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12/22/2007 Horrifying Experience

The day before yesterday, I flew Diamond DA20 Eclipse.  I haven't flown this airplane for almost a year.  This airplane has a fighter-like canopy and a control stick instead of a control wheel.  So, I feel like as if I were flying a military airplane.  I hold the stick with my left hand though.  This airplane has a tendency to turn left on take off (any single-engine airplane has this tendency, but Eclipse's left-turning tendency is considerably larger than a Cessna), and taxiing is a bit difficult because its nose wheel is not connected to the rudder pedals and I'm left with differential brakes for turning on the ground.  This flight marked my 200th flying hour!

Yesterday, I flew Stage III Check for my instrument rating, and passed!  I'll fly with my instructor for once or twice more and then go for FAA practical test.  I should be instrument rated by the end of January.

You may have guessed I encountered a horrifying experience while I was flying.  If you did, you got it wrong.  My horrifying experience was far scarier than anything I encountered in the air (including all my flying time as a student pilot.)  The scariest flying experience I had was when I was a student pilot, I was doing touch & goes solo, and in one of the touch & goes, I forgot retracting flaps.  I tried to climb and retracted flaps at the same time, but the airplane sank for a second or two before it climbed again.

Yesterday, after finishing my Stage III Check, I came to my office.  I had an appointment with a student.  He was the only student I saw yesterday.  The school was in winter break.  I thought I would not come to the office again until January, and came back home.  I didn't feel like doing any programming, and decided to re-install Linux because I needed it for compiling the Linux version of YSFLIGHT.  My PC has three hard drives, one for Windows XP, one for Linux, and one for Windows 98.  When I install Linux, I always unplug the hard drive used by Windows XP so that the Linux installer does not overwrite master boot record.

However, the Linux installer detected three hard drives.  One hard drive too many.  I realized that one of them was an eSATA external hard drive that I recently added to the system.  The external hard drive anyway did not have boot information.  So, I continued the installation.  I thought I chose 40GB hard drive and let the installer delete partitions of that drive and installed Linux.

After the installation, I re-connected the Windows XP drive, and tried to open my memo of how to configure multi-boot.  The memo was stored in my work drive, which also stored all my source code (including YSFLIGHT source code), papers, and most of the data files.  However, I couldn't open the memo.  Actually, the work drive itself was missing.  I felt a freezing sensation on my back.  I used to be using a Firewire external hard drive as a work drive, and then changed to a USB2.0 hard drive.  So, my work drive was not visible from the Linux installer before.  It was until I started using an eSATA portable hard drive.  My PC had two eSATA drives connected, one of them was my work drive, and both were visible to the Linux installer.  I suddenly noticed the possibility that I deleted all the partitions of my work drive by mistake.  I'm taking backups whenever I make a modification to my codes, and I take whole backup once a month.  Unfortunately, the last monthly backup was taken almost exactly a month ago.  I was thinking to take a new monthly backup within a few days.  So, I had to rely on individual backups to recover my work of nearly 30 days.  Nonetheless, my backup structure saved me before when my work drive crashed a few years ago.  I lost only 8 hours of work, which was easily re-produced.

At this time, I didn't know what was waiting for me next.

So, I took out the last monthly-backup DVDs.  And then I logged on to my office PC by the remote-desktop connection to copy individual backup files to my home PC.  What I saw was the scariest thing I'd ever seen in my life!  Or, I should say "What I didn't see" to be more precise.  The backup files were missing!  I got a new PC on my desk recently.  But, I apparently forgot to change the drive configuration so that my backup program can copy files to the backup directory.  My backup program should have been spitting out error messages, but I was assuming my program was taking backups in the local hard drive and didn't bother looking at the output.

I lost nearly all the work I did last 30 days (actually, overwhelmingly busy 30 days)....

I never had anything more horrifying than this before.

Desperately, I started recovering files from my Sent Items folder, and whatever files I've sent to a student.  The biggest loss seemed to be the paper that I've just submitted.  I could recover the one close to the final version from the e-mail log.  But, all the test data were lost.  Last 30 days was incredibly busy 30 days.  I may have to do the same to recover all the work....  I called my research advisor and asked him to keep all the files I've sent him recently.

I made a new partition on the hard drive that was once ruined by myself.  Then copied the files from month-old backup DVDs.  A strange thing happened then.  The disk became full before copying all the files.  It was not supposed to become full because all the files had once been there.  I checked the size of the drive and realized the one I erased was indeed 40GB hard drive.  My work drive was supposed to be 120GB.  I unplugged my work drive from the desktop PC and hooked it to my laptop.  To my relief, all the files were there!  It turned out that I didn't make any mistake when I installed Linux.  My work drive was not visible from Windows XP simply because of the loose connection.  I unplugged the connector and plugged it again and the files became visible again.  It happened at the bad timing that gave me an impression that I made a terrible mistake.  But, it was just a coincidence.  Of course, I took the monthly backup as soon as the drive was visible again.  My horrifying two hours were over.

Actually, I seemed to be very panicking when I was doing a recovery operation.  It turned out that I had configured my new PC properly, and I found the backup files.  So, if the hard drive did not become full, I would have ended up with making a nearly-up-to-date copy of my work drive.

In this case, it turned out that I didn't actually deleted my files.  But, it reminded me of the importance of regular backup.  Some students say that hard disk don't crash often and no one will attack their computer from outside and they have little chance of losing important files.  They don't realize the importance of the regular backup until they delete their important files by themselves.  I sometimes do a stupid thing and delete important files by myself, too.  Usually, I can recover files from my backup.  It is really important to take backup copies regularly.


I (finally) uploaded photos from Columbus air show.

Also updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book..

The video below is from a cross-country flight to Franklin on 11/28.

12/09/2007 Flu

I've just submitted the paper I've been working on, just in time.

I've been suffering from flu since Tuesday.  I had an appointment for flu shot for Wednesday, so one day too late.  Actually, flu vaccine needs two weeks to take full effect, so, it was two weeks and one day too late.

My common pattern of cold or flu symptom used to be getting sinus infection first, and everything was over when the sinus heals.  This time, I got sinus infection first on Tuesday, and it quickly healed by Wednesday.  So, if it fit in a usual pattern, it was supposed to be over then.  But, next came sore throat.  I lost voice, and had to use my laptop to communicate with my wife and hospital staffs.  The pain in the throat was almost over by the next day, although it was still difficult to speak.  So I expected it to be over soon.

But, I felt chilly.  I thought the apartment heating system was down again, when I realized room temperature gauge was indicating 72F, so I was not supposed to feel chilly.  Then I realized I was having 100F fever.  No wonder I had a headache.  I had to stay in bed for a day, and the fever got a lot better by the evening.  I really thought it should be over by the next day.

On Friday, I woke up with even severer throat pain, and my fever jumped up to 101F.  I thought about writing my will.  But, finally the fever receded by Saturday morning.  And, I could submit my paper just in time.  It was a tough flu....

12/06/2007 Still in busy mode

So far, I've finished the first version of the paper due Dec. 4.  By the way, the due date was extended to Dec. 9.  As for the project that I was assigned all of a sudden, I managed to do it in time.  It was a close shave.

And, I flew a long cross country that is required for Instrument Rating (finally!)  I flew from Allegheny County -> Erie International -> Cleveland Burke Lakefront and came back.  It was about four-hour flight, and my right hand holding the throttle lever started hurting toward the end.  It was the second longest flight I've ever flown in one day.  I'll go for the Stage 3 check next Sunday, and then FAA's check ride.

So, in a few days I expect I can resume updating this web site more often.  A lot of things are back-logged, including photos from Columbus air show, my first solo night flight (since solo night flight was not required for Private certificate, I had never flown solo at night before recently), and YSFLIGHT testing (of course).  So, please wait for a few more days.  By the way, I'm not tired of bird photography.  I simply could not aim at the bird through tree leaves during summer.  Now the tree leaves are gone, and I should be able to have chance to get nice shot of birds again.

11/10/2007 Sorry for no update for a while

I was hoping I could update YSFLIGHT Test version more often, but I got a new project to engage on top of things I've been doing, and I decided to write a paper to a conference due 12/04, and I'm pretty much overwhelmed now.  I was expecting I would have some spare time after the conference in October, but the things didn't turn out that way.

Nonetheless, I passed the written exam (CATS test) for Airplane Instrument Rating this Wednesday.  One long cross-country, Stage 3 Check, to go.  After these flights, maybe I'll have one or two practice flights, and then go for FAA Practical Test for Instrument Rating.  Hopefully I'll be instrument rated by the end of this year, but the weather is not certainly cooperative in these days.  The weather this year in Pittsburgh was incredibly nice until last month.  I had few flight cancellations, and my Instrument training went rapidly, but finally the winter weather casts a shadow over Pittsburgh region.  I hope I can go for a long cross-country tomorrow, but the forecast is depressing, predicting rain and snow.

10/20/2007 Starting YSFLIGHT Test Phase

 YSFLIGHT Test version is now available.  I will not post an updates of the test version here unless there is a big change.  So, please see the test-version page for update information from now on.

10/07/2007 Passed IFR Stage 2 Check!

I passed the IFR-Stage-2 check ride yesterday!  The examiner told that it was excellent, rock solid, and "the best check ride he had ever given.  Actually I made some small mistakes, so I was a bit surprised to hear his comment.

I proceed to Stage 3, which consists of four cross-country IFR flights before stage check.  I have to fly minimum of those four cross-country flights and stage check, then go for the FAA check ride (final exam of IFR training) to be instrument rated.  In reality, I expect to fly one or two extra flights before going for stage check and FAA check ride.  So, probably I will go for the final exam late November.  (Please read CaptainYS's Flight Logbook for more details.)

10/03/2007 Close Encounter of the F-22 Raptor!

I visited Columbus Air Show "The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends."  Finally I had an opportunity to see F-22.  I was suspecting that F-22 does not really exist, and the ones deployed to Okinawa were actually F-15s with special outfits (just joking!) but now I know it really exists.  The flight demonstration of a F-22, including a lot of post-stall maneuvers, were nothing but impressive.  I'll upload photos in Airplane Photo Gallery in a few days.

By the way, I clearly saw a sheet metal part fell off from the F-22 soon after taking off.  I've been curious if it was ok.  Photos didn't reveal any missing part, but I clearly saw something pretty big fell off.

I'm going to try Stage II check flight of my instrument training this Saturday.  If I pass, I will proceed to the Stage III (final stage.)  I'll post the result here and CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.


Uploaded Photos from Cleveland Airshow in Airplane Photo Gallery.


Updated YSFLIGHT current developments.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Logbook, YSFLIGHT current developments, and Airplane Photo Gallery (Dayton Air Show).  By the way, Pittsburgh was pounded by two waves of severe thunderstorms and nearly paralyzed right now.  We are expecting the third wave tonight.

07/24/2007 Landing on sunset

I've been practicing instrument flying, and was not practicing landing as much as before.  I was feeling my landing skill was getting rusty.  The instructor told it is normal and it is ok as long as I can land safely.  Nonetheless, I didn't want to let my landing skill rust through my instrument training.  So, I did some touch & goes yesterday.  The environment was still bright when I took off, but toward the end, it got dark, and I landed into the beautiful runway illumination.  I'll upload details later, but I uploaded the video of almost-night landing.  By regulation, it was not considered a night landing because it was before one hour after sunset.

@nifty video (Need Flash Plug-in to play)


I have uploaded photos from the Museum of Flight in Airplane Photo Gallery.

07/12/2007 From Seattle

I'm serving as an organizing committee of a conference called International Meshing Roundtable this year and the next year.  I'm in Seattle right now for a committee meeting.  The meeting is actually tomorrow, but I left Pittsburgh early in the morning and came to Seattle early to visit the Museum of Flight.  The Museum of Flight is located right next to the Boeing-Field airport, and it is one of the three biggest (I believe) air museums of the U.S.  The other two are the Smithsonian Air and Space museum at Washington D.C.  and the Air Force Museum at Dayton OH.  The museum of flight is keeping Concorde G-BOAG.  I hope they are taking good care of it.  I'll upload more details when I am back in Pittsburgh.  For now, I upload one picture of G-BOAG.

07/08/2007 Passed IFR Stage 1 Check Ride!

I flew this morning and passed the Stage 1 Check.  Details are in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

07/07/2007 Added some photos in Birds Photo Gallery

Updated Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

07/06/2007 IFR Check Ride postponed to Sunday

My IFR Stage 1 Check ride was postponed to Sunday.  The weather was a little too low.  The forecast for Sunday is calling clear weather.  I should be able to fly Stage 1 check on Sunday.

07/02/2007 Set to go for IFR Stage 1 Check Ride!

I have finished 12 flying lessons of Stage 1 of Instrument Rating Course, and I will fly Stage 1 Check Ride (one of the practical tests) on Friday.  The result will be posted here on Friday.


Updated Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

The weather was perfect for flying except the wind today.  Low humidity, high visibility, and few clouds.  I flew my 11th flying lesson of Instrument Training today, but I could not enjoy the nice visibility because I was wearing a foggle :-P

06/19/2007 Uploaded Photos from the Wings Over Pittsburgh air show

I have uploaded photos from the Wings Over Pittsburgh air show in Airplane Photo Gallery.

06/14/2007 Safety Pilot

I flew as a safety pilot for my instructor's practice flight today.  He did one approach to Pittsburgh International Airport.  The Wings Over Pittsburgh air show is going to come this weekend, and I had a rare opportunity to see Thunderbirds F-16s and a B-52 parked in the air-show area from the air.  I only had my compact digital camera, and I couldn't capture a clear picture, but at least they were visible on the picture.  I have uploaded more details in in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

06/07/2007 IFR Flight Training Update

This page has been like a bird-watching web site for a while, but I've been doing my Instrument training simultaneously.  I've uploaded some updates of my Instrument training in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

06/03/2007 Modifying Site Structure

I had been using frames in this site, but I'm changing it to inline frames.  I'm gradually updating the pages.  But you may see some glitches during the transition.  I'll try to finish the transition as soon as possible.  Thank you for your patience.

And, I'm going to move all the contents in Prodigy web server (under pages.prodigy.net) to @Nifty server (under homepage3.nifty.com) in a few days.  So, if you are keeping a direct link to some pages of this site stored in the Prodigy web server, please keep a link to http://www.ysflight.com instead.

By the way, I post one picture showing the strength of K100D's shake reduction feature.  This photo was taken with 500mm telephoto lens under poor lighting condition.  The shutter speed was 1/60 second.  This crisp picture was impossible in this condition without shake reduction.

06/01/2007 Pentax K100D

I'm frequently updating Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon and uploading pictures of growing Blue Jay chicks.  They are growing feathers, and signature blue and white pattern of the wings is becoming more visible.

By the way, I purchased a new digital SLR, Pentax K100D.  My first SLR camera happened to be manufactured by Pentax; my father bought me a Pentax SFX and 300mm telephoto lens when I was a high-school student.  Since then, I've been a loyal customer of Pentax.  Most of my airplane-fan friends chose Canon digital SLRs, but I'm sticking with Pentax cameras.  When I was using film cameras, I was using Z-1P as a primary camera, and ZX-L as a backup camera.  However, there were two tragic incidents that made me decide to switch to digital SLR.  First, a local photo shop returned my slides from Concorde-photo-taking tour with full of fingerprints.  I cursed the photo shop, and the shop went out of business in two years.  (My curse apparently worked!)  So I started using Kodak slide developing service, but probably a Kodak employee screwed up the setting of slide-developing machine, and destroyed my slides from Cleveland air show.  I had enough.  The film-photo era is over.  I decided to switch to a digital SLR camera.

I didn't have budget to get a body and a telephoto lens together.  So, my choice was Pentax *ist DS2 digital-SLR camera.  My *ist DS2 gave me an impressive shot in the first try.  When I visited Matsushima air base in Japan, just a week after I purchased my *ist DS2, I got my best shot of T-4 Blue Impulse.  Later at the Tokyo Haneda International airport, a sparrow hopped close to me when I was aiming at airliners.  So, I just aimed at the sparrow and took a photo.  It was supposed to be a non-serious shot, but I was impressed by the quality of the picture; I could see fibers of the feather of the sparrow.  I was thinking that this high-quality picture could only be taken with a professional-grade camera with a price tag or over $10,000.

From left to right, K100D, *ist DS2, and *ist DL.

Couple of months later, I purchased *ist DL as a backup camera.  *ist DL was a cheaper version, and the specification was slightly lower than *ist DS2.  My plan was to use *ist DS2 primarily, and use *ist DL when I needed to send *ist DS2 to a service center for maintenance.  But, I didn't want to keep *ist DL unused, so I started carrying it all the time with 170-500mm telephoto lens attached, and began bird watching.  It turned out that bird watching is as much fun as air-show photo taking.  In fact, taking photos of birds is more challenging than taking photos of airplanes in an air show.  I can expect what to come next in an air show by listening to the announcement and air-band radio.  But, I cannot expect what a bird will do next.  Also, wild birds like to stay in a shade, and I often cannot use faster shutter speed due to inadequate lighting condition.

So, I wanted to have a camera with shake reduction feature.  But, I didn't have budget to buy a digital SLR body and a telephoto lens together.  So, my choices were Pentax K10D and K100D.  Both K100D and K10D has shake reduction feature, and auto-focus is much faster than older Pentax cameras.  K100D is cheaper and can use AA batteries.  K10D has dust reduction feature, and has 10M-pixel CCD as opposed to 6M-pixel CCD of K10D.  But, K10D uses a special battery.  It means that when I go for a long trip (like visiting Japan), I need to carry its battery charger.  Carrying a battery charger is a big pain especially for such a long trip.  So, my decision was K100D.

I received my K100D yesterday, and started using it for taking pictures of the Blue Jay nest that I've been watching.  I was impressed by the effect of the shake reduction.  In one case, I captured a perfectly crisp picture with 500mm telephoto lens and 1/60 second shutter speed (without tripod, of course.)  Of course, shake reduction is not always perfect.  It works only when I am standing steadily and the target is not too high up above.  If I have to aim at a bird perched at a high branch or I could not stand steadily for some reason, shake reduction feature cannot correct the image.  Nonetheless, getting a crisp picture with 500mm lens + 1/60 second shutter speed without tripod even in an ideal condition was totally impossible before.  Another advantage of the shake reduction feature of K10D/K100D is that it works with virtually all Pentax-compatible lenses.  Some other digital-SLR cameras have similar feature, but those models have restrictions, like shake reduction works only with new lenses, or you need to buy a lens that has shake reduction functionality in it.  As far as I surveyed, K10D/K100D are only cameras that can use shake reduction with almost all existing compatible lenses.  And the speed of auto-focus has considerably improved from *ist DS2.  Now it is comparable to Z-1P.  So far, I'm very happy with my new K100D.  Pittsburgh air show is coming soon.  So, I'll use both *ist DS2 and K100D and compare the outcomes.


I was planning to run YSFLIGHT server during the Memorial day weekend, but I forgot starting the server.  Sorry.  Now the server is up and running.  Please see here for details (including IP address.).

05/24/2007 Blue Jays' eggs hatched!

I saw at least four chicks in the Blue Jays' nest that I found before leaving Pittsburgh for a trip to Japan.  Please see Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon for the details!

05/23/2007 Back in Pittsburgh

I came back to Pittsburgh and am recovering from jet lag.

I have uploaded photos from the trip in Airplane Photo Gallery.

05/15/2007 Photos from Matsushima Air Base, Tokyo Haneda Int'l Airport, and Iruma Air Base

I have visited Matsushima Air Base, Tokyo Haneda International Airport, and Iruma Air Base.  I have uploaded some of the pictures from the trips.  I'll write more details when I come back to Pittsburgh.

05/02/2007 On Vacation (Sort of)

I'll stay in Japan for 20 days.  I'm writing this text in the airplane to Japan.  (I'm uploading it from the hotel though.)  The main purpose of the trip is to renew my Japanese driver's license.  Unlike U.S., getting a driver's license in Japan is a hassle.  In general, you need to sign up for a driving school, and take driving lessons, and pass the series of written and practical tests, as opposed to a single written test and an easy practical test.  I probably do not need a Japanese driver's license in the near future, but just in case, I don't want to lose it.

During the trip, I'll use this opportunity to visit some companies that we are working with.  So, it is partly a business trip, too.  I need to prepare for the Power Point presentation in a few days.

I'll also spend one and half days at Matsushima Air Base taking photos of airplanes, and hopefully one day at Iruma or Atsugi Air Base, too.  I'll upload photos here if I succeed in taking good ones.

By the way, one of the two Blue-Jay nests in the Flag Staff Hill was not actually destroyed by the storm.  (Please see Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.)  I could see a bird brooding.  So, eggs must hatch by the time I return to Pittsburgh.  I'm hoping I can come back in time to see parent birds feeding their kids.

I'll upload some articles here if there's something interesting during the trip.

<= A Blue Jay brooding on its nest


I will keep my YSFLIGHT server up during Japnese long holiday (called Golden Week) until May 6th.  Click here for details.

By the way, YSFLIGHT 20070415 version for Linux is also now online!  Click here to download.


I have added some recent pictures in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.  Below pictures are some of the new additions.

04/24/2007 IFR Training into Actual IMC

I have uploaded an article in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

04/23/2007 YSFLIGHT 20070415 Version Available for Download!

YSFLIGHT 20070415 version is now online!  Click here to download.  (Linux version is not ready yet.  Will be available shortly)

I flew a cross-country flight to Port Meadville Airport (KGKJ).  The weather around Pittsburgh was very nice this weekend.  The sky was clear everywhere, and no strong wind was reported.  Details of the flight is in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

By the way, I started using a video sharing system provided by @nifty (http://video.nifty.com), which is something similar to YouTube.  If the service works well, I will use this service from now on.  This way I can upload a little longer video clips without worrying about my web storage.

(@Nifty Video)

You need to install Adobe Flash Player 7.0 plug-in to play the video.  Click here to install the plug-in.

04/18/2007 Chicago

If you have ever played an older version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, like Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, you might remember the default airport that you saw when you started the program.  The airport was on a lake, and if you took off from the default location, you must have seen a stadium on your rear left.  An airship was floating 24/7 above the stadium.  The airport was called Meigs Field.  My flight instructor told that he often flew in to Meigs Field with his family for visiting museums.  Actually, the museums of Chicago were within walking distance from the airport, and many pilots loved the airport.

Meigs Field, however, no longer exist.  Several years ago, Chicago mayor decided to close the airport in spite of opposition from so many pilots.  In fact, he did it in a bad way.  He essentially did a surprise attack against the airport.  He secretly brought in heavy machineries to the airport at night with no prior notice and destroyed the airport.  The airplanes parked at the airport were stranded because the runway was no longer usable.  Actually, the city of Chicago not only lost a beloved airport, but received a tremendous economical damage.  See AOPA news for more details.

I was in Chicago last week.  I took this opportunity and visited the place where Meigs Field used to be.  Runway pavement has already completely taken away apparently.  Only sign of Meigs Field I could find was the control tower building, which I guess will be destroyed soon.  Meigs Field was not out of reach for a day trip from Allegheny County Airport (if I left early) by a Cessna.  I regret I did not have an opportunity to fly in to this airport.


I have added pictures of Northern Flicker, European Starling, and Cardinal in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

I have also added an article in YSFLIGHT Update Information (not an update information though.)

03/31/2007 New pictures in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon

I have added four pictures of a Blue Jay in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

03/26/2007 Cross-country flight to Dubois (KDUJ)

I flew a cross-country flight to Dubois (KDUJ).  Now I have 38 hours of cross-country flying time as a Pilot-In-Command.  For instrument rating, I need 50 hours of cross-country time as a Pilot-In-Command, and roughly 10 hours of them will be earned during the instrument training.  So, I need to do two more hours by myself before I go for the instrument check-ride, which will be months away.  I'm planning to fly some cross-country flights anyway, so I'll have more than enough cross-country time by then.  You can read more details in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.  Below is the video from the landing at Dubois (Click to play.)

03/24/2007 A new picture in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon

I have added a photo of a Song Sparrow in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

03/23/2007 My car is alive again.

I was almost giving up my poor car since the body shop guy told me that he might not be able to save it.  However, it was raised from death.  According to the body shop guy, some piece of rubber (?) was sticking around the shaft of the engine and preventing the engine from turning.  The reaction of the engine seemed to him similar to the symptom of a burnt engine.  So, my poor car is working now, but it is certainly different from before the trouble.  First of all, it is illuminating the Check-Engine light brightly.  The Check-Engine light came on occasionally before, so I'm not too concerned about it.  But, I do not hear the beep that I'm supposed to hear when I shut down the engine.  Maybe the self-diagnostic system is detecting something wrong.

So, although my car is alive again, I suppose the car will not survive another year, so I continue shopping for a new car.  A good news for me is that I have some more time to select a vehicle.  I need to think about loan payment as well as insurance cost.  I should visit two or three different dealers also.  The top candidate right now is Honda Fit.  My office is pretty close to my apartment, and mostly I drive to a near shopping mall and Allegheny County Airport which is only 20 minutes drive from my apartment.  A small car is adequate for me.

Because I have a transportation to go to Allegheny County Airport, I'll try again a cross-country flight that I had to cancel last week on Sunday.  The forecasted weather looks good.  The temperature is high enough and I don't need to worry about the airframe icing.  That will be a pleasant flight.


I have added some pictures in Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

By the way, my car apparently is totally dead.  The body shop guy asked me if I ran the engine with excessively high temperature.  It implied that the engine was overheating.  After I heard that metallic noise, I was paying attention to the instruments, but the temperature gauge was normal.  It is strange if the engine was burnt while the coolant temperature was normal.  If it was true, the cooling system must have had a serious malfunction.  Then, the alternator belt was burnt and torn?  There was no smoke coming out from the engine compartment though.

Although he told me that he needed to do more tests, he said it is likely that the engine was somehow severely damaged.  My crap apparently became truly a crap.  Anyways, I had enough of that car.  Maybe it's time to get a new one.  After the calculation, I came to the conclusion that I must be able to finance both my IFR training and a new vehicle.  I started shopping for a vehicle.

03/17/2007 Start Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon

I'm working for the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.  But, due to high parking fee, I park about 15 minutes away from the campus, and walk to my office.  During that 15 minutes, I carry my digital SLR and take photo of birds.  I made some good photos available from Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.  The web site is also accessible from the following URL http://wildbird.en.ysflight.com

By the way, my car broke down (again.)  When I drove down the slope of Morrowfield avenue beside my apartment building, I heard a metallic noise, a noise of hitting some metal.  Following the noise, I heard a squealing noise from the engine compartment, which implied some sort of belt is torn.  As I expected, I soon saw the battery warning light.  Luckily, I was close to the body shop that I'm usually using.  Without hesitation, I headed to the body shop.  After driving one block, when I came to right beside the body shop, my car stopped dead.  My  battery was gone.  It turned out that the alternator belt was torn.

At least I was lucky because I could drive to the body shop.  However, I had to cancel a cross-country flight planned for tomorrow.  This car has been giving me agony since I purchased this car.  I want to get a new one, but with my income, it's not possible unless I stop my flight training (and stopping flight training is not my option.)

03/09/2007 Sunset Landing

The weather in Pittsburgh was too good today.  I couldn't resist my temptation and went flying.  You can read more details in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.  You can see the video from the flight by clicking the below picture.  Since the sun was almost behind me, the shadow of my airplane is projected on the runway, and looks as if another airplane was coming toward me.

03/08/2007 Start IFR Training!

I have started flight training toward instrument rating.  I uploaded brief description of the first lesson in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.  The following picture is a thing called "foggle" that hides the upper half view.  I wear a foggle in instrument training so that I cannot see outside the airplane.

02/16/2007 YSFLIGHT Test Version Available for Download

YSFLIGHT test version toward the next upgrade is available for download from the Test-Version page.  If you find any bugs or problems, please let me know by E-Mail.  Thank you very much for your help in testing the YSFLIGHT program!

02/01/2007 Cross-Country Flight to Harrison County Airport

The weather allowed me to fly finally.  I flew to Harrison County Airport yesterday.  Below is the video from the flight.  You can read an article of the flight in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

<= Video (Click to Play)

01/24/2007 Three flight cancellations in a row

I was supposed to fly with an instructor on last Saturday, but I had to cancel due to gusty wind, low cloud, and poor braking condition on the runway due to patchy ice and snow.  I tried to do some touch & goes on Sunday, but again bad weather grounded me.  I tried again this morning.  In fact, the forecast, when I checked yesterday, implied that relatively clear weather.  However, the forecast changed this morning, and predicted occasional 1 mile visibility, light snow + mist, ceiling 1000ft overcast, and icing below 12000ft.  Deadly airframe icing occurs when the temperature is below freezing in visible moisture.  Flying into this condition was suicidal.  Bad enough.  I cancelled this one, too.  The weather in Pittsburgh is always like this during winter.  I hope I can fly again soon.

By the way, here's the status of the YSFLIGHT development.  I have implemented send-and-read-back mechanism, and did some experiments by connecting to my office PC from home.  It looks working pretty well.  I have received an E-Mail from a user saying that TCP/IP includes such read-back feature already, so it may be redundant to add such a mechanism on top of TCP/IP.  I really appreciated an important suggestion.  However, send-and-read-back mechanism is useful when some packets need to be processed in a specific order.  Is two packets are order sensitive, the server can wait to send the second packet until receiving a confirmation of the first packet from the client.  Otherwise, the order of the packet arrival can be totally random.  So, I'm thinking to go with this mechanism from now on.  Other changes will include server welcome message, IP address blocking, sending chat message in the observer mode, etc.  (Don't expect major additions, though.)

01/07/2007 Uploaded Honolulu Flight Article

I have uploaded an article about the around-the-Oahu flights in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.  Below are another two videos from the flights.

<= Click to play the video.
You can also see videos of the take-off from runway 4R in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

By the way, I finally could take time to modify YSFLIGHT code.  The focus of the next upgrade is to stabilize the network mode, and I probably will not add many new features.  The network code of YSFLIGHT was heavily depending on the stability of TCP/IP protocol, and it was easily screwed up when a packet is lost in transaction.  I'm going to make the next version program to read back important information so that no such information is lost.  It's mimicking ATC-Pilot communication that an ATC or a pilot reads back what is said on the radio to prevent a catastrophic miscommunication.  I guess such a technique is written in a networking textbook, but I cannot take time to systematically study such a networking techniques, and I end up with studying such techniques by trial and errors.  Nonetheless, the YSFLIGHT development is always a good learning opportunity for me because I wouldn't have an opportunity to learn such a technique at all if I didn't write the YSFLIGHT networking code.

01/03/2007 First Flight of the Year

I flew my first flight of the year today.  The air was very smooth at the cruising altitude of 3500ft.  But, when I came close to the airport, the air suddenly became bumpy.  I was shaken quite a bit.  I logged 1.8 hours of cross-country time today.

By the way, I encoded videos from my flight in Hawaii.  I made two of them available from the following link.  I'll upload four more when I write more details about the flight.

<= Click to play the video

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