Monday, November 29, 2021

The Week that was!

 So...There I was... * It's Thanksgiving week and the excitement level at Rancho Juvat is rapidly rising.  The youngest member of the juvat clan is approaching an important milestone (one month old) and is going to celebrate it with us.  

No, Beans, this isn't her first away from home trip.  The week before, she had accompanied her Mom and Dad to the DFW metroplex and assisted her Dad with a job interview.  The after action report says she wowed them.  Her Dad?  We'll see.



But this will be her first time at our place and we're excited. Lots of coordination has been made at command levels well above me.  Apparently, at MBD and SIL's wedding reception the two commanding generals got together and negotiated an agreement on holiday visitation principles.  Unless changed by prevailing circumstances or verbal agreement, whomever get's visited ON Thanksgiving does not get visited ON Christmas and vice versa.  


Mrs. J and MG get reacquainted

This works out well for us this year as Little J and DIL will arrive for their "Get reacquainted with the USA" visit the last couple of days of December.  So, we're celebrating Christmas on one of the 12 days thereof and since it's not being celebrated ON Christmas, we get to have them for OUR Christmas.

Win/Win!

Ain't Mrs. J smart?  


Because of the agreement, MBD, SIL and MG packed up on Friday and went to visit SIL's family. However, that personnel reduction was offset by the arrival of another part of the family, my Favorite Niece, her husband and my Grand Niece and Grand Nephew ages 5 and 3 respectively.  Good folks, in spite of living in Austin, but we haven't seen them since you know what hit.  

In another aspect of this past week, Mrs. J and I are working hard to bring our second cabin on line as a guest house.  It had been my sister's home for a bit before she moved into our old house when our new one was completed.  At that point, bureaucrats intervened and DIL had to move into it with their dog, TEX to keep him out of prison.

Bureaucrats? Prison, juvat?

Apparently, China has a law that if a canine arrives in China from a country that has a history of Rabies (Kuwait for example), the dog must go to quarantine for 6 months.  However, if he arrives from a country he's spent a minimum of 6 months in that doesn't have a Rabies problem (the USA for example), he can go right in.  So, she and he lived on our property Feb-Sep this year.  

That's a lot of wear and tear on the building so Mrs. J and I have been fixing things, refinishing wood floors, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  We were pretty well finished and wanted to have a fresh set of eyes live in it as guests for a couple of nights and make notes of things we missed or other suggestions.  My Niece and family worked perfectly.

Busy, busy, busy.

But, the day before Thanksgiving, I had a little extra treat.


Mrs. J's Christmas present to me last year was a ride in a Stearman.  I had misplaced the paperwork in the post move unpacking exercise, but found it a few weeks ago.  Got on their schedule and damn was that fun!

Photo taken after flight, notice bigger smile!

Prior to the flight, the pilot  was chit chatting with us while a mechanic checked something.  Asked me what I did, you know, the usual stuff.  What I knew he was really doing, because I'd done it myself many times when giving an incentive ride, was checking me out to see what the probability of me puking in his airplane was.

I told him I was retired and that the last aircraft I was at the controls of could accelerate straight up on takeoff and was capable of pulling 9 g's.  I also told him that the last time I was at the controls was 30 years ago.  (I didn't want to not have an excuse if...)

He said "Great, I'll give you some stick time."

We hop in, fire it up, do all the pre-takeoff checks, and because of a fairly strong crosswind, took off from the grass.  A lot less bumpy than I thought it would be.

We haven't even cleared the fence and we're maybe a hundred feet up when he wiggles the stick and tells me it's mine.  

I take the stick and level it off at about 1000' AGL, give it a couple of turns, realize that the torque of the motor requires a bit of rudder to compensate.   I also realize I don't know airspeed or G limits, stall characteristics, spin propensity or recovery procedures, so, I make an executive decision to stay as far away from the edge of the flight envelope as possible.

That having been said, we took a tour of the town, down main street.  Looks quite a bit different from above.  Then we flew out to our property and did a couple of turns around it.  We have the greenest pasture in the area.

It was getting to the end of the half hour Mrs. J had payed for, so I started pointing at the airport.  He then shook the stick and I stuck my hands in the air.

At that point, the Acrobatic phase of the ride started.  We started with an easy Chandelle which turned us away from the airport and gained us some altitude. We did a few clearing turns to insure no one else was nearby after which he demonstrated quite a bit more of the aircraft's capabilities.

My grin at that point made the Cheshire cat look like a grump.

But all good things must pass.  We re-enter the traffic pattern and do a spacing turn on downwind to allow another aircraft to land.  Then did a low pass to impress the crowd, pulled up and did a full stop, again on the grass.




Even now, I'm still grinning.

Hope your Holiday was as good as mine and MAN am I thankful for my wife!

Peace out y'all.  We're winning!





*Standard juvat Caveat

34 comments:

  1. Sounds like. Wonderful set of adventures all around Juvat. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yeah, it really was a blast! And the old adage "Time flies when you're having fun" is definitely true.

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  2. I had a few lessons in one. Most fun I’ve had with my clothes on.

    Family holiday negotiations can be tricky. Good job navigating that.

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    1. CM,
      Can't claim any credit for the negotiations, that was all Mrs. J and her counterpart. That having been said, both of SIL's folks are good people. In fact, they're coming and staying in our guest house this weekend. The Town's lighted Christmas Parade is this Friday. Always a fun time and this is their second annual Parade watching ceremony. Not expecting problems, but you're right, sometimes you never know.

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  3. Nice! The Stearman is on my "to do" list.

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  4. You couldn't get him to do a "Split S" to a full stop landing???

    Local biplane flights: http://www.floridaairtours.com/cocoa-beach-biplane-tours/

    Bought some for a couple of my friends and their kids a few years ago. One of the kids "painted" his cockpit.

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    1. Mark,
      He offered. I demurred.

      I paid for college by working at an FBO. Had to clean out many a cockpit, which on a hot Texas day was not uncommon and distinctly unpleasureable. It happens.

      Delete
  5. Family maneuvers and a flight into the ether.......yowsa juvat!

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  6. If you're ever around Kissimmee, FL, plan a visit to Stallion 51 for a flight in one of their P-51 Mustangs. I did it several years ago. I have 26 hours in my logbook, accumulated some 60 years ago. After an hour's worth of preflight briefing during which the pilot was evaluating my stomach, we went up and out to an unused military training area. We commenced to do stalls, loops, Immelmann, Cuban 8s, four and eight point rolls, aileron rolls, barrel rolls, and general zooming. The pilot would perform the maneuver once, and then let me do it. About the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on.

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    1. Dad,
      That's on my bucket list. We regularly get fly-ins from warbirds. The airport has a hotel on the parking ramp and hosts various fly-ins. Our property is 4 miles (as the Mustang flys) from the airport. I've been told that the FAA requires currency in formation flying for airshows. The hotel hosts these on a regular basis. They tend to practice within sight of my house. Yes, Me, Lawn Chair, Binocs, Beer and my inner IP comes back to life. "Two, yer too wide, close it up!"

      Hey, it keeps me off the streets at night!

      Delete
  7. My father and I were out on an errand an awful lot of years ago and didn't stop at the small local airport where we saw the sign for biplane rides. I wish we had taken the ride.

    I vaguely remember reading a nonfiction book about flying cross country in a Stearman.
    Some considerable research later I found the book is called, "The Cannibal Queen" by Stephen Coonts.

    I wish I'd spent more time with our senior family members and asked more questions.


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    1. John,

      I've read that book. Very enjoyable.

      There are a lot of things I'd ask my folks about if I had a chance.

      Delete
  8. Wow, aviation week at the OAFS. If you were any happier, would we see teeth?

    My buddy in college was in the flight course. I rode along as cargo master / 3rd wheel. I had a ball sitting in the back and learning. Cherokee N2222H was the one I remember. We did a bump and go at Rusk County, then about 1000' the instructor (Todd) pulled the throttle and said "engine out, what do you do?" We did a 180 with flaps, and landed about halfway down the runway.... and my bud dumped the flaps. Instructor hollered too late... Too fast to stop, too slow to fly.... "I have the airplane".... Full throttle, and the tall grass is really close, and those giant pines at the end of the airfield are getting bigger too. He popped up into ground effect and right at the very last moment pulled into a Lear jet climb... I still remember counting the needles on the trees, and my finger prints are embedeed under the rear seat...

    A few weeks later Todd took me out on a Saturday and we did spins in the school's Citabria. I think we pulled 2 G's once.... That was a hoot I will never forget.

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    1. STxAR,
      If you zoom in on the shirt I'm wearing. It says "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. There are no Old, Bold pilots."

      And there's another one that seems apropos to your story. "I'd rather be lucky than good. Luck is more reliable."

      Glad you made it. Had it been me, there might have been something left IN the seat.

      Never liked spins. Did them, intentionally and once unintentionally, glad I had the training, but never liked them.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  9. There is something special about a fabric covered airplane. My Dad and I went purchased a Piper J-4 we both earned our Private licenses with most hours put in the Puddy 4.

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    1. They do remind you of just how far aviation has come, both in safety and comfort. They also remind you of why the early aviation pioneers clanked when they walked.

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  10. Glad your family time is working out. You can never have too much good family time.

    As to ChiCom's rules about dogs? Less said by me the better.

    Nice present from Mrs. Juvat. Glad you got some plane time, probably extended your life by 10 years.

    Last time I was in a plane it was Mrs. Andrew's friend's rebuilt Cessna 152. He was/is an aerospace engineer for NASA/ish and if the plane was any example of his engineering ability, well, less said the better. But it was fun anyways. Always liked flying but never got a chance to do open cockpit. Now? With the damage done to balance from Shingles, I can get urpy walking if I shift my eyesight too much (like go from horizontal to vertical too fast when looking for stars or the Moon or planes. So no more plane trips for me. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. eans,
      Yeah, it was great. Fortunately, we get MBD and SIL again this weekend for the afore mentioned parade. So, we've got that going for us.

      I think the dog thing is just their way of saying "WE are now in complete control of every aspect of your life. Get used to it!"

      Yeah, she's definitely a keeper.

      Sorry to hear about the balance thing. I have to remember not to swing my head around too fast for a couple of reasons, one of them being balance.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  11. When I was younger, I at least had an excuse for the room spinning (Budweiser). Any more I never know when the vertigo is going to kick in.

    Rule #1: Do not turn and start walking at the same time. Turn, stop to stabilize, then walk. My wife just can't seem to learn that rule. I occasionally get in a hurry and forget also.

    Glad you enjoyed the ride!

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    1. FF,
      In my case it's standing up too fast that sets the room to spin, but yeah, I've got a rule for minimizing the effect also. Now, if I could just remember to follow it.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  12. That sounds like a good thing(s) to do. Since we live in FL now, relatives come here, one by one. There is always someone in the building who will let them stay in their place whilst they are in the North somewhere. It works wonderfully well.
    The airplane ride is certainly tempting and not too far away. However, since I have been drinking too much in retirement, I sort of want to jump out of a plane (tandem). I probably won't do either, since it's a BIG NO-NO in the eyes of Miss Jeanie. At 83 or 84, I can still remember pull back, go up, pull further back, go down.

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    1. I remember the last a little differently. Pull back, cars get smaller, pull back farther, cars get bigger.

      Never had the desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Still don't. But...to each his own.

      Sounds like you've got "Neighbors" in your building as opposed to people you say "Hi" to. Good on ya'.

      Delete
  13. THAT had to be a blast. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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    1. It really was. Best day I've had in a while.

      Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving also.

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  14. Grandkids are the best people to have around, at any age. Sounds like a good Thanksgiving was had...

    Wife bought me a Stearman ride for my birthday several years ago. I flew most of the hop with several low approaches but I wasn't allowed to take-off or land. As a bonus we were doing some very low approaches at Addison so a sound crew could capture the engine sounds for a movie or some video game. He let me fly all of those so some fun was had. Pictures of N741BJ with me in the front cockpit hang next to my desk.

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    1. Flugelman,
      I think you're right. It's also pretty amazing the difference a month makes. When we first saw her just after She and MBD were released from the hospital, she was pretty much a lump. Now she's looking around, spent Thanksgiving day on someone's lap on the couch, fascinated with the fan spinning overhead, started fussing when she was where she couldn't see it. This grandparent thing is going to be fun!
      I've been very fast, very low, but never in an open cockpit. Made it seem faster and lower. As I said, the whole ride was a blast.

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  15. Glad the 'logistics' on the little one are worked out, and just think, if you'd been born a generation earlier, you'd have been flying that sucker as your trainer... LOL

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    1. Yeah, pretty sure Dad had some time in it.

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  16. Very happy for you, juvat - wonderful Thanksgiving, and great weather for your ride in the Stearman. What's not to like?
    As to your IP habits retuning, my wife and I were amused many years ago when down in the lower keys. Four Phantoms from NAS Key West were practicing various maneuvers while in formation, and one of the pilots was always in catch up mode in the turns. We could imagine the radio traffic from lead...

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    1. I very rarely corrected someone over the radio. Maybe a more vigorous rocking of the wings to get them to close it up. Debriefs however...very few punches were pulled and rank had little pull (as long as you added "Sir" at the end of the critique). At least it was that way back in MY Air Force. Now?

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  17. Grandkiddo visit and a plane ride in the same week?!?!!! How awesome is that!!!

    Plus, your new workshop must be showing up soon I would think? No?

    And a third set of eyeballs to assess anything overlooked? You are having a wonderful end of November!

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    1. Suz,
      Yeah it was a good ending. Workshop is probably still 2-4 weeks out. Need to get an electrician primed and ready. Got a couple that retired from the school district that might be looking for a little extra cash. Getting pretty excited about it.

      Delete

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