How (and why) I Learned to Fly a Helicopter

DreamFoil Bell 407 Helicopter

Bell407logoI learned how to fly a Bell 407 helicopter in X-Plane. The Bell 407 model from Dreamfoil Creations is widely acclaimed as possibly being the single most realistic helicopter add-on in X-plane according to real Bell 407 pilots. So, how did I get here? What possibly lead me on this journey? Music is a major pastime, as well as creating digital art and dabbling in laser entertainment, but flying – and specifically flying a helicopter was not on my radar. I did grow up in a family where my dad was a Navy pilot, where we built flying model airplanes, and even my mom tried her hand at flying and flew solo just to prove she could do it. So flying was more or less part of my family heritage.

DreamFoil, Bell 407, Helicopter, X-plane

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Ilitch Electronics Noise Canceling System - Strat

Ilitch Electronics Noise Canceling System

string-saver-saddleI recently embarked on upgrades to my Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster® Electric Guitar. I noticed how one string was changing pitch after using the tremolo. A worn groove in the bridge saddle was allowing that string to stick. There was also a sticking groove in the guitar nut that would release string tension with a "ping" and thus detune. So I ended up replacing the Fender stamped metal saddles with Graph Tech String Saver Saddles with TPFE (Teflon lubricant). I also replaced the string trees and guitar nut with TUSQ XL, also with TPFE, which has the lowest coefficient of friction of any material. Problem solved.

Illitch Electronics, Noise Canceling System, Fender Stratocaster

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Flying Cars are Almost Here!

Airmule FanCraft Flying Car

Flying Cars

In the 21st century, we were told we would all be driving flying cars. From the Jetsons to Blade Runner, it's been the promised dream. One company is actually going to deliver on the flying car, and they have a full-scale prototype that is preparing for untethered flight tests. The company is Urban Aero and below is their real, full-size flying AirMule Fancraft™ prototype. This fancraft is an unmanned model that is over 7 feet tall and powered by a 730 horsepower turbo-shaft engine. A piloted model called X-Hawk will follow later and is designed to carry up to 8 people.

I added the Photoshop labels to make it look more like a Spinner from Blade Runner! Cool Visit their website link to see more photos & videos, including an autonomous hover test.

Flying Car, Urban Aero, AirMule, FanCraft, X-Hawk, Metro Skyways

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Restless Legs & Leg Cramps

Restless Legs and Leg Cramps - Alsara Vein Clinic

I had restless legs & leg cramps at night starting in 1999. The more I exercised and walked, the worse my leg cramps became at night. It got so bad, I stopped taxing my leg muscles. I thought the problems had something to do with exercising muscles or perhaps even medications I was taking for type 2 diabetes or other things. Years later, I began to experience swelling ankles (edema) and some skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation). About that time, I happen to employ with a vein clinic as a web & graphic designer. Although I was becoming aware of varicose veins and how some symptoms included restless legs, leg cramps, swelling, discoloration, heaviness, tired legs, I still thought my symptoms were perhaps related to diabetes, as was my neuropathy in my feet. Indeed, my Primary Care Physician (PCP) even told me I did not have varicose veins (she was under the misperception that varicose veins would be visible under the skin). However, as I later learned, not everyone has visible varicose veins. In fact, 90% of leg veins are deep inside the muscles and not visible.

Restless Legs, Leg Cramps, Alsara Clinic

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