Becca

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About Becca

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  1. How about we all pencil in dinner at Friar Tuck's on Friday evening, at 6 pm. And we'll post where we're parked and y'all should stop by and have a beer on Thursday or Saturday nights...
  2. So we don't get there until Wednesday :(, if anyone is sticking around or arriving later in the week, let us know if you want to hang!
  3. I totally missed that there IS A MOONEYSPACE SOCIAL: I clearly just missed the thread. Anyway, if someone would like to have a smaller, later in the week get together for late arrivals like us that would be fun I
  4. Hey all - I know there's been talk about Mooney Caravan gatherings and MAPA things... but are we going to have an actual MS gathering at Oshkosh? Byron and I are coming up later in the week (Wed through Sun) and a lot of the ofifical gatherings are over by then, but we'd love to see / visit / share a beer. I'll post our parking spot in the N40 on this list. If nothing else, bring a beer by and hang for the night. If anyone's interested we could do a Friar Tuck's dinner one of the nights?
  5. We love doing these races -- our plane (Race 201) has a few FAC3RG records and we definitely welcome some real competition (unfortunately the few times we've raced another 201, the owner has decided to throttle her back so it was never a real head to head match up). FWIW, I always race wide open throttle, full RPM. It can be a tough row to hoe, hand flying that on a bumpy day (which a lot of the races are in the summer and in the south, you're fastest at a lower altitude for the most part the way the courses are designed, which means, its mostly bumpy). Even more annoying when your neurotic husband is in the right seat "coaching you," but I will say it is easier to do these races with two people, one can focus on flying a perfect course and the other on navigating and watching traffic. Its fun seeing yourself get faster each race as you perfect your method (but you have to watch when you are getting "fake faster," e.g. the Galveston race has 10 turns, and the formula they use to calculate your average speed biases you toward "faster" with turns). Yeah, some of the flying is done in the yellow arc, but these are tough planes, I think most of us basically always descend in the yellow arc too. I suggest you push it all the way for the next race, its fun seeing what your bird will do when you unleash her. Hoping when I return to racing next year I'll top the magical 201 mph threshold.
  6. This project was worse scope creep than anything I've ever seen as an engineering project manager. And the scope creep was on top of scope creep. It started out with an insurance settlement for hail damage. We were going to do a lot of the paint and body work ourselves rather than use a shop, and then we'd have $10,000 left over. Then we'd bring $10,000 of our money and upgrade to an IFR GPS. That was the only requirement for this project, IFR GPS approach capability. Nothing more, nothing less. However, after speed mods, checkerboards, paint masks, and who knows what else, we only had like $3,000 left over from insurance. But I'm game, let's keep the total budget to $20,000. Which, for the record, will meet the minimum requirements which as far as I was concerned was an IFR GPS unit (a G430 used was fine with me, or an Avidyne or whatever) and the accompanying indicateder ($2,000) or so. But, heck, I'll make some allowances for a cost overrun. But apparently, because we're tearing into the panel, we also couldn't live without an HSI, and ADSB that was compatible with the GPS that we purchased (which was double some of the more economical ADSB compliant options), a new intercomm, a new comm 2 radio (I am still not certain why except for ours was old), and a panel rearrangement. Bleeding our budget one finger prick at a time until we were almost 100% over budget. For the record, the autopilot worked just fine before this project. Also the hairy legs in the photos are Byron's not mine, rare time he's in the left seat.
  7. Seriously Byron had already taught his nephew to fly at that age, you're slacking
  8. Becca

    Mechanics upcharge for parts?

    ^^ this is the outdated model I referred to that was true pre-computer and drop shipping and on line retailers etc. Having ordered many parts for our airplane, this whole process takes about 15 minutes for most "replace with new or manufacturers overhaul" cases. And that's for a rank amateur like me. Byron can order a part from his phone while pouring me a glass of wine. At $100/hr, that's a $15 service not a 30%+ mark up. Heck, it took me under an hour to order up a new engine! Now, on the other hand, ordering replacement hoses was pretty time consuming because of the measurements required, and I can see a reasonable "per hour" charge for that sort of thing... As I said it would be different if the mechanic was shopping all the options, trying to find something in salvage, or keeping parts in stock (and thus incurring an inventory cost), etc. --- providing some value added to the transaction. We've watched mechanics go online and order the first part they come across, or just calling their guy and saying "I need this" -- not even price shop for different retailers all selling it new, so in addition to their 30% markup they aren't even getting the best deal for the base price, they are just going to the place that's fastest for them to order from. What I'm saying is sometimes there is basically zero value added. As for warrantying "the work," I guess I don't have much experience with this. But I would expect a mechanic to always warranty his own labor, regardless of who provides the part, if there is an installation error or something mechanic-caused, mechanic should fix it at their expense. However, if there is something actually wrong with the mechanic-provided part, it would indeed be value added for the mechanic to cover, as a warranty, an R&R of that part. So certainly something to consider. But, I'm not sure it's standard practice, and I am also not sure how often this is necessary -- we've had a couple parts issues and the parts manufacturer under their warranty has paid the labor for the R&R, so its not always the mechanic's "risk." And I am not sure it's 100% warranty either -- e.g. What if the part goes bad and leaves you AOG, I doubt your mechanic is going to compensate you for the expenses of an off-field repair, etc., even if you did buy the part from them, for the most part you might get a "gee, I'm sorry that happened." Also the value of that warranty is very dependent on the markup. Say the markup on the part $300 but the part only takes 1 hr to R&R (so $100) should it actually go bad, seems like it's better to go without warrantying the labor and not pay a markup. So there's a cost-benefit equation to that.
  9. Becca

    Mechanics upcharge for parts?

    I think there's a wide variety of mechanics practices. For what it's worth if the mechanic is going to provide a part to you, don't expect them to do it at their cost they are going to get a premium to re-sell it to you. But mechanics should allow you the option of finding your own part to avoid this if that's what you choose. I am sure this practice derives from the day when mechanics had wholesale-style relationships with vendors to get parts at a good price and you were "buying" the service associated with this relationship and their expertise in figuring out the right part. The internet has made that service decidedly less valuable but it has not changed the practice of many mechanics who can get away with it and consider it part of the profits they are "due." I personally think requiring you to go through them for parts increases the prices of the services unnecessarily (unless they are making a corresponding reduction in labor rates from the market or providing some value added like spending hours looking for a good priced used part from salvage) and would not opt to go with a mechanic that did this. If pilots refuse to use mechanics who require this, the market would force them to change their practices. As for me, I would just ask. If the answer is anything other than "of course we can order parts for you at our markup or you can provide your own," I'd probably opt to find another mechanic, because their are plenty of mechanics that let you supply your own parts. And sometimes the mark up is worth it because they have the part in stock and can have you flying in a day or you can order it and have it in a week, it may be a service worth paying for. If the only difference is you calling aircraft spruce or them calling aircraft spruce, I'd feel pretty gouged at the mark up. But here you are AOG out of base and you got stuck with who you got stuck with. If you feel like you were unnecessarily gouged, you should make sure to review the business here or on AirNav or whatever so other pilots can make informed decisions in the future. Sometimes wen AOG you can also call mechanics from nearby airports to pay a visit (depending on location/situation) if the markup is too unacceptable. But you don't have to give a mechanic a blank check...
  10. So, we've been on a waiting list for quite some time to get a hangar for our Mooney up in the D.C. area. It is possible we just came up on the list at KGAI (pending). However, we're not quite ready to relocate our plane here for at least a few months -- and paying for two hangars (one in Houston, one in DC) is not cheap. So out of curiosity, anyone interested in a sublet for a few months? Its an individual hangar, manual doors, with electricity.
  11. Becca

    Family pressures?

    15 years as a highly qualified aerospace engineer, I will tell you flat out, though it is true that good pilots understand their systems (though there are some counter examples of amazing stick and rudder pilots who are completely mechanically inept)... there are many many people who understand systems better than any pilot and yet would make a terrible pilots. They are two different skill sets. And despite my engineering qualifications, I'd rather pay some to rack my car than do it myself, but my husband seems to enjoy continuously having our cars disassembled so I suppose it works out. I try not to think about what our household tool box is worth, let alone get engaged in a pissing contest over it... Good aeronautical decision making and good mechanical aptitude are two discrete skills sets, that may be related and both make good pilots, but they are different. Don't get overconfident in this area.
  12. Becca

    Family pressures?

    General life advice: Don't insert yourself between your spouse and her family. Let her deal with them. Its between you and your spouse if you fly somewhere together, not you and her and your in-laws. And ultimately its up to her if she wants to get in the plane with you or not, everything considered including her tolerance for a long car drive vs her decision to defer to her parents. She's a grown up, neither dad or husband should make the decision for her. You're a grown up too, you can fly down and meet her there if she wants to drive herself. Reading all ten pages, its clear some people aren't interested in our itty-bitty-GA planes, some people don't even like the big ones. I generally try to let people make their own decisions about flying with me and make sure they want to be there. Coaxing is not an effective means of persuasion in this case. As for the comments on relative inexperience, I suppose it depends on the actual weather day of the flight and the routing, etc. I will say in the first few years after having my pilots license (and even now), I liked flying with other pilots. Even though I was PIC and fully competent flying the plane itself, talking things through with another more experienced pilot, even if not an instructor, really helped me improve my flying, catch bad habits, and prevent errors. Its different flying with another pilot than "taking care of" a passenger. I don't know who I am to talk here. My mother was my first passenger when I was 17 years old and the ink was still wet on my license. My dad treats airplanes as "contraptions" and though he was willing to fund some of my flying, there was no way he was getting in an airplane with me. Last year, though, he was coaxed in with Byron flying and an aerial tour of his favorite fishing lake, so I supposed it took getting him a pilot with 10,000 hours of experience and fishing to get him in the plane, but its unlikely that it will happen again.
  13. Becca

    Career Advice

    Advice is worth what you pay for it! 3. Yes, a 4 year college degree is absolutely mandatory for access to all the "major" airlines (the ones that pay that minimum wage you mention). Some people will tell you "I know a guy" that did without. But those are few and far between (and you sometimes find out that "the guy" is the nephew of the chief pilot or something"), this is about the odds, and the odds say go to college. As Byron mentioned you don't have to go to college right away, but will have to eventually, and it only gets harder and more expensive when you get older. I used to be on all these annoying pilot wife forums and I feel like that was the number one thing holding many of their husbands back in miserable regional jobs and they were like "well i don't want my husband to go to college, he's barely at home as it is, and we need to buy a house we can't pay his tuition!" Those problems are solved if you do things in the more responsible order which is school->profession->family. However, things can be done differently, its just harder. Byron touts the version of his online degree, but it was expensive in a lot of ways -- for instance, he missed an airline hiring window in the years he did not have a degree but was otherwise qualified for major airline jobs, also ERAU online is WAY more expensive than your local In-State-U that you could go to at the same time you work on your initial aviation ratings. It was what it was, but it wasn't optimal. 1. yes, there's a shortage for low paying regional airline jobs. And that's driving up wages, which I think is really really good. For major airlines (the ones you mention pay like UPS), there are still 8 qualified applicants for 1 opening; the military will still be producing pilots to fill these high paying slots; and the average age of a new hire at a major is 39 years old, so you should still plan for a 20 year career BEFORE that job that does not look as good. 3. there's no right answer. Do you think your kid would do well in the military -- does he like to follow orders, is he ok moving once every 3 years, is he athletically fit, does he value his hair? If so, especially considering it sounds like he's not very directed right now, maybe he should consider enlisting for a few years - it will give him some direction, focus, and good experience. I think a lot of people would benefit from that experience and he can sort out what he wants to do with his life. He could take advantage of military flying clubs and get his licenses on his days off, etc. Pilot slots, though, go to officers, which requires a college degree. So go to college and do ROTC, for example. Or go to college and then do OCS. He can still explore his flying interest while in college -- Georgia Tech, where I went, had a very reasonably priced flying club, many students became CFI's by their sophomore year and were instructing on the side their junior year. I imagine the same thing can be done at a local FBO or flight school in proximity to college. There are also aviation colleges, but if it were me I would not pay ERAU's ridiculous aviation prices to get an "aviation" degree that is worthless to do anything else, when you can get an accounting or engineering or something else degree if you decide a career in aviation is not for you, while getting all the same time-building aviation experience for probably cheaper. But that's me. I am really glad your kid enjoyed his intro flight, but one intro flight does not a career in aviation make, its just a good start. Get him some flying lessons, let him consider further. Have him talk to pilots. Even when you "make it" at an airline, its lots of days away especially in the summer and holidays, until you are super senior (think your late 50's), that's not for every family, every wife, every parent, etc. There is still uncertainty. Not everyone wants a professional spouse, but given the cycling of the aviation industry a second income is essential to pilot families. This does not work for everyone. My own experience was I learned to fly at 17, and did a lot of soul searching and realized I wanted it as a passionate hobby. Not a career. My career was aerospace engineering, mission control, project management, and now lawyering. We all change over time. I have 5 brothers, not a one of them had any form of direction at 17, it works itself out.
  14. Becca

    Mooney Wake

    Yep, that's me, with Byron (jetdriven) standing inboard of me in the green shirt. It was a beautiful day and a nice welcome to our new digs in this part of the country. Here's a more close up picture of Byron. He wants it titled "new idea for airport camping," but I'm going with "in the dog house." The wing is apparently going to be a new desk for me, because airplane parts make the best furniture?
  15. Becca

    Mooney Wake

    Lots of supervising going on around here