Thursday, December 11, 2008

A cold and busy weekend

Last weekend we trained three new seaplane pilots. The mornings were really cold, and we had a nice layer of frost all over the plane that seemed to develop just after dawn, but melted as we taxied out into the sun. My prefered plan would be to wait until the world warms a little more, but the short days require making the most use of the sunlight. Seaplane flying after dark is tough business even if you know the area. When lunch time came around we drove to Wetumpka where we enjoyed really great barbeque chicken, and it was declared that the chicken was well worth the 30 mile drive. We combined lunch with ground school.
After that I flew with the third student for a couple of hours and we enjoyed a really nice sunset. I met my student after a short break for a dinner at Cecil’s Public House in Alexander City, where I enjoyed a salad and an excellent blackened catfish. Then next morning started at 7am with more frost on the plane. Same plan- frost melted while taxiing in the sun. I flew with all three students to freshen them up for their checkrides. Gary Kitely met us at 11am, all students passed and are now among the ranks of seaplane pilots.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Interior Upgrade Part 1

I was giving a student, who happenned to be a plastic surgeon, his seaplane instruction when it happened. He commented that the interior of my plane had been measured and found lacking. He was refering to the plastic that all Cessna 150s of my vintage (1967) are blessed with. This plastic was probably fine in the late 60s. When you have the Beatles to listen to live and the war in Vietnam to think about, worrying about the new plastic in a Cessna 150 is probably low on the list. Anyway, back then the plastic was new, pliable, unstained, uncracked, and the screw holes that secure it were not a wallowed out. Well there is only so much that we can practically do about the fact that it is plastic. So we can update it. There are several companies that sell replacement plastic for these vintage planes. Vantage Plane Plastics and Texas Aero Plastics come to mind. and Unfortunately neither company sells ALL the parts that I needed. The prices seem high to me, but then again, since they go into an airplane.... I ended up replacing my door panels, the rear area side panels, and the panel that covers the rear fuselage. This really helped the look of the plane. Installing the door panels was easy, just pull out the little pins that hold it on, drill a new hole in the plastic and reattach the panel. The rear panel was very easy as well, simply drill new hole where the old one were and screw it in. The side panels are more of a pain, since there are more screw holes and they are blocked by the panel when you try to install it, so finding the place in the panel to drill is more of an art than a science. It is an art that I have yet to master. When I was done, the rest of the interior looked like it needed a lift, but that will have to wait for more time and money.