New Rig!

20 12 2013


Case: NZXT H630 CA-H630F-M1

2013-12-20 22.51.01


Processor: i7-3930K Ivy Bridge-E 3.4GHz LGA 2011 130W Six-Core

Motherboard: ASUS X79 DELUXE LGA 2011

Ram: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (9-9-9-24)

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Black Ice GT Stealth 120.3 Radiator

4x SilenX EFX 15dBA 74CFM 120mm Fans

EK D5 X-RES Top 150mm resivor w/ D5 Vario Pump

EK Supremacy Universal CPU Liquid Cooling Block – Nickel

EK GeForce 670 GTX DCII VGA Nickel CSQ

XSPC 3/8″ x 5/8″ Compression Fittings (Black Chrome Finish)

Danger Den 3/8” ID 5/8” OD Hose

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2013-12-16 20.09.24 2013-12-16 20.15.15 2013-12-16 21.09.00


HD: Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 6.0Gb/s 64mb cache

SSD: SAMSUNG 840 Series evo 500gb

Optical: Asus 12-R 2-RE 16xDVD+R 12xDVD-RAM 8xBD-ROM 8MB

PSU: Topower ws-800


Build Phases:

Cable Management:

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Leak Testing:

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Initial Boot:

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FYI, this BIOS uses a mouse!!! Also, no DOA parts or POST errors!!!


Initial Overclock:

Screenshot 2013-12-20 20.43.54

1 hour burn in with Prime 95, temps stabilized @83C with CPU speed stabilizing at 4.2ghz. A bit high, but this was a very lazy overclock messing with a dynamic and automated built-in ability. Next steps will be to reign in the CPU voltage, set a static CPU overclock, boost RAM @2400 mhz, and look into the GPU’s ability.


Snaphots of an Experimental Aircraft Mechanic

15 01 2013

[ALL pictures can be EXPANDED by clicking on them]

I often wonder what people imagine when I explain what I do. There’s always the easy answer, “I’m an aircraft mechanic”, but often times the inquiry expands. “I work on experimental homebuilt composite aircraft…” and stop. It’s quite the conversation killer, though I suspect more out of unfamiliarity than disinterest. So what about that split-second of attention? I always imagine this mental progression, “I work on:




Composite Aircraft”


My job however is much less glamorous than some futuristic design, a lot more technical than piecing together a model plane, and much safer and innovative than duct tape. Because aviation is heavily regulated and tested to ensure the safety of the flying public, expenses skyrocket and developments are hindered in the process of FAA approval. The experimental category was created to allow for the flexibility needed in research, air racing, and expanding the knowledge of the community through the process of building a kit. An interesting legal caveat is that 51% of the building has to be done by amateurs.

.   .   .

The more-often-true-than-not joke is that when you finish 50% of the plane you only have 100% left to go. That’s where my shop comes into play. We finish that 49%, or inspect and repair degrading parts, or modify other aspects of it.

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The shop is pretty small, spans 3-4 medium hangers, and is always being re-arranged. (FYI: you can click all the pictures for an expanded view)

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.   .   .

The four aircraft I have been working on are (left to right): The Lancair IV (carbon fiber/fiberglass), Glassair III (fiberglass), RV-6 (sheet metal), and the Seawind 3000 (fiberglass)

2012-06-13 15.53.292012-06-04 10.55.53

2012-12-14 14.40.502012-12-20 15.34.58

Although they are homebuilt, these are ALL high performance (200-300 mph) piston aircraft. The Lancair has a fully pressurized cabin and a twin turbocharged engine. The Glassair is sleek and nimble. The RV-6 is simple and solid, and the Seawind is amphibious.

.   .   .

Common tasks can be as simple as creating an oil door for a cowling (engine cover):

Or as complicated as re-doing poor quality jobs on structural components:

Such as the left tail skin:

And the reinforcement supporting the pressurized windows:

.   .   .

Sometimes my tasks are fun

2012-08-15 12.20.10

Anything shiny, related to fire, or requiring the on-board power of the Aircraft has a better chance of qualifying as ‘fun’

.   .   .

More often they are tedious

Microscopic balls of glass is mixed with epoxy resin to produce a lightweight filler that has to be laboriously sanded down. This process is repeated until every transition is blended together.

Microscopic balls of glass are mixed with epoxy resin to produce a lightweight filler that has to be laboriously sanded down. This process is repeated until every transition is blended together.

.   .   .

But ALL of them have potential to make for a very bad day

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.   .   .

95% of my job requires some sort of safety gear; It’s just a matter of what combination for the task at hand

.   .   .

100% of my job however, requires me to make EVERYTHING look fabulous.

Many different toxic combinations to spread on good looks

Many different toxic combinations to spread on good looks

There is no length we will not go through to get the proper gaps, straight lines, and right angles...

There is no length we will not go through to get the proper gaps, straight lines, and right angles…

Even sloppiness that cannot be seen, is perfected.

Even sloppiness that cannot be seen, is perfected.

.   .   .

Composites is the art of piecing together irregular components in irregular shapes, painting toxic glue all over it in just the ‘right’ amount, cutting & grinding & sanding by sight layers that are 15 thousandths thick, and blending something horrific looking into a masterpiece of structural integrity that looks like the work of machines…I feel like a toddler using finger paint to attempt the Mona Lisa …

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.   .   .

Regardless of the rate of pay, frigid temps, tedious work, hazards to my health, the possibility of screwing expensive shit up, and anything that has ever affected my desire to work – I love aviation and the uniqueness that the experimental category brings to this field.

2012-12-10 16.02.54

Military Man?

26 10 2012

I have commitment issues. I can hardly convince myself to watch anything over an hour for fear of being tied down to a mediocre experience. There have been times when I got so anxious about choosing an activity for the day, that I wasted the day in indecision.  In fact, I once turned down a job I desperately needed, because I couldn’t agree to a minimum of six-months. So when you speak of a year – my mind is far beyond the clouds looking into deep space and imagining all the possibilities or uncertainties.

And what a year it’s been. I graduated college, got a job in my field, retired from retail, broke my record for staying in one state for more than 4 years, celebrated 1 year of being married to my beautiful wife, and signed a 6 year contract with the Air National Guard. I did what? I promised to love and serve the needs of my wife for a lifetime. Ironically, the ‘ball and chain’ decision was the easiest to commit to. The only hesitation I have ever had to getting married was…dancing. And yes, it was pretty bad, but totally worth everything else! But don’t let that distract you from my other major commitment ‘fluke’.

Far from being a rash or naive decision, this choice has been brewing for years. I grew up in a military family, heard mountains of horror stories from GI’s, even almost ended up at an academy myself. My biggest hang up? You should know it by now, the commitment with all its agonizing years of uncertainty! No joke, it takes a lot of psychological will-power to get past seeing 8 years as my entire lifespan. It wasn’t just the 8 years either. Do I try for Warrant Officer Heli Pilot in Army,  mechanic in Air Force or Army, Air National Guard or Coast Guard,  officer or enlisted, active or reserve? So while it may seem like a sudden decision to you, this choice has been obsessively thought through.

Honestly, I am stoked! I am done with the debating, the craigslisting, the delaying of other decisions as we figure out our current situation. In fact, we are also signing for a new apartment that is bigger, closer to my work, nicer, and almost the same price as our current rent. I will continue to work at the Troutdale airport doing composite work on high performance experimental aircraft. Early next year,  I will be gone for 4 months at Basic Training and then Tech School. I have joined the ANG to work on the F-15 jet engines here at PDX; I will serve a weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. After living for months under the impression that we could be moving out of state really soon, it’s wonderful to settle down. Portland, you have become my home (although Hawaii and Cali could still pose a threat) While six years with the ANG is a long time, it will open up many possibilities in the future. And you can bet that I love options!!!