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Ross Statham

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About Ross Statham

  • Birthday 09/01/1955

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  • Location
    Chipley, FL
  • Interests
    Bible study, cycling, IFR, hanger flying, barbeque
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  1. NHey gang, thought I'd let you all know what I ultimately did on my "hanger" towbar. All materials supplied by Lowe's, and EASILY made myself. I ended up using 1/2 inch iron piping for the t-handles, a long 48” 1/2 inch pipe for the length. But at the bottom, I used a "transition" elbow-- 1/2" on one side of the elbow, and 3/4" on the other side of the elbow. Into that side I screwed a 8 inch long section of 3/4" pipe, which is what I now insert into the tow socket of the plane. (Hope all of this is making sense.) I used some leftover red paint and painted everything but the 3/4" pipe red, which I left bare. How does it work? Like a champ! The plane's much easier to tow and turn, especially when I need to get leverage and lean back into the initial "pull" to get it unstuck from the hanger floor as well as on the return push back into the hanger. The project involved one trip to Lowe's, about five minutes or so to put it all together using two pipe wrenches, and two hours for the paint to dry. The 3/4 inch pipe fits the socket, and the 10 inch length is perfect. Great towbar. Total cost? $27. Parts list: Qty 1 1/2" iron pipe "T" (towbar connection to handles) Qty 1 1/2-3/4" iron pipe transition elbow Qty 2 10" x 1/2" iron pipe (for the handles) Qty 2 Optional 1/2” iron pipe cap ends for handle ends Qty 1 48” x 1/2" iron pipe (for the long towbar) Qty 1 10" x 3/4" iron pipe (to insert into the airplane tow socket)
  2. Many years ago I had sold my 20-F and bought a 1954 Bonanza V-tail with an old style electric variable pitch prop. My wife and I had it all tested, fueled, loaded up and ready to fly from central Florida to Vermont. I had filed a flight plan for a 3.5 hour leg, opened my flight plan, taxied to the the of the runway, and did my final run up before calling the tower. Uh oh. The pitch on the prop was badly out of adjustment, for some strange reason, and we had to call the flight off. Would not build RPM. We had already taken the time off at work and had paid for a cabin in Vermont, so we ended up driving. And driving. Oh, and driving home. No fun. When we got back home 8 days and MANY miles later, I put the V-tail in the shop. They had a mechanic that had worked on an electric Bonanza prop several years earlier, and ours needed a moderate adjustment. That’s when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to depend on that airplane. It’s one of the reasons I sold that old hunk of junk and bought a Mooney 20J eighteen months later- which we flew to Vermont a few years ago.
  3. Actually this is an area of personal expertise, so it’s nice that I can actually chime in. I spent two months researching and evaluating cameras, gear and procedures and have photographed natural disasters for FEMA and GEMA (including a massive F5 tornado track aftermath). I understand most of the ins and outs of this. I’ve shot thousands of frames. The good news is that your smart phone includes geotagging every time you snap a photo. The bad news is that even the very best smartphones still only have a chintzy little lens, and while your megapixel count is high, the optics aren’t much. Smartphone cameras have a rather wide angle lens setting as well, which is not what you want. If you’re looking for top quality results, you’ll be looking for an SLR camera that will ideally have geotagging. This is a process by which your precise latitude, longitude, altitude and the direction the camera was pointed (!!) are recorded within the meta-data of the photographs that you take. (Hence the need for a three axial electronic gyrocompass included in the needed GPS.) The GPS and gyrocompass will be particularly important later when you’re trying to later figure out exactly where you were located in the air and which way you were pointing the camera as you took the photograph. (Trust me when I tell you just how much you will want and need those features.) Best all around package we found was one of the later model digital Nikons that accepts an external front plug-in GPS input with electronic gyrocompass. But don’t use the Nikon GPS- it’s mediocre at best- we tried it, and found the aircraft cabin sometimes blocked GPS signal, and when you pointed the camera down to take photos often their chintzy two-axial gyrocompass stopped working. We selected the Solmeta, who makes a superb 3-axial gyrocompass GPS that slides into your shoe mount on top and has a cable that plugs into the front of the camera. No lost signal from the aircraft cabin. I’ve been using that combination for six years to excellent results. Strong Nikon optics, fast shutter speeds, crisp imagery- and each frame properly geotagged with direction of photo. Message me if you want to discuss. I love talking shop.
  4. I try to use different instructors during my flight reviews. We have at least three CFIs based on our small field, and I’ve found it helpful to fly with different ones as well as use others at fields close by. Each has a slightly different approach and teaching style. I like to fly for an hour with one of these guys every 12 months or so, then ideally sit down for another hour over a cup of bad airport coffee and listen to their thoughts and observations as to what I did, and didn’t do, as well as general observations. It’s made me a better and safer pilot. When I was a member of the CAP, they required me to get a comprehensive ‘Form 5’ check ride every 12 months (which could also count as a flight review if I chose), and while those were always in a Cessna, most of their check pilots had some great insights. (CAP had a rule that I couldn’t get checked out by the same check pilot more than two years in a row, BTW.) I was also a CAP Mission Pilot, which was a separate check ride every two years. So I guess the CAP got me in the habit of annual reviews. Looking back, I’ve been taught by a former F16 pilot, a former B-52 driver, retired airline pilots, a former Vietnam forward air controller, a former F-111 pilot, a retired PhD, a former home builder turned CFI, an international freight dog, corporate pilots.... Most were good teachers who had flown in a wide range of high performance, complex aircraft. Four of them REALLY knew Mooneys. All of their insights were invaluable.
  5. I’m impressed with her resume and accomplishments. Instead of yet another career bureaucrat appointment, the aviation community instead gets a pilot and aircraft owner who is also a retired USAF colonel who was involved with overseas assignments in combat zones? What was the FAA thinking? https://nbaa.org/press-releases/nbaa-welcomes-dr-susan-northrup-as-new-faa-federal-air-surgeon/ Most promising.
  6. I live in the western panhandle now, but used to be based in Brooksville, then Zephyrhills for a short while. One of my favorite destinations then and now is also shared by many- Williston, (X60), close to Ocala. Easy in and out, great little restaurant on the field owned by a nice couple, and superb gas prices, too. Makes for a nice refuel or food stop if you’re headed to or from Cedar Key or points north or west, or just hungry. (Once flew there in a jump seat on a Challenger just so we could fill up the jet and get a great hamburger. But that’s another story....) Another popular choice on the east coast is Ft Pierce, with the Tiki Restaurant on the field and plenty to do in that area as well. I had some avionics work done there several years ago and liked the field, the area and the restaurant. If any of you guys ever get the urge for great barbecue, message me and tell me if you’re coming up to 1J0, I’ll pick you up and we can get some barbecue in Bonifay. Some of the best you’ll ever get is at M&W, open Tuesday thru Friday.
  7. I started this thread four weeks ago with a posting about my first vaccination. Here’s a report on our second. My wife and I had our second Moderna shot 30 hours ago. It’s now the evening of the day after. The only symptom I exhibited was a sore arm this morning. I felt perfectly fine all day, and even managed to get in a 15 mile bike ride after work. My wife had a sore arm, body aches and a fever that started this morning and broke about 12 hours later. The bodyaches seem to be fading and she is feeling better. As others have noted, stronger reactions but short term.
  8. 6I used to fly my first Mooney, an M20F, just about anywhere, including a great trip to the UP several years ago, flying in and out of Marquette. The flight up was solid IMC across Wisconsin coming up from north Georgia, but even with that it was much simpler and easier than flying commercial. Lots of airports up there to choose from, too. Years later and today I fly a J model and live in Florida. I have a trip to Washington state planned for this summer in my J. Mooneys are truly traveling machines. I gotta agree with everyone else on this- get a Mooney and get your instrument ticket in it. Lots of options to choose from that’ll match your needs and I assume, your budget. I held on to my old 1972 Skyhawk WAY too long. Fortunately an instructor buddy owned a Mooney and enlightened me by checking me out in his Mooney. I sold the Skyhawk, got a Mooney and never looked back. Zoom zoom!
  9. Perhaps try a can of “Betty White”. It seems to hold up well with age.
  10. I often read a poster’s profile, as well as reading their posts going back a bit. That gives me a sense about their listening skills, currency, and especially their analytical abilities. Do they simply react, or do they think before responding? Profiles can help give a few clues to their flight resume. Viewing their “states flown” also really helps understand experience. But as others have pointed out, you can always take advice or ignore it. When I served in the Army I came to understand that the ribbons and badges on another’s uniform were generally indicative of their experiences and achievements. I came to respect most opinions from those who had really “been there, done that”. Someone with a Combat Infantry Badge and a Bronze Star or Silver Star, or a Command Pilot insignia (2000+ hours) merited my attention and respect and my ears. I have seen similar experiences and advice often given here, and it’s been helpful.
  11. Great question about selling my F, and getting a J. Here goes. Several years ago I was living in Georgia and I sold my basically equipped F model and bought a Bonanza V-tail at a “great price.” Or so I thought. After I bought that Bo, I discovered there were a lot of things about that plane that were not what I wanted, including several maintenance issues and ownership costs. (I’ve discussed some of those in another post.) As much as I like several features of the Bonanza, I kept wondering why I had “upgraded.” A big maintenance issue reared it’s ugly head at annual, and it didn’t take a whole lotta reflection to figure it out, and I sold it. After owning an F (and flying a G), I knew what I was looking for, and bought a nice J with great avionics, low engine time and a bud ugly paint job. We had her painted like we wanted, and today we love the way she looks and the way she flies. But I suspect that I would be just as happy if I’d kept the F, and had put a few bucks into an autopilot and a few other goodies.
  12. Ah. Thanks for the altitude tip. That’s why I reached out to you guys!
  13. There is very little advice I can add to the already excellent advice that has been given. One thing I think I would amplify is that when I’ve sold my planes in the past I have always ensured that I have detailed pictures and the logs, done my homework on price and told the story. In several cases I had people call me up after having gone through the posting description, the photos and the logs at length (for two or three days I learned later) to say something like, “your information was really complete, and I only have a few more questions before we talk about details about moving forward.” Do your homework, take lots of photos, price it competitively (without giving the farm away) and tell the whole story. Buyers will get a good flavor of both you and your bird. So again- no new advice, just some amplification. I upgraded from an F to a J. Glad you’re planning to stay!!
  14. It truly amazes me how the strangest maintenance items seem to pop up out of nowhere where aircraft ownership is concerned. I had a frustrating right wingtip strobe issue that only went away when I finally replaced both strobes with LEDs; we never could track that issue down. I’m not an A&P, so I usually end up scratching my head, calling smart guys like you and picking their brain, and digging around the web until one of us figures it out or the answer magically appears. Eventually. My wife and I own older (paid for) domestically made vehicles, and I own and maintain a 1978 Kubota diesel tractor. (Same year as my J by the way...) I have learned one big life lesson many years ago that applies here- if ya buy something expensive that’s gonna to need maintenance, think about parts and getting it fixed or replaced when it breaks. Sure applies to aviation, doesn’t it?
  15. Thanks! I’ll plan an early ride thru this area and VFR flight following. And thanks for the restaurant tips too!
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