A Brief Expedition in the Saco Heath Preserve

This afternoon I visited the Saco Heath Preserve to get some fresh air, take a few pictures, and make my daily diary video for Kirsten. I was there quite a while closely examining the flora and fauna along the boardwalk and in the woods. It was fun to use the macro lens for my iPhone to observe and capture a world rarely noticed.

The Saco Heath Preserve before the start of the bog and boardwalk

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A flight up the Maine coast

This afternoon I took Kirsten, Hayley, and Jenna flying. I preflighted the plane at the Portland International Jetport (KPWM). Just after my run-up and taking runway two-niner for departure, I texted Kirsten to leave for Biddeford (B19). When I got to Biddeford I did my requisite three landings before taxiing to the ramp (I hadn’t flown in the previous ninety days). Just as I exited the runway, Kirsten drove up. Perfect timing.

I had planned to fly to Bar Harbor, then back to Biddeford and finally to Portland. However, when we were about three-fourths of the way to Bar Harbor, Hayley started puking into the sick sack I’d given her. A lot. Kirsten, who was my co-pilot, was experiencing a headache. It wasn’t fun for any of us. Jenna sat in the back looking out the window, holding her nose so she wouldn’t smell Hayley’s ejected vomit. Enough was enough; I turned the plane around and let the controller know I was returning to Biddeford.

Our fuel was lower than I’d expected on the way back, so I made the decision to get on the ground (and save some money) by instead stopping at Portland. I’d drive the girls to Biddeford to get Kirsten’s car. It worked out well.

It was a gorgeous day, even with 20 knot winds. The ride was bumpy, but that never bothers me. It was good to get back up in the air, practice some cross-wind procedures, and spend some time with three of my most favorite persons.

Jenna photobombs my selfie with Kirsten.

This jet was on final for KPWM runway two-niner when we flew above its flight path.

I took Hayley, Kirsten, and Jenna flying up the Maine coast this afternoon.

Jenna sat in the back seat for our flight this afternoon.

Hayley sat in the back seat for our flight today. And puked her guts out!

Due to vomit, headache, and low fuel, we turned around before reaching our planned destination.

Landing two-niner this afternoon. The winds were 20 knots up the runway, so my landing distance was only a few feet.

I took Hayley, Kirsten, and Jenna flying up the Maine coast this afternoon.

I did three requisite touch-n-gos at Biddeford.

Google Earth file of our flight

My new PiAware ADS-B receiver

To increase coverage, FlightAware is offering a FREE enterprise account to anybody who feeds them local ADS-B flight data. FlightAware is a website/service that allows anybody to track flights around the world. Need to know if your sweetheart’s airplane will land on schedule? Check FlightAware. Curious where are the planes whose pilot’s you’re listening to on your handheld aviation transceiver? FlightAware. Okay, that last one might be me and a handful of other avgeeks, but hopefully you can see the utility.

FlightAware - KBOS
FlightAware – KBOS

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Terminal Radar Service Areas

While I was looking at aviation sectional charts on SkyVector, as I sometimes do, I noticed something I had not seen before. This doesn’t happen often, and as a responsible pilot I felt like I had an obligation to educate myself. The gray circle over Scranton, Pennsylvania is a TRSA, or Terminal Radar Service Area. There aren’t many of these left in the United States. They were supposed to all be converted into either Class D or Class C airspace, but because of technical and other requirements, that effort was suspended. There are no regulations or rules associated with these areas, and use of them is voluntary. Still, good to know.

Wilkes-Barre TRSA
Wilkes-Barre TRSA

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I dropped my iPhone 4S from an airplane!

It’s been two and a half weeks since I accidentally dropped my iPhone 4S from an airplane while flying over Sunday River. At times it’s been frustrating not having a connected device available, but mostly it’s been surprisingly okay.

On October 13, in the early afternoon, I preflighted Cessna 172 N9946Q and prepared it for a planned flight with Tonya to Bethel, Rockland, and back to Portland. The foliage was spectacular; the sun reflected off the brilliant yellow, orange, and red leaves, turning them into a never-ending sea of flaming awesome.

I had never landed at Bethel (0B1) and was surprised when we got near to see a rather large hill at the approach end of runway one-four. We crossed at mid-field and entered a left downwind for an uneventful touch-and-go. We departed and followed the familiar Route 26. When we got over Sunday River I basically bisected its many trails, flying about 600 feet above ground level (AGL). When we were in the middle I reached across Tonya to open her window so I could get an unobstructed photo with my iPhone. Then I rolled the plane to the right to get its wheel out of my shot, leaned over, and extended my arm for the perfect shot. I thought I was holding firmly to the phone, and that I remained safely inside the plane. However, as if a magician had waved their wand over my phone, it was gone. In one instant the phone was in my hand, and in the next it was not. Tonya and I immediately looked at each other and I said, “I hated that fucking phone anyways.” I did. A lot.

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Leaf Peeping for My Birthday

For my birthday this year the family went leaf peeping to Sunday River and Grafton Notch. It was a great excuse to get out with the family and make some pictures. At Sunday River we spent some time near the North Peak Lodge after riding the Chondola up, then went zip-lining. The girls each jumped on a trampoline while suspended from bungee cables. They were pretty underwhelmed by the contraption, as I expected.

After departing Sunday River we continued up the road to Grafton Notch State Park, where we spent some time at the geologically fascinating and beautiful Screw Auger Falls.

It had been way too long since we’d spent quality time together, and even more since I’d bothered to take nice portraits of the family and the girls. It was very enjoyable, and a great way to spend my birthday.

Hayley peeps with power
Hayley peeps with power

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jQuery Conference Chicago 2014

It’s been more than a month since I was in Chicago for the jQuery Conference, but I wanted to post these pictures I took while I was there.

My colleague Billy also attended, although we weren’t on any flights together or at the same hotel. We did hang out a lot while we were there, which was a lot of fun. I find Billy’s sense of humor quite hilarious, and he enjoys exploring as do I. We enjoyed amazing burgers at Chef’s Burger Bistro and legendary deep dish pizza at Gino’s East. We even cooked our own meats at Gyu-Kaku.

We mistakenly visited the John Hancock Center thinking we were visiting the old Sears Tower, and was told my a pleasant old tourist woman there that Chicago has spitting statues in Millennium Park. But they don’t spit “in a rude way.” We later discovered what she meant. We walked all the way around the Navy Pier and along the lakefront. On our final day we did visit the Willis Tower and enjoyed it’s incredible views of Chicago after dark.

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A Flight to Camden with Skye

Skye Snapchatted this to her friends, which I thought was sweet.
Skye Snapchatted this to her friends, which I thought was sweet.

Skye and I have been talking about and anticipating flying together for a long time. We tried and failed earlier this year in Sanford. Today, it finally happened. And she didn’t puke (she’s emetophobic). In fact, I’d say she’s the most accurate non-pilot copilot I’ve ever flown with. After I explained the instruments of the six-pack and how to control the airplane with the yoke, she took over and flew on course and altitude with impressive precision.

After a thorough preflight we departed Portland’s runway three-six from taxiway alpha. The winds were nearly to my comfort limit, but since we had a choice of runway we could minimize the crosswind component. We turned onto course quickly and had an uneventful flight to Rockland (KRKD).

At Rockland we called for a taxi which drove us to Camden. We enjoyed lunch at the Camden Deli before walking around the harbor, talking, and taking pictures. It was really enjoyable to spend some alone time with Skye, who is a truly remarkable human being.

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