Today Dolly and I shared our traditional holiday dinner; hotdogs and marshmallows over an open fire. It was below freezing last night in Florida.
It was good to relax with friends after flying from Flint MI to the Vans RV flyin weekend at Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas.
I have been thinking about a flight sim for several years. Dolly was a real motivator for getting the project started. She loves to fly with me yet has not wanted to learn to fly or touch the controls. When she said she wanted to try a simulator that kicked off the start of the build.
The sim sits in a space between the two halves of our China cabinet that used to house an old (2001) 52″ projection TV. We hardly ever watch television anymore. I avoid uncontrolled advertising and keep up to date via the internet.
The sim has three 27″ monitors that display scenery and the cockpit above the glare shield. Below the scenery screens are two ~16″ touch screens showing Garmin G1000 Primary and Multi-function Flight Displays. Mounted between them is Dolly’s old IPad that displays a Garmin 305 autopilot control head. My IPad is on the right displaying instrument approach charts. Finally, there are rudder pedals on the floor and a Thrustmaster Joystick on the desk.
All of these components communicate with the computer on the floor. It has one terabyte solid state memory and a Nvidia 3080 graphics card. Those three blue lights are cooling fans. Software housed on the machine includes XPlane and Microsoft Flight Simulators.
The four touch screens make the sim close to the Garmin glass touch panel instruments in our RV7. The flight sim community is heavy into developing new sim instruments. I hope to soon see a radio and GPS navigator like the real instruments.
Obviously the flight sim is not used 24/7. However, the computer has all the bells and whistles necessary to make it a good bitcoin miner … but that’s another story.
Today, Dolly packed a nice lunch for us to eat during our two hour kyack paddle on the Homosassa River. (Where’s the Advil???) I took a wrong turn and instead of going to the Springs went past several waterside restaurants. We decided our food would keep; paddled back to the rental dock; drove to a restaurant; and enjoyed “Chowda”, hush puppies, fried grouper and cokes. It was great!
Social distanced of course. The breeze was coming at us from the river.
Dolly and I flew down to Sebring this morning and had brunch on the restaurant porch with the Old Farts Flying Club. The club is an informal organization run by Roger Brown who maintains an Email list and chooses an airport restaurant for lunch each winter season Thursday. He follows up with a newsletter including photos of participants and their planes.
Today’s weather – strong crosswinds – reduced the attendance. Before Covid I’ve seen fifty to seventy planes fly in. Today we social distanced and masked. Dolly and I arrived early and picked an upwind table. The food, omelet and pancakes was delicious.
Its a ten gallon recirculating system currently holding two 60 day old bell pepper plants. The tray has a 3D printed bell siphon with about a 15 minute fill/empty cycle that changes the water level by 1.5 inches.
The peppers have much larger leaves than those growing in our tower, and there are no insects eating holes in the leaves as did those in backyard milk bottles. There is some red algae growing inside the sunlight exposed nutrient recirculating tubes. Next winter I’ll use black vinyl.
No sign of blossoms yet. We have hope.
Dolly and I have a handful of N95 shop masks left over from building the airplane. They have been used during trips to grocery stores, etc. We expect them to become contaminated, and they get set aside after one day’s use.
I found DIY advice on building a UV-C sterilizer on YouTube. The sterilizer uses a 30 watt Phillips UV-C bulb available online.
Note: UV-C is the far (short wavelength) end of the ultraviolet spectrum. Brief exposure is said to cause eye damage and skin cancer. It’s not the UV-A/B ultraviolet spectrum used to light up fluorescent materials. The light intensity will sterilize anything in the box in five minutes.
Dolly contributed the wooden box which was made some time ago by her late husband Al’s uncle Edsel. I wrapped Reynolds foil around quarter inch foam board and stuffed it onto all interior surfaces of the box. The shiny foil ensures the light is reflected onto all surfaces of anything in the box.
Masks are held for sterilization on 3D printed frames. Each frame is composed of five parts that snap together solidly. Lucky we have a printer! I found the design for the frame on a medical website.
Family and friends who need masks sterilized are welcome to use the box.
The blue double ended thingy sturdily clips onto both the plane control stick and standard sized pencils.
I’ve started giving them to other fumble fingered pilots.
You know who you are. Just ask the next time we see each other.
For RV deprived pilot friends, I also have a version that clips onto standard aviation chromalloy 3/4″ tubeing.
Thursday 4/7 on a flight retrieving N50KB from Michigan to Florida we (I and the plane) joined the club. Click on the photos to see the detail. What a ride!
There was a 72 kt tailwind component at 14,500 ft msl. That plus the 143 kt full throttle (59% power) true airspeed pushed and pulled us at 215 kts over the ground.
9.9 gallons per hour. 24.9 miles per gallon. Hooah!!!