53VG’s “Santa Beacon”

insurance that Santa will find the airport
insurance that Santa will find the airport

This year we want to insure that, despite the lack of population and the long distance from what most would call “civilization”, the new illuminated orange beacon (or geeky airport Christmas tree) should make it easy to find 53VG from the sky !

POH Kneeboard 2.0

New POH Kneeboard with write-on surface
New POH Kneeboard with write-on surface

A little less than two years ago, I wrote about creating a combination pilot operations handbook (POH) and kneeboard.

One aspect of the implementation bothered me from the very start – the metal front and back covers could be hazardous in an accident. The military use a polyethylene plastic material which is somewhat flexible and less likely to injure.

A separate problem surfaced when I used the kneeboard – my scratch paper would move around and curl. A fellow pilot had described using an arm band – like [US] football quarterbacks use – and a grease pencil.

I decided I’d address both issues with an update to the kneeboard.

The flexible translucent PE plastic is 1/16″ thick. It has a smooth side and a slightly textured side. Normally the smooth side would be considered back. Since I plan to write directly on the cover, I used the smooth side as the face. This makes it easy to wipe it clean.

Cheese-Wiz for cold weather dog training

use canned squeeze cheese as a dog treat to avoid bare hands in cold weather
use canned squeeze cheese as a dog treat to avoid bare hands in cold weather

I take no credit for this idea. It comes from the Training Director at Fieldwood Dog Training Center.

Positive dog training means always being ready with a reward to the right behavior. If your dog is food-driven then you probably carry treats. Most treats are small and that means using your fingers to dole them out one at a time.

When it’s cold outside, gloves or mittens keep your hands warm but make doling out treats a real challenge. Using canned cheese is easy and can be done with gloves on!

If it’s really cold out, the can will gradually become slow to dispense cheese so keep the can in a warm pocket.

Lightning at 240 frames per second

Lightning at 240fps

I took a few moments to watch some exciting lightning the other night. Without much though and even less effort, I whipped out the iPhone 6 and switched it to slow motion video and was lucky enough to capture a couple lightning strikes.

After seeing the results I wished I’d been more involved and fetched the tripod and waited for some of the more spectacular events.

Next time !

Layered Caramel Macchiato

I may be spending a bit too much attention to preparing my morning espresso

espresso, milk, caramel
espresso, milk, caramel

A $35 paint gun that’s good

good HVLP paint guns need not be expensive
good HVLP paint guns need not be expensive

Three years ago, I walked into an automotive pain shop and asked if they could recommend a good paint gun. I’d been using a cheap one and my results showed. I decided I’d better get a good one, even if it would cost me $150 or more. I’d read the reviews and most were suggesting a $210 spray gun.

The older gentleman at the shop said, “I can sell you an expensive gun but this is what we use” and he pulls a plastic wrapped run off the display sales shelf. The AES 507 was just $35.

The man also asked how I cleaned and maintained my paint guns and then showed me a simpler way. I took the gun home and used it for EVERYTHING.

I shot lacquer and urethane and epoxy and even latex. The results on everything from wood to aluminum were great. The latex took its toll on the gun and while it still works well, I decided I may as well pick up a new one for the next project. (I relegate the old one any latex paint projects.)

I prefer an aluminum hopper and will likely transfer it across to the new gun but the plastic works just fine.

The quality and quantity of the air supply is important as is the condition of the space you use to spray. All those being equal, you don’t require a high end big ticket gun to get great results.