Sunday, September 20, 2009

Flights of Fancy

On Friday the 11th, I returned to the harbor to work on some of the scratches on Bluesette. The blue hull is pretty, but it does show scratches. I don't mind a minor scratch here or there, but we've had a couple from the dock and a series of minor "mystery" ones down the starboard side and I wanted to get rid of those. The minor ones were semi-circles that appeared in a row, sort of like a handwriting student might practice a cursive lower case "e". That suggests wave action or a bobbing boat, perhaps rubbing against the end of one of the sendai (dolly) blocks when being retrieved from the water? I'll make sure that there are no sharp edges that could do that - I have a suspicion that there is - and cover or remove it.

A dragon fly came by to supervise my work. It hung around the boat for a couple of hours.

Anyway, I wet sanded each section by hand to remove the scratches, starting with 350 grade paper and working my way to 1500, five different grades in all. Then I finished with rubbing compound using an orbital car polisher, and then a buffing. Three hours work in all - in the sun. Ugh. I was still not fully satisfied, but it was time to head for the train. Tomorrow, I'll return and go over it all with a lighter rubbing compound, which I hope will finish the job.

The airshow on the 13th was fun. I haven't selected the pictures to use in a post (which will be on Pacific-Islander), but here's one for any aviation buffs out there. Do you recognize this plane?

If you guessed F-16, you're close, but no cigar. It's a Mitsubishi F-2 built 60% in Japan by Mitusbishi and 40% in the USA by Lockheed Martin. It was based on the F-16 wing, but is larger, with 25% more wing area, larger elevator, light weight composite construction, 2 more weapons stations, modern avionics, and a host of other differences. Due to some mid-stream design changes (and meddling by Washington) they ended up costing over $100 million a copy, so they cut the order from 140 planes to 94. There are about 60 in service at present.

Here's consolation prize (in Japan, everybody wins something) - a Blue Impulse video so you can have a taste of what we saw:

3 minutes 5 seconds - you may want to turn your volume DOWN

In October, the US Air Force team, Thunderbirds, will visit Japan and put on a show along with Blue Impulse up at the Blue Impulse home base of Matsushima airbase in Miyagi Prefecture. 'Wish I could go, but that's too far north from us for me to justify the expense.

This weekend, a passing typhoon off the coast brought too much wind with it. Saturday we called the harbor and the wind was about 10 m/s (22 mph)! Not too much for landing a Cessna in a crosswind on Maui, but much too much for us to sail Bluesette. They were doing another boat licensing class and said it was really difficult. Today, Sunday, it is even worse, and they are not launching any boats of any kind.

It will quiet down by Tuesday, and we'll go then. It might be busy up there as this is Japan's first "Silver Week" - a string of holidays falling together, giving most people a vacation from the 19th to the 23rd. The railroads and airports have been jammed as they are during the annual "Golden Week" (April 29 to May 5). Whatever. Hinuma is never too busy. I just hope the weather is as predicted.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Shingo T said...

I like the dragonfly picture. It looks so peaceful.

Will be going down to Japan in less than 2 weeks time for my first holiday. Looking forward to it. ^_^

HappySurfer said...

Neat! Placing nature's own plane (dragonfly) alongside a $100 million man-made version. :p

It seems Japan has a different species. The ones found here normally do not have colored wingtips. I have seen them in a few colors - maroon (smaller in size), yellow, light blue and green (most common).

Hi Shingo, good to see you here. A holiday in Japan? How nice!

Pandabonium said...

Shingo - thanks for dropping by and for your comment. I was surprised by the dragonfly. It let me get very close with the camera. I hope you have a great trip.

HappySurfer - no matter what we spend, nature will always produce the best flying "machines".

Most of the ones I see in Kashima have clear wings and colorful bodies - light blue, red (called aka tombo), rust colored ones, and very large ones with bright green stripes on black. Hinuma is the only place so far I've seen ones with color on the wings.

O Docker said...

Dragonflies vary greatly in size and are generally labelled with the same color code used for resistors:

yellow - 4 cm
green - 5 cm
blue - 6 cm

Pandabonium said...

O Docker - that explains the body stripes too.

O Docker said...


Don Snabulus said...

I am a big dragonfly fan. That one is a beauty and I love the shadow shot.

Thanks for the F-2 lesson. Collaborations can get funky.

I enjoyed the wing and cockpit views of Blue Impulse. Neat stuff.

Pandabonium said...

Don - Thanks. I wish I could get some of the big neon green striped dragon flies I encounter to hold still for a picture. They really are beautiful creatures with amazing flying skills.

I like the cockpit views too. I've flown in formation with other aircraft a couple of times, and it is very demanding of one's full attention. To do aerobatics at the same time is really amazing.