Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Piles of Snow and a Chance to Reflect

10" or so of snow last night as Chez Airspeed (better known to some as Wilshire House). Mary and I escaped to the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham last night and I'm not embarrassed to say that we were asleep at 10:00 p.m. And didn't get up until 9:00 this morning. CDR Force headed out to Cosi and Starbucks for CMP Force's breakfast and then we ventured out just as the maid was about to throw us out of the hotel.

Arrived home to lots of snow and immediately set to blowing out the driveway. We had to give mom a ride home because she's the third worse driver on earth (second only to the captain of the Exxon Valdez and holding out the possibility that there might be one other person).

Here's CMP Force burning a little 93 Octane with 40:1 two-cycle. Decidedly not 100LL.

In any case, it's a chance to hide out in the basement and do some planning for 2008. I think I have some pretty ambitious stuff here. All subject to change, of course, but this year could yield (1) high-performance, (2) complex, (3) multi-engine land, (4) single-engine sea, (5) taildragger, and (6) SIC type certificate in the DC-3. All before Oshkosh if I can make it work. And possibly (7) advanced ground instructor and (8) instrument ground instructor.

On top of that, I have to get my BFR done early this year, stay IFR current, and renew my medical. (Anybody for massive time on the Nordic Track skier and a lot of time hauling the kids around the neighborhood in the wagon?) I'm 206 lbs dripping wet. Short legs and long torso, so I get really shortchanged by the charts that docs use (I get charged for torso cross-section while everybody else gets charged for ankle.) Should be okay as long as I can find an AME who actually analyzes the situation and doesn't just sit there with the 1950s tables and does the equivalent of fill out a Dungeons & Dragons character sheets.

Lots of reading. Will likely go to the office and print out the DC-3 manuals sometime in the next few days. Will likely even get them bound. How better to make the whole thing look really good at Starbucks? (Yeah, I was serious about that in the last post.)

Also need to figure out how to get the manuals for the Aztec and the Piper PA-12 on floats so that I can use this snowy season to best advantage.

2008 should be really great! Now to get to producing a new episode of Airspeed. The voice is back (mostly) and I'm ready to get going!

1 comment:

Rick Marriner said...


No one can accuse you of being idle. Your plan for 2008 sounds like it would too much for a mere mortal... but it should be possible for Stephen Force (da da da da!)

Motivation for all of us :

Here are some statistics I worked out for a buddy of mine asking the question. I wish I could get more current numbers, but the AOPA website only had data from last year.

As of the end of 2006, there were 597,109 active certificated pilots, according FAA Estimates via AOPA.

This number has been declining slowly over the long term, down from a high of over 827,000 pilots in 1980.

The numbers include:

86,047 pilots in the student, recreational or sport category
236,147 private pilots
130,234 commercial pilots
144,681 airline transport pilots

Total population of America is 301,139,947 (as of July 2007).

Doing the rough math, FAA active certified pilots make up less than .2% of the population. That is 1 in 500 people have taken the time and energy to put themselves in the air. That is a rare breed when you consider that 1 in 50 people qualify for Mensa Membership (www.mensa.org). It makes me think of an old Navy Pilot quote I saw on the board in San Diego, "I did not say that I was smarter than you, I just said I was a pilot... the rest is just implied."

Anyway, thought those were some interesting statistics. They makes me feel like I am working hard towards a goal that is worth reaching and puts me in a small crowd. Let me take motivation wherever I can find it.


Student Pilot Rick
Houston, Texas

Current Logbook:
70 landings
13.0 flight hours