Thursday, November 17, 2016

Starting Over Again

I was taxiing from our tie down spot to the FBO to brief my student. Two Sandhill cranes crossed the taxiway in front of me. They stand about 4' tall and have long pointed beaks. One was limping and stopped right in front of me. Both looked at Sally as if asking "What are you going to do now?" I edged over to the right as far as I could and slowly moved forward. The crane limped off to the left. Florida wildlife is amazing.

The morning flight would focus on emergencies. The homework assignment had been to study Section 3 in the PiperSport POH. We sat in the snack room to discuss some of the subtle points. He was well prepared. My first 3 items on engine failure is Pitch, Point and Petrol. (After that if you have time, do the checklist.)

Pitch, Point, Petrol

Next we discussed take off emergencies. I divide the takeoff into 4 sections:
  1. Failure on the takeoff roll (and if possible immediately after takeoff,) abort.
  2. If below 300' PUSH the nose down and land straight ahead.
  3. The BRS can be used above 300' and should be considered.
  4. Above 700' consider the "Impossible Turn".
KVDF is surrounded by Interstate highways, are they an option?

The flight went well. We both learned a few things.

The afternoon flight would focus on the landing pattern. I always go to an "outlying field" to give the student a chance to depart and enter the traffic pattern. Plus, its more fun to see different places. I made a mistake and did too much talking while parked on the ramp after engine start. The weather is cooler now but the CHT still got high. We had the opportunity to learn about power settings to cool the engine off on the ground.

I demonstrated pattern entry and it didn't go as well as I hoped. Another plane in the pattern flew wide and deep forcing me to alter my "standard". I ended up dragging it in, exactly the wrong lesson. We departed and headed for home. A crosswind entry ended in the student making a good landing. I still need to give a good demo of the Standard entry (45 degree entry) and pattern, but that will have to wait for the next flight. In the meantime, PHAK Chapter 13 is a good homework assignment.

The students have dramatically different backgrounds and experience. But they are both flying a new airplane. The handling characteristics are different from what they have previously flown. The common lesson I present  is the "Distraction Exercise". Stabilize the airplane, including trim on a heading and altitude. Then tune the GPS to go Direct to an airport. Use the menu to get the weather and Unicom frequencies and tune them into the radio. Finally, switch back to map mode and make the appropriate radio call. Add a little turbulence and its not as easy as you might think.

So I learned something. I can still do "two-a-days", and I like it.

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Starting Over

I was taxiing from our tie down spot to the FBO to brief my student. Two Sandhill cranes crossed the taxiway in front of me. They stand about 4' tall and have long pointed beaks. One was limping and stopped right in front of me. Both looked at Sally as if asking "What are you going to do now?" I edged over to the right as far as I could and slowly moved forward. The crane limped off to the left. Florida wildlife is amazing.

The morning flight would focus on emergencies. The homework assignment had been to study Section 3 in the PiperSport POH. We sat in the snack room to discuss some of the subtle points. He was well prepared. My first 3 items on engine failure is Pitch, Point and Petrol. (After that if you have time, do the checklist.)

Pitch, Point, Petrol

Next we discussed take off emergencies. I divide the takeoff into 4 sections:
  1. Failure on the takeoff roll (and if possible immediately after takeoff,) abort.
  2. If below 300' PUSH the nose down and land straight ahead.
  3. The BRS can be used above 300' and should be considered.
  4. Above 700' consider the "Impossible Turn".
KVDF is surrounded by Interstate highways, are they an option?

The flight went well. We both learned a few things.

The afternoon flight would focus on the landing pattern. I always go to an "outlying field" to give the student a chance to depart and enter the traffic pattern. Plus, its more fun to see different places. I made a mistake and did too much talking while parked on the ramp after engine start. The weather is cooler now but the CHT still got high. We had the opportunity to learn about power settings to cool the engine off on the ground.

I demonstrated pattern entry and it didn't go as well as I hoped. Another plane in the pattern flew wide and deep forcing me to alter my "standard". I ended up dragging it in, exactly the wrong lesson. We departed and headed for home. A crosswind entry ended in the student making a good landing. I still need to give a good demo of the Standard entry (45 degree entry) and pattern, but that will have to wait for the next flight. In the meantime, PHAK Chapter 13 is a good homework assignment.

The students have dramatically different backgrounds and experience. But they are both flying a new airplane. The handling characteristics are different from what they have previously flown. The common lesson I present  is the "Distraction Exercise". Stabilize the airplane, including trim on a heading and altitude. Then tune the GPS to go Direct to an airport. Use the menu to get the weather and Unicom frequencies and tune them into the radio. Finally, switch back to map mode and make the appropriate radio call. Add a little turbulence and its not as easy as you might think.

So I learned something. I can still do "two-a-days", and I like it.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Deland Sport Aviation Showcase

The weather forecast was "iffy". A cold front was moving in from the north and was expected to bring marginal VFR weather along with it. But it wasn't due until late Friday evening. I figured if we left early on Friday we would beat the weather and have a chance to enjoy the inaugural Deland Sport Aviation Showcase.

I checked the computer at 7:00am. Red dots. Both Tampa Executive and 85 miles away in Deland, fog and mist had the fields closed. I told Kathy to take her time, we wouldn't be going anywhere for awhile. I brewed a pot of coffee and started reading the news. It would be good to get away from the world's troubles, even if only for an afternoon. We left for the airport around 10:00am, way behind our planned schedule. The winds were calm now, but I was concerned they might pick up in the afternoon for our return trip. The front was still expected to arrive later in the day.

All ground operations went well. I added 5 gallons from the local Wawa which put us just under 20 total for the trip. My planner said it would be under an hour each way, so rounding up should leave me with 5 gallons each side when I shut her down back at KVDF. Preflight went well, but I suspect the right main tire will need to be replaced soon.

We took off on RWY5 and picked up Flight Following just south of Zephyr Hills. Tampa vectored us east to keep us clear of parachute operations there. The air was smooth at 3,500'. Visibility was less than 10 miles in mist and haze, so when we got close to the "Mouse's House" we really couldn't see it. I suggested  we take a tour over the top on our way home.

I didn't know what to expect. The traffic at my last fly-in had been pretty intense. So I had studied the NOTAM and was prepared to fly west and orbit the lake if I had to. I should not have worried. Although there were some demonstration planes flying circuits from the other runway, and jumpers were constantly landing in an adjacent field, the traffic coming in for the show was light. It really turned into just a straight in approach once I acknowledged that I saw the jump plane taking off from the opposite runway. A normal landing with excellent help and directions from Ground Control. We parked in the north lot.

The turn out was light, but for a weekday it was probably acceptable. We took the golf cart shuttle to the show side and immediately went over to see the Sport Cruiser. Todd, Megan and Bryan were handling the display and Kathy and I enjoyed talking about airplanes with them. The short time we were there a few folks stopped by to ask questions and admire the clean design. Next it was time for lunch. Just a few carts with typical air show food. After a sandwich we visited the indoor exhibits and stopped to chat with an old friend, Kirk from Dynon. We were glad to see Jim there comparing the different features available. Finally, we bought our Tee Shirts and went back to Sally to depart.

It was a long taxi and wait for take off in warm Florida weather . CHT1 was hovering around 250F by the time we were on the roll. She cooled off nicely on top of climb. I relaxed, did the checklist and prepared for the cruise home. It was hazy with scattered clouds at 4000'. We put up with the light  bumps at 2500'. I called Orlando for Flight Following. 4PS TRAFFIC TWELVE OCLOCK TWO MILES OPPOSITE DIRECTION TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED INDICATED IF NOT INSIGHT DESCEND AND MAINTAIN TWO THOUSAND IMMEDIATELY! We did.

We decided to tour Disney World another day. Instead we flew direct to KVDF and followed a very nice V-tail into the ramp area. It was a good day.

Video Notes: Deland LSA Showcase

I would comment that DeLand has some room to grow. I would guess it is currently about a 1/4 the size of the Sebring show. Although a weekday, the crowd was small. However, aircraft were being demonstrated the whole time we were there. Auto gyros to motor gliders and everything in between. It was a good start. I hope they are successful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Looking Back

Time for me to fly.

Moving into a new house is not easy. The punch list must be managed, the appliances installed, and all of the furniture placed, or removed. Couple this with setting up all of the basic services, finding the healthcare and legal professionals and all of the other things that turns a house into a home and the list of tasks becomes overwhelming.

As I went through the gate a peacock waited for me to pass before crossing the road.

Sally was dirty. I'm glad to have a covered tie down spot but extra care is needed to keep her clean. I'll take a day this week to spend time polishing all of the upper surfaces. Otherwise I'm pleased with how the exterior is holding up in the Florida climate.

I contacted Sensenich about the paint delamination on the prop blade. After they analyzed the pictures I sent in they assured me it was only a cosmetic problem. If I take the prop to them they will recondition it and it will be fully covered under the warranty. Plant City is a short drive, but the down time could be weeks. I'll have this done over the holidays to limit the impact to the flight schedule.

The engine is doing well. An easy start and a smooth balanced run up. She drops less than 100rpm per side. The CHT still gets warm (250F+) prior to take off, but cools immediately once airborne. I ordered a new Honeywell Oil Pressure sensor. Sally gives me a random low pressure warning with no other indications. I'll take here up to Dave this month to have that part changed out.

The flight was a good one. We climbed way up to 2500' and headed north to pass by Zephyrhills. Parachute operations were underway and I enjoyed watch the activity around the airport. (Still, I'm not ready to take the plunge.)

We did a few air work maneuvers before calling it a day. All systems are working well. I followed a Stinson in the pattern. The landing was good. Someone else in the pattern kept referring to the airport as Vandenberg. I guess he hadn't been here in awhile.

I'm already anxious to go again.

Video Notes: Backward

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oil Change

Overdue. She really should have had the oil changed BEFORE Oshkosh, but life sometimes gets in the way. No excuses are good ones so it was really important not to delay any longer and give Sally some attention.

I'm always tentative about letting a different A&P look at my engine. I've had mostly good luck, but every so often you get started on a repair and realize that the mechanic is way in over his head. An oil change is a good way for me to get Sally introduced.  Dave Patrick had been recommended by a member of the SCFlier forum. He is a good guy and I will be returning to him for all of my maintenance.

A good morning
We left KVDF just before 8:00am for a 60nm flight up to Marion County (X35). The weather was forecast to be mostly scattered, possibly some fog and mist. I was sure that as the sun warmed the air the dew point would lag behind the temperature and the atmosphere would clear throughout the day. 1500' was a good initial altitude, but after some thought I decided to climb to 1600' just in case someone else was out there dodging clouds. It was a beautiful morning.

Video Notes: Oil Change

Dave welcomed me to the field and acted as a "Follow Me" to guide me back to his hangar. On my list:
  • Oil Change
  • Dave waits for me to shutdown
  • Install capacitor
  • Low oil pressure sending unit
  • Adjust Prop pitch
  • BRS Repack
  • General engine inspection
CorrosionX. Dave a huge proponent of this product. He demonstrated by spraying some on the electric fuel pump and brushing it in. Within a few seconds it looked like new. Recommended for all parts, I'm particularly interested to see how it will work on the 1/4 turn fasteners for the wing lockers.

When we removed the lower cowl the landing light dropped to the length of the electrical wires. The stainless steel attachment bracket had broken close to the light mounting hole. Fortunately, a welder is located on the field and was able to fix the bracket before I left. (Great job BTW)

He worked steadily with no breaks, educating me with tips from his experiences dealing with light sport airplanes. I got much more than I paid for. I commented to him later that one of the seldom mentioned aspects of General Aviation is the fantastic people involved in this activity.  I had a very good day.
* Camtasia 9.0, Virb Edit 4.2.1

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Inverness

Sally weathered Hurricane Matthew well. I didn't notice anything unusual in or around our covered tie down space and the neighboring aircraft all looked to be fine as well. Temperature was in the mid-SIXTIES!

The preflight went great. I added ten gallons of gas from the local Wawa at about $25 ($1.50/gal less than 100LL). My plan was to fly up to Inverness. It was one of choices when returning from KOSH and it could become a cross country destination for my Sport Pilot Students. The weather was supposed to be 6000' overcast with 10 miles visibility. I decided to fly at 2500'. It wasn't long before the visibility was obscured with rain showers so I decided to descend to 1500' and alter course to stay clear of the heaviest rain. It took about a half hour to cover the 47 NM at low cruise settings of 5200 RPM. We burned just less than 5gal/hr.

Very little traffic, we did a straight in to RWY01. It was a nice 5000' asphalt runway with PAPI. A well maintained airport, I would not hesitate to send a student there.

Winds were directly off my left wing at 25kts for the trip home. Again some widely scattered showers but I was able to stay at 2500'.  5350 burned 5.3 gal/he. We encountered some mild turbulence close to KVDF and some traffic practicing instruments approaches using RWY23 circle to land RWY05. Our timing was good so we didn't experience any traffic delays.

Sally performed very well. No warnings or unusual indications. I'll take her for an oil change and a checkup tomorrow.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Preparing for Matthew

I drove out to the airport today to check on Sally. As I went through the gate I noticed the overflow ramp was full.. Planes have flown in from the eastern part of the state to find refuge from Matthew's mayhem.

Sally looked fine. The ropes were secure, the covers fastened properly and no obvious debris in the vicinity.  I double check my tie downs and a chock was added for each of the main gear. I made sure the vents were closed (insects have a way of finding any opening).

Satisfied I had done all I could, I left by the front (Terminal) gate. The main ramp was full too. I hope this storm makes a last minute starboard turn and spares the Florida coast.



From AOPA:

 If tying your aircraft down proves to be the best method of protection, you may want to follow this checklist to help reduce (and perhaps eliminate) damage to your aircraft.

...and from the FAA:

Allow for about 1 inch of movement, and remember that manila rope shrinks when it qets wet. TOO mch slack will allow the aircraft to jerk against the ropes. Avoid tightening the ropes too rmch. Tight tiedown ropes actually put inverted flight stresses on the aircraft, and many of them are not designed to take such loads. A tiedown rope holds no better thap the knot. Antislip knots such as a bowline or a square knot are quickly tied, and easy to untie.