The top item on the wish list of many people probably is a real aircraft. But if you can’t afford that, there’s always the option to build and fly remote controlled airplanes and helicopters. However, there seems to be a step even cheaper than that, and that’s a remote controlled helicopter simulator. I wonder if mankind goes down this path even further, and we’ll get a remote controlled helicopter simulator simulator.
We thought we would throw in a classic strip again for a change. This one goes back to our roots of having very aviation specific jokes. We since have found ourselves walking a fine balance between not angering the early hardcore “Chicken Wings” supporters and at the same time attracting the aviation enthusiast who is getting, or thinking of getting into the world of aviation but doesn’t have the vocabulary built up yet. As for the accuracy of the depicted meteorological conditions, I have to admit that I have not seen ground fog quite like this before. But very close to it! Flying Frost Control for many years you can see how the cold air settles in the trees and you, in your helicopter, only a few feet above it, are completely fine.
One of the more recent, yet one of the weirdest experiences so far, was a night currency flight I did into Redmond, Oregon KRDM two years ago. We took off out of Bend in clear VFR conditions, then did a few touch and go’s in Prineville, and on the way back we were gonna do one touch & go in Redmond. Yet even though we flew around in VFR conditions everywhere, the ATIS for Redmond kept calling it IFR. We flew towards the airport and saw the runway lights and everything before we even entered the airspace. The only thing we noticed is that the airport appeared to be a little hazy. “IFR? What are they talking about?” we said “Let’s do an approach!” and so we did. We thought the ATIS was broken, since we were able to see the airport, the city next to it, the stars above us, and everything you would need to fly at night. It was late at night and the tower was long closed so there wasn’t any other information backing us up other than what we saw (or thought we saw) for ourselves. It wasn’t until I came to a high hover, getting ready to put the helicopter on the taxiway paralleling the runway, I just about lost all my ground references if it wasn’t for the taxiway light in front of me. What looked like haze from above looking down vertically, ended up as ground fog revealing almost zero visibility horizontally down the runway. It surprised me since I never had experienced this before even though I come from very foggy places. The ground fog layer was literally only 20 to 30 feet thick and the air above it was severe clear.
There is a learning experience in this story. On a previous flight we flew past an airport that was completely VFR, it was in the middle of the day, yet the ASOS called IFR. We assumed then the weather station was broken, or more likely frozen since it was -20C outside. I just assumed the same thing was happening in Redmond. Another question would be the legal aspect of it all? Did we just bust a regulation going into an airport VFR even though the automation showed it IFR yet we were able to see the airport from over 5 miles away?
Halloween costumes are getting more and more amazing. The effort some people seem to be putting into trying to look like a corpse is baffling to me. Some people, of course, need more effort than others to begin with. Personally, I think I wouldn’t need a costume this year to look like a Zombie, because I’m just living through the most sleep-deprived stage of my life right now. As some of you may have heard, I’ve become a father for the second time, a few weeks ago. And it’s amazing at how being drained and exhausted, while at the same time being happy can be taken to an even higher level than with one kid.
Well, anyway, we wish all of you zombies, corpses, witches, ghosts and monsters out there, real or not, a very happy Halloween!
Whoever runs their own business or works in the service industry knows that there is nothing more annoying than customers. I kid, of course! Most of them are nice, actually. But even the nice ones have a habit of calling or disturbing you when you’re right in the middle of something. Just like in this case, when the whole crew is busy thoroughly testing the new lounge, a very demanding task, not to be treated lightly!
You wanna see stressed out, pissed off, and irritated pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers? Have them go a day without coffee!!
Aviation seems to run on coffee. At least that has been my experience in the last 25 years. Makes you wonder if aviation would have been even possible if we didn’t invent coffee first.
Lots of them are even what I consider “coffee snobs” which is often denied to me because when you are on the road and in the middle of nowhere, you run into a lot of “beggars can’t be choosers” situations. Yet I am not ashamed to say we had a coffee maker in our maintenance pod all season. Naturally, a sleepy, not-thinking-straight, barely-rolled-out-of-bed Chuck might panic at the first sign of being out of coffee. Let’s all just be glad Julio kept a cool head this morning, especially since he is also known to be somewhat of a coffee addict. Have I used the word “coffee” enough yet in this blog?
In the earlier days of my aviation career I was working as mechanic helper for a little outfit at my home town air field. I actually was more like our Jason character back then with tons of questions (except that I had better tutors than Chuck who actually pointed me in the right direction) coming in early and staying late just so I can hang out at the airport. One of my many jobs there was sweeping and polishing the hangar floors on a regular basis. This was very important not only for professional maintenance reasons but also because one of our senior mechanics in the hangar liked to walk around barefoot in the summer and didn’t want to step on fasteners and safety-wire pieces.
However, I was also able to balance a broom on my forehead similar to what Julio is demonstrating in today’s comic. And of course the moment I first demonstrated this skill to my fellow employees ended up also being the exact moment when the boss walked into the hangar with his boss from corporate. So, once again, can you see how the inception of Chicken Wings was just a matter of time?
I have vague memories of some of our toys mysteriously going missing when we were kids. I also have a lot of memories of our mom telling us to tidy up our room “for the very last time, or else!”. It didn’t struck me at the time I drew this strip, but now that I look at it again, I get the weird feeling that there might be a connection and similarities to our childhood. It seems I may have more in common with Chuck than I’d like to admit. But don’t we all?
Have you ever dealt with people who lose all situational awareness the second they get dialed in into their device, whatever it may be? It funny, we’re so connected all the time but don’t even listen to each other anymore, which Chuck is demonstrating here so flawlessly …
I actually enjoyed the few weeks we had this year fighting fire in the woods without cell reception and internet. We spent the little downtime we had with telling stories and playing games and ended up with a really tight crew that works together well. But getting back into civilization every night was rough, getting hit with emails, phone calls, and everything all at once. It makes it way more obvious how often we “connect” on a daily basis.
Talking with some aviation safety guys the other day they said that accidents related to “device use” is extremely on the rise. Pilots play with their phones and the internet until the early morning hours and then show up to work dead tired. This just may be the next new thing after “8hrs bottle to throttle” …
I always think it’s funny when Chuck takes Julio literally. Not sure if it is coincidence or not but it usually only happens when it works in Chucks favor. It’s a strange world …
Who of you know the game “Airport Madness”? We got into it recently and promptly proceeded wasting a bunch of time directing air traffic across the little runways. It kind of put me behind on my own TPS reports. My current day-job has so much paperwork going along with our daily flight operations that it really comes in handy when there isn’t a fire every day which gives me time to catch up on my TPS … I mean … OPS reports. I used to think “Office Space” was a funny movie until I started working for a big corporation myself, HAHA! That sure is not something they tell you in flight school. Even a small operation like Roost-Air has it’s own fair share of paperwork. Let’s see how this plays out for Chuck …
What other cool quick aviation online games do you guys know?
As an inspiration for today’s strip, all I had to do was look up from my drawing table and take in my surroundings. Although there’s a much larger percentage of papery stuff and fewer model planes than in Chuck’s case. Also, it’s strictly my own crap, which makes it easier to a) tolerate and b) still be able to find things.
One of the better investments I made was a slightly tilted drawing table. Although I still manage to fill it up with crap, the amount of crap and the height of the various piles I can construct on it is limited by gravity. Also, it is set right underneath my window, so sometimes the wind just blows half of the stuff on the floor, from where I pick it up and put it on another table. Well, you get the picture!
About twice a year I get a cleaning fit and tidy up my office, which usually is almost a full day job, haha.