Q is for Quick Fix: A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

Q is for Quick Fix

In aviation terminology, a Quick Fix has the same meaning as you might think. It's devising a quick solution to an immediate problem. It's not a permanent solution, but one that will get you by temporarily, or for as long as you need it. Duct tape seems to be the universal, creative quick fix.

When we flew into Canada last summer, we discovered that in Canada, a plane's "N" number needs to be 10" tall instead of 3" tall, as in the U.S. So what was Mike's quick fix? Duct tape.  

It looks awful, but it did the trick. When we got home, he ripped the tape off. It left a sticky residue that cleaned off nicely using AvGas--aviation gasoline.

Have you ever used duct tape as a quick fix? We seem to use it all the time.


P is for Pilot in Command: A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

P is for Pilot in Command

The PIC, Pilot in Command, is the one who is responsible for flying the airplane. Commercial airliners have PICs, co-pilots, navigators--all keeping track of important functions. Each one has had thousands of hours' worth of flying time before achieving that position. Usually, it is retired military pilots who get these jobs. Plus, commercial airliners are equipped with auto-pilots. You can be assured that you are in responsible hands when flying commercially.

In private aviation, the Pilot in Command is generally the aircraft owner. Or in the case of corporate jets, a pilot with high flying hours and other proper credentials who's been hired by the corporation.

The PIC in the picture below is my husband. We're flying beside Lake Coeur d'Alene after leaving Sandpoint, Idaho. He's talking with another PIC who wants to land at the Sandpoint airport. Mike is telling him that we have left the Sandpoint air space, and that it is clear for him to land.

Do you have a pilot's license? Have you ever wanted to learn to fly?


O is for Outside Air Temperature: A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

O is for Outside Air Temperature

Commercial airliners are completely climate-controlled and not affected by outside air temperatures. If there's a problem with the heating or air conditioning, the plane is grounded until it's fixed. That happened to us once when we were flying on a commercial airlines, leaving out of O'Hare International in Chicago. Thank goodness the air conditioning problem was resolved before take-off. Even with climate-control, I've still been overheated in a crowded airliner.

Outside air temperature is more of a concern in small, privately owned aircraft, where there is only a thin aluminum wall or an acrylic canopy between the passengers and the outside air. In the summertime, it's not usually a problem, but a boon. The higher you go, the cooler the outside air temperature.

In the winter, though, our airplane heater isn't able to heat the airplane sufficiently when the outside air temperature is 5 degrees, such as it was on the day I took the picture, below. After about an hour of flying, my gloved fingers were numb. I was glad we were heading home.

This picture was taken when we decided to fly over Palouse Falls in December and see it frozen. Click the link to see pictures.

Have you ever been overly heated, or chilled, in an airplane? What did you do?


N is for "N" numbers and "Not the Usual Way to Move an Airplane": A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

 N is for "N" numbers and "Not the Usual Way to Move an Airplane"

Since my theme is flight terminology, I will talk about "N" numbers, but I also want to share a fun picture of how we moved the plane my husband built, in an old shed on the farm, out to the local airport. 

But first, "N" numbers

These identify an airplane, like a telephone number. Our "N" number is N708X. Whenever a pilot gets on the radio and contacts a tower at an airport, or a larger entity such as an Air Traffic Control Command Center, he first identifies himself by his "N" number, after which he states his request. 

In the event an airplane is sold, the "N" number stays with the plane. There is a website you can check that lists all "N" numbers of every plane in the country, its location and the name of the person who owns it. My husband sometimes likes to check it to see if our old Maule is still owned by the guy in Wisconsin who bought it. It is.   

That's about all there is to know about "N" numbers. 

The picture below shows how we moved the RV7, which my husband built in his spare time over six years, from an old farm shop out to the local airport. The wings were transported in the back of a pickup. It was a distance of about 9 miles. 

We think it's a funny juxtaposition of high-tech (the airplane) and decidedly low-tech (the old bucket tractor). We did it this way because we didn't want to spend money renting a U-Haul. 

Have you ever moved something in a way that was, well ... creative?


M is for Mayday: A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014


Mayday is a internationally used procedural word in an air or sea emergency. It is given three times in a row to prevent being mistaken for a similar-sounding word, and to distinguish an actual Mayday call from a message about a Mayday call, according to Wikipedia.

The civilian aircraft radio emergency frequency used to make the call is 121.5. This radio frequency is monitored by air traffic control centers. If you are in an emergency and you call out Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! on your radio, you will be heard by someone at the nearest center.

If you are not in an emergency situation, and you inadvertently fly into Restricted or Prohibited airspace (and you would be really dumb and uninformed to do something like that), the center will also let you know, and you damn well better get out of there!

Currently, due to the tragic landslide near Arlington, Washington, private pilots are prohibited from flying in the airspace above it, in order to keep the air space clear for search-and-rescue type missions.

There are lots of occasions for restricted or prohibited air space, and a pilot's navigational instruments will alert him as to where they are. Once when President Obama flew into Seattle, flying in the airspace above the city was strictly prohibited. But I'm going off on a tangent, here ...  

Back to Mayday, the F.A.A. requires an E.L.T, an Emergency Locator Transmitter, to be installed in all civilian aircraft. In the event of a crash, the E.L.T. sends out a signal as to where the plane has gone down.

My husband even wears something called a SPOT on his belt. It's a Satellite GPS unit. Unlike the E.L.T, which transmits approximately where a plane has gone down, over a certain radius of miles, the SPOT knows exactly where something is.

The F.A.A. does not require pilots to have a SPOT unit. Many pilots do not use one because it involves an annual subscription. You pay for an E.L.T. only once, with no annual subscription rate.

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