Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Helicopters

The toy helicopter is very forgiving.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s not that hard to fly it around and not bang into things.  It’s more of a challenge though, to pick a spot and make the helicopter go there on purpose.  I’ve been working on touch-and-go’s.  Pick a nice smooth landing zone, like a TV tray or the kitchen counter, fly the helicopter to it, and land.  Land without a noticeable “thunk” or bounce.  Never shut the rotor off all the way.  Reposition on the pad.  Take off.  Make a smooth turn and do it again.  Make it look like you did it on purpose.

 

When I was in the Army, there was a point where I had to choose between Jump School and Helicopter Pilot School.  I had joined to be a Paratrooper, and I decided to continue that track, and not detour to Helicopter Pilot School.  Jumping out of airplanes was cool.  I’m fine with that decision, but I still wonder about helicopter school; especially now.  After all the toy helicopter mishaps with walls, furniture, ceilings, and floors (and once with Judy), I have to wonder how real helicopter school works.  Surely they’ve taken some of the trial-and-error out of the process.

 

But how do they do that?  Or how did they do that then?  How did a person learn to simultaneously manage a joystick that moves in every direction, foot pedals to maintain the proper attitude, and blade pitch to control vertical positioning?  I’m presuming the rpm was not a constant variable.  Back then was before video games and remote-control free-flying toy choppers to practice with.  How does a person get the “feel” of that sort of things, when “oops” has more serious consequences than picking the helicopter up off the floor and starting over?

 

In Jump School, we first learned the proper falls while standing on the ground, then we graduated to jumping off 6 foot towers and practicing landing.  Then we learned what it felt like to jump out of the airplane door by jumping off a 34 foot tower while wearing a parachute harness hooked by straps to rollers on a cable.  We simulated all aspects of the jump before the third week of jump school when we finally actually jumped out of real airplanes and had to suffer real consequences for any inattention to detail.  By the time we went out a real airplane door in the sky, it was all automatic.

 

But all those helicopter-flying-pieces have to come together all at once in a real machine.  I could see present day trainees spending countless hours in simulators fine-tuning their flying skills before being turned loose in the real thing, but what were they going to do with me?  How was I going to pull all those motor skills together before my first real flight?

 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

RE: Submersible - Update

I didn’t know what it was, but Johnny figured it out.  (John B.  He’s a pilot.)  It’s not a submersible.  It’s a home-built kit plane called a Dragonfly.

http://www.greatplainsas.com/dragon.html

 

 

 

Or maybe a Burt Rutan Quickie.

http://www.aviastar.org/air/usa/rutan_quickie.php

 

 

That’s funny.  When Tom said something about Burt Rutan, we thought he was joking.

 

 

From: Steve Taylor [mailto:spt@thetaylorcompany.net]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 10:16 PM
To: Bill Taylor (Bill Taylor); David Taylor (David Taylor); Tom Taylor (Tom Taylor)
Subject: Submersible

 

 

This thing is stuck in the ground outside Sharkey’s.

 

From the other side it looked like a ship’s anchor or something.  I never thought much about it.  From this side though, it looks like a vehicle.  A crashed plane?

 

I don’t think so.  It looks like some sort of submersible.  A towable submarine?  Research perhaps?  It looks like it had ailerons on each of its wings so it could “fly” underwater.

 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Submersible

 

This thing is stuck in the ground outside Sharkey’s.

 

From the other side it looked like a ship’s anchor or something.  I never thought much about it.  From this side though, it looks like a vehicle.  A crashed plane?

 

I don’t think so.  It looks like some sort of submersible.  A towable submarine?  Research perhaps?  It looks like it had ailerons on each of its wings so it could “fly” underwater.

 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Skimmers

 

Fast, even when they’re standing on the ground.

 

 

 

 

An aerial ballet when they fly and feed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

White Ibis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re back at the beach.

 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall Colors

 

South Texas style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

 

The bird is done.

 

The table setting.

 

The table set.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The day before Thanksgiving

 

The pumpkin pie is made.

 

The cranberries are cooked.

 

And the Heath Bar crunchy ice cream is done and setting up in the freezer.

 

Right on schedule.