Author Topic: Thirty Days  (Read 2316 times)

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Offline Bill James

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Thirty Days
« on: October 24, 2008, 09:18:58 PM »
Several responses were started to SAF_Zoom and his "Hi new to the forum", but i will just post this developing note.

Thirty Days
Thirty days have September, April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty one, as does my log book.
-Thirty-one flights in thirty-one days.
-Three sunrises, the rest mostly sunsets.
-A one hundred degree flyby for the Horseshoe Bend EAA ice cream social.
-A couple of flights in mostly clear skies in the cool of evening between wispy, drifting curtains of rain.
-A sunset entry at Oshkosh,
-And a sunset arrival back home.
The 31 days got started with a four day run. That was enough to inspire going for seven straight. Then fourteen straight. At that point I risked generating a jinx by mentioning out loud what I was going to try to do.
I wonder, what is the potential of engendering a jinx by announcing the thirty days out loud. Luck these days is less sought after. Unearned luck is the young manís ally. Now, rather, flying through the Ezeís thirteenth year, common dogged gumption serves as a steady and desired partner. Durability its own moniker. 
During some past lives I would have been happy to fly 31 times in a year. That much flying in one month is addicting. Some things improve day by day. Like the sunset therapy. Some things accelerate, like tire life. Some things that vibrate show up quicker. Some things show their value, like confidence in a good airframe. Some demonstrate the value of the time that went into fabrication, like one minute cowls.
The 33 hours is much less than the cattle herding days, but close to my monthly military average. Those helos or the T-28 make the Eze fuel burn almost thrilling. Sitting here I remember in 1976 seeing the diminutive and audacious N7EZ on the cover Air Progress. 180 mph for $4000.  How many promises from that era have held their value?
One day Iím putting the Eze away, loading the lead-filled inner tube ballasts in the nose. A neighbor rumbles up to help. I scan back over the plane, looking at it as he is going to see it. To me, the machine is a raucous steed being brushed down after a brilliant run, actually a season of runs, to be bedded down for the day. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and often only skin deep. Surely so with airplanes.
The cowls come off after almost every flight. They arenít worn like the armrests, but do have a few dings. As he walks up Iím thinking that maybe they should have been kept in gray primer. Instead they were painted with the rest of the plane at the last minute, but are still on the list to be repainted for real later.
The lower cowl is pretty scarred. The dozen or so inlets and exit wounds will eventually be grafted back to lighter simpler smoothness. Each scar marks progress or failure during the deliberate oil cooling process. A productive pastime and favorable memory resulting with oil temp as a non issue this summer.
The meticulous visitor first comments on the nice paint job. But once he sees the masking tape holding on the TE Fences, any further conversation is muddled. After the visit, as the visitor goes out the hangar door the masking tape will get one last worried glance. But soon the Fences will get final paint and proper mounting and we will be slightly more socially acceptable.
Finishing up, the light cotton cover slips on over the nose and pulls back over the cowl. A good fluff settles into that sleek shape. I tap a knuckle along the wing on the way to turn out the hangar lights. With the flick of the switch the image of the winged porpoise dissolves into darkness. Life is good.
-Today, flight thirty-one skims the open ranchlands. The visuals and smoothness of the flight are alluringly soft, illuminated through light reddish yellow layers and bronzetone haze.
At the apex of a wingover a glowing winglet is captured as its shadow passes over the camera.
From behind the sinking sun highlights the home base air strip ahead. A silent 200 mph overhead entry lofts over the top. Stretching out ahead on the eastern horizon, grey cloud bottoms are lighting up pink and maroon. Carving wide through the downwind, yellow/silver spokes spray across to the far horizon.  The panorama glows over my shoulder, deepens and pulls the canard along through the glide to base. I feel like I am just along for the ride. Banking toward final turns us directly into the wide screen spectacular. A reach for the camera stops midway and instead the vision just permeates the grey matter.
On final, Heís not done. A go-around is called, for a gentle pull up and back around again through the encore. The canard surfaces light up a bronze halo around the canopy. The golden sun touches the earth and dissolves into the black horizon. Final is milked for every breath of lift, drifting to touchdown below the silvery guard of old man moon.
Thirty days have September, April, June and November. Now thatís a plan.
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze N95BJ
Downdraft Plenums, QuickCowls
There was supposed to be anhedral?
ATP, Society of Flight Test Engineers