Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hangar house progress--coming along nicely.

With cooler weather--relatively speaking since this is Texas--I have been able to work for longer stretches on our hangar house.

The stairwell is finished and in use now every day as I continue working. The freight lift is moving past the design stage into the build stage, but no pics yet. With the stairs, I designed a relatively low-rise/moderate run with a landing and then a short amount (five) of steps to entrance doorway.

Stairwell. 15 steps at 6 1/2" of rise, 10" of run makes them comfortable to climb. 4' of width gives us plenty of room.

Stairwell landing.

From the top of the stairs, there was a clear view of the trusses and how much area the sub-flooring  would be covering.

Looking east from the back wall. Lot of sub-flooring to put down.

I ordered Advantech 1 1/8" flooring and to date, this has been the most challenging, tiring, labor-intensive back-breaking part of the job. Each sheet weighs 125 pounds and with no solid floor--only 3 1/2" trusses--to walk on, you have to simply muscle the 32-square foot sheets around and into position. Once I got about twelve linear feet installed, I was able to then slide the boards somewhat easier into position. But it was a solid ten-day project to lay down the 1700-plus square feet of sub-flooring.

 The Advantech arrives. Four pallets of pure pain.

32 square feet and 125 pounds at a time. Lots of glue and nails.

 Sub-flooring is complete and first load of framing lumber has arrived.

Looking southeast. Ready to begin framing.

Once done with the sub-flooring, I moved on to the framing portion, which is where I'm at now. Along the way, the outside balcony/deck is completely floored with the composition weather-proof planks. A few details left for the deck which include sealing the canopy and putting a good coat of steel rust-proofing stain on the frame.

Flooring the outside balcony/deck.

 View from the deck looking northwest.

 Almost finished with the deck flooring. Looking to the southwest.

The back half of the house is framed, which includes the master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet, hallway, second bathroom, second bedroom and part of the office. We've ordered custom windows and a sliding glass patio door--when those come in, we'll frame them into the exterior metal wall, then complete the interior framing.

From the office, looking northeast into a maze of framing.

Looking into the hallway with the office on the left.

 Back half of the house is almost done.

Ordered more stuff today to be delivered by the end of the week: 50-gallon water heater, three vanities and counter tops for the bathrooms, two one-piece toilets with dual flushing capabilities, mirrors, a bathtub and three-piece wall enclosure for the second bathroom and enough OSB sheets to finish out the only "exposed" wall in the upstairs hangar area.

Once the framing is done, the ceiling rafters will be next.

More updates to come as they happen.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Let there be wood.

Progress on the hangar house rolls on. Cover is on the back balcony deck, floor trusses are in place, handrails are on the staircase and painted, stairs are being cut and installed. Will be time to order the subflooring, freight-lift motor and finish final designs on the freight-lift frame and cage.

Looking forward to cooler weather, though. Working in a metal building in 100 degree Texas heat can be a challenge.

 Floor trusses being hung and spaced--16" OC (off center).

Back half almost all hung.

Handrails cut and welded to stairwell. Need to be painted.

Cover is on deck. Needs to be sealed. Once the back wall is
framed, we can cut the opening for the sliding glass door and
office window that will be under the canopy. 

Will be using the composite weather-proof deck planking for flooring. 

All trusses now hung, spaced and secured in place.

Stairwell handrails painted, steps being cut and and installed. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

More progress, even in the Texas summer heat.

We finally began having triple-digit days here in north Texas. We've been lucky--in summers past, the triple digits were coming in June, sometimes as early as the end of May, and always in July. This year, it took until August.

But that's not to say I enjoy them. Far from it. Especially when working in a large metal building.

Nonetheless, progress is being made and here is a brief checklist of what we've accomplished on the new hangar house project:

• All i-beams are cut and welded into place

• Stairwell framing is complete.

• Water heater on top of downstairs bathroom and laundry room has been relocated downstairs and new Pex plumbing has been installed. When new, larger water heater arrives, the smaller 40-gallon water heater will go to the south end of the hangar to feed the kitchen and upstairs laundry room.

• The back balcony/deck is framed and ready to have the roof/awning installed. Once the inside back wall is framed, we'll cut out the metal for the sliding glass door and the office window and the second bedroom window so our steel man can frame everything in.

• I-beams are painted and sealed with anti-rust stain, as is the stairwell framing structure.

• Floor trusses have been built and delivered and are ready for install.

Next phase coming up is ordering and installing the Advantech subflooring, then designing and welding the freight lift elevator.

More updates to come as they happen.

 Floor trusses arrive!

 14' trusses in the foreground, 22' trusses in the background.

22' trusses and some custom-length trusses for the stairwell.

New Pex plumbing utilized to temporarily relocate the small 40-gallon water heater.

When the new 50-gallon water heater goes in, it will be dedicated to providing water only to the bathrooms and showers. The smaller heater (pictured) will be used to provide hot water to the kitchen and upstairs laundry room.

Stairwell is framed and painted. Ready to design, cut and install the wooden stairs.

Early morning view of the outside balcony/deck. The deck faces the west/southwest and will have an entrance into the kitchen via a large sliding glass door.

The deck is coming along nicely. Ready to put the awning/roof and rain gutters on it. When complete, it will have two outdoor ceiling fans, LED lighting and propane plumbing to feed our gas grill.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Let the building begin

Sold our house in February, moved in March, began preparations and structure design for our hangar house in April. After much, much research into structural design, weight-bearing capacities of various strengths of steel, load-bearing capacities of the foundation and hangar framing, etc, we had our framework structure design ready.

Our welder is an artist, honest as the day is long, and in extremely high demand, so we had to wait. And wait. And wait a little more.

On a sidenote, he is in high demand because there are too few skilled blue collar workers in the trades today. We have an abundance of useless college graduates with degrees in high-demand fields such as gender studies, Renaissance languages, Twelfth Century African Art, Museum management and the ever popular General Studies--the vast majority of which graduates had to move back in with their parents because well-paying jobs for entry level museum manager trainees are few and far between.

We need more trade job training schools. But public education looks down on those who have dirty hands, wear a uniform and sweat for a living.

So we waited for our welder to finish the jobs he had scheduled before us.

And finally, the day arrived this week. Our steel was delivered and the cutting and welding began.

I'm posting some pictures of the progress.

As I write this, I figure to be looking at the better part of nine months to make the new place inhabitable, with another six months afterward to have everything finished out.

As it stands now with the final plans, our living quarters will be around 1700 square feet with a large pantry and laundry room combination, two bedrooms, a large office where I'll trade my hammers and saws for laptops and desktop Macs and resume writing books, two full bathrooms, a kitchen and dining area, living room and a 10-foot by 20-foot covered deck/balcony accessible through the dining room.

Downstairs will have 2250 square feet to park our vehicles and airplane, plus a full bathroom/shower & laundry room, my reloading room and a work bench area.

So let the pictures begin.

The steel arrives! Unloading the big six-inch steel support columns for the I-beams.

Two of the three lateral support I-beams.

Steel for the decking and for framing windows.

More steel on the hangar floor.

 Plattes welded to the four-inch support columns.

Six-inch column mounted and welded in place.

I-beam being cut and prepped for the balcony/deck.

 All I-beams are now in place.

 Finishing the welding on the I-beams.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


After almost twenty-two years in the same house and same locale, we're moving again--this time, in all likelihood, for good.

Buying and selling real estate has changed dramatically since our last experience over two decades ago. I'll skip the profanity I'd really like to use to describe the modern process and simply state that the next time property owned by us gets sold, it will be because we're dead and our ashes have been scattered. Our adopted girls will get to undertake the joys of dealing with realtors and tire-kicking buyers and house-flippers.

Me on the eve of selling our house. I think the look is of disbelief that it was finally going to happen.

But in our case, no flipping will be done because we're building our retirement house inside our airplane hangar.

The second biggest headache in this selling process has been trying to secure temporary quarters for the year or so it will take to build the living quarters. The last time my wife and I rented housing, the application was three-quarters of a page and the contract was a single page. On one rental house we were interested in, the contract was twenty-three pages long and included how much we had to water the yard, how much we had to pay for a/c and heater filters and how often we had to change them, how much renter's insurance we had to carry and activating the home security system was a mandatory.

Once again, I'll spare you the profanity I used in telling that particular property company what they could do and where they could go. One was anatomically difficult, if not impossible and the other other requires you dying before you can pack your bags and journey there.

But all is well. We secured--in the words of my lovely wife--a "cute" rental house that is almost walking distance from our little airport. The location could not possibly be better and the price was right.

Our new temporary quarters while we build the hangar home.

We'll be packing our quarter-century and four years worth of accumulations, treasure and memories these next few weeks and moving on.

Progress reports on the new place to come.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Updates: House for sale, hangar house project is on.

Look up the word neglect in most any dictionary in most any language and it wouldn't surprise me if you were given a link to this page. So, for a quick update on things. . .

Book projects:

Writing continues on Oaths & Liars as well as the first installment in an idea that will be a series called The Pride. I teased a little of both in the past twelve months on Facebook. O&L is on its--get this--it's THIRD RE-WRITE as I love the plot and the characters (most of the base characters from AR  and FG are back), but I can't get the initial flow and rhythm to my liking. Frustrating.

It's a kick ass plot and will combine the action style of Above Reproach with several sub plots--plus a few new characters.

The incessant delays and procrastination in getting further is due to the fact that we're selling our house and preparing to begin building our retirement home in our airplane hangar. Three things have to happen, though:

1. We have to sell our house.
2. We'll have to find a rental house near our airport.
3. We'll then begin the interior building process. Exterior is done, new main water line installed and a few other exterior items on the hangar are finished.

The living quarters will be built on a second level. I'm having a welder and steel crew install channel beams ten feet above the ground floor so as to give clearance for the vertical stabilizer (tail) of the airplanes. The steel guys are also putting in a 160 square foot covered deck on the second level facing the west. We do a lot of grilling and smoking for our meals and the deck will make it easier to step outside the kitchen, grill and come back inside rather than walking up and down the stairs to the ground level.

At present, the Cessna and the Taylorcraft are occupying the space along with my pickup, occasionally. Once the welding and the building in earnest begins, everything will have to find a temporary home.

A few pics for you--

Front of the hangar. Lots of room to work with.

Back side (west) of the hangar. No neighbors to the west.

Had a couple of people renting space and keeping their airplanes in here until we got everything ready and prepared for selling our house and starting this thing. Probably the last time it will ever look this empty.

We're in a private airport and we have our own well. But the original main water line wasn't in the best of shape, so a new line, new protective concrete meter box and some new concrete went in.

Our living quarters will be built on a second level above the airplanes. Our design is for a bit over 1700 square feet that will include two bedrooms, a large office for writing, two full bathrooms, living room, kitchen, one large master closet, and one large combination laundry room and pantry where we'll have an additional fridge and a stand-up freezer. Downstairs, as the picture shows, will still have room for a couple of airplanes plus our two cars. I'll build my new reloading room on the back wall and extend it into the (already built) full bathroom/shower on the right rear corner.

This is one of my neighbors a couple of taxiways over, north of the on-field café. This is the same style and type of deck we're building on the back side of our hangar. I'll probably end up parking my pickup under it in decent weather. For bad weather, it'll go in the hangar.

So that is pretty much the update for us at the moment. Have not flown much this year or shot (or got very much writing done). Everything has been pushed to the back burner to get our house sold and the new one started. Major undertaking.

Will keep  you posted.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's here! Tales from the Dogs' Side now in print and e-book.

This was an "on again/off again" project of mine for quite a few years, but now it's done and on the e-retail shelves. Unlike Above Reproach and False Gods, Tales from the Dogs' Side is an Amazon exclusive. The e-book version (Kindle) is $1.99 and the print edition is $7.99. As always, I have print editions available for personalized signing.

In the forward of Tales, I explain the story behind the collection of tales found within the book. In short, I was a homesick advertising copywriter living in Kansas City with my wife, our two dogs and a cat. I dearly loved Kansas City and still do--but the winters are stone-cold killers for a warm-weather seventh generation Texan like myself.

Thus, thanks to the new world wide web, now known as the internet, I was able to find various discussion forums on a variety of topics near to my heart--dogs being at the top of that list. Through those forums, relationships were formed and stories were shared. As a Texan and a creative writer for Madison Avenue, I felt compelled to carry on that Texas tradition of telling "tall tales" in regards to our dogs and our relationship and adventures with them.

As the tales grew in popularity, I accepted a job offer in Dallas and my dogs were overjoyed, and more tall tales were born. 

Along the way, my dogs and wife and I learned a few lessons, endured several tragedies and continued to find our way in the world. What we found was that if we could laugh more than we chose to cry, we'd be all the better for it. And so Tales from the Dogs' Side is a collection of life's vignettes, both good and bad, happy and sad, but always looking forward.

This is the third book of mine published this decade, and work on Oaths & Lies continues with good progress. In 2018, I will begin a series called The Pride. These will be shorter novels of the 80,000 to 100,0000 word count range and my goal is to publish two of them per year.

In the meanwhile, all else goes well on the Kinman home front. I've got plenty of wood for the smoker, lots of reloads to send downrange at the various shooting ranges with my wife and girls, and wide-open skies to continue exploring via small airplane.

Stay tuned for updates as they come.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Saddle up, we're going to Maine.

This past summer, mid-August to be exact, we saddled up the Cessna and set out for a vacation in my wife's home state, Maine.

The first day, we stopped for fuel and food in Fayetteville (AR), Cairo (IL), Cynthiana (KY) and Pittsburgh (PA) where we spent the night. The next morning we took off from the Allegheny County Executive Airport and landed at Finger Lakes Regional Airport in Seneca, NY for fuel and then flew non-stop to Waterville, Maine.

Two weeks later, our return trip took us from Lewiston/Auburn (ME) to West Hudson (NY) to Westminster (MD) to Greensboro (NC) where we stayed for the night. The weather system that flooded Baton Rouge was a massive, stationery system that reached from south Louisiana to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Timing was everything, and we didn't time it right--after taking off from Greensboro, we made it to Jefferson County Airport just north of Atlanta then cut west to Mississippi where the weather forced us to land and spend a night in Tupelo (MS). The next morning, we timed our departure to get ahead of the rapidly building storm clouds and made it to Crossett, Arkansas for fuel, then dodged our way through the storms and weather to Sulphur Springs (TX) and back to the home airpatch.

Here is a screen shot from ForeFlight of our route--lot of country we flew over.

And here is the weather we dealt with on the way back home. Not fun by any means.

Our first fuel stop at 0745 at KFYV Fayetteville, Arkansas. Normally in mid-August, things are pretty dry and brown. Thanks to the rains we had all spring and summer long, we had lots of lush greenery the entire trip.

Cairo, Illinois is located at the southern-most tip of Illinois where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge. Here we've refueled and just taken off from KCIR on runway 20. We actually had a nice tailwind pushing us for most of the eastbound trip.

A coal-powered power plant on the shores of the Ohio River in eastern Ohio as we were approaching Pennsylvania.

When you come in to land at KAGC Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh, they are prepared for unprepared pilots--there is a cemetery on the west side of the field, just off the taxiway and near Voyager Aviation. After a long day of flying, we preferred to stay at the accommodations we'd reserved at the Springfield Suites rather than the graveyard, so all due care and attention was given to the final approach and landing.

The folks at Voyager Aviation are top-shelf for general aviation. They took care of us and our plane with equal zeal and hospitality.

The next morning, it was a typical summer muggy, foggy morning. But not long after we took off and climbed above the gloom, the sun broke out and we got some nice views of western Pennsylvania farms.

Much to our surprise, there are wind farms popping up in western New York state. I hadn't seen these on previous trips. The turbines are not as plentiful as the ones you see on wind farms in Texas and the southwest, but they are there and rotating.

This is a great little airport to stop and top off your tanks. I love this area of upstate New York anyhow--so different from the congested metro madness you find in the southern part of the state.

We topped off the tanks right up to the tabs because the next stop was the final one in Waterville, Maine.

The Finger Lakes never cease to amaze and fascinate me. It's hard to appreciate them from the ground because you don't see the full enormity of these glacial lakes.

The terrain of western Vermont comes on you quite suddenly. On this trip, it looked like a rugged rolling carpet of emerald.

On this leg, we stayed above both the clouds as well as the mountains.

Once in Maine, we headed to Moosehead Lake where we spent several nights at the Blair Hill Inn. This was the view from our window.

And another view.

I caught this picture as an afternoon thundershower was moving across the mountains.

This picture is taken up near Kokadjo where my wife's family had their camp for decades.

Lily Bay State Park is a ten-minute drive from the Blair Hill Inn, so we paid it a visit and spent some time enjoying the beauty.

One of many, many coves hidden away on Moosehead Lake. This one is in Lily Bay State Park.

Every evening we'd retreat back to the Inn and take an adult beverage out to the porch to catch the sunset. Life moves a lot slower up in rural Maine--not nearly as fast and hectic as it does here in Dallas. I could get used to that relaxed pace.

Sunset over Moosehead Lake as seen from the porch at Blair Hill Inn.

If you blink more than a few times, the sun is gone and the moon is now up above you.

Did some sporting clays and skeet shooting at an incredible club north of Bangor--the Hermon Skeet Club. Only downside was that it ended up being the hottest day on record for Bangor--and with incredibly high humidity. I had to check my GPS to make sure I wasn't in Houston.

Shade was a nice place to be when you weren't shooting.

This is Mill Pond, a five minute walk from my sister and brother-in-law's house in Windham. The water is cold, clear and clean. Great place to cool down on a hot summer day and the neighbors are known to try out their new kayaks and canoes. In winter, it can freeze up solid enough to ice skate on. This is where our two nephews grew up. What an incredible place to grow up in.

This is the pond looking to the east.

No trip to Maine is ever complete without a trip to the coast. Here is Pine Point Beach in Scarborough on an overcast, windy day--a precursor to the weather we'd be departing in the very next day.

This guy gave me an idea for summer employment if we ever decide to split more time between Texas and Maine.

We capped our stay in Maine with a traditional lobster dinner at The Clam Bake in Scarborough. Lobster simply does not get any better than when it was swimming just a day before.

No pictures were taken on the first day of traveling back to Texas. Between negotiating weather and the Boston and New York Center airspace, all our attention was inside the cockpit. But on the second day, we got a break here and there and managed some interesting pictures. This is a small portion of lake Norman in southwestern North Carolina.

Near Spartanburg-Greensville in South Carolina, we spotted this very large rock quarry.

Further south in South Carolina, a huge lake shares the border with Georgia. Lake Hartwell is just as spectacular from the ground as it is from the air.

Lake Hartwell in the southernmost portion of South Carolina. That's Interstate 95 just north of the Georgia state line crossing over the lake.

After negotiating both more weather and the edges of Atlanta's Class B airspace, we pointed the nose west towards Texas. Soon after crossing over into Alabama, we saw this interesting body of water perched atop a big Alabama hill. We found out later that it is an auxiliary water supply station.

The country band of the early 80's, Alabama, often sang about the might Tennessee River. Here it is. It's huge and actually more like a lake in a lot of places.

Directly overhead a wide spot in the Tennessee River in Alabama.

As we were nearing the western edge of Alabama, we spied this incredibly long valley. This is looking to the south. It is equally as long looking out the starboard side of the plane to the north.

This is where bacon begins--a genuine pig farm. Even at 8,000' msl it can make your mouth water.

Once again, by middle of the afternoon, that stationary frontal system was producing hellacious weather. It stopped us about twenty miles east of Oxford, Mississippi and given that we heard Memphis Center re-routing FedEx, airline and military flights, we figured our Cessna was no match for Mother Nature. Tupelo was nearby so we diverted, landed and grabbed a room at the Holiday Inn Express for the evening.

The next day flying across western Mississippi, Arkansas and eastern Texas would prove to be the most challenging in negotiating the weather. As you can see by our route, we made lots of deviations for weather.

The last picture of this adventure I'm posting is of our Stratus unit. It picks up, among other things, weather information and displays it on your iPad via an app called ForeFlight. It's not real-time and there is a several-minute delay. But it is invaluable for helping you plan weather deviations.

We landed back at the home airpatch around 3:00 (1500 CST) after an 0900 departure from KTUP in Tupelo, Mississippi. That included a fuel stop in Crossett, Arkansas and a landing in the rain at KSLR in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Just west of Sulphur Springs, the weather broke long enough for us to make a straight shot back into the northwest Fort Worth area for an uneventful, but blessedly welcome, landing home.