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Comments for An Eclectic Mind

Web site and blog for Maria Langer, commercial helicopter pilot, freelance writer, beekeeper, and serious amateur photographer.

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:58:12 +0000


Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Maria Langer

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:58:12 +0000

Well, there's actually an untold story about that. I had every intention of doing more flying -- especially this month -- but we found a bit more metal than usual in the oil filter on my last 50-hour inspection. Since I really wanted to fly (and not trailer) the helicopter to Phoenix, I limited my flights until I was ready to go, then went as soon as I could to avoid having the helicopter tempt me into more flights. I did another oil change and filter inspection before I left -- after only 8 more hours! -- to be sure the situation wasn't critical. It wasn't. But I was definitely feeling that the helicopter lacked its usual pep -- something I'd been sort of noticing since about 2000 hours. As for flight training, I'm not a CFI. I could probably become one easily enough -- I have about 3500 hours of flight time now -- but the extra $5K/year for insurance would require me to do a lot of training just to cover those costs. And let's face it: the helicopter (and me) is a lot safer without a student pilot at the controls. Yes, Neil is still down there, although I don't usually see him. I'm working with Paul, who has always treated me well and fairly. It's a real pleasure to be able to do business with him again. I'd had a disagreement with Quantum back when I was finishing up my commercial flight training and actually left the school. I finished up at LA Helicopters in Long Beach in just 10 days, doing my check ride with Tim Tucker -- after being told at Quantum that I lacked even basic flying skills. (WTF?) There's more but I'd prefer not to tell it at this point. They've got a huge hangar down there just crammed with R22s, R44s, and R66s. Gordon is (as far as I know) still running Universal Helicopters is Scottsdale. I'll be down in Chandler a few times (at least) over the winter to check in on my helicopter's overhaul progress. I'll be sure to tell Neil you said hello.

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Sean C.

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 04:24:59 +0000

It's too bad that you couldn't find some way to use up those "extra" 132 hours till overhaul. If there was some way to fly off the remaining hobbs time at an accelerated pace without subjecting the aircraft to unnecessary risk and wear/tear, it might even make sense to offer it at a somewhat lower rate to get as close as feasible to the component time limit before you time out on the calendar. Unfortunately, that would probably mean flight instruction at one of the busier schools, and that means subjecting your "baby" to the ungentle hands of student pilots. Flight training is mostly an R-22 game in any case, though I'm sure there's some market for R-44s. I had noticed that you don't feature flight instruction as a regular part of your offerings, is this dictated by finances, insurance, or personal preference? I've done quite a bit of flight training in both R-22s and Schweizer 300s, and while I prefer the latter (especially for initial solos) you can't argue with the economic advantage of the Robinsons. Is Neil Jones still running the show down in Chandler? I used to work for him back in the mid-90's, during the "bad old days" when Gordon was still calling a lot of the shots at AWR. Paul M. was already turning wrenches on R-22s back then; they had about a dozen of them running around central AZ in very unsubtle hot pink and teal cactus-theme paint jobs. Tell him Sean Cone said hi if you get the chance. :)

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Maria Langer

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:27:45 +0000

It was the final deciding factor for me. These guys do multiple overhauls every year. Doing mine isn't a big deal for them.

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Bob F.

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:15:11 +0000

Agreed. An honest, skilled and reliable technician is so important.

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Maria Langer

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:54:37 +0000

I think that pretty much sums it up. It's also a lot easier to just get mine overhauled. I don't have to worry about selling a timed-out helicopter and possibly not getting a good price. I don't have to wait for the factory to make me a new one. Or buy a used one that I don't know. (I have terrible luck with used vehicles.) I don't fly in the winter, so it's really no loss to have it gone for three months. (Although I did turn down a flight today.) And I trust the guy who runs the shop that's doing the work. That's probably the most important thing of all.

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Bob F.

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:37:15 +0000

I was thinking like Norm (above). When I did some R22 time at Delta Heli (Luton, UK), they joked that the BIG service was so expensive that you might consider just buying a new one. I realise that you will have done the 'math'. So you will have made an informed decision about pre vs post-service value. I have just checked some advertisements for R44 sales in the UK. I could buy a pre-service 2007 R44 for £175k plus VAT and a post-service 2014 R44 for £220k, with 1900 hours left on the meter. Given that it is all about margins and 'history', I sense that you would rather fly an a/c that you know very well, rather than an a/c with a possibly 'dodgy' background? Seems that a good second hand helicopter you know is 'better' than a new one?

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by Maria Langer

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:21:57 +0000

Six of one, half dozen of the other. In other words, it would probably cost the about same or maybe 10% (or so) more. But then I'd have a different helicopter (which I don't want). Mine will be worth almost as much as a brand new one, which is more than what I paid for it back in 2005.

Comment on Helicopterless (Again) by NormC

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:51:19 +0000

Just curious what the cost delta would be if you traded it in and put the overhaul money towards a new one.

Comment on Prepping for Winter by Maria Langer

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:17:10 +0000

The only reason the lawn looks so good is because it's on irrigation. During the hottest part of the summer, it was watered twice a day for about 8 minutes each time. It grew very fast. Next year, I'll adjust the timers and the drip irrigation on the lilac bushes. Less to the lawn, more to the bushes. They aren't growing or flowering as much as I'd hoped. I don't know what that comfort index is all about either. It must have something to do with humidity. It was miserably humid in the New York Metro area during the summers. We'd have "triple H" days: hazy, hot, and humid. Not very humid at all here -- ever. That makes the summer's heat a lot more bearable. I'm very happy with the potatoes. I'll try to do a few more varieties next year and possibly plant them closer together for a bigger yield. Better irrigation in that planter would likely help, too.

Comment on Prepping for Winter by Bob F.

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:11:43 +0000

Given your low precipitation (I have divided your snowfall by 9 and added that to your rainfall), your lawn segment is impressively green. Well done! You average a third of our rainfall at 52N, 0.5W. Our winters are milder and summers are cooler. We had two days of snowfall last year and that soon melted. I admit to envying your more 'radical' climate, as I really enjoy the cold, as long as it is outside the house. This got me thinking about another of your stats: the "comfort index". Never heard of that before, so checked it out on Wiki. When I discovered that: 1clo=0.155 metre squared.K/W(0.88degrees F.ft squared height/btu)... I gave up and poured a large scotch. Sorry to learn about the bug attacks on your vegetable patch, but those spuds look good.

Comment on Prepping my RV for Winter Living by Maria Langer

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:30:03 +0000

I think that's a smart decision! Good luck!

Comment on In Defiance of Logic and Reason by Sean

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:06:33 +0000

This election stopped being about facts a long time ago. It's now a contest of emotions, above all fear and anger. When, not if, Trump loses it will be largely because he has gone out of his way to antagonize, belittle and underestimate half of the electorate. Even his most ardent supporters (as this woman appears to typify) will have to admit that he has torpedoed his own candidacy based on his treatment of women. Good riddance.

Comment on Amazon Reward Points Scam by Raghu

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 04:36:32 +0000

Hi Maria Langer, today I got one similar email from "AmazonReward " saying "Because you have been SUCH a valued-shopper at-Amazon, we are going to give you-access to a $50-Reward that be used for any-items available on-Amazon!". well, since most of my on-line purchases are through Amazon, I am indeed "valued-shopper", so I was elated reading that email, but when I came to that "Go here to claim-Amazon Voucher-No...." link, I applied all my brakes! i felt something is fishy. so, i backed out. later i wanted to just cross check on net, googled & came across your page. thanks Maria for sharing your experience & alerting others. Kind Regards, Kr

Comment on Prepping my RV for Winter Living by Dianne

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 02:57:56 +0000

Thanks so much for your input. I had decided against using the bales. I figured if I was going to have a potential problem with mice anyway, there was no sense making it any easier for them by supplying them a nice comfy hay bale

Comment on Prepping for Winter by Maria Langer

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:36:19 +0000

Heck, I don't blog about everything in my life. If I did, I'd be sitting in front of a computer writing all the time and wouldn't have much of a life! In answer to your question, though, they were killed by a neighborhood dog who is very lucky to be alive right now. I didn't replace them because I didn't want to have to worry about young ones over the winter. New chickens in the spring. I can't wait. I don't like store-bought eggs.