Aviation – Paragliding and Paramotors

So…. about a year ago I sold my airplane kit and tools, and resigned myself to walk away from aviation as a hobby forever, aside from drones. It had just gotten too expensive. I haven’t really flown in years, let my medical and flight reviews expire, and stopped paying for renters insurance because I wasn’t renting planes anyway. I’m not an idiot though, I never surrendered by pilots license to the FAA and left the door open for re-entry, even if only cracked the slightest amount. I love aviation, or at least loved it (past tense), but felt I needed to close that chapter of my life and look to hobbies that were less expensive and more obtainable.

So I bought a 1965 Mustang project and a 2006 Yamaha FJR motorcycle with the proceeds from the sale of the Zenith CH750 kit, and have been working here and there on the Mustang and will have the FJR on the road in plenty of time for prime riding this fall. I work a lot as a police officer and software engineer, and I have always loved classic cars and motorcycles, so these are normal things for me to purchase. I cleaned out the workshop and bought tools appropriate for auto and motorcycle restoration and never looked back. But I made a huge mistake, I did look UP!

A while back I was on patrol at “The Point”, the beautiful west end of Oak Island that is very popular with tourists and locals alike. It is a large sandy area where Oak Island ends and the intracoastal waterway, Eastern Channel, and the Lockwood Folly river meet the Atlantic Ocean. The waters around The Point are very dangerous, with strong and sometimes unpredictable currents, but it is a very pretty area with great fishing and sunsets, and a lot of wide open space. Then I heard it…

It was a sound I was not completely unfamiliar with, I had heard it before. It was the classic buzz of a 2-stroke engine, not unlike a chainsaw, leaf blower, or weedeater. But this sound was out of place at The Point. There are no trees, no grass to cut, and it wasn’t coming from the ground anyway. It was over me, and not by much, only about 50 feet or so. Naturally I looked up and saw a multicolored powered parachute cruising along at about 20 miles per hour. I watched as the pilot cut the power and landed in the sand a few hundred yards away from me. I started walking towards him to chat about this wonderful little flying machine, but just as quick and he landed he was flying again, heading east along the beach. As it turns out, some paramotor pilots have had bad run-ins with law enforcement. Even though this encounter would have been far from bad, and I don’t even know if he saw me or not, I was a little upset that he flew away before I had a chance to pick his brain.

Oh yeah, there’s that word, paramotor. Even though I have been involved with aviation for several decades, I was not familiar with the term. I was familiar with what I called “powered parachutes”, but that is actually a very wrong term. These aren’t really parachutes at all. Well, they are, but…

I finished my shift late that night and went home, still thinking about the pretty little parachute thing-a-ma-job. Google to the rescue, a few minutes later I was reading about paramotors, paragliders, things called “wings” that looked nothing like wings I was familiar with, Vittorazi Moster 185 engines (I thought they misspelled Monster), harnesses, kiting, “clipping in”, forward and reverse launches, A, B, C, and D lines, brakes, frames, butt-landings, faceplants, and some kid from New Jersey named Tucker Gott.

I’ve seen these before at Oshkosh, but for whatever reason I never paid them much attention. In reality, I had seen trikes and similar ultralights my entire life, even flew a Weedhopper ultralight in the 80s that belonged to a friend of mine, but I don’t recall ever seeing a foot-launched powered glider. This was, somehow, new to me. So I stayed up most of the night reading whatever I could find online while watching Tucker Gott do some amazing flying all around the world. This looked to be just too much fun to miss out.

Of course, this is aviation, so my excitement was tempered by the reality that this was going to be amazingly expensive, lawyers had to have already screwed everything up, and I am sure the FAA regulates the holy hell (and fun) out of it. A few more Google searches confirmed just the opposite was true. The cost of entry was surprisingly reasonable, though not cheap, and the FAA does in fact regulate paramotors, but much less so than even ultralights. You can take off and land pretty much anywhere you have the minimal space needed, public places, beaches, or anywhere you have permission. Even at airports. You don’t need a hangar or runway, and can easily transport a paramotor in a car or pickup truck. And the safety factor is a huge plus too. Sure, these are powered mostly by 2-stroke engines (electric is becoming viable), which will never win any reliability awards, but in the end you are flying a parachute, no matter what they call it. When the engine quits, you land. Notice I said land, not crash. Score one for the little guys!

Over the next several weeks I continued my research, learning about the USPPA, kind of like EAA and FAA combined for powered paragliding, and located a North Carolina-based PPG (Powered Paraglider) school called Carolina PPG, owned by Darren Locklear. The pilot I saw flying over The Point was likely Darren, or possibly Mark Huneycutt, who had recently flown from Frying Pan Tower to Oak Island. I have since talked to Darren on the phone and chatted with Mark online, and am looking forward to meeting both of them in the future. I ordered “The Book” on powered paragliding, “The Powered Paragliding Bible” by Jeff Goin, and am making my way through it slowly.

I sometimes live my life in a vacuum. It’s not intentional, and I am not being secretive, but there is usually a lot of crap floating through my brain at any given time and I seldom speak those thoughts out loud. So even though I was getting pumped (or stoked as the kids say) about paramotors, I hadn’t said a word about it to my wife, Missy. Now I know from experience that Missy pretty much lets me do as I please, and attempting to stop me from doing something I want to do is usually a futile battle not worth having, but to my surprise she was actually on-board with this crazy idea! I think she sees it like I do, a reasonably priced and relatively safe way that a pilot like me can remaining flying and living life to its fullest. So long as the life insurance premiums are paid up! 🙂

So what’s next? I am hoping to be able to go to flight school in August or September. It takes a little over a week (weather and wind permitting) to get your license, and of course already having knowledge of aerodynamics, federal aviation regulations, navigation, airspace, etc. will work in my favor. I will likely buy a new gas-powered paramotor and wing from Darren at Carolina PPG and use it for my training. I really think an electric paramotor will be in my future because I envision enjoying many short flights around Oak Island and very little cross country work, making electric power a viable and desirable option. But I still know pretty close to nothing about this stuff and am looking forward to learning a whole lot more.

A Little Catching Up…

I know I have not been great about keeping up my blog, and as always, I will try to do better. That said, this post will try to bring it up to date so that going forward only daily updates and news will be needed.

As for my airplane project, I have completed the Zenith CH650 tail kit and have disassembled the Corvair engine that I bought in Chicago over Christmas. I am in the process of cleaning and painting the engine now, at which point it will be in storage for a while until it gets closer to the time I need it. I plan to attend a Corvair College to assemble and test the engine when that time comes. I ordered the rest of the airframe kit from Zenith in July and was given a ship date of September 22, 2018, so I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of a whole lot of aluminum!

My experimental avionics package, GlassPack, is done for now. I have it working quite well and will be adding more features to it in the future, but unless some community support develops around it, I will likely only be building this for my own plane.

I joined the Oak Island Water Rescue Team a few months ago. I am still very much in training, but learning quickly. This is a great team of 20 volunteers that respond anytime someone calls 911 for people struggling in the ocean or waterway, boat accidents, and basically any time rescue on the water is needed. We also have a U.S. Coast Guard station on the island. They are used more for offshore rescue since their boats need 16′ of water depth to operate. We handle the shallow water calls and so far I have been on about 20 of them. Fortunately most were not serious.

I also joined the Oak Island Police Department, originally as a volunteer to do parking enforcement on the weekends. The town council decided they wanted us to be part-time employees and migrated us to employee status. The Police Department also trained us on ATV’s and we now do enforcement of many town ordinances on the beach as well as parking. We also help patrol the island and assist police officers with their calls.

Lastly, I volunteer with the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program. I have been assigned to 2 nests so far this year, with the first nest hatching a couple of weeks ago. We helped 117 baby Loggerhead turtles make their way to the water. This is an important program because these turtles are very endangered and because Oak Island is a prime nesting place for Loggerheads. In a normal year, about 8,000 Loggerheads are hatched on Oak Island, and only about 1 in 1,000 will survive to adulthood, primarily due to predation. We will be setting up the second nest this evening.

So, I am managing to keep myself very busy, but I like busy. The volunteer work with Water Rescue and the Police Department will go way down in the off-season, and there will be no turtle work once the season ends. My free time will then be dedicated to building the Zenith CH650 kitplane and suffering through the 50 degree cold North Carolina winters. Sorry Wisconsin peeps!!!

BuildLog is Now Available

I just released a new (free) software application named BuildLog that makes it easy to track time worked while building an experimental aircraft. Please feel free to download it and let me know what you think. I created it for myself to use while building my Zenith CH650 kitplane and am hoping it may be useful to other homebuilders. The web site is https://toddosborne.net/BuildLog.aspx

New Tail Kit

In the last couple of weeks I received my new Zenith CH650 tail kit and started building the rudder skeleton. Since we now live at the beach, I decided to do a lot more corrosion protection than on previous planes. So I quickly got stopped because I needed to order Alumiprep 33 and Alodine 1201, both hazardous materials that had to be shipped on a slow truck. I now have both and am looking forward to making some good progress this weekend.

Workshop Construction

After several other home improvement projects at our new beach house (Fence/Pool/Deck/Landscaping), it was time for me to turn my attention to building a workshop. If you know me, you know I can’t go more than a year or two without having a kit plane project to work on. Even though living at the beach is allowing me a lot more time for fishing, kayaking, bike riding, etc. the old aviation bug was bound to bite again, and it did. I decided to build another Zenith CH650 Zodiac kit plane because it is large enough for Missy and I to fly in comfortably, has good cross-country capabilities, and is easy to build and fly. As far as airplanes go, it’s also fairly inexpensive to build and maintain, and I have quite a bit of experience with this design and construction techniques.

Because of local building and zoning laws, I was limited to a shed that is no more than 150 square feet, so I designed a 12×12 building using SketchUp. This is a very small place to build an airplane, so my goal was to maximize the available space as much as possible by having 8-foot ceilings and a steep roof with large overhead storage lofts. The area should be large enough to build most sections of the plane, though I will certainly have to move it elsewhere for final assembly. After initially designing the building with a Gambrel roof, and even building the required 4 piece trusses, I decided that roof was going to be too difficult to build, mostly because I am so scared of heights. I changed it to a Gamble roof after installing 3 of the 10 trusses. Here is the final design drawing.

The building would end up having internal bracing using OSB sheets in each corner and hurricane straps to hold the trusses to the top plates and foundation. Everything was built on 16″ centers, and is at least as strong as my house. In the end, the actual building was VERY similar to the drawing, though I did make a few tweaks here and there.

Construction began on August 6, 2017. I did not, yet, have my permit, so I was limited to what I could build under the house. I framed the walls, without the OSB bracing so they would be light enough to move when that time came. A few days later, I built the roof trusses that I would eventually not use.

I received my building permit about 10 days after I applied for it, so it was time to start building. I wanted the foundation to be similar to my house. Since our yard is primarily sand and can flood easily, that means building off the ground is needed. I decided to go with 9 4×4 posts sunk deep into the sand, sitting on top of a crushed rock foundation and mounted in concrete.

12′ 4×4’s were attached to the foundation to make an elevated skid, and 12′ 2×4’s were placed on 16″ centers to form the floor joists. These are all pressure treated.

The following week, Missy and I installed the 3/4″ plywood floors. They are not pressure treated, so we did our best to keep water out. That ended up being a losing battle, but a valiant effort.

Moving the walls from under the house to the platform was not real pleasant, but Missy and I managed without any help. Standing up the walls and temporarily bracing them only took about an hour.

The walls were internally braced with 7/16″ OSB. Even though the exterior sheathing is structural, negating the requirement for internal bracing, I wanted the internal bracing both for added strength (we get hurricanes) and for a place to mount shelves, pictures, drawings, etc.

We started installing the trusses for the Gambrel roof. As it turns out, this was incredibly difficult to do. First off, I am scared of heights, and the top of the roof was well over 15′ above the ground. Second, because we were working so close to fence and pool, it was a major PITA to handle these trusses and get them to stay put while adding more.

So, before this project got any uglier, and before anyone got seriously hurt, I changed the roof design to a simpler Gamble roof. It would have a steep pitch for maximum storage space in the lofts, and I designed it so that each side used exactly 3 sheets of plywood, with no long cuts required. Thankfully, by brother-in-law, Mike Daniel, sacrificed 3 days of his vacation to help me in the very hot and humid summer sun while doing the roof.

Now it was time to install the exterior sheathing/siding. I used the pre-primed composite sheathing from Lowes for this. I can’t say enough great things about this stuff, though at $30/sheet it is pretty expensive.

Paint, windows, and trim installed. Almost done! This was September 17, 2017.

After getting really tired of water getting inside every time it rained, Missy and I struggled to get the roof paper installed. Somehow managed to get it laid down. No more leaks! I did pay a local builder $225 to shingle the roof, which I felt was a very fair price. I turned my attention to completing the doors, entry ramp, trim, and paint.

September 24 was the “done” day. That marked the end of major construction, and of the backyard looking like a construction zone! It would pass inspection a couple of days later.

I needed electrical service, and while I would love to have installed a 50-amp sub-panel in the workshop, I had already spent more money on this project than I had planned. I had to cut a corner here and run a single 20-AMP 120 volt line from the house to the workshop. The 125′ of #10/2 UF-C cable cost over $100 alone, but is certified for direct burial, so long as you go at least 12″ deep. I had to cut a deep trench about 110′ around the pool to the house to bury the cable. I thought I was going to die 🙂 The line feeds into a 20-amp switch that I can use to kill all power to the building. Previously, our pool used an above-ground wire that ran along our fence for power. That wire was removed and the pool now plugs into an exterior outlet on the shed, which looks a whole lot nicer. Behind the building is a small resin shed that holds my air compressor, which I can turn on and off from inside the workshop. This means I won’t go deaf when the compressor kicks on, and the neighbors will probably appreciate the extra quiet as well! I also didn’t lose working space inside to the compressor.

In the end, and less than 2 months after starting the project, I have a very nice workshop where I can build my next kit plane. It’s tight (cozy if you’re in real estate) but will work. The total cost was about $2600, including the $100 or so I wasted trying the Gambrel roof first, and the $225 I paid to have the roof shingles installed. Now that I am moved in, I just need airplane parts to arrive!

It’s Only Been 7 Years!

OK, my last posts from 2010 talked a lot about keeping this blog more up to date. Fail! So before I mention some of the things that have happened since then I will talk about why I decided to rekindle this old blog. Going forward, this blog will most likely be about me building a Zenith CH650 kit plane. Yes, this is number 4, or 5, so it really is time for me to actually complete a kit plane. I am almost 49 years old now and if I want to have a least a few really nice years flying around in my own plane I need to get busy! There will be other stuff here too, not everything will be about aviation, though I have severely curbed my involvement in politics, open source software, and many of the things I enjoyed when I was younger. I choose to concentrate now on things that make life more fun and enjoyable, avoid conflict/drama, and generally chill out.

So, what has happened since 2010….

  • All of our girls grew up! Halle is a freshman in college, Delaney is working and raising Anya, and Haley (Bug) is a junior in high school and starting to look seriously at colleges and schools to attend after graduation.
  • Missy and I moved from Cross Plains, Wisconsin to Oak Island, North Carolina in March 2017. We live 1/2 mile from the beach, 3 hours from my mom and sister, and Missy’s sister is 2 hours away. The weather is great, and we love it here. The only downside is that our girls are not with us as much as we’d like.
  • Our oldest daughter, Delaney, had a baby girl, Anya, in 2016. She is our first grandchild. I am now Papaw!
  • My grandma Opal passed away in 2016
  • My father passed away in 2015
  • One of my best friends, James, passed away in 2014
  • I ran for public office in 2014, Dane County Supervisor, and received 43% of the votes. For a conservative in Dane County, that is a win! 🙂
  • Missy and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2017
  • I bought, and sold, a 1992 Corvette after painting and restoring it (mostly)
  • I started a Sonex kit plane. These are very cool, but not practical enough for our needs.
  • I got VERY (too much so) active in state and local politics from 2010 to 2014 and helped grow the Dane County Tea Party into a powerful political force. I served on the Board of Directors and was eventually elected President. We did many great and successful projects during this time that, I believe, were instrumental in changing the political environment in Madison and Wisconsin as a whole.
  • I am still with Quest Software, though it has been a rough and rocky road. We were bought by Dell in 2012, and they closed the Madison office and let nearly everyone go, except me and one other person, because we actually worked for groups in California. Dell tired of software in 2016 and we became Quest again. I am now preparing to start my 10th year, the longest time I have been with a single employer by a long shot. I work in the software licensing group and have been doing the engineering for our licensing systems for the past 3 years.
  • I served 1 year as the President of the Middleton, WI chapter of EAA and Missy and I were co-coordinators for the Young Eagles program
  • I spend a great deal of time these days fishing, working on home improvement projects, and am active with our local EAA chapter
  • I bought a real nice fishing kayak that I am TRYING to enjoy. I haven’t got the feel for it yet, so either that will come in time, or I will stick to fishing from the beach or buy a boat.
  • Since I haven’t been SCUBA diving since our honeymoon in 2007, I did a recertification class after we moved to Oak Island. I plan to dive a lot more, though that will likely wait until next spring/summer. I’d really like to learn spearfishing.
  • Missy and I quit smoking and started vaping. We figured vaping was safer/healthier than smoking, not the menion much cheaper, and we’d do that temporarily while we quit. That was 6 years ago 🙂
  • I sold my 2006 Ford F150, which was my favorite truck ever. These days I drive my dads 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT that I inherited from him, and Missy has a 2014 Ford Escape. Having only one car payment is nice, and I have enjoyed fixing up dad’s truck and using it. When I got it, it had been sitting outside for years and was quite an undertaking to get it up and running again. But it has been a great truck since then. We thought it was dead when we got it.

There has obviously been a lot more that has happened since 2010, but those are the highlights and lowlights. I am looking forward to building the CH650. I ordered the tail kit about 2 weeks ago and it should be shipped early next week. I had to build a workshop to build it in first, so that will be another blog post.

I Survived Skydiving! And Loved It!!!

So I can officially scratch this one off the Bucket List. I did it, I actually jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! Actually, that was the airplane’s name, painted right on the side, “Perfectly Good Airplane”.

What a rush! An insane rush, but a rush like I have never had before. I had an absolutely great time this morning at Sky Knights in East Troy, Wisconsin. Everyone there is super nice and very fun people. I was assigned to “Hooche” as my tandem instructor. He is the best!

In addition to just wanting to experience skydiving for the first time, I also wanted to learn how to steer, stall, and generally control the parachute in case I ever needed to bail out of a not-so Perfectly Good Airplane. Hooche said that would not be a problem and he would teach me whatever I wanted to know.

I did not get nervous at all, except right before we jumped. I was on my knees leaning out of the plane, looking down 13,500 feet at Milwaukee below. Only then did something in my brain say “Umm, hello… what the hell are we doing?” That thought only lasted for a second, because I heard Hooche say “1, 2, 3 GO!” Then you are not nervous, no reason to be, you are either going to die in 2 minutes or not 🙂

I had a smile on my face within 10 feet of leaving the plane, as evidenced by the pictures below. What a rush! You don’t actually get the feeling that you are falling, you just feel an incredible amount of wind. The scenery does not change all that fast, so you really don’t get the sensation that you are falling out of the sky like a brick.

The cameraman was only several feet away from us and managed to get some really great pictures. The video will be mailed to me in about 10 days or so, and I cannot wait to see it.

The freefall lasted about a minute, though it did not seem that long. At 5,500 feet Hooche showed me the altimeter on his wrist, which was my queue to pull the ripcord. I waved “bye bye” to the cameraman and pulled the chord, thinking I would soon get a severe jolt.

To my surprise, there was only a slight feeling of slowing down, then slowing down more and more. Finally slowing down rapidly followed by a light jolt as the chute was fully deployed. Then total, I mean total, silence. It was beautiful.

Hooche let me enjoy the moment by not saying anything. Then I said “It’s Quiet” and then he spoke, saying “Now is when you look up to make sure you have a parachute up there”. I did, and we did have a chute, and everything was perfect.

Now is when the lesson began for me. He taught me how to turn left and right, and how to not do it like a girl! My first couple of turns were real shallow but he soon had me making steep turns as we aimed towards a house near the airport. He then let me stall the parachute, as if we were landing, so I feel a lot more comfortable now if I ever needed to use one for real. He then took the controls and landed us safely about 30 feet from where all this started.

I slid in on my butt, real gentle across the ground. Not only did I not get hurt at all on my first skydive, I didn’t even get a grass-stain! It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin, and I am pumped. This was my first skydive, but I can assure you it will not be my last! Sorry family 🙂

Bucket List Item #1 Off the List Tomorrow at 9AM

Like most people, I have a Bucket List of “10 Things to do Before I Die”. Or in my case, because of most of the things on the list, the bucket list might be called “10 Things Most Likely to Kill Me”. I have already scratched off several of these items:

1) Go Skydiving
2) Learn to SCUBA Dive (Did that in 2004)
3) Learn to Fly Aerobatics (Started that this year)
4) Get my Instrument Pilot Rating (Did that in 2006)
5) Spend Time in the Rocky Mountains
6) Meet a Great Girl and Raise a Wonderful Family (Did/Doing that, twice)
7) Own a Crotch Rocket (Did that, several times)
8) Buy a Boat (Had a couple, they don’t count)
9) Finish Building an Airplane (Started many, never finished)
10) Become Rich Enough to Retire Young

Well it’s finally official. Tomorrow morning at 9AM at Sky Knights in East Troy, WI I will go skydiving for the first time. This is a slightly early 40th birthday present to me. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be near 80 and probably the last time for a long time it will be that warm. Since my birthday is in January, that is FAR from an ideal time to go skydiving in Wisconsin!

Like a lot of first time jumpers, I will be doing a tandem jump. That is where I am hooked up, very securely I presume, to a very experienced jump master. We will climb to 13,500 feet above Milwaukee and jump out of a perfectly good airplane. We will free-fall for about 1 minute to a few thousand feet above the ground, and be under the chute for about 5 more minutes. The entire jump will be videotaped and photographed, and you can bet I will post that online!

I am nervous just writing this blog entry, but excited too. This is something that I have wanted to do for a VERY long time and it will finally happen tomorrow! This has been a “hell week” at work, actually a “hell 3 weeks”, so I really am looking forward to relaxing tonight and getting a good nights sleep before #1 comes off the list!

PS: If you are family (especially Dad), pretend you did not read this until tomorrow when I post the pictures!

Haley's Birthday and Immelman Turns

Happy Birthday Bug! It’s hard to believe you are 7 years old already! We all love you very much!

Today I flew my 5th aerobatic lesson with Mike Love. We started out with the normal aileron rolls on our way out to the practice area. We actually went a little farther north, just beyond the Wisconsin River near Sauk City because other students were practicing to the south. Once we got there, I did several loops, pretty nice ones too. So now aileron rolls and loops are old hat, not really a challenge to me anymore, and they don’t make me sick. Time to move on!

When you are learning aerobatics you start of with rolls and loops because they are the building blocks of more complex maneuvers. I was hoping for some Cuban 8’s today, but those will have to wait, the Immelman Turn is the obvious next step. It is named for the World War 1 German ace that invented it. The object of the Immelman is to reverse direction by 180 degrees while gaining altitude and losing airspeed. It is the nearly opposite of a Split-S. If the animation below does not work, just click it.

To perform the Immelman in a Cessna Aerobat you start by diving to get your speed up to 130 knots, about 10 knots faster than when doing a loop. You then pull up to about 3.5-4 G’s and hold that until you are near the top of the loop. At the top, you provide a little gentle forward pressure, just enough to hang there for a short second. This is real easy so far, now on to the part I had trouble with.

To roll the wings level you can roll either left or right, but have to initially provide opposite rudder. So if you roll left, you need some right rudder, and vice-versa. But you only use opposite rudder for a second, then switch to the other foot. It is similar to doing a crosswind landing, but upside down. I had a problem with this. I just could not seem to roll left and use right rudder, or roll right and use left. It actually became quite humorous, I just could not convince my feet to do what I wanted them to. The result was dubbed “The Osborne Turn” by my instructor, it is like an Immelman, but instead of turning 180 degrees, you turn either 90 or 270. Quite interesting 🙂

The first one I did actually resulted in me being pinned to the ceiling of the plane. I did not have my seatbelts tight enough, and the hang-time at the top of the loop made my head hit the ceiling. It was not comfortable, but it was funny. I tightened the seatbelts 🙂

Mike also warned me about the possiblity of spinning out of the top of an Immelman, that it is sometimes called the Immelman Spin because of the good likelihood of this happening. I guess I just had to prove it to myself. I did spin out of one unintentionally, but even that was fun.

I never really got the hang of the Immelman, at least not yet, so I will be back to face these again next week. The rest of the flight was real nice, a beautiful morning to fly.