Friday, December 30, 2005

The FAA Does Not Agree

On Feb 16, 2006, Orlando's class B airspace undergo some modifications - mainly moving boundaries and floors around. This is a good thing in my opinion. The airspace was laid out years ago and traffic patterns and volume have changed since then. It's going to be interesting trying to learn all the new boundaries - it took me this long to learn all the existing ones.

Now for the bad news. My home airport, Orlando-Sanford (KSFB), will be changed from a class D to a class C on that date as well. There's a big difference between a D and a C airport. It's more hassle to fly in to and out of a C. The airspace is also twice the radius of a D. What this means is that students will have to fly twice as far to get out of controlled airspace. It also means the local practice areas will be compressed as this new airspace takes a big bite out of them. IMHO, this is not a safe thing - to pack more student pilots into a smaller area. Many people and organizations have complained to the FAA about this, citing these same concerns.

FAA Response: The FAA does not agree.

Of course, it's too late now. February will be an interesting month for pilots in the Central Florida area.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I need a new antenna

I have to apologize to the listeners of my KSFB tower feed. You've probably noticed that some days the signal is much better than others. The problem is the antenna of course.

I really need to get myself a real antenna. The one I'm using now is a home-made job. A half-wave dipole (easiest thing in the world to make) that I literally threw up in a tree outside the window. Problem is, I have the coax going out the window so it doesn't shut all the way. This is not so good in the winter. Plus I've got curious ants who climb out of the tree, down the wire, and into my computer room via the little coaxial skyway bridge I've built them.

Getting a real antenna, mast, and coax that goes through the wall instead of the window is on my short list. I promise.

Bang! OMG!

Imagine you've just taken off from Seattle on your way to Burbank when you suddenly hear a loud bang and the oxygen masks drop down in front of everyone's faces. What would you do? Personally, I think I'd have remained pretty calm -- as long as I'm not seeing fire or pieces of aluminum flying past the window outside.

A loss of cabin pressure is not a big deal. The pilots executed a rapid descent, as they should. In the time it took the MD-80 to descend from 26,000 ft to more breathable air, the passengers probably didn't even need to don the masks. I've been to 18,000 feet without O2. I can't say I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't have wanted to stay there more than the 5 or so minutes I did, but it didn't kill me. When I read quotes like, "It was absolutely the scariest thing I've ever had to go through in my entire life. I felt like I was lucky to be alive.", I think, boy, this guy doesn't get out much. Or perhaps the truth is more likely, like most people, he has an inherent fear of flying. Anything that happens out of the ordinary scares the bejesus out of him.

And in case you're wondering was I was doing at 18,000 ft without oxygen, I was jumping out of the aircraft. So maybe I'm not one to be judging other people's fear of flying...

Converting to Blogger

I originally had a "What's New" listing on this front page which I maintained by hand. Yea, that pretty much sucked for me - adding new content was becoming more of a pain than it was worth. I finally got wise and decided to hook in Blogger so updating and archiving would be soooo much easier. Let's see how it goes. :)