Tag Archives: school

A Year and A Half

Well it’s been over a year and a half since the last post, and a lot has indeed transpired. We did move to Klamath Falls on July 1st, 2017, and while we have been doing a lot, much of what we had hoped to do hasn’t happened yet. Radio stuff, of course, Tammy and I both started businesses, Zack is back in school, and so am I.

Emergency Coordinator appointment certificate

When we first got here, I started meeting folks in the local radio club. I ended up getting involved with the emergency communications system here in the county. By the end of 2017 I was appointed the Emergency Coordinator for amateur radio auxiliary communications. I also did a lot of work with the club on our repeater sites and helping establish the local packet radio network.

Back when I carried a firearm as a security officer in the 80s and 90s, I had two handguns and several rifles. Over the years I also found myself very interested in gunsmithing. About the time Tammy and I met I had divested myself of all of my firearms. Having left California, I wanted to start rebuilding my firearms collection. 

Taurus Millennium G2 9mm

When I bought a new handgun I felt it prudent to apply for a Concealed Handgun License. While open carry is legal, and people do open carry around here, when it’s cold and raining or snowing, the possibility of accidentally covering your sidearm is a real possibility so it only makes sense to avoid the potential problem altogether and legally be able to carry concealed.

Notary stamp and journal
ready to get to work

While working on radio stuff, I also started a mobile notary business. Along with basic notary services I got certified as a Notary Signing Agent to sign real estate loan documents. I have done quite a few loan signings and notarizations over the last year. I enjoy notary work. The business needs some expansion if I am going to make a real go of it.

One of the summer craft fairs

In other business news; Tammy started doing craft shows last year with her upcycled stuff and jewelry she has made. Up until now, all I have contributed has been minor cut this or tweak that and some display fixtures. I have plans to contribute more soon, but she has been doing well. She posts stuff for sale on her facebook sellers page and at the craft shows and the farmers market. We have the Christmas show season coming up but plan on making some changes next year.

Zack has been back in school, mostly because he enjoys it. We hope to get him focused on another degree at some point. We shall see.

To wrap things up I will touch on my also being back in school. Last spring I started looking for a reputable brick and mortar university with 100% online degree programs again. I was looking for a seminary program in particular. My goal is to earn a Master of Divinity. I have an A.S. in Aviation Maintenance Technology. Of course, I need to earn a Bachelors degree before I can enter a masters program.

I have been looked for an online seminary several times over the last decade and nothing ever seemed to work out. This time I found a program just before the summer term began. Liberty wasn’t what I was planning on but it worked out nicely. I am in my second term now. After this term, I have two more terms to complete my B.S. Religion.

Well, that’s the big catch-up for now. 

~Jon

An unproductive cycle

I seem to be getting into a cycle of posting that doesn’t seem to work well, or encourage more frequent posting. I have been posting once a month on all of the blogs I post too, on the same day, and then ignore them for another month. It’s like getting that hated chore done because it needs doing, not blogging because I have something to say, or feel like posting. I need to shift this trend back to “blogging is fun” not a chore.

Blahahahah… Okay, I got that out of my system.

220px-Goofy.svgSo much going on and yet so little progress to show for it. We have been planning to relocate for so long it just feels like the wheels are spinning in the mud. I have been planning for every contingency a new homestead environment can throw at us that its all become a mash of thoughts and potentials. The problem with this is I can’t go any further, it’s all just rehashes of stuff I have already considered. Without having a piece of land to plan around, an environment to adapt to, resources to count, conserve, and work with, I am just spinning tires in the mud.

We are so close, but nothing looks like we are any closer than we were a year ago. I had originally set a goal for this spring, as in March, April, or May, NOW. We should be relocating NOW. But that got pushed to a trip up north in mid May to scout out property, and hopefully buy a plot, with an actual move some time in late summer or early fall.

I am antsy to get up there. I don’t want to be scrambling to get a structure up and livable before winter sets in, and I sure as hell don’t want to wait it out until next spring. Let me rephrase that, I can’t wait it out until next spring. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Sorry. I’m just one giant ball of nerves grasping at something to keep my brain from running amuck amuck amuck. breath…

Zack is in his final term at De Anza. Two english classes and a music appreciation class away from his degree in English Literature. I am very proud as one might imagine. Annoyed, not that the two english classes books are a total of $80 for six books, that’s fine, the music class however… If I understand the bookstore correctly is about $250 for a book and a CD, seriously?! The cost of textbooks is nothing new and I would expect it for a math or science book, not this. We will do what we need to. Zack has worked hard to earn this and nothing will stand in his way to complete his degree. I just don’t like being gouged by publishers.

I sound in so negative, and I’m really not feeling mad or angry, just annoyed. It is so easy right now for me to get worked up when I encounter what I perceive to be stupidity, ignorance, and a lack of courtesy, respect, or common sense. Yes, I acknowledge that it is my perception and not necessarily what is actually happening, that I may not have all of the facts, that situations arise, I get all of that. I still get annoyed, and my threshold is low right now.

wingnutBetween to asinine behaviour of all of the political parties, and theire more vehement followers on all sides this political season, along with the general lack of good behavior out in public, I just don’t want to be out in it. I don’t go off-property very often, once a week maybe. I don’t go online all that often for the same reasons. I don’t want to be a hermit. I actually want to get out, do stuff, go places, enjoy being out and about. I’m just not in the right headspace to be out in the world.

When Tammy and I went up north last year in February it was a wonderful break from the urban sprawl. Just that short four days was enough to get me through a couple of months back in the concrete jungle. That rejuvenation ran out a few months back. I really need to…

Post 201

Profile PicYesterday was an odd day. I suppose it was odd for many Americans for a variety of reasons. The most obvious of course being the 14th anniversary of 9-11, so I didn’t notice that my post yesterday was my 200th post.

For me September 11th has a strangely linked secondary meaning, it was also the day I started my formal flight-school training in 2003, though technically my first flight was April 22nd, 2003. I only had three flight lessons before deciding to go the professional academy route and the next available start date began five months later on September 11.

I always seem to think about aviation stuff on 9-11. Most of the time it is a sub-conscious shift in thought. I don’t even realize I have been thinking aviation until after my thought have shifted. Yesterday’s post obviously was aviation in theme and I have been mulling around a lot of stuff the last 12 hours or so.

When I notice the post being #200 this morning, it got me thinking of the many firsts I have encountered in the last decade or so; first pilot’s license, first college class taken, first instructors license, first aviation class taught, first mechanic’s license, first college class taught, first college degree, first amateur radio license, and my first VE session.

I’m sure there have been many other firsts along the way, certainly many smaller firsts came about as a result of these, but these in particular are mile-stone moments to me. They are all significant events marking recognized achievements in areas I am passionate about. Aviation, and radio, are things that are deeply embedded in my being. They have been a part of me in some form for much longer than a decade.

My contemplations of yesterday and today have been not only a pondering of opportunities and ideas. They have been a review of accomplishments, a review of the goals I have set for myself, how they intertwine, and how at several points I allowed myself to be distracted from the task at hand. Looking back from today’s vantage point, many of those delays were actually necessary. Ether to gain non-related skills, take the time for technology to change, or just let some things ruminate.

FrieslandIn many ways it is analogous to the farmer. Working the soil, providing nutrients, and sewing seeds. As the farmer must wait for the seeds to germinate and grow, I have been doing other “chores” waiting for that germination and growth. Stuff around the farm that may not directly relate to that crop, but still important for the overall operation of the farm. Now it’s time to do the finishing. Harvest comes soon, some will be reaped and some let go to seed.

What I really want to be doing as shifted, reformed, and modified, but those basic goals are still the same. The same as they have been for over a decade. Now I am in a much better position to see them through. Now it’s time to refocus on the finishing before harvest and make things happen.

I like it when an analogy comes together.

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

Safety Washer Tab Tool

The whos-a-whats-a? I started a new project yesterday in class, the overhaul of an Marvel-Schebler MA 4-SPA carburetor. The overhaul isn’t too big a deal even though there were spider webs in the barrel of the carb and a bunch of crud came out of the float bowl when I split the halves.

There wasn’t much of a problem disassembling the carburetor down to a few piles of small parts and the two halves of the body. Today I was ready to strip it down to the bare castings when I came upon a bit of a problem. There are two safety washers with tabs that are bent up along the flats of the nuts to keep them from turning while the engine is in operation. One is on the Pump Discharge Nozzle Valve and the other Nozzle Assembly in the barrel.

The problem is that the tabs were bent up very well and getting them back down so I can remove the assemblies was proving to be a challenge. I didn’t want to gouge the assembly to the casting and I couldn’t find anything thin enough that I could tap in between the tab and the nut faces. I mangled one on the main Nozzle Assembly and decided that this was going to get messy very quickly if I didn’t come up with another option. Everyone else was saying to just use a screw driver… ah… no.

Enter, the solution. I had a small piece of soft steel and took it over to the grinder to put a rough bevel edge on the end following up with a file and sandpaper to clean up the edge. I wanted to keep the rounded edge so I could get it into some tight places. The plan is for this to slide in between the nut and the tab with the bevel pushing the tab out away from the nut. To make sure that the edge of the tool doesn’t cut into the nut I put a slight back bevel on the flat side.

The edge fit up to the nut perfectly flat and the bevel edge is just thin enough to wedge the back side of the tab and bend it outward. All it needs is a slight tap with my 8 oz. ball peen hammer and voilà, the tab tips down very neatly without gouging the nut and doing minimal damage to the tab. I was very happy with the results.

   

And there was much oooing and awwwing about the shop. Well, okay, maybe not. But there was a few “that’s cool”  vocalizations. I think so at least. Anyway, it worked and I was happy with the results as were the parts and the instructor; and that’s what really counts.

That’s all for now.

Blue skies and tail winds,
~FlyBoyJon

A&P School: Almost Done

It’s been three and a half semesters since A&P school started on August 10th, 2011. Here I am getting ready for my last mid-term in the program. It feels really good to be so far along but there is still a ton to get done in a short time. There is a mid term, several quizzes and tests, and a final. After that there are still the FAA tests, the written, and the oral/practical that need to be passed to add the Powerplant rating to my mechanic certificate.

After finishing my mechanic ratings there is still the matter of finishing my AS in Aviation Maintenance Technology. The good news on this front is it looks like I will be able to finish my AS over the summer with three classes, one of which is a single unit in kinesiology (P.E. for those over 30.)  Then I can transfer to San Jose State to finish my undergrad work with a BS in Aviation Maintenance Management.

Ever since I embarked on this journey making plans has required factoring in lots flexibility and not making any plans too dependent on outside influences. In short, not making plans so much as having general ideas and making sure I can easily divert from one to an alternate without too much upheaval in the universe. Building all of this flexibility into the planning process has made it very difficult to do any advance work down one path or another. In one sense this has been beneficial because it has kept me on a fairly narrow focus towards completion and has been an education in and of itself. I have been keeping projects at arms length because I know I don’t have enough time to complete them and along the way I have also learned the importance of the word “no” and how to use it.

Another important skill set I have been honing is applying value to my time going beyond coming up with an hourly rate by encompassing the value of learning from projects. Deciding if a project is worth taking on or is the time better served by farming it out. Sometimes when I know I can do something, it’s not the can I that is the important part, it is the should I part that needs the thinking. This is where the time and resource Black Hole can rear its ugly head and make a fun project suck, or a profitable project turn into a money pit.

With all of this learning and self realization going on you might think I would awaken from this aviation dream and realize that it is a bitch to make any money in this industry. Nope, no such luck. I’m hooked. I do think I have learned a few “secrets” to aviation/business success though. Keep it simple, keep the scope narrow, get and stay known in your niche, and never compromise on the quality of your work. An aviation business can always fail, but these are the key things that seem to cause a business to fail, aviation or otherwise.

What is the take-away from all of this? Work with what you have. Take on only the work you can do now. Grow slowly with well planned steps. Never stop learning. Keep an eye to the sky, an ear to the ground, and your nose to the grind stone, then you just might make it.

Blue skies and tail winds,
~FlyBoyJon

Is a blog just a blog?

Sorry about yesterdays disjointed post. I’m really not sure what happened, other than distraction and a somewhat confused general state of mind after spending the day in the shop cleaning up.

This morning I am gonna’ do a little house cleaning here on the blog.

I had set up a blog for Off Grid stuff. If you know me IRL you know I want to live ether next to, or near by a small airport away from “the city.” Hey, I am a small town kind of guy. I also want to be living as self-sufficiently as possible. The Off Grid blog had a few entries that I wanted to keep so I moved them her to FBJ and closed down that blog. If you are interested, they are in the Off Grid category on this site and I will be posting any new stuff here.

It seems like the FBJ site has always been somewhat enigmatic to me. Maybe it’s my OCD that gets in the way of just posting when the mood strikes. I like to have things compartmentalized into there own little categories separate from each other. Having an idea for a post is one thing, I have them all the time, what usually keeps me from posting is where to post it. This gets messy when you have so many interests, and worse when you have a bunch of topic specific blogs. So here we are again, It all comes back to FBJ. I am going to try and post when the ideas strike rather than saying to myself that it should be posted somewhere specific to that interest.

I will continue posting to Lumber Jocks because I am participating in the woodworking community there and that interaction is important to me.

The Vintage Aero Works site and blog are still in the planning stages, but that site will most definitely be reserved for aircraft restoration projects and related topics. it will be my commercial/professional website.

So what will be posted here on FBJ? A little bit of everything. A lot of aviation, some school related posts, woodworking adventures which will mostly be tool and aircraft related along with skill builders and cabinetry work, and any progress in moving off grid and all of its related topics. All of this along with an occasional soapbox post on politics, religion, philosophy, the economy, or anything else that pops up.

One of my goals for this year is to be more engaged with the FBJ site. We shall see how it goes.

Until next time. Peace, Love and Airplanes.
~FlyBoyJon

Fall 2012 Almost A Memory

This semester has just flown by at mach speed! It seems like just yesterday we were out at the airport picking our engines for the overhaul project and now we are a week from finals and the last day of class and only 175 days until the last day of next semester and completion of  the two year AMT program.

Since my last post I have had some fun working on a couple of other projects at school. We removed the engine, a Continental O-470, from our Cessna 182. I had the opportunity to work on the Pratt & Whiteny PT-6 removing the fuel controller and finding a low pressure fuel leak. And I had the chance to finish replacing the ignition switch on our Cessna 172 and run it up. It felt good to be sitting in an airplane doing a run up, although it did make me a little homesick for flying. I need to get back in the air.

There are several possibilities floating around for after graduation, but nothing even remotely solid. There are a couple of FBO jobs that may or may not be open, there is the possibility of teaching, and of course there is the need to finish my degree. For now, I’m keeping my ear to the ground of job stuff but focusing on head-down-full-speed-ahead on school and studying.

Blue skies and tailwinds,
~FlyBoyJon 

Fitness – Mind, Body, & Soul

In my quest to be one of those old guys working from a nearly forgotten airfield out in the middle of nowhere, restoring aircraft thought lost forever to the ravages of time, I have been restoring myself, bring the old crate up to date.

We Can Do ItOf course there is school, and degrees are important after a fashion, but the real meat and potatoes education was from flight school, soon from AMT school, and there will be other schools too as I move forward eventually earning some sheepskin. If only one thing were true about aviation it would be that you are never really “out of school”, it’s a lifelong commitment to learning, maybe not in the classroom, but still a lot of learning.

This post is not so much about the continuous pursuit of knowledge in all things aeronautical, no this post is about personal growth, and like the never ending commitment of aviation, personal growth is a lifelong exploration as well.

While preparing for this career path, I committed to making some changes in my life. I am a big guy, always have been always will be, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Over in the sidebar you may notice a Health and Fitness tab and under that tab a box, today that box reads 37 pounds lost. At 323 pounds, I am at my lowest weight in nearly two decades, but there is a long way still to go. Ultimately I am shooting for 200, which by the way would be my lowest weight since elementary school. I wrestled when I was in Jr. High in the 280+ weight class.

A big part of this has been altering my way of thinking. I have had to replace an ill conceived thought process about what “waste” and “saving” are. This old, mental attitude invoked hording and stockpiling impulses making me think that a filled plate or a filled garage was was a good thing. This thought process could have been applied to nearly anything. “If I don’t take it all now, I might not have the chance later” it’s just wrong headed. One step in the process has been learning to let go of perfectly good clothing that just doesn’t fit, too big or too small, it doesn’t matter. With the frequent changes in size, most of my clothes come from a second-hand store these days anyway so even if I rotated my entire wardrobe annually it would be at a pretty low cost and I donate cloths back when they no longer fit.

While I’m on the subject of clothes; anyone who has known me since high school can tell you I very rarely went out without some sort of loose over-shirt, sweater or jacket of some kind. It could have been 120 in the shade and I would most likely have had a jacket on. This was totally a body image thing that I have struggled with my whole life. I am still a big guy and still have those body image moments once in a while. Since the beginning of 2011 when I started this weight loss plan I have been going out in t-shirts, in public, with lots of people around! For most of you this may not sound like a big deal but this was a huge mental shift for me. I am not planning on running around in a speedo any time… well… ever, and I apologize for the image, but being free from the self imposed torment of jackets and flannel during the summer swelter is very liberating.

All of this freedom to go out into the world makes it much easier to get out and exercise which is of course helping shift my body chemistry along with the dietary changes. Lower blood pressure, faster pulse recovery, longer endurance, less pain, no insomnia, no depression, the list of quality-of-life improvements seems to grow longer every day.

With AMT school starting in 51 days (yes, I am counting) I’m looking forward to seeing how this new healthier me does in the study department.

There are always more things to do and ways to improve. In my case, the slow and steady application of change works well and I look forward to a regular cycle of New & Improved editions of me.

Until next time, blue skies and tail winds,

~FlyBoyJon

The best laid schemes…

As Robert Burns once said “The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew.”

My plans for a weekend of building have not matured in the way I had hoped. Saturday was a day-long game of wait and see with the auto-mechanic working on the chariots transmission. A couple of weeks ago we had a transaxle replaced along with seals and boots because a tear in one of the old boots allowed debris in damaging several parts. Amongst the replaced parts was a seal on the back side of the transmission. Apparently all of the after market parts that were supposed to fit, didn’t.

Saturday I took it back in to have the leak checked out; this is when all of the details reviled themselves. Now here I am ready to walk back to the shop at moments notice having waisted the day away by not getting too involved with anything.

On the good side I managed to get caught up on my magazine reading including my first issue of Warbirds which finally arrived so I have been scouring it from cover-to-cover with the occasional break to peruse one of my other magazines. One of the advantages of being a member of several organizations is the constant supply of new reading materials throughout the month.

Sunday was a little better in that I managed to get into the shop. I didn’t work on the airplane at all, but I did clean up the shop. Over the last couple of weeks I had picked up a few things at Harbor Freight Tools and at Orchard Supply that needed to find new homes in shop and one thing that needed to be assembled.

HFT had a three piece brass mini-plain set, round and flat spoke shaves, and a flat plain that I have been looking for so I bought them, Sunday I found homes for them in the shop. OSH had a cool looking drill press add-on called the Universal Drill Press Work Center by Craftsman. I put it together today though I have not installed it on the drill press.

Universal Drill Press Work CenterThe reviews on the Craftsman website are not kind at all, and I can certainly see where the complaints are coming from, especially for a piece of equipment billed as “professional”. But here’s the thing, I paid less than half the retail price and I’m not expecting much. The main reason I got it was because it has a fence that will keep holes lined up from the edge and it significantly increases the size of the drill press table, the two man things I need.

I don’t know how well it is going to work out but I am willing to give it a shot.

This week is end/beginning of the month so it is a busy time around these parts. February has been a very slow month for the airplane. After a solid 27.5 hours in January the measly 5 hours of February seem a bit pitiful. As they say, life happens. Better luck next month.

Until next time, blue skies and tail winds.
~FlyBoyJon

too much going on…

Wow, it has been way too long since I last posted. My sincere apologies to you. School has been keeping me very busy. I started out with five classes and ended up dropping one, as it turns out that was a really good move.

The hitch in my giddy-up? My choices in scheduling. The original plan was to spread things out over the week, one or two classes a day four days a week, this turned out to be a bad idea. I was hoping to leave plenty of time for work, ya… right. With everything spread out, I am always scrambling for something and there is always something due.

Next term I will be trying a new schedule format, all of my classes on one or two days back to back. I would make for one or two crazy days a week, but less transit time and more focus time. Thats the idea anyway.,

While I am on the subject of school, some interesting developments have been brewing. First off, I have been elected as President of the SJCC Philosophy Club. I have gotten a few quizzical looks from people when they find out my major is Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering and I am hanging around with the philosophy and theology majors. It is rather amusing actually.

Along with my Philosophy Club activities I have been given some interesting opportunities. One in particular will get at least my foot in the door at San Jose State University a full year and a half earlier than expected. There is a really interesting program in the new Global Studies department that is participating with the Soliya project and I have been invited to be one of the students involved. This would mean registering as a SJSU student, which by the was is awesome.

Why is this awesome? Well for one, I have been wanting to join Alpha Eta Roe, an aviation professional fraternal organization and it would make life much easier if I was a student at a chartered school, SJSU. Another reason is that I am planning on transferring to SJSU once I finish my General AA at San Jose City College to pursue my BS and MS in engineering. It just sort of tidies things up a bit.

Another education thing going on is that I am hoping to wrap up that ongoing drama filled AS in Aviation Operations at Mountain State University that I started in 2006. If I can just squeeze one class in per term there while taking one class per term at SJSU and three or four classes at SJCC I can get that one done too. Thats a lot of schooling going on.

This is why it has been a little while since my last post. On an aviation note, I did pick up some new plains at my newly-opened Harbor Freight Tools. It made my tool-geek heart skip a beat when I saw that they were finally opening a store closer than 30 miles away. This one is less than a mile! WOOT!

😉

Things are leveling off in my schedule as I get back into the academic swing, so I expect to be back in the shop this weekend. With even a small bit of luck I will have something to post about on Monday, so stay tuned for next weeks exciting episode.

Until then, blue skies and tailwinds.
~FlyBoyJon