Okay, so I crashed the helicopter

This morning started off rather well. Both dogs went out for a pee, we then all had breakfast. I did some research on my model helicopter problems and found that the flybar was set completely wrong. So I adjusted all that and took it outside for another fly. This time, fairly successful. Until I hit the wall and various bits of it flew off. Oh well, big repair bill. But I was getting the hang of it.

Then went and did and hour on the iMac simulator, no I’m still shit. Took the dogs out for a walk. Had lunch, then ventured off to Stapleton to grab a gromit as it’s the last week. Got that one then parked up in Cotham. Walked all the way to Ashton court and got the one there. Decided to hit the one at Arnos Vale. After a bloody long walk I got there, but it was closed. As it was another bloody long walk back to the car I got a bus. Had to sit with common people, mind you it went all the way to Clifton Down for £2.90 so didn’t complain.

Got home. We went out to the local Indian, it was very good. Must do some gardening tomorrow.

Right, so the model is harder to fly than the real thing. But the simulator is very good though.

Work wise was lost of little things. Various playing with SSE2 intrinsics which was good fun. I’m almost at a stage now where I can start doing what I’m supposed to be doing next week.

Lunchtime I went outside with the model heli. God that’s hard to control. I mean really hard. I don’t thing I got it off the ground for more than a second without it drifting. I’m not sure it’s set up well either as it pulls badly to the left.

Went to pump. Trudie tonight, Laverne must be off somewhere again.

Came back and bought the proper R22 plug-in for x-plane 10. It seems very accurate, if slightly bugged to fuck. Hovering is almost impossible, so very much like the real thing. I think it’s going to be great (but frustrating) for practicing on. So I’ll try and give it a little bit every day. It’s installed on the iMac, so at least it boots in the same hour you power it on.

X-Plane 10 must be bloody good, 8 DVD’s and a 3 hour install

So work was back on DX11, finally nailed the problem, it wasn’t even anything to do with the renderer. Still, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Walked the dogs, they pulled, very annoying.

Lots of things turned up today. My helicopter. My study books and DVD and x-plane 10.

I started charging the helicopter batteries, they take fucking ages. I haven’t looked at the books yet, but watched the DVD. Basic stuff, but covers some useful numbers.

I did attempt to get the helicopter to take off, it didn’t. Mind you it was dark and I think I have the pitch set wrong, will try and crash it again tomorrow.

I started installing x-plane 10, it’s 8 DVD’s. I only selected UK and North America scenery and it still took around 3 hours to install. Eventually it finished, then did a whacking great patch over the top. I’ve installed it on the iMac as that has a good screen and plenty of drive space. It’s also an i7 so has plenty of grunt. Had a quick pop with the R22, it isn’t very good, I need to get the plug-in for the decent one. It does work with my fancy joystick though, so should all be set when I have that. It does look pretty good.

If you want to give yourself nightmares, do a Google for R22 fatal accidents

Got up at 6:20 and took Sasha to daycare. Went back to bed.

Got up. Work wise was all bloody triangle drawing again. It’s basically all working now except a weird bug in DX11 which none of us can work out (yet). It’s a bug frustrating waste of time.

Walked Dillon.

Did more work, then picked up Sasha. Jamie had one of his little blue friends round.

Went out to find a Geocache, to find the lane blocked off and replaced by a new sewer. Still it was a nice two hour walk.

Came back and got frustrated about DX11 again. Then did a search for R22 helicopter accidents, wish I hadn’t. There was one in Cambridge last year where a 59 hour pilot managed to smash the rotors into the fuselage, cause unknown, but 99.9% pilot error. Probably over compensated the controls, which on an R22 is bloody easy. Still you have to die somehow and I’ve done about every thing I ever wanted to do now anyway (apart from shag Adam Rickitt) and I have no real pension plan. So may as well die on some kind of adventure.

I’ve ordered a Helicopter anyway, it should be flown in tomorrow by Parcel Force.

Today wasn’t a bank holiday, I didn’t notice

Today started with debugging the damn DX11 line code. I found all the problems in the end, was something quite silly, just took a long time to track down.

The model helicopter people didn’t answer any of my emails which is rather disappointing.

I had lunch, that was disappointing.

I fired up the fsx simulator again and did a bit of hovering, managed to stall the engine, couldn’t restart it. I found that there is a better R22 model for x-plane, so I’ve ordered x-plane. I’ll then get the plug-in. It apparently simulates it quite well, if the RPM drops below 85% it falls out of the sky and you die, so that sounds about right.

I went for a run, that was almost disappointing.

Tomorrow I hope to have a more productive day, which isn’t disappointing.

Today was a bank holiday, never noticed

So started perhaps a little later than normal, then ended up doing a whole bunch of stuff related to debug triangles. Not very exciting, just a hell of a lot of it. I can’t get the bloody line draw to work on DX11, wasted the bulk of the afternoon on that.

Walked the dogs. Looked at model helicopters, decided to get one to practice hovering with. Apparently they are quite a bitch, so very much like the real thing then. I’m looking at a 6 channel one, so it has the proper collective.

Went for a nice run in the evening.

Just watched the Belgium GP, wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. Never mind, back to work tomorrow, same as today then.

From moist chicken to toothache

So yesterday started how a weekend should, in bed. I let the dogs out, Jamie went to work. We then all had breakfast, the dogs went outside to play. I didn’t have a great deal planned. Anyway, got up and then took the dogs out for a nice long walk, there was no sign of Sasha limping so I think her paw must be better. Came back and had lunch. Then I ventured out to Tesco’s, long time since I’ve been there. Picked up a couple of bottles of wine and a paper. Went to the pet store and stocked up on trotters.

Then I drove down to Cotham and parked up. Walked down into town, went to the m-shed and clocked up a couple of gromit’s then went to the centre and picked up a couple more. Walked back to the car and drove home. Did the accounts. Bought my helicopter study books, a dvd and an R22 student guide. That should be all the books and study stuff I need.

Then picked up by Shaun. We went over to Sarah’s for dinner. She spent the bulk of the evening with her fingers in a bowl of water, this wasn’t some kind of political statement, she burnt them on a pan. The boys joined us for dinner. They are at a good age now, where you can have a good laugh with them without having to keep your guard permanently up. The meal I must admit was far above expectations, we weren’t expecting such excellent cuisine, the chicken was beautifully moist, if slightly under seasoned. The carrots were beautifully erect. Much wine was drunk, much shit was talked. We got a taxi home and I went of to bed, fairly merry but feeling fine.

I woke up at about 7am, needing a drink, water that is. I turned over to find my sleeping partner was a small white husky. I wondered down stairs to find Jamie asleep on the couch fully clothed. Sasha was keeping an eye on him, sleeping behind the couch. He said he had a headache, no problem I wasn’t expecting sex. He came up to bed.

When we eventually woke up he announced he had toothache. I then had to research dentists, which is great on a bank holiday. In the end we ended up dialling 111 and then after 50 questions got through to a dentist. So ended up taking him to some grotty dentist in Easton where they drilled out tons of decay and whacked a temporary filling in it. He is fairly silly for not seeing a dentist for about a decade. We then went up to Jamie’s dads for a BBQ. I wasn’t really in the mood, it was full of screaming kids. In one small point of amusement the talk got round to our new dog, I showed grandad a picture of a gromit and said that was it, he asked how old it was. I had some cold meat and then we fucked off. Came back home and then went out for a run. Had a bath and now sat down watching the F1. Looking into model helicopters.

Now looking at expensive aviation headsets, it’s addictive

Work wise was a bit odd today, I was at a bit of a loose end waiting on a few bits from 3rd parties and internal. Ended up adding some debug triangle render code for one of our guys, he now wants to bear my children. It wasn’t a complicated job, just a hell of a lot of it, as it involves writing individual render code for DX9/DX11/PS3/360 and everything else. Still took the whole day plus a bit, but he was very grateful.

Skipped lunch as I wanted to plough on. Sasha isn’t happy at the moment anyway as she’s lost a claw, she has a very sore paw. So rather than walking we had a bit of a tug match in the garden so she didn’t have to move around a lot but still burnt off some energy. Jamie will take them both for a short disappointing walk later.

Not sure if I’m going to work the bank holiday or not yet, it’s tempting to work it so I can save the time up for more helicopter lessons.

I’ve paid the artist for the arcade cabinet design. It better be bloody good.

I’ve been looking at expensive headsets for the chopper, the basic ones I’ve been using don’t give much sound isolation. I’m not deaf but can’t hear as well as I’d like, talking to air traffic could be problematic. There’s an aviation shop at the airport so I may pop in there and try some out for comfort.

Wine time. Not sure what the weathers up to the weekend. Oh Saturday looks shit, but Sunday and Monday look okay, so make take it off after all. Will make a decision later in the weekend.

So only about 58.5 hours to go

Started off finishing off a few bits of work from yesterday. Then implemented some line drawing code, which was a bit of an oddity, but it was on my schedule as a bit of a request.

Walked the dogs, had a sandwich. Soon it was time to drive up to Staverton. Made it in good time. Met up with captain James again. He is now at a different company across the car park. Same sorts of helicopters. There’s always a bit of politics in these things and he explained it all to me, he’s made a sensible decision. I paid my money. What it costs for an hour in a chopper you could pass your driving test for and have a few quid for fuel.

Now this time I mentioned the slightly uncomfortable position I had last time reaching the cyclic, even though James is about the same height as me. Anyway, a cushion was found which I put behind me, this made every thing very comfortable (helicopters, well the R22 doesn’t have adjustable seats). I went through the start up procedure and fired up ‘Charlie Delta’ our chopper for the hour. James got clearance and we taxied to the heli-pad. We got flight clearance and then ascended to about a thousand feet. Then the collective was passed to me as well as the pedals. Then I was pretty much left to get on with it. I was just told to follow the M5 and then take the path of the estuary in a big loop and keep it to about 75 knots (86 miles an hour). Certainly this time I was more relaxed, I had a very loose grip on the cyclic and I got the hang of keeping it straight and level. It requires very small inputs, it does almost like to fly itself, with some corrections. Turning was a bit more of a challenge, you have to maintain height and airspeed, which is fun when there is quite a lag on the air speed indicator. I was taught to just keep the compass on the horizon and recognise what speed you are doing just be the nose position. This actually came quite naturally after a while and I was following the river without any problems. We did another power off auto-rotation from about 1,000 feet. I was in charge of the cyclic so had to find a suitable field in which to ditch it. It’s surprising how much time it flies for with no engine, just keep your airspeed up and all is good. We ditched in a field and flared nicely, dead soft landing. I took off and James demonstrated some of the flexibility of the aircraft, including some fun low level flying and buzzing trees as well as landing in an area about the size of my lounge and then doing a pure vertical take-off.

We returned to the airfield and it was off to some waste ground to practice some hovering. I spent about twenty minutes trying to keep it stable, I think the maximum I managed was about 15 seconds. It’s bloody difficult, but was a big improvement on last time. I need to practice more on the simulator. We parked up and had a bit of a chat. I need to get some rather expensive books and things and do some studying, as there are exams to pass.

I drove home buzzing. It was really good, bloody expensive, perhaps somewhat pointless but easily a life changing and fun thing to do.

I returned back to work and did the hours I missed, mainly doing tools testing stuff and fixes for 64 bit. Had a shower and ate salad. Yes I will be drinking tonight, haven’t had anything since Sunday. Torture porn night.

Oh yes, I’m booked in again for two weeks time:)

So my simulated hovering is still shit

Last night was a bit odd. Jamie came to bed at about 3AM, then started sneezing and coughing, then couldn’t breath. I went back to sleep and he slept in the spare room. Some sort of reaction to something. Doubt it’s dog hair, we’ve been surrounded by that for years.

I got up at 6:30 and took Sasha to daycare. I though the cleaners had arrived at 9:30, but it was a courier. Cleaners turned up at about 10. I drank coffee and did work. Nothing exciting work wise.

Picked up Sasha. Then took Dillon to the vet for his kennel cough vaccine thing, that was all fine. Apparently he is almost fully grown, even if he does have huge paws.

I was going for a run but it was pissing down, so fired up the helicopter sim instead and did a bit of flying and then some hover practice. I’m getting better, but I’m still fairly shit. I landed three times and crashed on each occasion, hopefully I’ll get the hang of it tomorrow, or this could be my last blog entry.