First half marathon of the year complete

So went to bed at 4AM after a fun day kicking the fuck out of an xbox that kept wanting to reboot. Started at 9AM after searching for Sasha who had escaped. No food for her and no walk. Worked on HDR all day and finally got it finished. Went for a run, did just over a half marathon, first one of the year. Not exactly rocket speed though. I’ve done over forty hours this week and it’s only Thursday.

We may go away together after all

I won’t go into work details as it was a very long day sat on a wooden floor staring at a TV. Still, was quite a nice day though weather wise, it’s going to get shite again now though. Went to Combat, all good. Trying to work out where to go for our anniversary, got dogs booked in. Looks like it will be this country, I’m tempted by Brighton, get a nice hotel, nice restaurant, low key, but something together at least.

“Anyone who can pick up into a 19Kt wind like that I’m quite happy with”

Bit of an odd day I guess. Woke up early but decided to milk the bed thing a bit to catch up on some very long days in the last week. Eventually had breakfast and gave JKHT a call. Managed to get a late afternoon slot. So walked Sasha, was planning on going into town but had to curtail that as I needed to bring flight forward a bit due to Shobdon closing earlier. Got there and James thought I was doing a self fly hire, I thought I’d booked for duel. He was out on an instruction flight so left me a bit knackered. Ewan a commercial pilot (not an instructor) was there so James said, ‘Just take him for the ride if you want company’. So off we went. The wind had actually picked up well beyond self fly hire levels and was up to 19Kts. James actually sent a text to Ewan and said to be very careful in the pickup as it was one hell of a cross wind. I picked up into the hover, it was somewhat challenging, but I failed to take out the fuel bay so all was good. Took off to the North. I asked Ewan if all was okay and if he was happy, he replied with, ‘Anyone who can pick up in that wind that smoothly I’m perfectly happy to fly with’. We flew to Shobdon, somewhere new but within about half hour, nice flight. Ewan is training to become an instructor so was nice for him to be in the left hand seat and see what it was like, he did point out a couple of bits about trim. He actually found it really useful for himself, having plenty of bandwidth to be able to spot some of the more obscure problems. We had a brew and cake at Shobdon and then flew back to Gloucester. So I’m all good and ‘flight ready’ again. It was good fun and great weather, even if a tad windy. Came back and did a short run, had a bath and watched the start of the new F1 season. A nice day, don’t get many of those.

Well it all looked nice in the end

Finally finished that task. All looked quite nice in the end. I won’t go into the internal politics, I just kept my mouth shut. First day of the year when I’ve walked Sasha without using a jacket. Even had to change t-shirts as the current one stank, hasn’t even done half a week yet. Walked to Pump, again a very pleasant evening, just want a bit more light now

Conquering the ellipse

Put my weekend thoughts into action and failed. So had a look at the equations again and couldn’t work out why it was about twenty meters out. Then while debugging it I spotted a twenty that was from another calc. Sure enough adding the offset of that one finally gave me the correct results. Then I made the mistake of taking the limits on the axis to form the bounding box and ended up chopping half the bloody thing off. Still, once I’d produced the corners it all finally worked. So that’s about twenty hours on one set of equations.

Death of a dear friend

Didn’t get to bed until gone 4AM. Was I out partying? No. I fell asleep on the couch after letting Dillon out. Got up at 9AM with one hell of a headache, I think I consumed more wine than I thought, about two bottles more. Still, walked to Combat, did that and walked home. Walked Sasha. Then came home, Jamie was back now. Continued with decorating the bedroom. Then some very sad news. My dear friend died in my arms. We’ve had a long relationship. We’ve covered many walls. But her heart started strong and slowly faded. First it just murmured, then eventually it stopped completely and she was dead. Goodbye Emily the sander, RIP.

“You’re going to go out with a guy called Dave and do some bombing runs”

Woke up this morning bright and early so sent James a message (I already knew Ben wasn’t in as it was his birthday the day before), he gave me a call and booked me in for 4PM after some negotiations. He said, ‘You’ll be going out with a guy called Dave, he’s ex. military fighter pilot, he’ll have you doing some low-level bombing runs’. Sounded exciting. I drank coffee, evolved a shit load of pidgies. Took Sasha out for a walk. Made some lunch into a box and headed out. Picked up some crickets, headed into town. Looked at a lot of shoes again and failed to buy any. Ate lunch in the car and headed to Staverton. Did a bit of a hot swap in the chopper and met Dave. Oddly we were due to go out in hotel-tango but it promptly broke down with the clutch failing to engage, so we ended up going out in alpha-tango which has the power of a slightly limp lettuce. I kept on abusing the power limits trying to get some kind of acceleration out of it. Dave was a lovely guy. He had a very similar temperament to Ben. I could easily be taught by him all day, he gave perfect demonstrations and encouragement and once again showed me a few new things which is always good. We did a few auto’s. My first was a complete shambles. You are meant to maintain 60kts, I managed to drop to thirty, he sat there with folded arms and said, ‘What are you going to do about that?’. I pushed that cyclic so far forward it almost hit the glass, got it back to 60 and flared at the end. We did a confined area which was fine and then went back to the airfield and did some quick stops which I’m notoriously crap at. I’m still notoriously crap at. My first one started at forty feet and we ended up at two hundred feet, to which I got the response, ‘Well, we stopped, but we are somewhat a little high don’t you feel?’. I liked this guy. We did a few more until we were pretty good. Standard flying stuff was all fine and dandy, it was really nice to get back into the air again after over two months. It is a bit like riding a bike, I was a little scared that I’d lift up into the hover (the most difficult thing a helicopter pilot can do) and be all over the place, but no, it was absolutely fine. It was a nice fifty odd minutes, I must do it more often.

To be clear, the most difficult thing a helicopter pilot has to do is within the first six seconds. In a plane you taxi along the runway, get it up to power and slowly rotate and it takes off, not that taxing. In a helicopter you have to get the balance and power points absolutely spot before you lift off into the hover, that is the most difficult thing in the world. When James checks out pilots, if they can pick up and taxi to x-ray then they are good to go. It’s been compared to doing complex algebra while balancing a beachball on the end of a pencil. I can do that. See I’m a clever shit.