Monday, October 28, 2013

Chair flying update

I have a safety pilot or two now who allows me to fly with N614EF again when I'm up to it, which is most of the time these days. I couldn't this weekend, so Joe, one of my new pals who's volunteered to take her out for exercise, took her out for exercise. I have to admit it's a little bit thrilling to see a plane you built flown by someone else, especially when "someone else" really seems to like it. In all the daydreaming I did in the 11 years of building, that's a scenario I never imagined.

In the meantime, the initial shock of losing my medical has worn off and I'm starting to get a feel for the post-PIC world. EAA last week announced it's accepting early purchases of Oshkosh '14 tickets and I'm inclined to buy a few, even though I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to get over there.

The plane has a date in the paint shop up in Hibbing. The particulars of the design have to be worked out, but that won't take place until around March. The quoted price is between $5,000 and $8,000. I suspect it'll be on the lower end because the paint scheme isn't really very complicated.

As far as the medical update is concerned, a friend on Van's Air Force was kind enough to send me a link to a 2007 FAA medical bulletin with a case study of someone with Meniere's Disease, involving what's known as a partial ablation using an antibiotic known as Gentamicin, which is said to stop vertigo in 60 to 80 percent of patients. It comes with risks, hearing can be further affected, which isn't a problem for me since there's very little hearing left in that ear. The alternative is a full ablation, which uses surgery to basically wipe out your inner ear, including hearing. I'm not sure what the prospects are for people with hearing in only one ear.

But, based on the FAA case study, it seems to introduce the possibility of flying again, although recovery time is quite long as you have to learn balance skills using one ear. That suggests a few weeks of discomfort (as in nausea). The flying season for '14 is probably out of the question under the best scenarios, however. We'll see. My next appointment with the neurotologist is November 13th.

I try not to get my hopes up, but flying an RV as PIC is the underpinning of most every aviation-related thought I've had for so long -- places to go, people to go with, people to meet while there. It's a hard thing to give up.

Initially, it was hard for me to even look up at an airplane flying overhead, but I'm past that now.

And speaking of that, this is a pretty neat video on flying that someone posted on VAF today. Enjoy. I was able to.

WIGY TV - Falling or Flying from Pitts Artist on Vimeo.

You'll notice in that video, by the way, the lipstick camera on the pilot's helmet is reversed. Not sure why that is.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The flyover

If you're an RV pilot, you've probably seen a lot of videos about the fabulous flyover at the Kansas City Chiefs game last weekend. I think this one provides the best perspective.

I'm not a formation guy. As a friend said, "the view only changes for the guy in front." But I certainly recognize the skill involved here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

And then what happens?

Just a quick post to update things after my letter of denial for a medical recertification  to fly. Things got a bit worse. The Meniere's problems returned in September and have been consistent enough since that I realize it's pointless to consider flying anymore. But, in the last two weeks, I've also been unable to work for a living.

There's an oddity there. When people would ask, "what do you do?", I'd say, "I fly, and I pay for it by (at least for now) writing a blog." I had great dreams of retiring soon and spending it flying here to there, maybe building Habitat houses along the way.

At the moment, I guess being able to vacuum the carpet in the living room would be a boost. Funny how things work out sometime.

I don't know how things are going to go at work. I've filed for a short-term disability which I may or may not need; we'll see at my next doctor's appointment in a week.  The place is changing, the old timers are leaving at a quickening pace,  and I can't say I've changed much with it and it's hard to imagine much of a future for someone who can't remain upright very long.

"And then what?" I find myself asking myself.

I don't have an answer.

I just know that it happened awfully fast.

I've been putting out calls for people to help "exercise" the plane in my absence. My friend, Brad, has been kind enough to fly with me last month when I was able to go up but that's not possible, at least right now. Insurance demands people with the same number of hours I've got -- about 100 -- or more and apparently people are skittish about volunteering to fly someone else's airplane, even when covered by insurance, and even when I'm paying for the gasoline. That one surprises me and reconfirms that the decision to just put the plane up for sale was probably the right one and that all the suggestions of safety pilots and volunteers to fly it while things are getting resolved are more theory than reality.

Reality bites.
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