Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Saturday Recap

This Saturday, then.

Today was an exciting day for me. For the past 3.5 years I have been working airframe stress analysis for Boeing's P-8A program. I'll spare you the nerdy details, and although it's been a lot of long hours, it's been both challenging and rewarding work. Today particularly highlighted the "rewarding" aspect.

Our first of five prototype aircraft (T-1, YP001) was scheduled for first flight today. A day some of us thought would never come, after all the work needed. It was a chilly but fairly clear morning at Renton's Clayton Scott Field, and I joined a large crowd of fellow Boeing employees and general enthusiasts snapping away with my [wife's] camera. Below are a few random shots taken of a typical Saturday morning of general aviation (yes, mostly touch-n-go's!) while waiting for T-1's taxi tests.

T-1 is seen in the backround behind this Cessna 172, with its left-most tail there off in the distance. It was parked in front of two other 737-NG aircraft currently in prep for airline delivery.

Below was just some of the many onlookers. They are at the boundary of the Boeing Renton factory on the south side of Lake Washington.

The chase jets arrive:

Northbound taxi, re-position:

Zooming in on some areas I worked extensively, here are sections 41/43:

...and 46/47/48:

Now with brakes locked, all set for takeoff roll:

Now full thrust, blasting Lake Washington!

And finally at 10:42am, YP001 was airborne!

...and away she goes to play with the chase jets for a few hours:

Currently still in primer, eventually T-1 will be painted just like the second prototype T-2, pictured here.

After a short visit to the office to wrap up some loose ends, I went home to pick up Allison and we decided to try out Hudson down in Sodo, one of the new bars opened by the Smarty Pants folks from Georgetown, our favorite bar scene in Seattle. Great place! We highly recommend, and will definitely be back.

Last Saturday Recap

So, it's been a busy couple of weekends since we have been back from Italy. I'll start with last Saturday first, then.

Before we left for Rome at the beginning of April, the cascades were getting a late blast of new snow. Go figure? Several days and approximately 20 inches of new snow left me frustrated I could not hit one last day of 'boarding before we left for Italy. Most resorts were closed when we got back, but one of my favorites was still open on spring hours. With fantastic clear sunny weather forecast for Saturday 18April, I packed up the Jeep and headed to Alpental.

Another perk is this place is only 50min from the house, so I was on the chairlift 15min after they opened (perhaps a record for me). Temp was a little chilly still, but the sun was BRIGHT and quickly melting what is typical of spring snow. Things were a little dicey for about 30min until the sun softened up the surface. This heavy melting snow proved the best legs workout I've had in a long time. Made all those steps in Praiano childs play! Allison decided to skip this one out - probably for the better because it would have been extremely challenging on her old knee injury.

Below is a picture from my cell phone up in the bowls off Edelweiss.

Towards the bottom you see a very small fellow skiier, and way off in the distance you see I-90 cutting through the pass.

After enjoying my last full day of the season on the slopes, I packed up and headed home for the next event of the day. After a hot shower and a couple of jet cycles in the hot tub, we headed out to Hops & Props at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field.

This was our first year attending this event, and Allison had not been inside the Museum before. Nevertheless, we were able to sample a lot of good local/micro brews, look at some cool air and space craft, and listen/watch a rather amusing band, the Dudley Manlove Quartet.

A great first weekend back!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To Italy and Back

Well we're finally home from vacation with a chance to update. We got home Tuesday night, which was actually a great idea since that left us with only a 3 day work week.

To make a long story short, the vacation was fantastic! Traveling with friends is really a true pleasure. We made tons of memories with Marc and Michele that I am sure we'll hold on forever.
We met Marc and Michele at the airport when we arrived to Rome and quickly took the train down to Naples. We checked into the hotel Weekend-a-Napoli. A really cute boutique hotel in the Vomero Hill. This neighborhood was great! I love Naples! There is something about Naples that seems so authentic and real and much less metropolitan than Rome.

After leaving Rome, we headed down to the Amalfi Coast. A full day of traveling and walking we finally checked into the villa. The villa was beautiful with much more space than we actually needed. The downside for me was seeing that the villa was not as outfitted as the other villa we stayed at in 2007. Lucky for Marc and Michele they didnt really notice the difference and it just made one more thing we joked about. During the time on the Amlafi Coast we:
  • Rented scooters for an amazing ride up and down the Amalfi Coast
  • Rode the SITA bus to Salerno just for fun
  • Walked 400 steps down to a restaurant that was closed
  • Took a cooking class with Mamma Agata
  • Michele and Marc walked the path of the gods
  • Visited local restaurants in Amalfi and Positano
  • Drank espresso at bar del sole in Praiano
  • Had a week long Buzzword competition
  • Tried many versions of Limoncello looking for the best
  • Ate the most wonderful seafood twice at Larry's restaurant
  • Drank wine, wine, and more wine

After that week, it was hard to start moving again and head down to Rome. We rushed to get to Rome by 2:30. We had booked a tour at the Vatican. If we didnt make that tour, the Vatican would have been closed for the next two days for holiday. We made it! It was great. I highly recommend a tour of the Vatican Museo and the Sistine Chapel. Our tour guide happened to be from Indiana and Saint Mary's girl! Small world. She taught us tons about the Vatican and it was great to have some background on all the history.

We stayed in the Trastevere section of Rome and rented an apartment. This was the biggest win of the vacation in my opinion. This apartment was simple but classy and had everything we needed. But the real gem was the neighborhood it was in. It was a block away from a daily outside market and the sidewalks were just loaded with restaurants and cafes. It was so fun. I could have stayed there forever! It was so livable. If we go back we'll definatly be staying in the jewel of the Trastevere.

For Easter we went down to celebrate with the Pope at the Vatican. The Pope only addresses the crowd twice a year, so this was really special. It wasnt as busy as we thought it would be and it was really cool.

All in all Rome was great. It continues to be one of my favorite cities in the whole world. I know we'll be back, we still have to see the northen part of Rome!

To see more pictures of the vacation visit our Flickr Page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We're Home!

We just got back from Italy last night. Boy, what a trip! It was so much fun. We went with our two great friends, Marc and Michele, and it was a blast.
We spent 1 night in Naples, 7 nights on the Amalfi Coast and 3 nights in Rome.

I just downloaded my pictures and will upload them soon. We've got some good ones! In the meantime, I know I haven't mentioned it before but I got hooked on the Twilight train with everyone else the week before we left. I tried to deny it since I detest sci-fi, but these books are really something and my inner 15 year old out weighs the this-can't-be-realness of the book.

I read the first book, Twilight, about 3 days before we left. Then I borrowed New Moon from a co-worker and finished that while at the villa on the coast. Then I had to search around Rome for Eclipse. I read Eclipse on the plan back from Rome to Phili and bought Breaking Dawn in the Phili airport.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who Goes to Italy with 1 backpack?

For 2 people that is! I am so impressed with our packing skills. Rob and I will be in Italy for 2 weeks and literally have everything packed into 1 backpack and a carry on bag for activities on the plane. I have to admit, I did leave some things at home, so I wont be as stylish as I was hoping to be but thank god for washers, because I'll need to do laundry there for sure!

You might be wondering if I am bringing any knitting? In fact, I am. I'll start working on some socks, The Broadripple socks. Among other must have for the trip are, Nintendo DS, BuzzWord, Camera, Italian Phrase Book, and Sylvi! (maybe).