No flying this week; Wx Off

Close seating means
you are flying United

Flying United to Chicago and on to Boston

Staying busy

This week I took United Airlines from Vancouver to Boston via Chicago, rented a Ford Focus, and drove down to New Bedford.
This was to do an inspection on a Lake 270 Turbo Renegade.

This year I am open for whatever experiences present themselves and I plan to make the best of them.
I've decided that there's not much future for me working mostly for flying schools.
The situation here in the Lower Mainland has become less than tolerable.
Last year I saw the politics, the human relations, and I felt the frustration with it all.
My last bill was not paid on time, it took three months, and it wasn't very much. Ok, so who cares?

So this year I am asked by several schools if I would work for them, and I am not so certain.
I look at the Michael of the past, enthusiastic about such things, but that has passed, now I need to step aside and think about what I want from this life.
Is it the fact that I complete yet another decade this year?

So I am open to go to Massachusetts to look at an aeroplane and to see a part of the USA I have never been to.
I liked the feel and the hospitality in New Bedford.
I liked the aeroplane, no damage history, low hours, well maintained, but with an engine that's original and so a few years older than ideal. Eventually an overhaul will need to be done but when?

The idea was to go flying on Thursday morning.
There was a snow blizzard when I woke up and it was grim at New Bedford Airport. If we didn't fly then we should at least run the engine, but with the wind and the snow, opening the hangar doors was not wise.
I took some pictures of the engine, and then got into the car to drive the 64 miles back to Boston Logan Airport.
I could have taken United back to Vancouver via Chicago, it would be over $100 cheaper if I booked online, but I ran out of time online using the airport's free Wifi.
It was suggested I try Air Canada in the next terminal and so I went to the car park, walked through it and into the next terminal, and then over to the Air Canada desks... Oh, I have to buy my ticket online...
Went to a cafe and ordered their fish and chips at enormous expense... The USA is an expensive place these days.
Online I booked my ticket to Vancouver via Toronto in over two hours time.

Online I checked the 601 bus schedule and if the flight got in on time I'd have a little over 30 minutes to catch a bus; if the flight is on time.
Of course not.
At Toronto we waited for passengers connecting from South America.
At Vancouver we waited as the paramedics took a passenger off who had suffered and inflight emergency.
I had to take a $40 taxi ride back to Ladner instead, shower, and in bed around 02:30 am.

Why the rush?
I came back to cold and rain and who wants to fly in that?
But the cost of things in the USA shocked me, it's not cheap, and even if someone else is picking up the expense I can't easily spend so much, especially if the aeroplane may not be purchased and the money goes for nothing except to know not to buy that particular aeroplane.

Last year I went to Pasco to turn down the sale of an aeroplane.
It cost a lot of money for this answer.
This sort of work can save someone from a great loss of money, and it can be used to negotiate a fair deal, but it can also feel like a waste if at the end of it there's nothing tangible to show for ones' expense.


It's not improving around here, snow, cold, rain, drizerable, some blue sky, then cold and snow again, and today cold and windy.
Fate has determined that I must not escape it this year in spite of my valiant effort staying an extra two weeks in Thailand.

So this week there's nothing much to report, but there are some pictures to show.


I went to New Bedford to look at an aeroplane for sale there.
This aeroplane is honest in its description, very nice, low hours since new, and no damage history.

The Cherokee 140 is the K Car of the air, reliable if a little boring.
A timeless airframe on an American ramp.

The rental car cost $472 for 36 hours rental, I'm not amused.
US car rental companies such as this one [Thrifty's] really rip you off.
I noted $97 for fees and taxes, everyone has their hands in your pockets.

New Bedford is similar to a south coast town in England

I walked around New Bedford on Wednesday morning

Thai food at lunch time wasn't so good, nor so Thai... Americanised.
Seafood is good here and there are a variety of pubs to see.
I noted the fact that I walked past an Irish Pub on Union Street; my work ethic overcame my natural instinct.

Back at Boundary Bay this turbine engined Murphy arrived in the rain

The Thai flag flies at Boundary Bay...

I did two flights today.
The first with Rory, circuits in the strong wind in the Cardinal.
The second in the Citabria with Tim for his third lesson, straight and level and gentle turns.
The Citabria needed fuel and so we taxied to the pumps where I noticed the Thai flag at Heli One.

Enroute to Boston again

Flying in British Columbia

We fly past dodgy weather on our way to Chilliwack

Hoping that one day things will work for me

My brother gave me a smart phone, it's a Motorola, very nice but for one thing.
It won't display incoming call numbers, insead it shows "Payphone".
This means that I cannot return calls if I use this phone.
There's nothing I can find on the web about this problem and so I have had to go back to the old Nokia flip phone.
My daliance with the new technology has been a short one.
Rogers caught me out too... They sold me on their new message deal, except that there's a data block on my phone and so I can't use it... "Call *611 to remove the data block", but the technician at the other end was dire, and he told me that this would cost me money... Any 'Rogers' costs are expensive, Canada is probably the most expensive place in the World to have a mobile phone.
My Thai AIS phone surprises me when I receive 'date' type messages on it... It costs me 50 Baht a month ($1.60).
Unfortunately this makes it very difficult for me to pay Rogers a king's ransom for their relatively poor service.

BTW, don't try my Rogers number for a while, I'm roaming at the moment and so it is turned off... You can try my Thai phone though.


Honestly, I am on my way to Boston but maybe not by the quickest route.


18th March
Up in the Decathlon from Langley to check the inverted oil system out over the Glen Valley. It was cold!
Turning in the Citabria over Ocean Park, then some more straight and level practice with Tim between Centennial Beach and Ocean Park.

20th March
Trip to Chilliwack in the Chipmunk, steep turns slow flight and a stall on the way.
It was very cold as we topped the fuel tanks off for the return journey.
It looked dire as a snow storm approached Chilliwack from the east. We had landed on 25 into a stron breeze and now we were taking off into the wind on 07. The wind had changed around as the storm approached.
Better weather was found after Sumas Mountain and I gave Ted a forced landing practice into the Glen Valley.
We landed into the wind on 25 at Langley.

23rd March
Up to 3,000 feet in the Jabiru to practice steep turns, slow flight, and stalls. It has been a while since Mike had flown his aeroplane.
We did two circuits at Sri Racha and then flew back to Pattaya Eastern.

In the afternoon we returned to Sri Racha to do seven circuits there.

Up in the Citabria to do some aileron rolls, starting at 130 mph with a 30 degree pitch up and then adding a push inverted and workng the pitch down to 10 degrees and the entry speed down to 110 mph... Towards the slow roll.

24th March
Up early in the morning again, takeoff at 07:41 to go and do nine circuits at Sri Racha.
The approach into Pattaya Eastern over the new wall requires accurate speed control and slipping otherwise the Jabiru will arrive too far into the strip with too much float...

More circuits in the afternoon at Sri Racha in the Jabiru.

Back seat flight in an Aviat Husky at dusk.


The view from Chilliwack on Thursday

Flying in an Airbus 330 on the second leg of my journey to Boston

The wall is going to give us some trouble

Nice weather over the Lower Mainland

Unfinished business

The farmers are still burning, filling the sky with smoke

I could have gone to Boston by going east but instead I decided north west and west was a more interesting way to do it.
I try to complete my tasks, finish my students, even if I have to travel half way around the World to do so.

I am staying in north Pattaya by the beach and with a nice swimming pool. Though I don't have anything to swim in...
In any case it's not as if I don't have some work to do!

I had lunch in Tesco's food court. For some reason a girl gave me two ice teas... The cost, 65 Baht ($2.10).

I was stopped by the police and asked for my International Driving Licence. The fine was 400 Baht which went straight into the policemans pocket with no ticket being actually issued...

Flying this afternoon was out of Sri Racha again. More circuits.

Completing Unfinished Tasks

Flying in Thailand

TCu north of Sri Racha

Denizen of Pattaya Eastern Airpark

I always try to get things done

In this life everything takes a lot of effort to achieve... Except here in Thailand for the most part.
I see there are some people who appear to have charmed lives and for whom things work out.
But for me the mountain always seems to get steeper.
Most of the time I'm up to the task, but sometimes I get tired.
I am happy enough that I have completed the main tasks for which I arranged my journey to Boston this way.


25th March
Slightly unhappy this morning... Moved out of the condo in north Pattaya and into Baan Khun Poh hotel at 06:30 in the morning.
Flew to Sri Racha and did 5 circuits in the Jabiru in the morning, then another 6 in the afternoon.

A favourite of mine, but not yet

26th March
Flew to Sri Racha and did 6 circuits in the Jabiru in the morning, then another 8 in the afternoon. We stopped to buy some fuel at Sri Racha.

27th March
Flew Sri Racha and did 9 circuits in the Jabiru. This time with emergencies and practice engine failures.
Sent Mike off first solo in his aeroplane.

We left the aeroplane in the hangar at Sri Racha so that Mike can get some more solo practice done in my absence.
Took a sorng taew back to Pattaya and another one back to the air park.

Booked out of Baan Khun Poh, went to Addy's bakery for lunch with Alasdair, Gill, and Dr Rolf... This meant missing the bus to the airport and so I had to take a taxi at ten times the price. It was worth it.
On the way I opened my new Tai Oratai CD and we played it... The taxi driver said he had 97 Tai Oratai songs on his USB and so when the CD was finished we played them too... Tai Oratai all the way.

Caught Thai Airways 777 to Chiang Mai, was picked up by Khun Koi, and I checked into Lai Thai Guesthouse.
We went to John's Place for dinner.

28th March
Lai Thai Guesthouse was hot and noisy so I did not get a good nights' sleep.
I ate their muesli and yoghurt for breakfast and despite my request otherwise they gave me a cup of hot water with a tea bag beside it, American style... I hate it!
I walked to have a coffee with a friend, and then on to SEE TEFL where I did the English teaching course, and then to Koi's car dealership where I was loaned a Honda Civic. It was a long walk.

Flew in the Super Cub with Julie from Ban Thi Nok airfield. We did some turns, some slow flight, and seven circuits. I sent her solo.

29th March
Second not so good night at Lai Thai... As I was leaving for breakfast I dropped my key off and the girl asked me if I was checking out. I took that as a hint.
I went elsewhere for a better breakfast, then I packed my stuff and left. I'd paid 3,160 Baht for four nights and they stamped
NO REFUND on the receipt. I can see why.
I checked in to Riverside House which is 700 Baht a night with breakfast included, much nicer people, and comfortable accommodation. I've had two good nights' sleep.
I should have come here first, I knew it was a good place to be...
Lai Thai I thought was a good place, and I was wrong.
Going with what you know is often the best plan. Paying for one night is also a good option if you're not sure.
No-one to fly with at Nok airfield. It was hot and the visibility wasn't very good.
In the evening I went to a Thai music show with Koi.

30th March
1. Up with Julie's sister Alice in the Super Cub. Turns, flight using the rudder only, slow flight, stalls, and two landings back at Nok.
2. Up with Koi in the Super Cub, six circuits, and then a local flight to Doi Saket.
We swung a bit on the runway and this caused our audience to run away at one point.
3. Steep turns with Alice over the airfield, these were done at reduced speed as well, and with two stages of flaps.
Alice asked about whether we would stall. Happy to oblige, stalling off a steep turn was demonstrated.
We then did seven circuits as the Sun was setting.


Food at Addy's bakery

I like Thai

Welcome home at John's Place

Flying over Lamphun and Chiang Mai Provinces

Riverside House is just across the Ping River by the iron bridge
that connects to Loi Kroh Road

I had two good nights of sleep here.

Addy's bakery near Pattaya Eastern Airpark

Going back to Eastern

Thai Airways 777

On my long walk

'GoT' 3377, the Honda Civic

We drank lime soda during the Thai show

Travelling to Boston


31st March, on the way into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

On the bus to Pattaya

Back into the circuit at Pattaya Eastern

Doing the best I can

My journey took me back to Bangkok on Thai Airways followed by the bus ride to Pattaya.
I completed my tasks in Pattaya and travelled to Bangkok via the airport bus, the airport rail link, and the MRT underground train.
The cost of this journey was: 134 Baht + 35 Baht + 16 Baht. (28 Baht = $1 CAD).

I stayed in the Sukhumvit Suites Hotel which was $74 a night including breakfast. I paid a little more than I usually do, but I felt I needed a night at a higher standard.

I joined Pakorn for dinner at the Terminal 21 Mall.
Pakorn is doing his Captain training at Air Asia where he has been flying for eight years already.

I caught a British Airways flight to London Heathrow and arrived there in the late afternoon.
It took me a couple of hours to get out and obtain my rental car.
I drove down the M4, off at junction 8/9 and went to the West London Aero Club for a cup of tea before driving on to the Bed and breakfast.

In the morning I drove to Winkfield with the sunshine reflecting the brilliant colours of Spring in England.
I was driving on still familiar roads.
Tea with Walter and then I went to White Waltham where I met up with John, Martin and Jan, and then Trevor for tea. Old friends going back to when I operated the Condor Club renting aeroplanes, and teaching tailwheel and aerobatics.

Trevor and I flew westwards under a low overcast, it was unfortunate that the weather had changed from the brilliance of the morning.
We flew as far as the Kingsclere Mast before returning.

Sunday I drove to White Waltham again, it was quiet, and so I left for Hartley Wintney.
Once again I drove along familiar roads, went first to Blackbushe, and then to Hartley Wintney for tea with Jean who celebrated her 90th birthday last year.
Then it was along a different route back through Wokingham to White Waltham where Paul, Leia, and Greg were hoping to meet me before I left.

I drove back to the Inter Rent car hire office on the A4 abeam Heathrow stopping for petrol on the way.
The bus dropped me off at Terminal 5 and I was soon on BA 239 on my way to Boston.

I stayed at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in an upgraded suite.

Monday morning I took a walk around a bit of Boston.
I took the train to Braintree, and then a taxi to the park and ride where Louis picked me up to bring me here to New Bedford.

Feeding paranoia


1st April
1. Picked the Jabiru up from Sri Racha, flew to Pattaya Eastern and carried out four practice forced landings
2. In the afternoon flew eight circuits in the Jabiru.

2nd April
1. Flew five circuits at Pattaya Eastern, then three at Pattaya Air Park in the Jabiru with Mike.
2. Nine more circuits at Pattaya Eastern with Alasdair after which he flew solo in the Jabiru.
3. Nine more circuits with Mike in the Jabiru.
4. Loops and stall turns followed by a few rolls in the Citabra with George as the Sun set.

3rd April
1. Eleven circuits with Mike in the Jabiru.
2. Eight more circuits after a cup of tea and Mike went solo in his Jabiru.


I meet Pakorn in Bangkok for dinner

A final Thai smile before I go in the morning

I go flying in the Luscombe with Trevor out of White Waltham

Pseudo Thai food in Beaconsfield

That will do. Mike does two good landings on the short strip

Turning final for White Waltham

West London Aero Club is a civilised place

'Bed and a best of British breakfast

I go for a walk on Monday morning

I hate wasting food.

There's trouble in Europe over food waste.
Here in the USA it's probably worse with the super sized portions we are given.

Boston to Vancouver

Completing the journey

No deal

Due to other reasons there was no deal to purchase the Lake Renegade though the aeroplane itself is as advertised and I would recommend it to anyone interested in buying a turbocharged, 270bhp, amphibious flying boat.
So I spent one more night in New Bedford.

There was trouble on the United Airlines website when I entered my address in Canada... The website re-routed me from the USA site to the 'Canadian' one and I had to re enter a lot of the information all over again!
The cost was reasonable, $580.40 CAD, but when I arrived at the airport there was a charge of $25 USD for my one piece of checked baggage.
This policy of charging for checked baggage meant that the cabin was choc a bloc full of carry on stuff... I think it's a stupid idea.
United has a catch phrase: "... most flyer friendly airline.". I don't think so.

Lou picked me up from the hotel and we went to the airfield for lunch followed by picking his wife up...
I had some concern as time was running along...
I was dropped off at the Braintree Park and Ride bus stop where I paid $12 for the airport bus back to Boston Logan Airport.
We ran into traffic, more concern, but I was at the airport 55 minutes before my flight.
I checked in on the remote computer terminal, paid for my checked bag, and went through security to be on time for my flight.
All the clobber people carried on to this flight made loading interesting...

The 757 connected with the A320 at Denver Airport and I was back at Vancouver Airport at 21:30.
This was the third time I entered Canada with an expired PR Card... Apparently I'm supposed to go to a consulate in the foreign country and get a visa to re-enter Canada... When your Permanent Resident Card expires you become a bit of a prisoner in Canada, and I am told it takes six months for the new card to be processed.


12th April
1. Flew the Decathon solo from Langley to Pitt Meadows, then to Boundary Bay.
2. Flight in the Citabria; Range and Endurance lesson out to Hatzic Lake and back.
3. Solo flight back to Langley.

Ban Chok Dee restaurant in Langley was having a special event to celebrate the Thai Songkran festival and so I made the effort to get there, albeit a little late.

13th April
1. Flew with Ted in the Chipmunk to Delta Heritage Airpark for the monthly Breakfast.
2. In the Chipmunk again to Chilliwack for soup.
3. Back to Langley.
4. Climbing, descending, slow flight and stalls in the Citabria in the Pitt Lake area.
5. Circuits in the Citabria at Boundary Bay.

14th April
Delivered the Chipmunk to Abbotsford for annual inspection.

15th April
1. To Glen Valley in the KitFox for airwork review and a splash and go in Silvermere Lake..
2. Circuits in the KitFox on the runway at Fort Langley, with one into the river for a splash.

So far, during the week I have been back in BC, I have only had a couple of cancellations.
I am wondering whether I should impose a 'maximum three cancellations and then you should go somewhere else' rule.
Will this be another summer of cancellations where people seem to think my time is not that valuable?

On Monday I drove to Pitt Meadows. This meant using petrol, and two toll payments for crossing the bridge. For many reasons the flight did not take place.
I drove to Langley, took the Chipmunk to Abbotsford, and was fortunate to be picked up by Mark and driven back. I bought lunch.
My 16:00 booking cancelled.
So Monday had costs without any income.
Should I always have to bear this?

Flying in BC

After the monthly Delta Heritage Air Park breakfast

AeroTaxi still shows on the Chipmunk

The Chipmunk goes in for her annual check, 14th April

Too many washers; change the pressure relief valve spring

Both ailerons flying high, a re-rig is required

Be careful out there

History; the Cessna 120 I first tried to hire out in BC


Maintenance is a big concern for me and unfortunately I know a little about it.
I worked for a company called British Aerospace for a few years as an inspector.
BAe built a few aeroplanes, and you might have heard of a few of them: Viscount, Vanguard, VC10, BAC1-11, Concorde, Jaguar, Tornado, and Airbus among others.
I also was a mechanic at one time working on light aircraft in England.

So I have a very poor tolerance of poor engineering practice.
And please do not BS me!

And so it was that I noticed a few things amiss the other day.
I pointed these out to the mechanic who told me that the clips for the fuel dipstick were in the correct position! In fact one of them interfered with the emergency 'axe' as shown "
Wrong Position" left.
The cargo net was also not secured at its base by the straps to the screws provided for this purpose.
But the worst thing was that the rudder was attached using pressed steel lock nuts. The specification is for Nyloc nuts as these do not wear the threads on the attachment studs as badly and so these studs should last a long time.
The mechanic told me in an argumentative tone that these nuts are as specified by the manufacturer, he was telling me BS, and if I had my way I'd fire him on the spot.
It may be that the studs will need to be replaced as the wear on the threads due to using the wrong nuts will mean that Nyloc nuts will no longer work effectively.
I pointed out to the PRM that the new aircraft of the same type, sitting in the hangar, had the correct nuts fitted to its rudder. I am pleased to report that while the mechanic was full of brash BS, the 'Person Responsible for Maintenance" was interested in what I had to say, and prepared to do something about it.

Pilots need to have confidence in the engineers that maintain the aircraft they fly.
A mechanic who fails to take note of good honest information, check its validity, and answer the concerns of people with rational and correct information, is not a mechanic one should employ.

As it was, after start the generator failed to provide a charge to the battery, and so we did not go.

As pilots we need to be vigilant and if we notice something that appears to be wrong we should have it checked.
If a mechanic replies with BS, then safety is compromised... So learn as much as you can about the type of aeroplane you fly.

In 2005, (Thailand), I was severely criticised for showing five students a proper walk around inspection of a Cessna 150. This kept the aeroplane on the ground for forty minutes... "They come here to fly..." I was told. Students would come down, get into the aircraft and go flying. They relied on the mechanics to ensure safety of the aeroplanes.
I could list the many things I found wrong with those aircraft.

Canada can be just as bad as happened many years ago when I went with a three others to pick up a couple of Cessna 152s from St Hubert... I wouldn't leave until all the many snags I found on the two aircraft were fixed; we had a long way to go.
Then I found that even leaned the Cessna 152 I was in used 7.7gph at normal cruise... We arrived at the jungle strip at Gore Bay with just over 3 gallons left after flying from London Ontario. 'Managed to get the consumption down to 6gph at 2,000 RPM. The carburettor was shot and had to be replaced.

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