On the Track with the C6

I had the opportunity this past Thursday to go out to a real, honest to goodness race track and do some laps with the C6. This is the first time either I or the car has seen a track, so it was a lot of new-ness all around.

The track was Thunderhill and it was truly in the middle of nowhere, nearly 3 hours away (by my driving) from home. The track was full of twists, turns, and straight-aways and provided more proof that I have a much more powerful car than I am a capable driver. It was humbling to see so many cars blasting around the track at speeds far greater than I could hope to acheive in one short day.

It was a good experience and I should probably go again, but I think I’ll need some professional instruction first. This time was interesting, but with help I’ll bet I could to a lot more. I certainly now know that my car can do more.

C6 on the track

Lost Wallets

I had the occasion last night and this morning to have completely lost my wallet.  This led to several panicked phone calls (sorry Steve and Paul) and a lot of tearing up the house.  In the end, I cancelled all my credit cards, my ATM card, and lost my Social Security card, requiring calls to replace them all.

I rarely lose things of such great value, but this time around I just sucked.  Moments after I put the call in on all these items I found my wallet, wedged into a small opening between the passenger seat and the rail it slides on near the carpet in the car.  This sucked, as I then had to go to the bank and watch them laugh at me for having the card they cancelled, then getting issued a new one while they cut up the old one.

I really do have to remember to put everything back in the right place when I’m done travelling, lest this incident become more commonplace and a lot more nerve wracking in the future.

Flights 13 and 14

I can now say that a long break from flying does indeed dull the skills.

After my long business trip I had two back-to-back lessons and found that I’m not as sharp on my landings and pattern work as I once was.  Even going out to do the normal maneuvers proved to be a bit sloppy for me.  Lesson 13 was just about trying to remember what I had learned previously, and I did slip up a bit, but the landing went OK.  Lesson 14 took me to Livermore, where I blew the whole approach, landing, and pattern, but did OK on one of the touch-and-go’s.

Practice does make perfect when it comes to flying, that is for sure.

Back Home for a Bit

I have finally returned from my whirlwind tour of Europe and NYC.  Although my body isn’t sure which time zone it’s in, I am sure that I’m home again.  Where else can you say that the taxi drivers speak less English than they do in other countries?

I’ll be travelling again later this week, but hopefully this stop will be long enough for some clothes washing and a little sleep.  Yawn is the order of the day, for sure.

Lost in the Netherlands

On stop 2 of my long work trip I managed to get seriously lost driving from Amsterdam to Eindhoven in the Netherlands.  This seems to be a pattern with me and going places for work stuff these days: get off the plane, get in a rental car, drive around lost for hours.

In this case the rental car was a super crappy Mercedes A class mini-econo-box with a stick shift and a top speed of 130kph.  I did eventually make it to my hotel around midnight for a meeting the next morning at 9am.  But I proceeded to get lost searching for the next hotel in Amsterdam, so it seems that my navigation skills are sadly lacking.  Ditto on reading Norse road signs.

Nuggets of Strange Wisdom

I have been flying around quite a bit recently for the job and found that if I sit quietly in the cab or bus to and from the airport I can pick up on some remarkable gems from the local population. On tap from this weeks trip is this little nugget:

Don’t marry an American woman. They expect too much and are just too hard to deal with. I’m 56, retired, and moving to Thailand. Those are the women to have. My girlfriend is 26 and she’s thankful for the little things. That’s how a woman is supposed to be. And boy does it get the blood rushing again, if you know what I mean, even for an old guy like me.

This really isn’t my type of advice, but someone out there might find it useful.  Feel free to discuss it with your significant other and let me know how that goes.

Flights 10, 11 and 12

I’m now in the phase where all my flights are about pattern work, radio work, and landings and take-offs.  The short summary of the last three lessons goes like this:

Flight 10: engine runs rough, making the 3 touch and goes a little slow and climb out a bit challenging.  On the 4th attempt at the runway I call it quits and decide that this engine just won’t work today.  Just a half hour of flying this time around.

Flight 11: more touch and goes.  Getting a bit better at judging where the runway is, when to start down, etc.  Still not so good on flares at landing, and the steering on takeoff is a bit scary.  Get almost an hour in this time.

Flight 12: instructor decides to throw a curve ball: we fly from Palo Alto to San Jose, talking to Moffett in between, and then do touch and goes next to 737s.  The radio work is frantic and I really get lost.  And the pattern is higher, the runway longer and wider, so I don’t have a good idea of where I am.  Oh, and on top of all of this its raining and visibility is crud.

Again, the instructor says I’m getting better but I feel like someone beat me with a bat when I get out of the airplane.  I hope the goodness kicks in here after a few more flights, as right now its all very taxing.