Yooper Rocketman

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Yooper Rocketman last won the day on November 2

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About Yooper Rocketman

  • Rank
    Won't Leave!
  • Birthday 12/18/1955

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  • Location
    KIMT, Iron Mountain, MI
  • Interests
    Built my Lancair IVPT, First flight November 2016. Active pilot with Northwoods Airlifeline, flying mercy flights for 25 years. Built a custom log home, several solar collectors and restored a 1940's wind turbine. Also love 60's muscle cars.
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  • Model
    Lancair IVPT

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  1. In 1991, my aspirations to fly and be part of aviation were finally satisfied, as my cousin and close friend invited me to be a fourth partner in a hangar project. My cousin, Dave Oliver, and Steve Phillips, who he worked with at a Fed Ex maintenance facility, had added a third partner, Bob Larson, (the founder of Northwoods Airlifeline) just prior to my opportunity. I complained that not only could I write the support check, I had carpentry skills and was capable of helping with the build. Just as we completed the hangar, Dave decided he wanted out for a pretty silly reason (that was his way), and Steve, who barely knew me, asked "I suppose you want out too?" I said emphatically NO. A partnership and friendship blossomed from there. Steve owned the beautiful E model Mooney I've posted pictures of in the past. He accompanied me in 1994 for the pre-purchase of my first plane, a C-150 (Steve was an A&P too). He flew me down to Falcon Field in March of 1996 to do the same blessing on my first Mooney, an F model. He flew with me to Seattle in 2001 to do the same on my Rocket purchase. I performed most the maintenance and annuals on all 3 planes over the years, under Steve's guidance and leadership. By the end of the years he trusted me to perform his annuals as well. We flew many, many airlifeline flights together, flew to Florida for a pre-purchase on my sister's Cherokee 180, and he flew it to Denver for her with me in chase (well, he was in chase to MY Mooney). About 3 years before finishing my Lancair, I talked him into giving up his last job, truck driving (he loved the road) to help me finish the Lancair. He asked how much time before we would be done. I told him 6-9 months. He never failed to remind me that ended up being 2.5 years. He also drove for my dealership, delivering trucks that were far enough away they would require an airplane ride from me once delivered. He took on another Lancair Propjet project, moving it to our hangar, to finish the instrument panel and wiring installation (Joe Trepicone's from Columbus OH). Steve was with me on two engine failures in the flight levels. He helped me by flying the Rocket down to TN when I dropped the Lancair off for paint and interior, and brought me down to pick it up when done in May 2018. We flew both planes to Houghton for a Young Eagles Event, and have flying stories long and deep enough I could write a book. He was my camping buddy at Oshkosh too. Most recently, he was "key man one" on the EAA Chapter hangar/concrete project I just posted about, there for every work session in spite of his own on going home re-siding project. 28 years ago he was new friend. 15 years ago he was one of my 3 best friends. For the last 10 years..... he was my best friend....... I mean BEST FRIEND! While in Florida this past Monday (came home Tuesday), he son called me and told me he died of a surprise heart attack. Man this hurts!!!! Tom Picture of Steve's last flight with his Mooney and him and his wife this summer at Oshkosh.
  2. I want to recognize my uncle, Gerald ((Larry) Sullivan. Served in the Marines from August 1941 to October of 1945 in the South Pacific (that’s right ...... for the entire war!!!). Semper Fi uncle Larry. You definitely defined “The few, the Proud, the Marines. Tom
  3. So the wife went to our Florida home last Sunday with two of her girlfriends for almost 2 weeks. With maybe one day since then even hitting above freezing for the high, and lows in the low teens, she sends me a beach photo on Thursday rubbing in the great weather she’s seeing. After a smart remark from me about feeding her horses in the lowest temps of the day (daybreak) she says “well, if you knew someone with an airplane you could be down here in 3.5 hours”. Wrong tease ...... I snuck in on her yesterday around noon. I was able to wash and wax my plane OUTSIDE this morning. Just staying for a few days but what an awesome break to an early onset of winter in the U.P. Tom https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N994PT
  4. I conducted another mercy flight Thursday afternoon. I didn't get out until later in the afternoon (was working on the hangar project I posted about last night). Picked up the patient in RST (Mayo Clinic) and brought her back to Houghton. There was a solid overcast (with icing, argh) so put my deicing system back to work. It was pretty much dark when I left Houghton but as soon as I busted through the tops I got an amazing view of the sunset. Tom
  5. The first 4 pours were 6 bag mix with ash and fiber, warm water for number 4. But, the temps were dropping for every pour and number 4 was a bitch. It was 8 hours before I could get the power trowel on it and the temps were dropping fast. I ended up hand troweling the entire slab so I could get Styrofoam on it before it cooled down too much. The slab was in the 50's the next morning, despite outside temp of 22 degrees. The one we did yesterday had 1% chloride added to it (I cried uncle). That helped a ton as I was done troweling be 6 PM and had it insulated, tools clean, and was driving home by 7 PM. Tom
  6. So, today, I was the last man (for the fourth time in five work sessions) finishing up number 5 of five concrete pours on our chapter hangar. A 75’ x 70’ EAA Chapter hangar, broken down into 5 manageable pours for a total of 125 yards of cement, I actually finished the day in under 14 hours of time (pour #4 was an 18 hour day). Thank god my wife is understanding, as her honey do list was pushed off for this late fall project. Dedicated old men shouldn’t be messed with!!! Tom
  7. And just for the record , none of the younger refs I crew with run as much as me either !!!! Tom
  8. It’s a freakin number. 6 months ago, before me third hand surgery, I was running 30 miles a week at 63 years old. I have two employees in my dealership 15 years younger than me that couldn’t stay with me for 1/4 mile. I still officiate high level soccer (center referee) and run for 90 minutes in a normal match. A lot of guys 20 years younger than me could never keep up with me. I LOVE HEARING STORIES of people staying active as they age. I find it inspirational!!! Tom
  9. No, I rarely ever pull back power. Especially when flying cross country. If the trip had been long enough I would have climbed to FL270 and dropped the fuel burn to 30-31 GPH. Probably would have picked up some more tailwind too. Tom
  10. I know it’s all a matter of perspective, but how can you fault a guy from getting excited about something he poured 18+ years of his life into, probably 10,000 man hours of work, after a flight like today? Did an AIRLIFELINE flight today; fighting an 80+ knot headwind on the westbound leg but boy was the flight home amazing. Beat my previous best ground speed of 412 knots! Just couldn’t quite hit the 420 knot barrier but got really close. Had jet traffic called out a 1,000’ below me going INTO the same wind I was enjoying on my tail. He passed immediately under me and the closing speed was impressive. Pretty darn sure I was kicking his butt on ground speed today. I am having WAY TOO MUCH FUN!! https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N994PT Tom
  11. Hello Yooper,

    Some of your posts have me believe that you have a lot of experience with TKS. I've been offered a nice MSE with TKS, which I plan to buy for all her other features and quality. When reading up on TKS, I came across two provocative statements:
    1) with TKS you loose about 7-9 knots top speed (or, with TKS, your gas burn goes up)
    2) without a slinger ( she has a hot prop) one cannot trust TKS but in the mildest cases anyway.

    Would you let me know what you think ?
    Thanks !!

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. j3gq


      Very much appreciate. Looking at the TKS wings I couldn't make sense of the speed loss claim. Concerning the hot prop I was less sure. So that's why I felt I needed an answer from sb who "knows". Thanks again.

    3. j3gq


      Hello Yopper,

      After looking again at the cav-system FAQ I have one more question. Apparently one needs to run / flush the TKS system once a month, summer and winter. In the past this was done. But now my work schedule is such that once a year I will be away from home and our airfield for about 2-3 months. The Mooney and its TKS will stay put. It wouldn’t be easy to have sb else run the system on the ground in order to comply with the flushing requirement when I am gone.
      Do you have any (bad) experience what happens when the system isn’t flushed according to the monthly schedule ?
      When I put the question to cav-systems they say, it has to be done, ... well, it doesn't have to be done, but there may be long-term consequences. They are careful and I understand this.
      Thanks again
    4. Yooper Rocketman

      Yooper Rocketman

      In every plane I've flown with TKS they've periodically sat for that length of time and I've never seen an issue.  


  12. Maybe this post will help you. Tom
  13. Bonal, Do you have to muddy this up with FACTS? LOL Tom
  14. My local FBO has a flat rate for annuals by model. They complete the inspection process first, before performing the maintenance functions of the annual, and provide a squawk list of items found with an estimate for each segment of repair. They are listed under two categories, airworthiness items and non-airworthiness items. You pick and choose what gets repaired and know the cost estimate before making your decision. They rarely will run more but, if unforeseen issues pop up, they will advise before moving forward with an adjusted estimate as well. Although I do most my own maintenance, I am the chairman for our maintenance committee for our airlifeline planes. This relationship has worked amazingly well over the years and rarely do I ever get a surprise AFTER THE REPAIR. There's been some "gulp" moments before approving the work, but the shop is outstanding in keeping their customers informed BEFORE dropping an unexpected final invoice on you after the plane is signed off. This is how my dealership works as well. Very few surprises at final billing time. We bill over $100,000 a month in labor sales (this does not include parts on those service invoices, this is pure labor sales). Good shops keep their customers informed so they will come back! This policy also avoids the dispute at completion. There's nothing worse than "let's make a deal" once we have all the labor and parts invested in a job because the customer is getting a surprise with his final bill. Tom
  15. Believing the same as Phillip, that the once a month usage was to wet the panels, I found out otherwise during Air Adventure 2019. I was asked to display on their booth with my Lancair and heard Jeff Holden (the US factory salesman) explain to many customers (I was there all 7 days) the purpose of the wetting out once a month was not for the panels, but to lubricate the pumps and accessories with o-rings and seals. There was no mention of a specific time limit required to run them either. Tom