Thursday, April 14, 2016
The weather was good. A weak cold front had stalled in northern Florida which had the potential of bringing clouds and rain later in the day, but when I arrived at KVDF I was welcomed with blue skies and light winds. The preflight went well, she burped with less than twenty pulls. I'm still learning how to start using the new ignition modules. As I waited for her to warm up two Cessnas, one belonging to C.A.P. joined me in the runup area. I let them go first while I waited for 122°F. When it was my turn I got the low oil pressure and low fuel pressure alerts when I added take off power. The engine sounded great, gave no other indications so I continued. CAP announced he would stay in the pattern and I saw him on downwind as I departed to the east. When I leveled at 1500' all engine indications were normal.
Sally and I explored the area just east of the airport for awhile. First we traveled over to see Plant City (KPCM) but stayed clear of the area and didn't land there. Next we went south to see Wimauma, a private grass strip. We passed east of the five giant TV towers south of Riverview. They scare me. At 1500' I was still looking up at them and on a hazy humid day they could be all but invisible. It would not be good to wander too close.
Next we flew down to Parrish to overfly the housing development we currently live in and see the surrounding community. It always looks different from the air. The SRQ Class C airport has a shelf with a base at 1200' so we went down a bit to enjoy the view. There are a lot of houses being built in Florida. We returned north by following Rt 301 and staying under the 3000' shelf of the Tampa Class B. Sally reported low pressure problems only a few times during our travels, and immediately recovered without any additional indications.
We did about 5 turns in the pattern. Again with a few low pressure annunciations but no other adverse indications. I am convinced we need a new oil pressure sensor.
Video Notes: I inadvertently left previous video on the chip and ran out of space to record this flight. Too bad as I had made meticulous audio notes of each indication whenever we had a low pressure annunciation. So instead, I offer this video from US Sport Aircraft: Takeoff
Posted by Pilot at 11:28 AM
Saturday, April 9, 2016
|2016 Sun 'n Fun|
|Best looking planes at the show|
|Nose art...on the tail|
|Former training squadron|
The aircraft displays were great. To spend the day just walking around new airplanes and equipment is a real pleasure. But as often been said, the real joy is the people. These shows are in fact, Homecomings. While 90% of the conversation is centered around things that fly, talk of family and work and health also occasionally crept in. Off limits this year was any discussion about politics. The aerobatic performers and the numerous formation teams were all spectacular. But for me the best was the final act of the day. A flyby of a P51 with an F4U in tight formation. Breathtaking.
I'm told this show isn't as big as Oshkosh. We'll see.
Video Notes: Lakeland Departure
Posted by Pilot at 2:28 PM
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Sally still has some sensor issues. It seems if running at a high RPM (>5200) she starts to report out of limit readings. It is nerve wracking, but I'm convinced its a gremlin and not a real reading. Still, getting a low oil pressure annunciation gets immediate attention!
Lakeland (KLAL) is only about 18 miles from Tampa Executive (KVDF) so the flight is relatively short. This would be a busy flight as I had to understand and follow the NOTAM for the Lake Parker Arrival. Inbound, the beautiful clear sky made it easy to pick out traffic. As I turned in toward the power station on the northeast corner of the lake I spotted a number of airplanes starting their procedure. I took interval behind a "high wing" and was happy to "Rock my Wings" over the power station for positive identification. I maintained a westerly heading at 1200' and 100KTS but strong winds from the east increased my groundspeed by about 20KTS. It was fun looking for the landmarks along the way.
The controllers did an outstanding job keeping everyone informed and the tower was just great handling the huge amount of traffic. The key to flying into an event like this is to study the procedure, listen to what is being said, and respond to the commands. There simply isn't any bandwidth available for chatter.
The only problem I had was spotting my intended point of landing. I didn't see the "orange dot" until well down the runway, but I understood that this was a heavy traffic situation and the tower wanted me out of the way and off the runway as soon as possible. (I misjudged the gusty winds and landed just short of the dot, argh!)
The ground crew and linesman did a superb job of getting me to my parking spot. After shut down a linesman came by to remind me to double check my "Master -Off" and asked if I need tie downs. After the episode a few years ago, tie downs are mandatory. (I brought my own...The Claw)
Once I was sure she was secure, I took the L O N G walk to the display area and immediately found some old friends.
Video Notes: Lake Parker Approach
Posted by Pilot at 7:39 PM
Sunday, March 20, 2016
I dug into my old flight bag and found a set of "Foggles" to use as a vision limiting device. I decided to use LAL and SRQ for our practice stations which would keep us clear of the Tampa Class B airspace.
First we went directly to LAL and upon station passage (cone of silence, when the VOR needle disappears on the Horizontal Situation Indicator) I told him about the 6 "T's".
- Time: for groundspeed calculations,not used much now that we have GPS
- Twist: The Course Deviation Indicator to the desired course
- Turn: to the Desired course
- Time: for outbound holding (seldom used now) or approach timing.
- Transition: climb, descend, change configuration for an approach.
- Talk: to the controlling agency (if necessary)
I've always felt that the test questions were designed to be tricky and intentionally confusing. Actually seeing it used in the airplane seems to help eliminate that confusion.
- Track: A path along which something moves; a course: The line you draw on the sectional is the track. The magenta line the GPS depicts is a track.
- Course: the route or direction followed by a ship, aircraft, road, or river. Course is the direction over the ground along which the plane is currently moving.
- Heading: The heading is the direction to which the "nose" of the object is pointing, its orientation. The angle between heading and track is known as the drift angle.
- Bearing: Angular direction measured from one position to another using geographical or celestial reference lines. Relative bearing refers to the angle between the plane's forward direction, and the location of another object (like a VOR station.)
Reference: Training Video (Pilot Training Solutions)
Posted by Pilot at 6:51 PM
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.Air Almanac = 6:58pm local
...no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise...Air Almanac = Sunset at 6:34pm local
|How many clicks?|
It was a beautiful night to fly. The traffic on I4 and I75 was still pretty heavy as people were rushing home after their work day. The lights from the city were coming on. I always think the runway environment at night is spectacular. Runway 05 was in use:
- Precision Approach Path Indicator
- Runway End Identifier Lights
- Medium Intensity Runway Lights
|Night, or civil twilight?|
More information can be found here. FAA Aeronautical Charts
With all of these lights it was easy to establish the runway environment on final. But the last landing of the night had a little extra challenge. This is something I practice (occasionally) but I had no intention of doing it for this landing. The exciting part comes in the flare. No landing light.
Posted by Pilot at 5:01 PM
Friday, March 4, 2016
But there is that nagging voice, that little loss of confidence that makes me wonder if she is really fixed. Did we miss something? Time for another check flight.
A front came through on Wednesday bringing low ceilings to the local area. Thursday was perfect! Another extended preflight with the same results, I was airborne by 11:00am heading east. We climbed to 1500' and stayed north of the high cell towers near Brandon (1667FT). I used different power settings, did some simple climbs and descents and generally gave the engine a light workout. I was convinced she was solid so headed over to Lakeland-Linder Airport (KLAL), home of Sun 'N Fun. A brief stay there then back to Tampa Exec for some landing practice.
All systems are nominal. Its great to have Sally back!
Video Notes: To Lakeland, From Lakeland
Posted by Pilot at 9:44 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Original Plan to KFFC
Then she dropped into the red. "We are aborting the flight", I told Kathy. I immediately clicked off the autopilot and turned right. Crystal River was slightly south and doable. Oil Pressure went back to green. Went through my checks again. Was there ANY other indication? No. "I think we'll go home". With the tail winds it should be about 30 minutes. Back in the red, reading 0, then 2 psi, for just a second then green. Still no other indications. Then back in the red for 5 seconds.
The closest airport with the longest runway was Brooksville (KBKV). Kathy asked if she could help, she could see I was busy. I told her my intentions to land at Brooksville about 15 miles ahead of us. I love my 696. I dialed up tower and told them I had fluctuating oil pressure, and gave my position. The Tower guys were GREAT!. He asked me to call a 3 mile base for Rwy9 and he worked on clearing traffic out of my way. A C130 was in the pattern doing parachute drops, and a few other planes were vectored out of our way. I came in high (intentionally) and started to slip her in once on final. Nice to have a 7000ft runway. We turned off at the first taxiway and made our way over to the FBO.
I also called Patrick at US SPORT for his advice. He was out flying, but when he returned immediately called back and left a message. From the description I provided he suspected the sensor.
I put the cowling back on and told Kathy to wait in the FBO while I went for a test run. The test flight was all good. I picked Kathy up at the FBO and flew the 10 minutes back to Tampa Executive. I'll take her back down to Sebring for a "more in depth analysis".
We all gripe about the costs of flying, the over regulation, and all of the annoyances we face each time we go out to fly. We don't talk enough about the wonderful community that we have. Complete strangers treating us like family. What a privilege it is to be a part of GA.
Posted by Pilot at 12:50 PM