My Favorite Portrait

Got the above portrait of myself from Cole the other day. Too cool!

Kids and the Sciences – Sometimes You Take Them to the Zoo

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Took the kids to the zoo today. Before you cock your head and say “hey, what does this have to do with aviation,” understand that it’s all about getting the kids fired up about science. Any kind of science. Hey, I prefer aerodynamics, but it remains that the scientific method and process applies universally. You need to expose the kids to as many different manifestations of it as you can.

So we headed to the Detroit Zoo. Cole and Ella, of course. And my sister and Scott and their son, Alex (born a year to the day after Cole).

The Detroit Zoo is a wonder. Maybe it was just the weather (60s and sunny), but the whole place seemed cool and clean and really fun to be around. I wish they had WiFi there. I could really see taking the laptop and a couple of cigars and finding a big 1930s-style stone park bench and camping out there all afternoon.

By far the coolest was the polar bear exhibit in the Arctic Circle of Life installation. I really love the underwater tunnel. Where else can you see polar bears suspended in the water directly above you?

Or let the kids seals and other fauna up close and personal?

It’s a really cool experience. Yeah, we’re going back to the airport soon enough. And to the Detroit Science Center and the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Get the kids out to meet the natural world! It’ll fire their imaginations and help to immunize them from a lot of the crap pseudo-science and outright lies to which the average American is so susceptible. Accept no substitute for up-close and personal experiences folks!

And besides. They have to fly to a lot of the places where these critters live, right?

Take Your Kids to the Science Center

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Here’s where the rubber meets the road in the Big Dream, folks! No bitching and moaning about why Johnny can’t split the atom if you don’t take Johnny (and Jill!) to the science center every now and then.

I took Cole and Ella to the Detroit Science center today for a few hours after my haircut. We’re members at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and we get reciprocal free admissions at the DSC and other science centers. In fact, we’ve used those reciprocal privileges at the Museum of Science and Industry, the Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, all within the last 60 days.

Yeah, we’re nerds. Go ahead and point and snicker. You have the choice of having your kids work with – or for – my kids. Choose wisely. And we’ll see you at the science center.

Above is an early experience with plasma science for Ella.

Cole getting acquainted with photoelectrics.

Ella taking a turn at the power transfer displays. Not sure she walked away with a lot of the math, but she sure seemed mesmerized. Which is, after all, the point early on.

Cole Meets Mr. Tesla’s progeny at the plasma displays.

And what’s a trip to Detroit’s cultural center without a romp near (or in) the fountain? The Detroit Art Institute is right near the science center and we ate some White Castle and walked around a little before hitting the science center.

Hey, Hannah Montana and the monster truck races are great. Absolutely nothing wrong with those. But you gotta get the kids out to meet the universe in a more constructive way every chance you get. And the local science museum is a great start. Tomorrow, the airport! (Again!)

Oshkosh Fever Begins to Build

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93 days to Oshkosh! Am I obsessing early?

I picked up the new hardware for this year’s Firebase Airspeed a few weeks ago at Costco and the weather was nice enough this weekend that we set it up and slept in it last night. Partially to figure out how the tent goes together, but also to get Cole in the tent and make sure that he’s accustomed to sleeping there before we hit Camp Scholler in earnest.

We also cooked out. Velveeta Mac and Cheese – the official Airspeed meal of choice for Oshkosh.

We’ll podcast and post our GPS coordinates once we get settled in and will be delighted to see any visitors who decide to amble by.

We’re planning on Wednesday through Saturday again this year, but might expand it a little one way or the other. I’ve been in contact with EAA Radio and might be doing some volunteer work for them, both in pre-production and onsite during the event. It comes down to what Fareed and his crew need and what I can provide. Watch this space!

Multi-Engine Training – Off We Go!

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Headed to Traverse City last night as base of operations for the multi-engine rating. Packed everything from the instrument ride in case I needed it for the checkride (e.g. IACRA documents, etc.). that pretty much filled up the back of the family dinghy.

Cole’s going along. He’ll hang out with my folks in Traverse City while I head down to Cadillac (KCAD) to fly.

Serious bugs on the windshield! This is just north of West Branch on I-75 with two hours to go. We had to pull off in Grayling to wash ‘em off. They were actually beginning to constitute a hazard to navigation.

Study, study, study! Got up this morning, got a weather briefing, and tried to study the materials again. The fact is that no amount of reading is actually going to keep be from being surprised in a lot of ways, but I’ll have the book learning part as complete as possible before launching.