Friday, April 1, 2011

Sun 'n Fun triumphs over adversity

A full post when I recover from an exhausting, exhilarating day. Sun 'n Fun came up trumps and then some. Wagstaff, Chambliss, Tucker, Goulian, F-22, Blue Angels, Younkin (day and night), fireworks.... Awesome. 'Twas a memorable day. I thought this pic rather summed it up. Onward and upward!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sun 'n Fun gets the worst of it

It doesn't look like there was too much damage in other areas. Some occasional trees down, a hotel lost its roof in St. Pete, a few structures here and there. Could have been a lot worse overall. But poor old Sun 'n Fun copped the worst of it, being a bunch of temporary structures and kite-like vehicles stuck out in a very exposed region. Not a good combination.

There are still occasional reports that tornadoes touched down. Whether or not they did, it's quite obvious that winds close to hurricane force came along with the storm cell. I've seen measurements as high as 87 mph. Seems about right, based on the videos.

The best coverage I've seen so far is courtesy of Grassroots News. Talk about being on the scene!

These guys had to hang on for the ride, too.

Flood 'n Mud - damage update

A video report from the EAA. I recognize several of those planes from yesterday. Like this, which yesterday was an immaculate Air Cam:

So so sad :-( Glad to hear nobody seriously hurt but it's still way sad all the same. I get pissed off the internet goes out halfway through an internet post I haven't saved. Put a few thousand hours of your life into a plane and watch it blow into pieces must be heart-wrenching.

Sun 'n Fun becoming Flood 'n Mud

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Winter Haven, watching the Doppler radar and the "live, continuous coverage" on the ABC news out of Tampa. Right now it's bright, though not sunny, through my hotel window. But there is apparently a tornado on the ground less than twenty miles north of here. I can see the sky is especially ominous-looking in that direction. Everything immediately north of I-4 is a mess, according to the TV and the internet. So far, Lakeland Linder airport and Winter Haven, where I am, are relatively safe. But this is the latest radar pic:

How lovely. It's looking pretty grim. I used to live in Florida so I am somewhat conditioned to this stuff. I can only hope that everyone at Sun 'n Fun is glued to whatever mobile internet devices they have out there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What the flutter...?

My head hurts. It all started innocently enough, too. An article in January's Aviation Safety magazine covered the issue of airspeed and when the plane you're flying considers that it's "going too fast." Here, "going too fast" is defined by the physics of the situation, not the regs. This is the part in the article that grabbed my attention:
"However, it is very important to understand VNE is not an indicated airspeed. Instead, VNE is a true airspeed. Of course, true airspeed and indicated airspeed are going to be the same value only at sea level density altitude with standard atmospheric conditions. At much higher density altitudes, flying at an indicated airspeed, even in the green arc below VNO, can result in a true airspeed substantially exceeding the VNE redline. That's bad."
The article went on to describe how glider pilots flying high can run into problems with aerodynamic (or aeroelastic) flutter because they failed to reduce their VNE as their TAS went up with (density) altitude. Which got me thinking about what I fly and how I fly it. What are the potential consequences of my having a never-exceed speed masquerading as an IAS on my IAS dial? And if VNE really does change with TAS, at what density altitude do I need to become concerned at the true versus indicated airspeed difference? Twenty feet? Two thousand feet? Flight level 200...? Judging by the responses to the Aviation Safety article the following month, as well as some confused questions I saw on internet bulletin boards, I wasn't alone in my concern.