about the weather forecast?

...this was what we woke up to. Somehow the weather system moved through overnight and it was absolutely gorgeous that morning. The ramp was packed with planes that would be flying for the event, and shortly after 9:30am, the first flight took off. We were up and running!   :)

We were able to get some more static displays this year and had them set up between the two main event hangars. The helicopter school at Manassas had one of their R22s open and they were letting people sit in it, which was especially cool.

One of the best parts of the day came early in the afternoon; we were able to raffle off a ride in a HondaJet! My hangar neighbors had just received their brand new HondaJet a couple days before the event and generously donated a flight in it for the day. Five lucky girls got to go for a ride, and thanks to my buddies at work, got a really sweet tour of northern VA, Maryland, and DC. You can just see the jet taxing back in on the far right side of the picture.

I spent most of the day running around like crazy, trying to keep things running smoothly, but at one point when I was up on the flightline they grabbed me and told me to go ride left seat in the R44. I wasn't about to turn that down!

We spent a few extra minutes on the ground so our photographer could get some event pictures, then our pilot lifted off and we headed south.

I couldn't resist a selfie.   :)

We made a big loop a few miles south of the airport. I always love helicopter rides; there's something about buzzing along a few hundred feet off the ground that's just plain cool. We eventually looped back to the airport and landed.

The event started to wind down shortly after I got back on the ground, and we eventually got everything wrapped up and cleaned up. There had been a few small hiccups through the day, but nothing major, and most importantly, everyone stayed safe. Our volunteers did an amazing job, and by the end of the day 29 pilots had given 218 total rides. We absolutely shattered our previous record.   :)

Of course, that meant I had plenty of fun paperwork to organize after it was all said and done. I'll take it, though! Bacon seemed like a willing helper at first, but disappeared after a couple minutes.

I was too busy to take many pictures through the day, but our event photographer, Alex Hrapunov, did a beautiful job with event photos. He volunteers his time and generously donates the picture for us to use for promotional purposes. If you'd like to see some of his pictures (which gives a much better view of what the event is really like), you can see them here . He does a great job...we're lucky to have him and all of our volunteers! I've already told everyone that I'm going to keep putting this event together until they tell me to knock it off, so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next year.   :)