Coping: Happy Thanksgiving

No regular column this morning, since markets are closed in the US and if you’re trading based on what you read here in some foreign country, you need to take the day to inspect your logical processes.  So, here goes nothing: 

imageWe decided for the additional cost of a “convenience turkey” that we’d do the real thing and so as soon as this morning’s abbreviated column is done, we’re off to the kitchen to stuff and bag the bird, so to speak.  (Ahem….)

About 9 pounds, with stuffing 3 and 1/2 hours worth. 

Everyone gets into it around here, including Zeus the Cat, who is taking the morning off from his usual proof-reading duties to rest up for the after-human scraps.

I would put up a cheat-sheet on how long to cook the turkey, but Time magazine has one (or 5.2 million around the net), so it saves us some work.  I figure between Elaine and me, we’re over 1.25 centuries turkey-eating  experience so this shouldn’t be too hard.

In fact, the toughest part of the process seems to be agreement on which kind of stuffing to use.

Elaine likes oven-baked and a tad crispy.  Good, but I’ve always been a “wet stuffing” guy, and my sister I think still has a recipe for oyster dressing which is unbelievable.  Seeing as we’re far enough from the coast to make that sketchy, moist (verging on soggy) herb will do just fine.

The most important part of Thanksgiving preparations falls to me:

Take the battery out of the electronic scale for a week.

Tomorrow, drop by when Mr. Piggy will reveal his favorite turkey leftovers idea once again.  It’s called the SST Sandwich and I’m sure you’ll find it a tasty addition/edition.

A Thanksgiving Gift from Reader John K

Want some money?  Free?  The real deal here.  I didn’t have time yesterday to ask his permission to use his name, but a reader of ours, John, the wealth manager up in Nashville who sent me a dandy email that could be worth your time to read:

Hello George,

To assist you in helping others and so you and your family may also find new wealth, enter your last name and or company name in the following Search engine to see unclaimed property. I conduct searches in support of Estate settlements, but you do not have to be dead to have unclaimed property. I have helped others find property of deceased relatives and forgotten security deposits from college. If you can provide proof of your name connected to the address (if it shows one), wa la, you’re in the money/property.

If the person is deceased, letters Testamentary, would also be required. Be aware the states often misspell names, so be on the lookout for property under similar spellings. If you can see the address, that usually helps verify the connection. If a person is deceased or you can’t remember all your past addresses, run a free credit report which shows all prior addresses (living and deceased people).

The first site seems more effective and the second site is quicker, but less accurate.

Best of luck!

Happy thanksgiving!


Let me know if you come up with any “found money” – I came up with $38-bucks which was worth 20-seconds of work and a follow up letter.  May you find many dollars this way, and be sure to look up your friends and tell them where you heard about it.  I’ll pass on John’s particulars if I get permission, which hinges on whether he reads today’s column, which hinges on how many folks are coming over to his place…so we shall see.

Darned if I can figure out into how to turn this into an hourly, let along weekly rate of return.

Oh, and good luck getting whatever you find lasting to Saturday seeing as tomorrow is you-know-what.

Around the Ranch:  Flight Time / Flight Safety

Panama’s lady-friend had never been up in a small plane before.  Big ones?  Yes…but not little ones.

And yesterday was the first time that I have been able to “open up” the Mouse since the new carburetor was installed.

A story about airplanes here:  Despite might airplane having been through (who knows how many) annual inspections, no one had previously caught the little whizzie that disconnected the accelerator pump on the carb.

A couple of months back, Jeremy the Mechanic noticed it when we were trying to figure out why the plane was not making full/rated power by the tachometer.

You see, when a plane is “run up” to full power on the ground, in our case (being a Lycoming 0-320 series twisting a brand new remanufactured prop), full power run-up should be a shade over 2300 RPM.

Turns out, the mechanism had been disconnected because when the plunger was pressed, gasoline would come squirting out around the plunger.  That’s an in-flight fire waiting to happen and even though we’d flown across the country half a dozen times oblivious to the problem with no issues, the decision to put on the new carb was an easy one.

Notice it was the decision that was easy.

The price wasn’t and neither was the adjustment phase.  A new carb means you go up and fly around the pattern a few times and then come back and talk to the mechanic.  Tiny adjustments are made like idle speed. 

But there is another one that we just finished last week called primary mixture.  On this carb, when the overall mixture is set just right, you can lean the engine just a wee bit at 750-800 RPM and the RPM will rise, ever so slightly.  The ideal range is 25-50 RPM.  Mine is now rising 35 which is just about ideal.

Yesterday was the first time I’d taken it up and let it “wind up” all the way.  When I did my biennial flight review (and two phases of the FAA’s WING Program) we had noticed the exhaust temperatures were running too hot at full power.   So we kept the RPM down to 2450 which is about 73% of rating horsepower at 3,000 feet and the plane flies just fine  about 120-122 miles an hour there.  Flew cool as a cucumber there.

A call to Jeremy and an oil change (just to be safe) and the tweak to perfection was applied.

After the final tweak, this is like a whole new airplane.  Full throttle at 3,000 feet pushes the Mighty Mouse along at an indicated 140 MPH and when I looked down at the ground speed, thanks to a stiff breeze out of the southwest at 33 MPH, our ground speed was 173 miles an hour.  I may have achieved my goal:  Fastest (A23-19) Mouse in the sky…

We will be up for more formal measurements in the next week, or so.  The wind was really filling in by the time it came to land:  At altitude, 75 miles per hour airspeed, our ground speed at one point our ground speed was down into the mid 30’s.  Serious west wind, but smooth because it was early in the day.

Flying a GPS approach, we were about 45-degrees from the runway heading at 2,500 feet and 5 miles, but on short final, the wind was right down the runway.  Strange winds, light  but even shear between 1500 and 300 feet AGL.

OK, this sounds incredibly boring unless you’re a pilot.  But for us, it means going up to see Robin Landry in Oklahoma just went from 2:25 down to 2:05 of flight time.  OR, instead of burning 24 gallons of not-quite-free avgas, the burn should go down to about 20-gallons if I can keep my foot out of it.

I’ll take a 17% reduction in fuel cost, any time.  All those hours of wax and attention to details do pay off.

Speaking of which, just as I was taking off, a visiting Citation jet announced he was 10-miles to the northeast. 

I offered to trade him some airspeed which he readily agreed to “If you’ll take my fuel bill.

No deal.

A few readers don’t like hearing about flying this and that, but when the markets are more or less closed in the US (because some heathen countries don’t adopt our calendar, what can I say?) there’s nothing wrong with a little hangar talk.  This is my hangar.  Who else is sharing their kitchen, pets, shop, ham radio, and airplane stories (not to mention first rate market insights) free with you?

Light/general aviation aircraft are extremely popular with small business owners because you can cover a lot of miles and with far less hassle than commercial aircraft.  A region of, say, 10-states can be covered 2-3 times more often with an airplane than a car.  It all comes down to what’s important.  Airplanes are a “be there” tool.  There are still some people-things that don’t come across on WebEx and Skype the way they do face-to-face.  Facemail works.

Another reason I am somewhat shameless about sharing aviation notes, is that any damn fool can drive a car (and most do).  Even the worst pilot is usually no “damn fool.”  They still took the test on the rules and demonstrated they can deal with four dimensions, not 2.  (pitch, roll, yaw, and weather).

According to preliminary NTSB numbers for 2013, the number of fatalities in general aviation was 221 last year.  But that’s  from 20.887-million flight hours.

Now, let’s run that out assuming the general aviation average airspeed is about 160-knots.  Sure, there are some slower (like us) but many are much faster.  200 knots plus is not uncommon.  And a buddy of mine just sold his 300 knot turboprop, so 160 knots is fair, I figure.

We have to remember to convert knots to miles an hour, so I reckon 184 miles per hour is about right.  So the number of general aviation miles last year was around 3.8-billion miles.

That works out to one fatality for each 17.93 –million miles.  And it’s also true that the majority of accidents >80% in fact, are caused by pilot error.

According to the Insurance Institute for  Highway Safety,  in 2012  there were 1.76 fatalities per 100-million miles driven in Montana, while the US average was 1.14.

Notice that Louisiana had 1.55 deaths per 100-million miles.

On the surface:  That looks like flying is riskier (5.58 deaths per 100 million miles) even over Louisiana.

Ah, but remember pilot error?  80% of accidents?  Don’t fly with any squawks, don’t fly into any questionable weather, and don’t fly unless you are at physical peak performance.  If you think buzz-driving is dangerous?  You can write a check out of that one.  Ain’t no check to clear if you mix booze or drugs with flying.  Over is out.  We don’t drink, toke, or drug anywhere near flying.

Suddenly flying over Louisiana makes a whole lot of sense.  Especially when you can land on a fairway if you have to.  And especially when a half rack of beer pulls onto the freeway in front of you on the freeway when it’s been a hot one down in the bayous.  You can’t quite make them out from 9,500 feet where it’s 65-65 outside, even in summer. We carry lightweight binoculars on long trips.  Not that pilots look down on people, but….

Commercial airline safety is absurdly SAFER than driving…many, many, many times safer…that’s a no brainer.

You want to do something really stylish this year on Black Friday?  Buy an airplane.  They’re as much fun as a sailboat, just the speed of the airfoils are different.  A hangar is like moorage and the mark-up at West Marine versus Aircraft Spruce would make a fine conversation some other morning.

More tomorrow (and enjoy the tryptophan OD)..