Thursday, January 30, 2014

A great airline leaves the UP

Many of my blog readers that know me, know my least favorite hub on this planet is O'hare.  Good ole (K)ORD. This year I planned to redouble my effort to avoid this black hole of an airport by flying out of IWD or MQT.  Sorry CMX, nothing personal - you just take me to ORD! I'll leave my blog readers to their own opinions of ORD...

One thing I always use to try to mitigate the painful effects of an ORD experience is: THE MISERY MAP - a good bookmark for any traveler to have handy on your smartphone, tablet or whatever.  AND remember if your at ORD you have to pay to get online! ORD seems to inflict the most Misery on the flying public on an almost daily cadence... you decide for yourself!  Other stuff like wifi is free at Hartsfield, Minneapolis, Detroit and Dulles even at Cedar Rapids and CMX with no shortage of outlets either.

So after setting up the last biz trip* through IWD and having great service and on time flights, free parking and free terminal wifi, free coffee AND cookies AND connecting to MSP - my fav... Great Lakes Airlines is leaving IWD

* If you ever find yourself in central Iowa I recommend the Blackhawk.  A 1930's themed hotel in the heart of Cedar Falls.  The rooms are spacious and appointed with Deco art and period pieces - just a really cool vibe to the place. 

So here's the last GLA landing at IWD, hope you enjoy.  Temp 5F, arrival time 4:30 EST 30 Jan 2014. They fly a Beechcraft 1900D - a goofy bird with an assortment of fins that make you think the design team had a few re-dos on this one -a way goofy aircraft.  But this thing goes to MSP not ORD, which makes it a "yooper dreamliner" if you ask me LOL! If you look carefully you can see Big Powderhorn Ski Resort on the approach.


Thanks GLA, I'm really gonna miss ya! After we landed I offered to help unbolt 9 seats to make it conform to the new FAA regs for pilot hours by seat capacity.  Seems a lot of the smaller regional carriers got hit with a pilot shortage (seat time jumped to be qualified on 1 Feb).  The IWD flight crews that we had were great.  AND no, unbolting seats wasn't an option LOL! 

Here's the track with a Google Earth overly.  I'm just learning how to do that with my etrex. Notice the Beech only needed about a quarter of the runway to land.  In the video you can get a feel for the taxi length.  Amazing STOL characteristics.  The flight path was almost a perfect E by NE bearing from MSP.  Didn't see any deer, moose coyotes or wolf from the air.  The snow is deep and it's cold so not much free ranging going on right now.

Mid summer at IWD

This flight from MSP swung out to Wakefiled to make a Westerly approach.


Here's a Swiss Beechcraft 1900D, check out the strange fin evolution... a thing of beauty especially if it flys where you want to go!  I can't believe how little runway this aircraft needs to get aloft or set down.  Those are twin Pratt and Whitney PT6A-67D engines, each rated at 1,279 HP...  the airframe started off in the late 40's as a recip 9 passenger "Twin Bonanza"  So the extra stabs and stuff was probably the easy way to get the uprated pushers integrated to the old King Air airframe lines.  It kinda grows on ya...  actually I kinda like this thing.  It's so darned functional, the goofy extra stabs are "endearing."  If you ever get a chance to take a hop on one of these I recommend it, but bring a couple of those foam earplugs. 

Winglets, lots of stabilizers and no overhead bins... but a STOL champ!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A walk through the drive way...

For the benefit of many readers of my blog who actually live in warm places, or even places that don't get all that much snow... here's a quick walk around.


You can hear the snow crunch when I walk... it was 0°F during my walk around.






 Of course the "vortex" is still happening...  "EXTREME COLD"
Yeah, I think so too.  Monday's High is supposed to be -11F and "breezy." 

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/snow_model/images/full/Northern_Great_Lakes/nsm_depth/201401/nsm_depth_2014012505_Northern_Great_Lakes.jpg
 For those readers who are keeping tabs... as of 23 January - 210 inches (533.4 cm) of snow has fell here this winter. Make it stop! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measures 39 to 59 inches on the ground along the Keweenaw Peninsula's Western shore. Looks like our friends in Canada (near Wawa) have over 98 inches on the ground.  Maybe that will zap some of the mosquito population - because that's going to take a very long time to melt!

and one last pic... this mornings satellite flyover-

See Michigan in there anywhere?  Lake Superior is making more snow - how nice!








ALRIGHT.... time to bust out the Heiki Lunta Go Away!



Have a great week everybody!  Lee

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vortex schmortex

I now know what the dinosaurs felt like!  Yeah, gee it's a little colder than usual... The snow is getting deeper... hmmm.

Maybe we can agglomerate enough snow mass to change the planet's CG and wobble this patch of ice around to the the equator!  I'll keep that warm notion in mind as I throw another log on the fire.

What IS this polar vortex thing?  Why did it take a sudden interest in Michigan?  Is this a Canadian plot?  Hmmmm? Can we light a big bonfire somewhere around Muskegon (see map below) and make it go away? Has anybody checked out Hudson's Bay.... strange stuff going on up there...

GAH, so today's "Lake Effect" Warning has changed to.... TADA -

Blizzard Warning

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MARQUETTE MI
1002 PM EST WED JAN 22 2014
 
* SIGNIFICANT BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW WILL LEAD TO FREQUENT
   WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL VERY DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE.
   MANY ROADS HAVE BECOME DRIFTED OVER AND IMPASSIBLE...ESPECIALLY IN
   KEWEENAW COUNTY. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION AND NO TRAVEL
   IS ADVISED.

 * EXPOSED SKIN CAN FREEZE WITHIN ABOUT 15 TO 30 MINUTES AT
   THESE LOW WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES. 
 
 


 
 
So hoodie warm in Alaska... Mars like weather in Michigan? 

 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What is that big yellow thing in the sky?

Gosh, we had a sunny day today!  It's the first blue sky I've seen in a long time.  So out to ABR did my son and I go!

The tracks were set perfectly, the snow was hard and fast too.

14F and sunny!
The trail system is really large, well maintained and a lot of fun to ski.  We had a great time especially on "Bard's Bump."

Located in Ironwood, Michigan... ABR is cross country perfection!

There were a few warm up huts on the trails...

A single wood stove with stacked wood just outside the door.




 Here's a topo from my Garmin...

The loop we took had one 25% grade followed by a 15% roll out


See you next week...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Greetings to my friends in the East



And now it's Christmas in the East!  My best wishes for all - a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Kristus bliver født

 Kristus syntyy

 Γεννιέται ο Χριστός

 Cristo è nato

 キリストが生まれている

 Chrystus się narodził

 Христос рождается

 Христос се роди

 Christus ist geboren

 Christ est né














Saturday, January 4, 2014

The winter of 2013-14 continues...

I am actually working on a wild game post... trying to figure out how to keep my lenses from freezing up and capture a few of the animals in the winter surroundings.  Probably another week or two on that one.

I debated if this post is worth doing, but I have enough readers who live in other parts of the planet who might find this interesting or even amusing in a "better you than me.... " sort of way :)

Anyhow, this just in from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... enjoy!

I'll start with this good morning forecast...  and I know our friends to the North have it worse... I do commiserate. The predicted lows are only around -18F with a 20  to 30 mph breeze wafting across Lake Superior... an extremely warm day on Mars... The gist of the warning below is get what you need now 'cuz the next 2-3 days its just gonna be really cold and really snowy.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY

EXPECT THE COLDEST ARCTIC AIR MASS IN YEARS TO MOVE INTO THE UPPER
GREAT LAKES SUNDAY INTO TUESDAY. TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW ZERO
OVER WESTERN UPPER MICHIGAN SATURDAY NIGHT AND REMAIN BELOW ZERO
THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. DURING THIS TIME...WIND CHILLS MAY FALL AS LOW
AS 40 TO 50 BELOW ZERO OVER THE INTERIOR WEST HALF OF UPPER MICHIGAN
WHEN THE CORE OF THE COLDEST AIR MOVES OVERHEAD ON MONDAY.

THE COMBINATION OF FALLING SNOW AND STRONG WEST TO NORTHWEST WINDS
GUSTING TO 20 TO 30 MPH WILL LIKELY RESULT IN OFF AND ON WHITEOUT
CONDITIONS FROM LATE SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY...ESPECIALLY NEAR
LAKE SUPERIOR. SEE THE LATEST WINTER WEATHER STATEMENT FOR COMPLETE
DETAILS ON THE COLD TEMPERATURES AND STRONG WINDS REDUCING
VISIBILITIES OVER UPPER MICHIGAN.
 
Then this perky warning...
 
 
THE COMBINATION OF FALLING AND BLOWING LAKE EFFECT SNOW MAY
   REDUCE VISIBILITY TO LESS THAN ONE-QUARTER OF A MILE AT TIMES
   TONIGHT INTO TUESDAY.

 * WITH WIND CHILLS AS LOW AS EXPECTED SUNDAY NIGHT INTO
   TUESDAY...YOU COULD SUFFER FROSTBITE ON EXPOSED SKIN IN AS
   LITTLE AS 15 TO 30 MINUTES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

 * YOU SHOULD PREPARE NOW FOR THE INTENSE COLD EXPECTED EARLY
   NEXT WEEK AND AVOID PROLONGED EXPOSURE OUTDOORS ONCE THE
   EXTREME COLD ARRIVES. IF YOU DO NEED TO VENTURE OUT...WEAR
   LAYERS OF CLOTHING AND COVER YOUR HEAD AND HANDS TO AVOID
   HEAT LOSS. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...TAKE AN EMERGENCY WINTER
   WEATHER KIT IN CASE YOU BECOME STRANDED.
 
So what does this look like?  Here's this morning's satellite flyover,
 
 
 
NO!
 
-and just for the sake of completeness... as of 8 Jan 173 inches (~440 cm) of fluffy 
white snow so far, we are headed towards glaciation (IMHO). 
 
 
So the upside is...
If the lake freezes over - the snow will stop... for a while... 
and you could freeze dry your laundry! Then again Mawson didn't too have much fun in this stuff
during the 1912 Antarctic Trek... That is one incredible tale of survival!   
 
So just for fun tonight... and at a mere -11F, I thought I'd go and flip my John Deere
snowblower over and take a link out of it's drive chain! Yup, I'll let y'all know how that
goes...  I think I'll get some hot cocoa going first! 

Just for fun, the temps we are at would bring A36 well along its transition "fracture toughness"
and hey, RMS Titanic's hull plates... wouldn't do well in my snowblower auger...