Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Disney Tour

We woke to foggy conditions. The winter weather in Florida is still producing a lot of advection fog as the winds bring moist air from the gulf over the central Florida airports. I knew the sun would burn it off by mid morning.


We arrived about 10:00am to start the preflight. Mandy was a big help getting Sally ready to fly. As we were taking the tiedown ropes off we could hear the whine of engines coming from the terminal. The Direct TV blimp was taking off and flew right over us. I love blimps.

Even though it was a week day, the airport was busy. As we taxied out I could hear planes announcing arrivals and departures for RWY23. We chose RWY18. It was Mandy's first ever take off and though nervous, did fine. We made a downwind departure to the northeast and climbed to 2500'. It was hazy but over 10 miles of visibility. The haze layer provide an excellent horizon to work on basic air work.

After awhile we passed just south of Zephyr Hills and she pointed out some sky divers. As we approached Orlando I noticed some strange looking clouds. Soon I realized that they were sky writers. I called approach to let them know we would be wandering around in nearby airspace (under the Class B and over the Disney TFR) just touring and taking pictures. He gave us a squawk code. It was exciting to see all of the Orlando attractions from the air. The theme parks seem so big when your looking for "Country Bear Jamboree" but not so large from 3200'. We saw "The Orlando Eye", "Epcot" and Universal Studios in addition to Disney World. The tour lasted a little more than 30 minutes and was a lot of fun.

The trip back to KVDF was uneventful. We enjoyed the Florida scenery and I thought about flying over our home but reconsidered. Not everyone enjoys being in a small airplane for over 2 hours. So instead I briefed Mandy on landing pattern operations. She was NOT anxious about making the landing. But I coached her through and she did great!

So in summary; a blimp, some sky divers, sky writing, pictures of Orlando attractions, a take off and a landing. Not a bad discovery Flight.

A Great Discovery Flight



Video Notes: The Disney Tour


Saturday, December 31, 2016

A short December Flight

It was cool for Florida, about 14°C OAT. I decided to clean her up later in the week when the temperature was forecast to get warmer. (25°C) Instead, I spent time doing a thorough preflight. It took about 30 props to get a burp, oil was in the middle of the stick. Fuel came out of the sumps clean. Tires are a little worn but the inflation was good. Lots of spider webs but nothing covering the vents or pitot tube. Considering I hadn't flown her in two weeks she looked pretty good.

The mission was simple: just exercise the systems and get a few landings in.

Winds were variable 020 to 050 at 7 gusting to 18. I chose RWY36. The runup went well. I felt comfortable. As we took the runway I searched for the sock and found the winds blowing straight down the field. Static check at 4950RPM. We lifted off quickly. All indications
were nominal. We did two landings to a full stop without any problems (4 out of 5 stars). Then we departed to the east and climbed to 2500'. I expected more turbulence but it was relatively smooth. We did a few steep turns, some slow flight, then headed for home. All systems worked well with no annunciator lights.

As I checked in with KVDF another Light Sport was giving a position report over "Kidney Lake" (Lake Thonotosassa ) which is northeast of the airport. He said he was at 300', departing and returning to Peter O'Knight. I looked to my right and found him climbing to the south. I turned and my formation training came back to me in a flash. I joined him in trail and came up on his left side. I had never seen an Icon A5 before. What a beautiful aircraft. After a minute or so I broke off to the left and reentered the traffic pattern at KVDF. A great no flap landing followed.

Another beautiful day to fly in Florida.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Activity

A weak cold front
 Fog. The mornings have been obscured with fog and low clouds. Sometimes its due to a weak cold front, but more often due warm moist air blowing over the cooler land (Advection). Lately this has kept me grounded for most of the day. Morning temperature starts in the mid 60s and gets up to the low 80s by mid afternoon.

I've been troubled with a low oil pressure problem. This seems to have been going on for some time now. I'm convinced it is a false indication. No other symptoms exist. I recently had the Honeywell sender unit replaced but had the problem again on the way home. I'll focus on wiring and a loose connection next.

Post flight complete
The BRS parachute needs to be repacked. Dave had a very good conversation with Patrick and decided the best way to do this was to remove the instrument panels and the rocket and slide the chute out from under the glare shield. Unfortunately the schematic for Sally did not match the configuration we found in the airplane. Since we didn't want to tamper with the rocket we decided to delay the removal until we got better documentation.

A bracket for the nose gear pant broke. I ordered a new one from US Sport Aircraft and had Dave replace it. He'll take the broken one over to the welder so that I'll have a backup when the next one breaks. Reinstalling the pant was a challenge. Lining up all of the screw was difficult. At least I didn't have to do it laying on a frozen floor.

Sally was DIRTY. The covered tiedown keeps the harmful UV off the plane, but dew and rain seeps from the cover to leave black spots on all upper surfaces. Waxall and few clean rags and a lot of effort cleans her up in about an hour. The bonus is a clean airplane, uncovered with fuel in the tanks. Add the late afternoon sun dissipating the fog and we have a recipe for an enjoyable hour bouncing in the pattern.

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