Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

Winter officially arrives today at 12:11pm EST, although most areas got a jump start to winter and have doubled or even tripled normal December snowfall already this month. Butter Valley is snowed in. The asphalt runway has been cleared but the plow left piles of ice along each edge. The taxiway has been packed down by snow mobiles and that icy mix just isn't very good for steering using differential breaking.

What to do while waiting on the thaw? Read and study:
  1. New Owner for SportCruiser in America : One of the most recognized aircraft in the LSA space is the SportCruiser, which ranks high on our LSA Market Share ranking (2012 figures). Solid in the #4 spot, they are likely to move up with another decent year in 2013, thanks to what some might call the "halo effect" of having had the Piper name on the airplane (photo) for a year, and now, a new owner. Don Ayers retired and handed the reins to his partner and new company president, Patrick Arnzen
  2. The Dynon ChannelIn this video we provide step-by-step instructions on how to enable and control the autopilot using SkyView's Simplified Control Scheme. This control scheme is ideal for VFR flying that doesn't require the more complex modes that our IFR-centric Expert Control Scheme offers.
  3. Look up, Look Out : Consider it a cautionary tale. If you fly with what I like to call “pretty pictures,” more often known as EFIS, PFDs or MFDs, or even Garmin / iPad GPS moving maps on your lap or clamped to your yoke, please remember this: those are just representations of the world outside
  4. Five ways to make bad landings: After beating me handily in a spot landing contest, he reinforced the practice of stabilized approach parameters.  Find the target speeds you need to hit on every leg.  Once you have the pitch set for speed, make distance adjustments with the power
  5. 3rd Class Medical Exemption:  Lots has been written and speculated about what the FAA might do about the requirement that a Private Pilot has a medical. “For the non-aviators out there, most pilots need two documents to fly: 1) a non-expiring pilot certificate and 2) a medical certificate that gets renewed every six to sixty months. I said “most” since there are some pilots exempted from having a medical certificate at all. Some pilots who fly balloons, gliders, and certain small, sport planes (LSA) need only to self certify that their medical condition is appropriate for their flight.” - Here  Some speculation suggested that the LSA industry would suffer if GA pilots were allowed to fly larger aircraft without the medical. My Thoughts:
    • I fly for fun. Your definition of fun may differ, but for me it starts when the nose wheel lifts off until the mains squeak back on the runway.  I can honestly say that I have yet to find an airplane that is not fun to fly, although some are more fun than others.
    •  I fly the best airplane I can afford. Your definition of affordability may differ, but for me the primary factor is operating costs. The loan is a burden, but the low day to day operations really impacts how/when I fly. Also, my CFO would not approve $1/4M of fun. (A few other items rank higher on the household budget.)
    • ...and the intangible.  I like the group of people that call themselves Sport Pilots. When we sat at the dinner prior to the CT Flyin out at Page we were with people from all over the country, different lifestyles, different experiences, but all there to enjoy flying their little airplanes on new adventures. Yes, pilots in general are like this, but Sport Pilots seem to relish it just a bit more.
    • I believe that people shouldn't have to buy things they don't want (talking LSA here). If a pilot wants to fly a C172 rather than an LSA he should be able to. Some people like trucks, others don't. I find very little value add in the medical certification process we have now. If getting rid of it hurts the LSA industry than the industry needs to provide a more "valuable" product.
    • So with all of the turmoil would I buy LSA again? My only regret is that I didn't buy one sooner. 
Just maybe I'll get one more flight in this year.

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