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I'm enjoying early Christmas holidays this week.  On Monday I visited Keio University where I studied for my undergrad and master's degree to pick up a recommendation letter for my green-card application.  Shonan-Fujisawa Campus of Keio University is close to Atsugi Navy Air Base.  There is a place on the north of the base where I can take pictures of landing/taking-off airplanes.  So, I stopped by that place to take some pictures.  On Tuesday, I was completely off.  I went to north of Iruma Air Base and stayed almost all day taking photos of airplanes.  I moved to Sendai late Tuesday, and visited Matsushima air base with my airplane-fan friend.  I was able to see practice flights of Japanese Air Force's aerobatic team called Blue Impulse twice (once in the morning and once in the afternoon.)

Today, my business trip was cancelled and I was completely free again.  So, I went to Atsugi Air Base again.  Today, Runway 19 was in use, and it was perfect for taking pictures of landing airplanes.  I was hoping I could take pictures of Japanese Navy's YS-11.  I really regret that I could not see the last commercial flight of YS-11.  I don't know how long military version will last.  So, whenever I have chance, I try to take pictures of YS-11 used by Japanese Navy and Air Force.  The sky was clear, and I was able to take many good pictures of YS-11 today.  I'm going to upload these pictures in my airplane-photo gallery soon.


I finished my business trip to Utsunomiya, and am now staying in Kanda.  Kanda is just one station away from Tokyo.  It is within walking distance from Imperial palace and Akihabara.  I'm staying in a hotel called Grand Central Hotel, which is reasonably priced considering the location.  Actually, Kanda is not very accessible.  There's no escalator or elevator at Kanda station.  So, it is difficult to move with a suit case.  In fact, rush hour in Tokyo is totally insane, and it is virtually impossible to ride a train with a suit case anyway.  Alternatively, you can ride a taxi from Tokyo station.  But, JR train costs just 130 yen, and a taxi costs 700 yen minimum.  So, Kanda is not very friendly to a traveler.  Maybe that's why this hotel is reasonably priced.

But, working 9am to 9pm, while I was staying in Utsunomiya, was exhausting.  I'm used to work from 10am to 6pm.  Working 12 hours straight was something new to me.  A human cannot concentrate on something for that prolonged period of time.  So, if I need to work for 12 hours in a row, I need to adjust my working pace and should take more frequent breaks.  But, anyway it was a temporary stay.  I left before I got used to 12-hours continuous working.

I'm going to meet with my friends from my college, and tomorrow I will meet with a professor whom I asked to write a recommendation letter for my green-card application.  My visa has been issued in two days.  My travel agent, who processed my application, said my visa was issued very quickly compared to other cases.  I secured another three years in Carnegie Mellon (assuming I am not laid off.)  But, I'll apply for green card soon before waiting until last minutes.  That's why I'm collecting recommendation letters now.

I will come back to Pittsburgh on January 5th.  I wanted to make it earlier, but I couldn't get an airline ticket.  By then, although I need to write some project reports, basically I am on vacation.  I will have time to work on YSFLIGHT code.  Because I renewed GUI library, I'd like to release it soon, but I also want to add some features to address requests.


Traveling in Japan.

If I wear, it's no longer a carry-on luggage.

I'm staying in Japan all December for renewing my working visa.  But, for the first two weeks, while I stand by for the consulate interview, and while I am waiting for the visa stamp after the consulate interview, I visit some research sponsors and potential sponsors.  So, it's a half-business trip.

I left Pittsburgh on November 29.  I had to take 7:30am flight.  In these days, airline companies are very picky about the luggage.  But, I had to carry enough supplies for hotel stay 20 days in a row.  My solution to this problem was to wear small items instead of putting them in the suitcase.  I purchased a fishing vest, and put cables, wireless mouse, spare batteries etc.  I could put extra clothes etc. in the suitcase.  This strategy worked well.  I could board the airplane with no problem.

Over the international date line.  Unfortunately, due to the cloud cover, I could not see the date line drawn over the ocean.  (* You cannot see it anyway :-) )

I flew (as a passenger) and arrived at Tokyo Narita International on the next day.  Next day, I had to stop by a travel agency that I hired for visa-application preparation.  I gave my passport to them, and they were going to submit all the immigration documents to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo.  Most of the processes were already done by E-Mails, but unless I had a passport I couldn't come in to Japan.  So, I had to come to their office to submit my passport.  In the afternoon, I had lunch with a professor who influenced me when I was an undergrad.  After lunch, I visited Pentax show room in Shinjuku.  There was a service center attached to the show room, and they were able to remove a dust on the CCD screen of my digital SLR in 60 minutes.  That dust was a stubborn one that I could not remove by myself.  Then I also visited Canon show room.  I had an opportunity to actually try to use EOS 50D digital SLR.  I'm seriously considering to buy EOS 50D and Sigma 150-500mm lens sometime next year.  I wanted to actually use it before making the final decision.  My impression on EOS 50D was very good.  It should be a great camera for bird watching and air shows.

Later in the afternoon, I escorted my wife to the airport.  She would stay with her parents until we go to the U.S. embassy next week, and I headed to Utsunomiya for visiting one of my research sponsors.

I worked there for Wednesday and Thursday, and I moved to Tokyo on Friday to visit a potential sponsor, to whom I gave some demo and presentation of our research. 

U.S.S. George Washington.
Flight deck of U.S.S. George Washington.

On Saturday, I was hoping to see one of my airplane-fan friends living near Tokyo.  I called him, and he told me that he was going to go to Open house of Yokosuka U.S. Navy base.  So, I decided to go together.  In that event, I had an opportunity to see the aircraft carrier George Washington.  Last time I visited Yokosuka base, U.S.S. Midway was there.  Midway is now a floating museum in San Diego.

So, that's what happened this week.  On Tuesday, I will go to U.S. embassy for visa interview.  Hopefully I will receive my renewed working visa soon.


For one day, Carnegie Mellon's top page is showing an article of my advisor, Prof. Kenji Shimada.  Below is the screenshot.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "Foliage-Watching Flight"

I have been extremely busy for the past a few weeks.  I have been in fact busy for the past several months, but the past a few weeks were extreme.  I will temporarily come back to Japan in December to renew my visa, so I have load of things to take care before that.  I think I am a faster-than-average programmer, but I am dealing with too many projects.  It seems to me, I've got endless programming duties.

(So, right now, my Inbox is back-logged by roughly four months.  I'll try to catch up, but if you have sent me an E-Mail and haven't got a reply yet, please wait some more.  I apologize for late reply.)


Congratulations President Barack Obama!

The below photo is taken in the Carnegie Mellon University campus.  "The world most re-painted fence" (approved by the Guinness Book.)  The message was calling for voters to vote for Barack Obama.

I witnessed the history with my best friend who was one of the volunteers for the Obama campaign.  It was really a historic and impressive night.

I still believe John McCain would have made a good president if he had been elected in 2000 (except for the idea of privatization of Federal Aviation Administration).  But, this time, I believe the American people made the right choice.  Congratulations President Barack Obama!

Although I was not able to participate the history, I was very lucky to be able to witness the history in the exact country where it was taking place.

(Click to Enlarge)


Election Day!  Go out and Vote!


Two days before the U.S. presidential election

In two days, the new president of the United States will be elected.  I'm living in the U.S., so it's not something happening far away.  It directly impacts my life.

Republican candidate John McCain is no doubt a war hero.  He flew A-4 Skyhawk, which is one of my favorite airplanes, over Vietnam.  He was shot down and had to spend years in hostage.  You know, I'm such a pilot who still is scared of flying into New York class B airspace.  Flying in Philadelphia class B in actual IMC was a big-enough adventure for me.  So, I can only imagine how courageous he was to fly into hostile airspace.  As an airplane fan, and as a pilot, I admire Senator John McCain.  In fact, I was seriously hoping he could win the Republican candidacy in 2000.

That said, if I were allowed to vote, I would vote for Barack Obama.

We all know that Soviet Union had proven that socialism or communism only mass-produces unhappiness.  North Korea is now proving it again.  Sadly, that country is still governed by the people who refuse to learn from history.  However, to me, it seems that what happened for the past eight years in the U.S. had proven that extreme capitalism doesn't work either.  The current president is extreme of the extremes in the Republican party - little tax and little government intervention.  He just let the market mechanism do everything and made this big mess.

In fact, it is nonsense to discuss if capitalism is good or socialism is good.  Neither works by itself.  It's so simple.  Wherever a healthy competition exists, the market mechanism works extremely well.  However, there are many areas that we need for our life where there's no competition.  An easy example is, I don't think anyone wants to privatize the military.  We pay tax, and the tax money is used for the public services including police, military, fire-fighters, maintaining infra-structure, etc., but I don't think nobody calls it a socialism.  This mechanism just covers where the market mechanism doesn't cover.

And, to discuss tax, you should consider two things: (1) how much tax you pay, and (2) how much work that the government do for you.  I don't understand why so many people only look at how much tax they need to pay, and don't look at how much work that the government do.  The government may reduce tax to zero, but if nobody comes to fill the big potholes on the road or if nobody comes to get rid of snow from the main street, we get stuck.

Right now there are so many problems.  Economy is the biggest one.  But, skyrocketing health-care cost, college tuition, etc.  Don't forget border security.  To stay legal, I spend so much time and money to prepare documents for USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).  If whoever decides to legalize illegal immigrants, let them go through the same painful paper-filling process.  Otherwise it's unfair to me!  There are so many things that needs to be cleaned up, and each one of them takes considerable money.  And, most of it needs to be paid from tax money.

Senator McCain says he would pay for that by cutting wasteful spending, but I don't know just cutting spending is enough.  The government is inherently inefficient.  To make it efficient, only option is to hire a good government employee, but such an efficient person may most likely be already working for an industry and well paid.  So, to make the government work efficient, the government needs to hire a good employee, and to do so, substantial salary needs to be paid to him/her.  Nonetheless, certain tasks can only be done by the government.  So, it's not so easy to make money by cutting wasteful spending.  The idea - paying for fixing those problems by cutting wasteful spending - sounds to me, very uncertain.

Senator Obama is clear about this point.  He will pay for that by (1) finishing the Iraq war, and (2) increasing the tax for those who are making more than a quarter million dollars a year.  To me, it sounds more logical and makes sense.  I believe Senator Obama's policy works better for cleaning up this big mess.

There are many good reasons to vote for John McCain.  So, if you have already decided to vote for John McCain, I don't persuade you to change your mind.  But, if you haven't decided who to vote, go for Barack Obama!

Current poll indicates that Senator Obama will make a landslide victory.  I'm hoping for that.  This Tuesday will be a long day.


International Meshing Table concluded.

OK, My major duty as a committee is over.


Third day of International Meshing Roundtable

I have been waking up early since Saturday, and I'm getting exhausted. I was thinking to skip the morning sessions and sleep longer today. But, I realized that Dr. Michael Garland (who is very famous in Computer Graphics research) was going to give a invited speech, so I decided to wake up early and go there.

So, I left my apartment only to find my car got a flat tire. Yesterday, a valet guy told me he had to add air to the left rear tire twice, but I was able to drive back home with no problem, so I did not think the tire had a leak.

I had to call AAA (I was glad to be a gold member), and they sent a road-side assistance quickly. The guy found a nail penetrating the tire and told he could repair the tire for $15. I asked him to do that. It took less than 5 minutes for him to fix my tire. I thought I had no chance of making the morning session, but I barely made it.

After listening to the invited talk and the first talk of the morning session, I came out of the session and was modifying my Power Point presentation for my presentation in an afternoon session. While I was listening to the morning session, I notice it would be good to add one page for my presentation. Usually, I prepare my presentation package at least one week before the presentation practice several times and perfectly adjust the timing. But, this time, I had too many extra tasks did not have time to make the final adjustments. I hope my presentation finishes within 25 minutes.

In fact, I could fix my presentation packages in the session with listening to the presenter. But, a chair used in a conference is not usually very comfortable. I can sit and write a program all day in my office. But, sitting in a dark (for projector) conference room for several hours is very tiring. I didn't want to get too tired before my presentation. So, I walked out of the session and worked on my presentation in the lobby. Usually I just go back to my hotel room to work, but this time the conference is held where I live, so I didn't have my hotel room. It's one of few disadvantages to have a conference locally.

After lunch was the session in which I was going to present my research. This session was about hexahedral meshing, which is exactly my research interest. There were some interesting presentations. In my turn, at the beginning, I said gI guess I won the longest-titled paper award of the conference.h (because the title ended up very long). This joke worked fine when I said to the committee members, but it was less effective this time. Nonetheless, I could do the rest all right with my buddy laser pointer.

Then, there was conference-hosted banquet. In this conference, we invite a banquet speaker. Since all of the attendees are getting tired of listening to meshing-related talks, the good choice of a speaker was something intellectually interesting, but not directly related to the meshing research. Two years ago, when the conference was held in Birmingham, the speaker was a former astronaut who was then a professor at the University of Alabama. Last year, when the conference was held in Seattle, the speaker was a person who was doing a research on aviation history. Since the conference was held in Pittsburgh, I wanted to invite someone from Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon. I have a friend who is working in the autonomous-helicopter laboratory of Robotics Institute. So, I contacted him, and asked if his boss were willing to give a banquet talk. He kindly accepted to be a banquet speaker.

However, when he arrived at the hotel, the valet at the hotel refused to park his car saying he would not park his car unless he was staying in hotel. I couldn't believe that. We were the only group using the Doubletree hotel for a conference, and everyone was supposed to know that participants were coming. I was allowed to park a car at the hotel, and so were other attendees. The valet was supposed to know he should have allowed him to park his car. I will definitely complain about it to the hotel. It was hotel's responsibility to share the information with the employees. I clearly cannot talk to every employee that we were holding a conference there. I was very unhappy with the incident.

Despite the parking incident, he gave a fantastic presentation. Everyone paid attention to his talk to the end since his talk was very interesting. I thanked him a lot.

Tomorrow, my advisor is going to give an invited talk. Actually, who was supposed to give an invited talk cancelled his talk last minute, and we asked my advisor to be a pinch-hitter. I am going to introduce him at the beginning of the session. I reviewed his bio to prepare for that. My other duties tomorrow will be to chair another session, and attend a meeting called Sandia Cubit Review Board.


17th International Meshing Roundtable is in progress

The 17th Meshing Roundtable Conference is going on in Pittsburgh since yesterday. This conference focuses on the numerical mesh generation, which is exactly my research interest, and I have been presenting my research many times in this conference.

I have been serving as an organizing committee of this conference last year and this year. It's two-year term. It is my last year as a committee. The conference location was decided by committee members, and initially we were talking about a nice place like Boston. During the discussion, I just gave a shot and suggested Pittsburgh. And, Pittsburgh ended up with winning the vote. It's not a big conference, and just about 100 to 150 attendance. Nonetheless, I guess I was able to return my appreciation to Pittsburgh, which gave me all these opportunities, by making a small economic stimulus.

Many conferences are held in a hotel. There are some exceptions like when the conference is hosted by a university. But, this time was not the case. The conference is held in Doubletree Hotel in downtown.

But, if we deliver conference supplies to the hotel, the hotel charge some storage fee. So, we decided to have proceedings and T-shirts delivered to Carnegie Mellon University. Then we've got a problem. Just one week before the conference, the proceedings have not arrived. It was an emergency. We contacted the publisher many times, and finally they said they re-shipped the proceedings by express shipping.

But, even express shipping could arrive late Friday. If it did not come before 4pm, nobody would be there to receive the boxes. We contacted the carrier again and told them to hold the boxes at the airport. Then I drove to the airport and picked up the boxes. For the first time, I went in to the cargo area of Pittsburgh International airport. I wish next time I can receive a package at Allegheny County airport, which I am more familiar. Three boxes of proceedings (books) were pretty heavy. I felt the car was not decelerating as usual when I pushed on the brakes.

On Saturday, I delivered the boxes to the conference hotel. This time, the conference secretary helped me carrying those boxes. So, we didn't have any problem in braking. Later in the day, when I came back from weekly bowling league, I got a phone call from the conference chair. He apparently was stuck at Houston due to airline delay. He was supposed to introduce an instructor in one of the short-course session on Sunday, but he didn't seem to be able to make it. So, I accepted to be a pinch-hitter.

On Sunday, I went to the short-course session, and introduced the instructor. Then, I took a friend who came from Birmingham to attend the conference for a sight-seeing flight. It's a foliage season, and some trees were turning red and yellow. The sky was clear and the air was very stable with almost infinite visibility. It was a good flight.

Then when I came back to the apartment, I realized that I forgot picking up my laser-pointer after the short course. I offered my laser pointer to the course instructor. But in fact, he also needed my laptop PC because his iMac could not be connected to the projector.

It's just a laser pointer. But, I purchased it in 1998 when I left Japan and came to Pittsburgh as a Ph.D student. I thought I should have many chances to present my research in a conference. So, I purchased this laser pointer at Akihabara. Since then, I used it for my Ph.D thesis proposal meeting, thesis defense presentation, and many conference presentations. So, itfs already like my buddy who fought through many battles. For me, itfs like a light saber for a Jedi Knight. I forgot picking up such an important laser pointer because I was careless.

On Monday, I had to do a session chair for one of the morning sessions. Then, I asked around and searched for my laser pointer. However, nobody saw my pointer, and the hope seemed to be fading. I was deeply depressed with a feeling as if I lost a long-time friend due to my stupidity.

But, later in the day, a hotel employee, who was very kind and helped me search my beloved laser pointer gave me a good news. Someone found it, and he would bring it to me. Later I finally received my pointer. (I will never let anyone else use it.)

Tomorrow, I will present my research in an afternoon session. I am happy to be able to use my 10-year old laser pointer.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "Flying Stearman!"

Airplane Photo Gallery
Photos from Cleveland Air Show have been added.

YS Flight Simulator
One more screenshot of the coming version has been added.


YS Flight Simulator
Uploaded some screenshots of the new version GUI.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "First leg of my 250nm cross country, Allegheny County (AGC) to Williamsport (IPT)"

Also "Second leg: Williamsport (IPT) to Rome/Griffiss (RME)" and "Third leg: Rome/Griffiss (RME) to Elmira/Corning (ELM)" have been added.

"Fourth Leg, Elmira/Corning to Allegheny County" has been added.


We went to the Cleveland Air Show today.  I'll upload the details soon.  For the meanwhile, I have uploaded two pictures from the show.


I came back in one piece!  I'm going to upload more details soon.  The photo is the FBO of Rome/Griffiss airport.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook
Uploaded "Getting ready for 250nm Long Cross Country."  You can see the planned course by clicking the picture below.


I was incredibly busy this month.

I'm working for Carnegie Mellon University as a research associate.  Basically, my job is to do research under supervision of the advisor.  In a typical U.S. university, we need to get funding from an outside source.  In general, we get funding from a sponsor company by doing a joint research project.  My salary is paid from such funding.

We have started a research project with a sponsor company, and I was told by my advisor that I would take part in that project.  But, it had nothing to do with the projects I had been working on.  I thought I would just do some work until someone else took over.  However, I ended up with working as a main programmer of that project.  That was early this year.  The expectation of this project in the sponsor company was high.  It was a good opportunity for us to gain a trust from them.

I was spending considerable amount of time in this project, though, until mid July, I was working on this project as well as other projects that I was already assigned.  Then we have received a list of required functionalities end of July.  They wanted us to implement those functionalities until the end of August so that they could show it to their supervisors.  It was an impossible amount for a single programmer to do in a month, that's what I thought.  I might be able to finish them, but if you are a programmer, you can easily imagine that something looks easy often turns out to be very difficult.  I answered to them that I would do my best, but I could not promise that I could finish them all in time.

Nonetheless, if I could finish them in time, and they could show a blockbuster demonstration to their supervisors, it certainly would increase our reputation and increase the chance of continuation of the project to the next term.  I started marathon-programming.  In my age, overnighter doesn't do any good.  If I stay awake overnight, working efficiency will virtually drop to zero for the following several days.  I tried to maintain the fastest pace that I could sustain for a month.  I had to work in the weekends and after dinner during the weekdays.  But, at least I took one day off a week, and no overnighter.  As a researcher, my usual job is like 50% thinking and 50% programming, but for this period it was like 10% thinking and 90% programming.  It was very un-researcher-ish.

And, I had finished all the items yesterday, three days before the deadline and sent my program to the sponsor.  I have received a very positive reply, which was very pleasant to me after this hard work.  I will take three-days off next week.  A new research associate have joined our lab and he will take over some part of this project.  So, I should be able to get back to the normal work load soon.


Airplane Photo Gallery
Uploaded photos from Dayton Air Show.


Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.
Uploaded "Northern Flickers' Kick-Boxing"


Airplane Photo Gallery
Uploaded photos from the Wings Over Pittsburgh air show.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded summary of flights in May.  I've been extremely busy for a few weeks and could not update the web site, but I was managing to fly as often as I can to keep my currency up.

Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.
I succeeded in taking a close-up photo of a Gold Finch for the first time!


Solid and Physical Modeling 08

I was staying in Stony Brook for the last three days for a conference called ACM Solid and Physical Modeling 08.  This conference is relatively competitive conference, and I used to think it was impossible to have my paper accepted to this one.  However, this is already my second time to present my paper in this conference.

Spectacular sunset.

I had to change an airplane at Philadelphia and then flew to Long Island McArthur (Islip) airport.  From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia was nearly the identical path to that I flew in Cessna.  I wanted to fly by myself.  In fact, Carnegie Mellon allows to rent an airplane for business trip (attending a conference is considered a business trip) if the pilot is instrument rated.  So, I'm qualified for that.  However, I couldn't rent an airplane for whole three days.  So, this time, I had to fly as a passenger.  The airplane from Philadelphia to Islip flew over the Atlantic to avoid New York class B.  From the airplane, I could see a spectacular sun set.

Stony Brook is just 55 miles east of Manhattan.  So, I was hoping that I could skip some sessions and go to Manhattan.  However, the only practical (affordable) way to go to Manhattan from Stony Brook was by train, and it takes 2 hours.  That's what I heard.  The train station was away from the conference site (State University of New York) so, skipping one or two sessions was not enough to go there.  So, I gave up Manhattan and attended almost all sessions.  Nonetheless, I took a lot of work to do from Pittsburgh, and was writing documents and programming while listening to the presentation.  I was put in a poster session and had only three minutes to present my research.  At least my paper was printed in the conference proceedings though.  Apparently the projector was not capable of synchronizing to my laptop, and initially I could not show my power-point presentation, but I had also copied my files to my USB drive.  So, I could do my presentation.  I don't know how many of you are in grad school and studying CAE and computational geometry, but anyway I made my paper available from here.  Just FYI.

In the campus of State University of New York at Stony Brook

On the second day, there was a conference banquet.  Pittsburgh is far away from the ocean and I was missing fresh seafood.  So, I was determined to eat as much seafood as possible during my stay in Stony Brook, which is on the ocean.  However, when I stood on the line for the buffet, there was no sea food.  Later I found shrimps and big lobsters.  So, I stood on the line again, but they were all gone before I reached shrimps and lobsters.  Luckily, another batch of shrimps and lobsters came later, and I could eat two big lobsters.  I fulfilled the biggest (?) purpose of the conference.

On the last day, my airplane was supposed to leave 6:40pm, but the conference was over by 1pm.  The weather was not so good, and anyways nothing was within the walking distance.  So, I just came to the airport soon after the conference was over.  But, lucky to me, the airplane I was supposed to ride was delayed (probably cancelled) and I was switched to the flight via Boston.  Immediately, Legal Sea Food restaurant came to my mind.  I had no complaint!  The problem was, the airplane to Boston was supposed to leave at 1:55pm, but the woman told me to switch to the Boston airplane at 2:00pm.  There seemed to be no chance to make it.  But I ran and barely made it.

The Boston weather was perfect IFR.  The airplane was Beach 1900, and there was no cockpit door.  I could see the cockpit window from the cabin.  I believe the crew shot an ILS approach, and the airplane apparently broke out of the cloud just before the minimum, i.e., the runway was insight only several seconds before the touch down.  I saw the runway slightly to the right, and the pilot made a slight right turn to get it aligned, and landed.  Probably, the ceiling was just about 200 to 300ft.  While taxing to the gate, the control tower was partially hidden by the cloud.  Due to the weather, the airplane from Boston to Pittsburgh was also delayed.  I enjoyed three pieces of raw oyster, clam chowder, and crab cake for late lunch.  Then the airplane delayed again, and I had one piece of raw oyster and Blackened Raw Tuna Sashimi for dinner.  I also purchased a medium clam chowder for my wife.  I had never enjoyed the airplane delay this much before.  It was really good to attend this conference..

Perfect IFR condition at Boston.  The control tower was
partially hidden in the cloud.


An easy way to lose a customer.

I've moved.  But, within the same apartment complex.  I was living in a small one-bedroom apartment, but this time I moved to a large one-bedroom apartment on the same floor.  So, we have been busy moving stuffs from the old apartment to the new apartment, and making phone calls to tell address changes.

Everything went well, except the phone.  The phone was supposed to be transferred on Wednesday morning.  But, I didn't get a dial tone in Wednesday afternoon.  I called Verizon again, and they told the phone will be available by Thursday morning.  Later on Wednesday, I received an automated phone call to my cell phone, and told Verizon technician will come to the apartment in the morning of Thursday.  On Thursday, nobody showed up.  I called Verizon again, and they told the phone would be available by 5pm.  But, no dial tone in the evening.  Today, I called Verizon again.  They said, they can send a technician, but they will charge $90 for the first 30 minutes.  I had enough.  I called Comcast to switch the phone service from Verizon to Comcast.  Lesson learned: If you want to lose a customer, charge your customer for something that has not even started.


Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.
Uploaded "Blue Jays broke up!?"


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "Long Cross Country (Part 3: Homebound!)"


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "Long Cross Country (Part 2)"  I had to fly a Localizer Back Course approach, which I practiced only once during my IFR training.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "Long Cross Country (Part 1)"  I ended up with shouting on the radio "Please give me clearance!" to the control tower.


I'm running a YSFLIGHT server during Japanese long holidays (called Golden Week.)  The address is .  Please feel free to log on and enjoy!


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "ILS Approach".  You can see how instruments guides the airplane to the runway during an ILS approach.

Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.
Uploaded "Blue Jay (and Robin) Update"


Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon
Uploaded "Ceasefire (?) of Flag Staff Hill".  The Blue Jay pair came back and one of them started brooding.  Robins also started re-building their nest.


Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon
Uploaded "Battle of Flag Staff Hill".  A pair of Blue Jay started building a nest in Flag Staff Hill.  However, a pair of Robin also started building a nest on a tree right next to Blue Jays' tree, and the territorial dispute apparently started a battle over tree-dominance.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "20kt of safety"


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook
Uploaded "Landing Practice in Gusty Wind".  This time you can see my not-so-smooth landing video.  I'm now instrument rated, but it does not necessarily mean I am a wizard of landing.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook


YSFLIGHT 20080220 Version for Linux is also ready for download!


Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.


I finally received my permanent airman certificate with instrument rating!  Below is the close up of the back face of my new certificate :-)


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook
Uploaded "Cessna got a flight-data recorder, and 15kt Cross Wind!".  Below is a video from night landing in 15kt cross wind.


YSFLIGHT 20080220 Version (for Windows) ready for download!  Linux version will follow soon.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.
Uploaded "IFR Training for the first time in a month".

I try to take back up copies of my important files regularly.  Although I had a horrifying experience of losing almost all the working files late last year, my backup files turned out to be intact, and the hard drive that I though lost was actually not lost.  So, that incident horrified me, but I actually didn't lose any files.

I started taking monthly back up in 1999.  1999 was a year of big change for me.  One year after I entered Ph.D program of Carnegie Mellon University, I faced the Ph.D Qualifying Exam.  Until then I never knew what winning something was all about.  For the first time in my life, I fought with all I had.  I never knew that there was a occasion that I broke into tears from overwhelming joy.  It was a real taste of victory that I had never experienced.

And, I released the very first version of YSFLIGHT in May 1999.  I was writing YSFLIGHT little by little when I wanted to get away from study for Qualifying Exam.  In that version, there was no OpenGL version and Direct 3D version.  Virtually no graphics card could accelerate OpenGL.  So, there was no point to make OpenGL version.  That time I never expected YSFLIGHT was going to grow to this level and used by so many people over the world.

When I was organizing old backup CD-Rs last week, I found the first version of YSFLIGHT by occasion.  It reminded me of the days of my Qualifying Exam.  Now I can say it's a good memory because I passed it.  (It could have been my end-of-career!)

As for YSFLIGHT, I was going through pre-release test for the new version and found a bug in the landing auto pilot.  As a programmer, I sometimes encounter a bug that makes me wonder why the hell this program was working?  The bug in the landing auto pilot was one of that kind.  So, it took me some time to fix it, but it's gone now.  Hopefully I can upload the program to Vector.co.jp and will be available early next month.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.

02/10/2008 Brutal Blizzard

The weather in Pittsburgh was not good for flying for several days.  But, today is an extreme.  Pittsburgh is in a brutal blizzard.  The photo below is taken from my apartment.  Occasionally, a parking behind the building across the road was not visible.  So, it was almost zero visibility.

Now, what does Allegheny County airport's weather report say?

KAGC 101553Z 26031G40KT 10SM BKN034 OVC046 M02/M11 A2976 RMK AO2 PK WND 25040/1552 SNB15E46 SLP092 P0000 T10221111

Wind 260 at 31kt, peak gust 40kt.  Wow!  It's a typhoon-class wind.  But, visibility 10 miles?  What?  Sometimes automated weather does not make sense.


CaptainYS's Flight Logbook
Added "VOR-only Navigation" .


Uploaded Saving Dell Latitude XT.
I was suddenly assigned to a sketch-based CAD interface project last year.  That put me into a panic mode for a while.  But, in return, my advisor purchased one of the most anticipated tablet PC, Dell Latitude XT.  I received it, but it suffered from the infamous Blue-Screen-Of-Death (BSOD) when it was funning on battery.  I don't know if anyone is suffering from the same problem, but I uploaded how I reached the solution and saved my Dell Latitude XT from being scrapped  in Saving Dell Latitude XT.


Updated Birds (and Animals) Around Carnegie Mellon.

01/23/2008 Instrument Check Ride Passed!

Instrument Check Ride Passed!

CaptainYS's Flight Logbook
Uploaded details of my check ride..  The video below is from a landing to Beaver County airport.


I'll go for the instrument practical test this Wednesday.  I'll post the result here and CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Logbook.

01/03/2008 First Flight of 2008

My first flight of 2008 was a night flight to see a light-up event called Celebration of Light from the air.  The event was held in Hartwood, which is about 10 miles north of Allegheny County Airport.  I drove through the event last year, and it was really an impressive light-up show.  However, it was not so impressive from the sky.  It took five or ten minutes to find the place.  The city lights of Pittsburgh was more impressive from the air.  Unfortunately, the maximum sensitivity of my digital camera used for taking flying video was ISO400, and it could not capture city lights well.  The below video is from the landings when I came back to the Allegheny County airport.

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