Monthly Archives: November 2013

“The Annual”

All US aircraft are required to undergo a comprehensive inspection every year. My own little airplane is no exception, and while many aircraft owners dread “the annual”, I look forward to this as an excuse to take some time off from the job that pays for all this and spend quality time with my torque wrenches, magneto synchronizer, compression tester, inspection mirrors, and other tools. I also like keeping my airplane well-maintained, and knowing that we have no secrets from each other.
So here’s what a small airplane looks like half way through an annual inspection:

The interior also gets opened up for inspection:

Which all means that right now I have something that looks more like a collection of airplane parts, rather than an airplane:

A lot of servicing also gets done at the same time. As long as we’re going to open up the oil filter and take an oil sample for analysis to look for signs of something coming undone in the engine, might as well put a fresh new filter on, change the oil, and clean the spark plugs, lubricate all the controls, etc… Really, the actual inspecting can be done in a small number of hours. It’s all the disassembly, servicing, reassembly, and checkout that takes days.

Creature Feature 2013 #11

The seasons have definitely changed. I took this picture on October 30:

And this one just yesterday, November 16, in about the same spot:

Other cycles are also in play, as this tree looks ready for recycling:

For all the changes in the weather, the water birds are still very active. In fact, it was a surprisingly good day to be out on the water with my camera.

This is what refueling looks like for a couple of mallards:

And these birds sure know how to operate in “congested airspace”, with nary a radar transponder or anti-collision light in sight:

The airshow continues with a nice echelon turn:

…and the mallards join up for a classic “V” formation:

While a couple of turtles take in the action and some late-season sun:

Some ducks heading off on a triple date?

There are a number of groups of Canadian Geese around the lake, but, who’s this guy? You can also see him in the “congested airspace” picture above, if you look closely .. maybe click through to the full-res version.

With the change in seasons comes a change is who’s around. Some of the lake denizens have migrated south, while others have moved in from the north; more of those cycles. I think this may be a Red-necked Grebe (in winter plumage), which would make her another winter resident:

Speaking of winter residents, seagulls are starting to show up. Here’s a Ring-billed Gull:

And a young and somewhat rare Little Gull:

Obligatory Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron pics:

The afternoon had been mostly clear skies, but late in the day a cloud deck started moving in from the southwest. The Sun didn’t go easily, though: