Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bittersweet Event

Final Update 11-17-20:  Yesterday I closed the deal to sell this plane to a new owner.  He will take excellent care of it,  and put it to a useful purpose training student pilots.  That was very important to me,  as this plane has enormous sentimental value.  


In a posting dated 18 January 2014 and titled “Super Red-Letter Event”,  I described inheriting my Dad’s plane and learning to fly in it.  In the last couple of years,  I have had some serious health problems that prevented me flying,  culminating in a mild stroke that has effectively ended my flying. 

This aircraft needs to be flown,  it will deteriorate if just left in storage.  It really needs an owner who can take full care of it,  which inherently includes flying it,  something I can no longer do. 

This aircraft is truly a vintage craft;  I typically referred to myself flying it as the “antique flying the antique”,  but it is not worn out!  It is a strikingly-classic design,  and draws very positive comments from observers quite often.  That rounded vertical tail is nothing at all like anything you can buy today.  That really attracts attention,  not to mention it being a tailwheel design.

It is fun to fly,  and easy to fly,  although you must be tailwheel-qualified to fly it (something rare today).  Tailwheel instructors are also now rare,  but they all claim a tailwheel-qualified pilot is actually a better pilot,  precisely because he/she must actively “fly” the plane,  even on the ground,  from the time the prop starts turning,  until it stops turning back at the hangar.  I agree with that opinion.  It’s not hard,  but it does demand very close attention to everything,  even on the ground.  Especially the wind.

This isn’t modern high-speed flying glued to a “glass cockpit” that does almost everything for you.  It is flying as it was done well over half a century ago:  looking out the window and using a real chart and a VOR to navigate,  all the while monitoring round dial-type gauges on the instrument panel.  It’s not hard,  but you need practice at it,  to do it effectively in the air.

Your piloting skills actually stay sharper if you fly that way.  This is real “stick-and-rudder” stuff!  Yet this particular plane flies fast enough to be attractive for travel:  it cruises near 110-115 mph.  Day VFR / “stick-and-rudder” is easy in it,  and the most fun of all.

Below is my writeup (complete with a photo) describing this airplane for prospective buyers.  If this kind of flying appeals to you,  and you might want to buy this plane,  do please contact me.  I put the contact data in the writeup.


writeup  (updated slightly 9-1-19)

4-Seat “Old-Time” Cessna for sale.  Owner can no longer fly due to health issues.  This aircraft needs an owner that can fly it,  so that it does not deteriorate just sitting in a hangar.

1952 Cessna 170B,  S/N 25336,  registered as N2794D,  Continental C-145 engine S/N 8188-D-3-2,  McCauley 1A170 propeller,  S/N 71827.  Original owner’s manual. 

Tailwheel aircraft,  requires tailwheel endorsement!  Standard category,  not light sport!

Aircraft has been hangered all its life since being rebuilt from salvage with a new engine at an estimated 2200 airframe hours,  and returned to flight in 1983 (logs date from then).  All metal wing,  3-position flaps,  dial-type gages on instrument panel.  Cruises at about 115 mph.  Easy to fly.  Insured for $41,000 with Avemco (their professional minimum valuation).

Total time in service 2716.7 hours as of last annual.  Engine time in service since last major overhaul 535.4 hours as of last annual.  This is a relatively low-time airframe,  and a fairly low-time engine!  Compliant with all AD’s as of last annual.  Date of that last annual:  January 2016.

Aircraft was flown less than an hour,  in a short ferry flight,  since that last annual.  Stored in T-hangar at McGregor airport ever since,  and also hangered ever since current owner took possession.  Was also always hangered before that,  dating back to its rebuild and return-to-flight.  

Rudder trim tab needs adjustment after last repair:  replace broken tailwheel leaf spring and repair associated sheet metal damage to rudder and elevators.  This was done during calendar year 2015,  preceding that last annual. Ferry flight revealed a need to add some “R turn” at trim tab on rudder.

Aircraft has proper radio,  VOR,  and transponder,  but lacks ADS-B “out”,  which is soon-to-be-required for operation near towered airports from 2020-onward (there are now less-expensive solutions for this).  Will need a current annual to return to flight.  

Excellent appearance:  paint good.  Upholstery good,  except pilot and copilot seat covers are worn,  but still very serviceable.  Carpet padding and seat foam padding needs replacing.

Contact owner at:
Gary W. Johnson,  PE,  PhD
5886 New Windsor Pkwy
McGregor,  TX  76657

end writeup

Update 9-1-19

Looking at some recent Trade-A-Plane ads,  asking prices depend on the model year.  The plot following the photo is that Trade-A-Plane data.  That trend says a 1952 model is worth just about $50,000,  “all else being equal”.  The pluses and minuses are a “wash”,  so all else really is equal,  or better.  Therefore $50,000 is my asking price.  The minimum I would consider is the insurance evaluation $41,000.  

Saturday, August 24, 2019

UT Austin Gang

This photo was taken at the last gathering of this group earlier this month.  These are my closest friends from my UT student days,  and their spouses. 

Front row left-to-right are Laurie Mahaffey,  my wife Ellen,  myself,  Janie Caldwell,  and Mike Caldwell.  Back row left-to-right are Mike Mahaffey,  Jesse Boultinghouse,  Dinah Boultinghouse,  Sissy Moore,  Jack Moore,  and (one behind the other) Susan and Mike Brands.

I met Mike and Laurie Mahaffey as a UT freshman.  They were together even then.  Mike and I were in aerospace engineering,  Mike in the avionics specialty,  and me in aerothermodynamics and propulsion.  Mike has yet to retire from a long career flight testing equipment.  I left aerospace upon plant closure,  after a long career doing mostly rocket and ramjet development work.  After that,  I did mostly teaching.  It was Mike who set his phone camera to take this picture all by itself.  

Jesse Boultinghouse was in chemistry.  He and Dinah got together long after we all finished school.  Jesse works for the state in water quality.  Jack Moore was a physics major.  He and Sissy met long after we finished school.  Jack had a career in nuclear weapons work,  among other things.

Mike Brands was in mechanical engineering and naval ROTC.  He knew Susan back then,  but it was only in recent years that they got together.  Mike had a long career in the navy,  then some civilian things.  Susan was the sister of another good friend Terry Forman,  also a physics major,  who lives on the east coast. 

Mike Caldwell was a business major at UT,  and was in army ROTC.  He and Janie got together about the time I finished graduate school,  I think it was.  Mike had a long career in logistics in the army,  and consulted for the army in it,  for some time after he retired from the army.

All these men were dormitory and later apartment mates with me,  during my undergraduate and graduate years at UT,  except Mike Mahaffey.  Mike was in a lot of the same classes with me,  especially in undergraduate school. 

Two other good friends from UT are not pictured here,  because they are deceased.  They are Roger Prior and Terry Boone,  both dorm mates.  May they rest in peace. 

Anyhow,  this group as pictured gets together every several months,  for good food and chat.  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Trump 2020? Nope!!!

This image actually speaks for itself,  although one of the nuances in it may be lost on most folks.  Mr. Trump did not notice this altered image of the presidential seal behind him.  The person who put this there,  got fired for doing it.  I got this off the PBS NewsHour website,  not “social media”.  It is credible.

Everybody notices the golf clubs,  and the connection to what Mr. Trump loves to do at Mar El Lago.  In the real presidential seal,  these are arrows,  contrasting with the olive branches in the other talon.

What most folks may miss is the double-headed eagle.  The only nation that uses the double-headed eagle symbol is Russia.  So this altered seal really took two swipes at the President,  not just one. 

Rather clever,  really.


Update 8-3-19:  it has come to my attention that there is a second level of the swipe against Trump about the Russian connection.  This is very hard to see,  especially in my copied photo,  even if you enlarge it.  But,  the motto in the banner has been altered from "E Pluribus Unum" to "45 Es Un Titere",  which translates to "45 is a puppet".

The revised motto is Spanish,  not Latin,  which connects to the border crisis manufactured by bad policies and neglect.  And,  in yet another level of swipe,  the olive branch in the other talon has been replaced by a wad of cash,  although this,  too,  is difficult to see in my copy of the photo. 

The news stories indicate that the artist who drew this is a former more-or-less independent voter who has become very disenchanted with Trump.  He drew it for emotional catharsis,  and did not intend it to be used this way. 

Somebody else searching for a presidential seal to project during a Republican event found this on the internet,  more probably by mistake than malicious intent,  and got fired for using it. 

The evils of political extremism show in this incident in two ways:  (1) the artist has gotten hate mail for creating this,  and (2) for the most part,  the individual who used this at the event has been automatically presumed to an intentional political saboteur. 


Why would I post this?  Well,  let’s just say I have good reasons not to be a Trump supporter,  which makes this image even funnier than otherwise.  Read on to understand why,  being warned this part is not funny at all.


Mr. Trump is wrong in his claims very nearly 100% of the times that he has been fact-checked.  That track record suggests you should believe nothing he says. How is having such an egregious chronic liar in the White House a good thing for America?  

The Economy

Mr. Trump has sort-of-maintained the economic recovery that began under Mr. Obama,  in spite of all the damage he has been doing with his trade wars and tariffs.  You don’t have to start a trade war to renegotiate a trade agreement.  This cannot last:  the economy will crash,  and it will happen on his watch,  directly attributable to what he has done with those trade war things.  How are such idiotic policies good for America?

Bad Immigration Policies

Mr. Trump has instituted immigration policies that by his own admission,  and the admission of others in his administration,  intend to dissuade other potential immigrants from ever coming,  by grossly mistreating those already at our border.  This continues,  in defiance of a court order to cease and desist.  How is that not a form of both racism and state-committed terrorism?  How is such a policy of racism and terrorism good for America? 

Former president Andrew Johnson was impeached for racism in 1865,  although he was not convicted in the senate.  Racism is therefore an impeachable offense. 

We have fought against state-committed terrorism since World War 2 (the Gestapo and the SS as examples).  This evil on our border continues today under the Trump administration because not yet enough good people are standing up against it.  If we fought wars against state-committed terrorism,  then how is its commission by our own government not an impeachable offense?

Lies About the Mueller Report

There are still a lot of lies being told about the Mueller report,  most (but not all) coming from the GOP.  Unfortunately for the country,  they seem to have prioritized political advantage and getting re-elected over the good of the country.  If you read the report for yourself,  you can see through the lies,  and see what it really says,  despite the redactions in the publicly-released form.  I did.

The political lies about Mueller’s report continue,  hoping no one will read for themselves the truth of the matter.  This is party politics at its worst. I recommend you hold them accountable by not re-electing them,  next time.

Volume 1 documents conclusively (1) that the Russians interfered in our 2016 election (and how they did this),  (2) an eager willingness of Trump and his campaign to cooperate with the Russians who were wanting to help get him elected,  and (3) an unwillingness of Trump and his campaign to report these illegal attempts by the Russians to interfere (note that foreign participation in a US election effort is a federal crime). 

It does clear Trump and his campaign of conspiring with the Russians (ahead of time) for them to commit this interference crime to benefit him. THAT is the only “exoneration” anywhere in Mueller’s report.

Volume 2 documents some 10 instances of obstruction-of-justice on the part of Trump and his minions,  any one of which is likely an impeachable crime.  Mueller chose not to indict,  or to definitively-conclude that crimes were committed,  based on a Department of Justice memo claiming that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. 

But he documented the crimes,  and he intended Congress to follow up on them. Which they are,  at least in the Democrat-controlled house.  He specifically said that while he did not officially accuse Mr. Trump of obstruction of justice,  he did NOT exonerate Mr. Trump of it,  either.

Siding With Putin Instead Of His Own Intelligence Agencies or Allies

The intelligence agencies and the Mueller report document that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election,  and just how they did this crime.  Mr. Trump has repeatedly in public taken as truth Mr. Putin’s denial of this. 

In addition,  Mr. Trump cozies-up to Putin,  Kim Jong Un,  and China’s leader,  while insulting our allies or chastising them over money spent on NATO.  The Russians,  under two different governments (Soviet and Putin) have tried without success for about 7 decades to weaken NATO.  Now our NATO allies have doubts we will come to their aid if needed,  and it is Mr. Trump who did this weakening of the alliance.

How is Russia under Putin not a hostile power?  How is either problem not “aid and comfort to the enemy”?  Read the definition of treason in the Constitution for yourselfHow are these two things not at least bordering upon treason of the aid and comfort type?  How is not holding Mr. Trump accountable good in any way for America?

What Shall We Do?

It’s getting close to the 2020 election now.  It may be too close for a real impeachment proceeding,  especially since the GOP-controlled senate still appears entirely unwilling to convict.  THAT dereliction-of-duty on the part of the GOP senators is another topic,  my point here is that Mr. Trump does NOT need to be president anymore.  Whatever good he might possibly do (or have already done) is far outweighed by the evils I have listed.

To that end,  the short form sound bite is:

“Dump Trump 2020”

The longer-form rationale is:

“Doesn’t matter who the Democrats run,  how could you possibly be worse off?”

If the house chooses to impeach between now and the election,  it should be aware that a non-conviction in the senate will motivate Trump supporters to turn out and vote.  This is not because of facts,  but because of their belief system (that Trump is good for America despite his faults).  True believers rarely respond to facts. Only something truly egregious could overwhelm that belief.

A better strategy might be to use the extra power of “impeachment-related proceedings” to uncover the tax records of Mr. Trump. 

These will probably reveal that the bulk of his investor capital since the casino bankruptcy is coming from the same Russian banks that symbiotically keep Mr. Putin in power in Russia.  If Putin really wants something of Trump,  the banks will demand it of him.   He is “in hoc” to them.

I do not know this to be a fact,  but it seems very likely to me,  because of how desperate he seems NOT to have those records made public.  It’s a “guilty dog barks loudest” sort of thing.  Not proof,  but good cause to investigate.

THAT is the type of egregious-connection-to-Russia that might open some Trump supporter eyes,  as to who and what he really is (a clear-and-present danger to our democracy).  A revelation like that would likely cost him the election,  if not a senate conviction.