Friday, 30 July 2010

o hisashiburi desu nee!

Just looked at my blog and realised it's months since I wrote anything. (The title is Japanese for "it's been a long time, hasn't it!"). A lot has happened in that time. I got a wonderful hexapod (six-legged) robot from Micromagic Systems, with lots of intentions to write software to do all sorts of clever things. I figured out the math for how to make it go where I want to, which involved re-learning a lot of things that I never really learned in the first place, like matrix math. I got a lot of code written, too.

But then real life intervened - I gave myself a new work programming assignment, and I really can't do two big, new pieces of software at the same time. So I haven't touched that in several months.

The maze solver got put to one side when the hexapod showed up. I'd realised that you just can't track the rotation angle of the 3pi by monitoring the motors. So I had to make the compromise of requiring mazes to always have 90 degree angles in them. I started to make the necessary software changes when, again, real life got in the way.

Then we went travelling, first to Japan where we had the immense good fortune to attend a friend's traditional Japanese wedding, then to France on holiday.

I'm still flying - I've got (at least somewhat) back in the groove with the Pitts, and I fly the heli once a month or so. My precision autos are getting better, and there are times when I think that autos are the most fun you can have with or even without your clothes on. (Maybe that's just a sign of advancing age though!). I've also started work on my CPL-ASEL (commercial license, that lets me get paid for flying, should I find anyone willing to do so), though that hasn't gone very far for all the above reasons.

The Divisumma still sits on the corner of my desk, with its very attentive operator. It still seems to be working.

And that's about it, four months of my life summarised in a couple of paragraphs. Hope to get time to keep this blog a bit more up to date in the next few months.


Alex Deva said...

Good luck with your CPL!

With PPL can you fly for free but have someone else pay the gas, right?

n5296s said...

Not quite. You can share the cost of gas and other direct costs of the flight. But even that is a bit of a grey area, if you try to exploit it as a way to offer any kind of paying service the FAA will find a way to stop you (and penalise you too). Best not to do it except between good friends, preferably pilots and their immediate families.

Alex Deva said...

So in fact you can't effectively donate your pilot skills to any guy on the street?

If you're PPL or even ULM, and an NGO provides you with a plane/heli to voluntarily transport sick people to the hospital, the FAA will nail you?

n5296s said...

Like I said, it's a grey area. The specific example you cite is probably OK, according to 61.113(a). But even then it could be argued that the PPL is being "rewarded" with free flying time. I would not do something like this without checking with the FSDO first. You also need to check with your insurer, since even if the FSDO is happy, you could find that your insurance is void if anything happens.

Alex Deva said...

Honestly I don't understand the rationale behind "free flying time is a crime" in our context, but what do I know :)

Thanks for the tips!