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

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


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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thin Scattered

We went flying today. Hurricane Matthew is still in the Caribbean Sea trying to figure out where it will unleash it's mayhem.  The first cold front of the season weakened into some broken troughs and lingered to the east letting unstable moist gulf air into the Tampa Bay area. The result was a thin scattered layer at about 800', with building cumulous over the central areas of the state. It looked like if we went before noon the weather would be skuddy but doable.  By 10:00am the fog had lifted and visibility was close to 10 miles, so we went flying.

Thin Scattered
The scattered layer was less than 100' thick and easy to fly around. As we climbed to 1500' we got a better view of the cloud build up to the east. I didn't need XM Weather to show me not to go there. We turned further south and got close to the menacing cell towers that pop above 1500' and have been the source of a few nightmares. My initial mission was to over fly the sink hole near Mulberry which is just south of Plant City. The large clouds near Lakeland changed my mind. So I changed my mind and decided to fly down Lithia-Pinecrest Road  to see where it goes. As I traveled southeast I noticed the scattered layer was getting thicker. Time to go home.

Sally had performed well. No low pressure indications, no annunciator lights, all systems normal. As we entered the 45 for RWY23 I was glad we had returned early. The thin layer had gotten thicker and was already starting to fill in. We were forced to fly the pattern a bit lower than normal. It would not be a good day for VFR pilots trying to fly later in the day.

Video Notes: Thin Scattered

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Unexpected

Our first flight had been cut short by the weather. Thunder cells were building over the gulf coast and moving east toward the northeast Tampa suburbs. We got in some taxi practice and did one lap in the pattern before deciding to call it quits. The weather was worse than forecast and arrived sooner than expected.

This time the weather was great. There would be storms in the afternoon but this morning's flight would be fine. We took off on course for RWY23 until over the interstate, then turned east to get away from the Class B airspace. A part of the lesson was to fly rectangular pattern using a ground reference to simulate the airport environment. We found a long narrow lake to use as our runway and exercised the procedures need to fly the landing pattern. I stressed the need to be prepared for the unexpected and we practiced a low approach and "go around" a few times before heading for home.

KVDF was busy today with a lot of King Airs and other twins participating in a Customs and Border Protection exercise. As we entered on our 45, a Seneca announced an extended downwind and a Navajo called 5 mile final for straight in RWY23. I didn't see the Seneca so opted to do a 360 and come in behind him. The Navajo entered on an extended upwind as #3. All aircraft in sight, I concentrated helping my student with his cues as we turned base leg. It was then that the Navajo called to tell the Light Sport (me) that the Seneca had just run off the runway!

We had just practiced this. After initiating the climb we stated our intentions to follow the Navajo to RWY18. (Nice to have a choice.) A normal landing followed by a careful taxi back to the terminal. By the time we parked the maintenance crew was on their way to airplane.

* No one was hurt. Looks like the nose gear collapsed, but still an undetermined cause. By the time I left the airport there we a number of plain white cars with no hubcaps (FAA) coming onto the airport grounds.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Voltager Rectifier/Regulator

Ducati Voltage Regulator/Rectifier
The regulator slash rectifier performs two tasks. Power coming out of your Rotax engine is AC power. The two yellow black wires coming from your magneto each have a different "phase". The regulator/rectifier converts this from a 3 phase AC power to a single phase DC.

The magneto is always trying to put out the same amount of power, this creates a problem when the battery is fully charged, or there is no heavy load on the system. A lot like a tap filling a pail of water, if something is drawing water from the pail at the same rate it is entering it will not over flow. But if the water keeps coming in with none being taken out, it will over fill, - thus the battery over charges.

The regulator rectifier prevents this by taking the excess voltage and and converting it to heat to keep the system with acceptable limits. -
After the storm
We survived the Hurricane. I was pleased to find Sally in great shape safely secured in her covered tie down spot. In general, this turned out to be more of a giant squall line for the Tampa area then a Class 1 Hurricane, but there was significant flooding and northern Florida had numerous downed trees and power lines. We were safe.

A subsequent flight after the storm went well, except for a persistent red generator light. Having had these symptoms before, I suspected a failed Voltage Regulator. I ordered a replacement from US Sport Aircraft and planned to spend some time over the Labor Day Holiday to replace the failed part.

It is a relatively simple job made complicated by the attachment design. Two through bolts hold the Voltage Regulator to the firewall. If I had eight foot multi-hinged arms I could hold the bolt head inside the cockpit while loosening the nut in the engine compartment. I don't. Or, I could get some help, but my lead assistant was busy at the mall taking advantage of Labor Day bargains. I would be solo on this one.

First, how to get to the bolts. Enter the pilot's side, and keeping your left leg on the wing, kneel onto the pilot's seat. (Advance throttle and choke to full forward.) Slowly roll your shoulders onto the copilot's seat and using any available handhold force your body past the stick close to the rudder peddles.  (Caution: Make sure all tools and supplies are prepositioned for easy reach.)

The trick is: Vice Grips and masking tape. By reaching under the copilot panel, find the bolts holding the voltage regulator and tightly clamp in place with the vice grips. Now, tape the tools to the firewall. (If you skip this step the vice grips will rotate with the nut until they interfere with something else under the panel. Not good.)

Now, get out anyway you can. (I suspect it won't look elegant, but that's just me.) Remove and replace the part. Easy. Now retrieve the vice grips. Not so easy.

The test flight went well. Green generator light the whole time. However, I did have a strange radio feedback on my initial call for taxi. It went away after a few minutes. Everything seems to be just fine, for now.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Readiness Flight

I always do a Readiness Flight before I get with a new student. I try to go about the same time as the scheduled flight either a day or two prior to the actual event. This gives me a chance to evaluate typical weather patterns for the time of day, especially the heat, and check out the overall condition of the airplane. It is especially important if I haven't flown in awhile as it helps to knock my rust off as well.

I stopped to get 5 gallons of gas from the local Wawa for our flight. That would give me about an hour of flight time. I was surprised to find Sally looking so clean. Two weeks under the overhang had treated her well. Always a few spiders nests as well as some other crawly things, but for the most part not too bad. She burped after 20 pulls and the oil level was halfway up the flat. Nothing unusual under the cowling. The tires looked good. I pulled her out into the sunlight to continue to preflight and found a little debris from the gascolator., but nothing to worry about. I climbed in and finished my checks. An easy start, oil pressure was good and everything looked normal. No it didn't, generator light was on. Voltage was 11+ but she was discharging.

I decided to do some pattern work to see if there were any other problems. Run-up was fine. All other checks were good. Winds were from the north so we used runway 5. I was the only airplane flying at Tampa Exec today. Sally performed well in the Florida heat (90's) and after to circuits I was confident that she only had one discrepancy, what I suspect to be the voltage regulator (or rectifier.) Last changed in May 2015, and before that in April 2013. A new one is on order. (approx $200).

Video Note: Readiness Flight

Note: Pretty quiet without the generator online.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Oshkosh - Epilog

Saturday 7/30: I called the airport early Saturday morning to let them know that I was the owner of the PiperSport tied down on their ramp. I told the manager that I would be up to get her on Sunday. Nate made his early afternoon commercial flight Saturday.

Sunday 7/31: Kathy drove me up to the Crystal River Airport Sunday morning. It seems we had parked Sally in a spot reserved for the training aircraft of the fight school. The manager had already received a number of requests asking to rent her. Kathy waited in the car under a shade tree as I did a thorough preflight. Coolant level was good, but the oil was at the bottom of the flat. I added about a third of a bottle to bring it up to about midway. Tires and the rest of the exterior looked good.

I had cracked open the canopy to let some of the Florida heat out. I needed to use rags as oven mitts to use the handholds as I got in. The leather seats were hot too. I brought a small flat blade screwdriver to see if I could use it as a lever to pry the electric fuel pump on. It worked. She started easily and the remaining checks were good. We had an uneventful flight home.

Conclusion: This was an event of a lifetime and is really hard for me to overstate. The journey to and from Oshkosh, coupled with THE show itself were way above expectations, but spending a week of quality time with my son was nothing short of fabulous.

Thanks Nate.
  1. Nate bought a hat at Airventure. (I received some comments about trying to shield his eyes while landing at Fon du Lac.)
  2. My cell phone was under warranty and has been replaced.
  3. The fuel pressure issue is under investigation. During the annual a new mechanical fuel pump was installed and some memorandum indicate fluctuating low pressure may be normal and acceptable.
  4. The broken toggle switch has been repaired. 
  5. F = Food, S = Sleep. (IMSAFE) In any case, we were too tired to continue.
  6. The mileage and performance charts previously provided were based on straight line distance between airports and Hobbs time. This skewed the speed calculations. Remember that we lost some GPS data due to loss of battery power at Terre Haute. The following chart is a more "realistic" calculation of ground speed from the GPS track information available from the 696. (Average of 96kts)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Return from Oshkosh

Wednesday 7/27: There were dark clouds just north of KFLD. The weather briefer had also advised us of storms along the coast line of the lake. We worked together to get the tie downs off, gear packed and preflight completed. Before turning the key we paused, double checked everything and validated what we were about to do. Sally started easily, we contacted ground and prepared to take off to the north, right at the storm. We made a downwind departure to the south, putting the ugly weather behind us.

KGYY: The challenge on this leg was the very busy Class B and numerous Class C & D around Chicago. Flight Following was good at pointing out the many targets and before too long we were out over the shoreline at 1500' under the Class B shelf. Spectacular views of the city skyline and a sad park that was formerly known as Meigs Field. KGYY was only a fuel stop so we didn't stay long. We met two fliers from Philadelphia on their way to KOSH that were waiting out the weather we just ran away from. I wonder how they made out?

KHUF: Easy departure, weather was not a factor, we had light (8-10kts) headwinds as we traveled south into Indiana. Weather briefer had no major concerns until we reached the southern part of the state, so Terre Haute  would be our rest stop. We arrived just before 6:00pm so the person working the FBO desk wasn't sure about letting the crew car go for the night, but a check with the manager gave us permission. A nice Honda Pilot was ours until 8:00am Thursday morning. Some great food at M Moggers Restaurant and Pub before returning to the hotel for some rest.

Thursday 7/28: Rain and fog and thunderstorms. We sat in the pilot's lounge waiting on the weather. Eventually we borrowed the crew car to go get some lunch and along the way stopped by Rose-Hulman University to take a look. We had visited this place years before as part of Nate's college tour. The sun started to break through in the afternoon, but we were still in an unstable air mass. Nate suggested we try some landing practice. (How often have you landed on a 9000ft runway?) As we went through the preflight I noticed the GPS representation was different. During our last shutdown Nate had pressed a button on the 696 activating its internal battery. It had gone dead over the night so all of my customization's were gone. Track up anyone?

KBWG: We departed the pattern about 3:00pm heading direct to Bowling Green. There were lots of Cumulus clouds but easy enough to fly around. Headwinds at 3500' were moderate at 10-12kts. Due to heavy, ugly thunderstorms to the south, this would be an overnight stop. Colmar Aviation took good care of us by providing shuttle service to and from the Holiday Inn. (They even provided a free breakfast!)

Friday 7/29: Low scattered clouds and mist. The briefer told us to expect a broken layer at 4500' on our way south. This should be an easy leg.

KGLW: The scattered layer turned into a broken layer just a few miles after take off. We climbed above it and very soon after there were no longer any holes beneath us. A quick check of the METARS showed our destination was overcast at 3500'. KBWG was now marginal VFR, the next best airport was Gasgow Municipal. This was not a good time to exercise "VFR Over the Top". We turned back to wait for better conditions.

I large cell was just to the south of us, another had KBWG in IFR conditions. A rectangular SIGMET put us in the box. I thought it would be an hour for that mess to move off to the east. It did, but another cell was born and traveled right behind. We ordered pizza. I went out to Sally to set my preferences back into the 696. We waited. After some more time, we formulated a plan to head north and west around the biggest cells, then south into good air.

KMDQ: We departed about 2:00pm heading roughly toward KBWG. The weather was better than expected, but even so we listened to ATC helping flights find their way around the storms. We had choices to make. Could we make it safely through the opening to the left? Should we divert more to the west? We had Flight Following. We had XM Weather (and were very aware of the limitations). All the time we kept the dark gray monsters in sight to the east. 3500' was good until we got close to Nashville, then we had to go lower but we had to do that anyway to get beneath the west side of the Class C airspace (2400') around Nashville. Down 200' up 100', down another 200' picking our way clear of the base of the clouds. Sally squawked obstacle and terrain avoidance and we could visually verify each one.  After KBNA the weather finally got good enough for us to relax. We climbed back up 3500'. Nate put the Foggles back on and set up for an ILS. I had him review the chart on his iPad and brief the approach. Hard work after an already busy day. Just another fuel stop, we did a quick turn around and got on our way.

KCKF: Easy departure, about 4:00pm and weather was still a factor with large thunder storms directly on our path. We had light (8-10kts) headwinds as we traveled southeast avoiding the isolated storms on our way to Georgia. We watched in wonder at the downpours in the mountains west of Atlanta and were relieved when we turned the corner to head south again. Finally some clear skies. But another problem got our attention, an intermittent low fuel pressure warning. Fortunately we have a full set of instruments and there were no changes in fuel flow, RPM or any other gauge. I suspect a bad sensor. We set up for an RNAV approach so Nate got to try going down to an MDA instead of a glide slope. Just another fuel stop, we did a quick turn around and got on our way.

KCGC: We departed about 6:30pm. One more large cell to the south was clearly visible on XM on the 696. We could see this beautiful monster in the distance and could easily get around the western edge and then turn south once again. Weather forecast in Florida was good. We snuck under a thin layer at 4000' as the sun was setting. We prepared for night flight by dimming the instruments and sitting on our flashlights. This part of the country was sparse, not many ground lights. I cautioned Nate about fixation and the "black hole" effect. A Diamond Star was coming up from the south to get his night landings in. While we had a number of airports to choose from, and I chose poorly. "Full Service" does NOT include Self Service. After a night visual approach and landing Nate broke the electric fuel pump toggle switch when turning off the pump. We taxiied to the ramp (avoiding the Diamond Star) and shut her down.

It had been a long day. IMSAFE said we should no longer fly due to fatigue. Low fuel pressure indications with a broken standby pump at night meant our journey was at an end. Although less than 45 minutes from home, it was time to call the ground crew. We secured Sally, walked over to the local Applebees and waited for Kathy to come fetch us. Our heads hit the pillow back in Tampa about 2:00am.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Light Sport AirVenture

Monday 7/25: We taxied over to the fuel station at Fon du Lac and shut her down. We both took a deep breath and smiled at each other. That was quite an entry. We gathered our wits and planned our next move. First we called EAA to find out if tent camping was still available (General Aviation Camping was closed). We were assured we could camp there. A shuttle was available to take us from KFLD to KOSH. Parking on the grass was available at KFLD, so we moved Sally over to the field and tied her down. We had planned to camp under Sally's wing but now with the change of plans we had to remove any gear we might need while camping at Oshkosh. Fortunately we travel light.

We took the last two seats on the next shuttle, Nate sitting way in the back of the bus, I sat next to a pilot who just flew his Mooney in from Connecticut with two teenage daughters. He was still wound up about his entry into KFLD.  I started to tell my story but he was just two excited to listen.

My First
We checked in at the ticket counter and bought tickets (wrist bands) through Wednesday. Nate was surprised to find that I was already an EAA member. This would save us a lot of money throughout the week. They were not able to provide camping passes, so that would be a long walk (first of many) to another building. Camping passes are purchased by the week and if you leave early the unused days are refunded. Now that we were assured of a spot it was time to see the show. This time we took the shuttle bus.

Our agenda was as simple as A,B,C,D. Those are the hangars that hold the aviation vendors. We were methodical and diligent. We both had things we wanted to see, but nothing we wanted to buy. This was a reconnaissance mission. (BTW, you get what you pay for. We saw many pieces of gear that you might expect to use for an emergency back up situation that really weren't manufactured or tested with any safety standards. Beware.) About 3:00pm my cell phone died. While disappointed that I wouldn't be taking pictures, I would not miss the daily news. It was...liberating. Nate still had his phone in case of any emergency. We visited a few more vendors (including US Sport Aircraft and the Airbus E-FAN)) before calling it a day.

Camp "Dads"
Nate had ordered camping gear from Target. We took another long walk over to the store to pick up the gear, then had Uber take us back to camp grounds. After some quick checking in the dark, our site was selected behind some Port-a-potties near a Dumpster. (No, it was a GREAT spot! You can really appreciate the convenience as you get older.) Tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses w/battery powered pump, pillows, ...but we would still be roughing it - no pillow cases! Putting up camp in the dark is never easy, but Nate handled it very well. We put our heads down about 11:30 pm and slept VERY well.

Tuesday 7/26: Priorities were 1. Airplanes, 2. Food, 3. Rest.

I woke up around 7:30am to the sound of rotor blades flying overhead. Next the unmistakable sound of a Merlin engine. We were just a few steps from the bus stop and near the beginning of the route which meant we could sit down for our ride to the show. After some coffee and an egg sandwich we headed over to Boeing Plaza (stopping to look and our favorite vendor displays along the way). We spent time with the B17, then spent time talking with the P3AEW&C Plane Commander about his current duties and operations. He had a great story about flying this 4 engine plane into a VFR traffic pattern with homebuilts. We looked at all the planes in the plaza and asked questions about each one. Did you know that Air Force F15s have tail hooks?

I found a shady table as Nate stood in line for food. Two guys asked to join me and of course I welcomed them. Both family doctors and AMEs from Wichita, they had flown into Green Bay in their C210 and drove a rental car in every day, about 45 minutes from their hotel. We discussed the changes to the Third Class Medical and their experiences giving pilots exams. They are uncertain that the pilot population can self regulate. It was a great discussion.

We made many, many more stops but one in particular was the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center. With mobile Apps to send alerts about significant weather, why can't incoming pilots be alerted when Oshkosh parking is full? How does someone make a reservation? The unsatisfying response: "The grounds are actually open weeks in advance. You should come earlier."

It was time to head to the beer tent. We found some seats at the end of a table so I claimed our spot as he went for beer. It felt really good to sit down. Across from me sat a guy wearing a light blue Air Force cap with "scrambled eggs" on the brim. I asked what he flew and the immediate response was an RV7. We talked about General Aviation for a bit before I pressed him on what he flew in the Air Force. "Oh, MQ9s." Wow! So when Nate came back I told him to chat with this guy because he flies drones. (Air Force prefers Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, BTW.) When Nate learned the truth the poor man couldn't eat his meal as he answered all of our questions. Just fantastic, only at Oshkosh. Next we walked over to Pioneer Field to watch the RC planes do their thing. We were both impressed.

We walked back to the camp grounds and stopped at the Country Store. I looked up and saw a two plane formation, F4U in trail of a P51. We sat at the picnic table drinking a gallon jug of ice water and a few beers. We talked about all things aviation and nothing about real world troubles. Then a short walk to "Camp Dads" for another sound sleep.

Wednesday 7/27: Nate donated the camp gear to a church group camping just behind us. After another bus ride in, we stopped for the traditional coffee and donuts. Then signed up for a simulator ride at the EAA Pilot Center. During the hour or so wait we checked out the Bose booth, a few more LSA displays and watched airplanes of all types making low passes down the runway. The simulator instructors were a bit overwhelmed, so while it was interesting, the event didn't live up to its potential. A few more stops before we exited the main gate and looked for the shuttle back to Fon du Lac.

Wrap Up: Flying Magazine
"EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton agrees. With more than 14,300 aircraft movements, 553,000 visitors and a boisterous mood among visitors and thousands of EAA volunteers, Pelton called AirVenture 2016 an “unbelievably successful” event."
Plane and Pilot
"From our point of view, there were, scientifically speaking, a boatload of planes at Wittman Field, with parking filling up by the first day of the show, Monday, and staying very full even through the usual getaway days of Thursday and Friday and through the penultimate day, Saturday, as well.

Opinion: I was asked what I liked most about the show? The airplanes are great. The technology is truly amazing. The size and scope of this event is incomprehensible. An uneducated guess would be that I saw about 33% of the event. Definitely worth another trip. But the most impressive part of the show is the people. We had wonderful conversations with very interesting people. Pilots are just great people to be around.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Flight to Oshkosh 2016

I was probably about fourteen years old when I first heard about it. Oshkosh. My Mom thought it had something to do with kid's clothes. I had made myself a promise that some year I would fly there in my own airplane. However life gets in the way sometimes and while I always intended to keep my promise, I never thought it would take me fifty years. Never, ever in all that time did I think there would be a bonus, that my son would make the trip with me.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sunday 7/24: After a breakfast at WaWa we drove out to the airport to begin the preflight. Weight is always a concern when flying an LSA. We eliminated all non-essential bags, clutter, plugs an covers. We kept the pitot static cover, a bottle of oil, tie down ropes and the "Claw" tie down hooks. We opted for a can of canopy cleaner and a few rags. All of that went into the left wing locker. My small travel bag went into the right wing locker. Nate's clothing was in a small backpack and went into the space behind the seats with a small box of snacks. We would fly with about 20 gallons of fuel, my "bingo" target is 6 gallons (3 on each side). Fuel burn is less than 6 gal/hr. 

KVDF: We took off about 0730. Weather was not a factor. Light headwinds.

KTMA: En route we practiced a few standard rate turns, discussed IFR terminology and reviewed some approach charts. Nate did his first ILS. We took off about 1030. Weather was not a factor. Light headwinds.

KRYY: More IFR discussions including the different types of approach procedures and memory aids (6T's). Clouds had turned from few to scattered to broken and the bottoms were dropping to 3500'. We asked for clearance through the Class B and were granted but at 4500'. Instead we flew under the "shelf" to the west of Atlanta and enjoyed seeing familiar terrain and landmarks.  The area around the airport has changed significantly with a longer runway and many new buildings. I had biscuits and gravy at the Elevation Chophouse and Skybar, he had some kind of healthy salad. We took off about 1300. Weather was becoming a factor with Cumulus building in all sectors. 8-10kt headwinds.

KBWG: We climbed out to the north and looked for ways to fly around the build ups. We asked for 4500' the 6500' and finally 8500'. That seemed to be a good level so we stayed there and set up for cruise. Surprisingly smooth air and the GPS reported "LT" winds on the nose. Nate tried on the "Foggles" and we discussed "Power + Pitch = Performance". I occasionally gave him heading changes to avoid the clouds building in front of us. XM weather began showing some yellow and red cells off in the distance, and ATC was getting busy diverting the commercial jets around the weather. We began a descent just north of Chattanooga to get beneath the cloud decks. 3500' worked out fine as we had a much better view of the heavy rain to see and avoid. Nate took the Foggles off and made a nice transition for the visual approach into Bowling Green. Just a fuel stop. We took off about 1600. The CU's were still in the area but becoming more scattered as they dissipated. 12-14kt headwinds.

KDNV: We still had some cells to avoid but the storms were becoming a non factor. Headwinds picked up to 20-24kts but still smooth air. My fuel checks weren't looking good. We could make our overnight destination but it would be tight. Already tired from a long day of flying, it was not a good time to question my personal limits on fuel remaining so we scheduled an intermediate stop. As we pulled a line captain said that there was a problem with the fuel truck and would take him a few minutes to get it fixed. (Oh no, this could be awhile.) But he fixed it quickly and we were ready to go. "Want to see something cool?" He took us into a hangar to show us the wing skin of a BF109 recently pulled out of a Russian lake. FLAC holes still evident, he explained that this is the home of a restoration company. He took us into another hangar with a magnificent P51 being restored with amazing detail. My first P51 of the trip! These are the kinds of stops that make GA amazing. We took off about 1900, weather was not a factor. 8-10kts headwind.

KIKK:  Uneventful trip at 2500'. Very hazy summertime weather and there were storms predicted for the evening. We secured Sally, borrowed the crew car and went to the Holiday Inn Express.

Monday 7/25: We arrived at the airport just as they opened at 0700. Nate pointed out that the nose tire was a bit low so we ordered an air bottle. I leaned on the tail so he could rotate the tire stem into the tiny notch on the wheel pant. It only need a few pounds, but that could make a big difference taxiing on the campsite turf at Oshkosh. We took off by 0800. Weather was not a factor. Strong headwinds at 22-26kts.


Video Notes : Fon Du Lac Adventure


Cleared to Land

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tampa Executive Fly-in

Hot Dogs and Hamburgers on a hot summer day

I spent a good part of Friday cleaning her up. I did the upper surfaces first, then got down on the ground to work on the wheel pants and the rest of the undercarriage. Finally I laid down on my back and cleaned her belly. Although she hadn't been done in awhile, this job wasn't as nearly bad as expected. At least I didn't have to do it in the snow.

Sharing ramp space with an old friend

Visiting with an older sister
Cleaned up for the event
We got to the airport about 9:00am on Saturday and Kathy and I quickly removed the covers, tie downs and plugs. She burped after 20 pulls. Kathy got in and I pulled her out onto the taxiway.  One last walk around before I strapped in. I paused before turning the key. (It seemed like so many times we've gotten to this point, only to find a problem.) Not this time. Sally started easily. I taxied with the canopy open and the airflow rattled our thermos cups in the holders behind the seats. Not a problem (but did have us worry just a bit). As we approached the ramp area a plane captain came over to direct us in. I shut her down and we got out to talk with him a bit. He had helped us with the battery on Mother's Day. He looked at the nose wheel and commented that he wasn't sure his tow bar would fit, so I instructed him on how to maneuver the plane by pushing on the prop.  He did well pushing her back into a parking spot.

We were the first ones to arrive. I thought that we might be the ONLY ones to arrive! Soon the staff brought out the tents and the grill and after awhile Marcel stopped by to talk about flying. As we chatted more aircraft began to arrive. A trio of Trikes from Zephyr Hills. A Bulldog from Lakeland. A jet from Albert Whitted. All in all a nice selection of airplanes. A good crowd of aviation enthusiasts from the local area filled the parking lot. The burgers and dogs were great, the ambiance wonderful.

A light Florida rain shower passed through about 12:30pm. Pilots scurried out to close canopies, but within a few minutes the shower had moved on. Kathy and I decided it was time to go, so we jumped in and taxied back to our covered tie down spot. The two of us had Sally settled in just a few minutes.

It was a good day

Monday, July 4, 2016

Night Shift

I arrived at the airport later than expected. However the clouds were just starting to build so I was confident I could get an hour of flying in before the bumpers got nasty. The preflight went well, Sally looked ready to fly. I checked my weather app one more time and found that thunderstorms were building over St Petersburg, a mere 30 miles away. There were more building to the east of Lakeland and another line of yellow and brown splotches to the north. Unstable air, high humidity and hot temperatures are not conditions to take lightly. I cancelled for weather.
A beautiful sunset

I went back out around 7:30PM. The convective threat had subsided and most of the sky looked clear. There were still some isolated storms out there, but they were dissipating. I watched as a pair of Powered Parachutes as they flew by the field and inspected the terminal building. They seemed to be the only aircraft flying. But not for long.

Turn Rate displayed by the horizontal line at top left.
Two missions for this flight: 1) I have a student interested in getting his Instrument Rating. Sally is not a great platform for this because she can't fly in actual IMC. (The FARs allow it but I would never let one of my students take their practical test without some actual time in the clouds and least a few real instrument approaches.) However she is superb for teaching the basics and great for seeing how an Electronic Flight Book works. So I wanted to fly some basic IFR patterns and do a simulated  approach or two. 2) Have you ever seen a Fireworks display from above?

The EFIS has a number of options to choose from and if you choose them all the screen gets cluttered, especially if you shrink to 2/3 to show the HSI. I had configured mine for VFR flight. Among other things I had eliminated the turn indicator. I would need that to exercise Standard Rate Turns.

Glide slope is indicated vertical scale right of HSI
I also needed to see how the glide slope performed. I dialed in the ILS RWY23 and pushed the source button to VOR (Green). I adjusted the CDI to the final approach course and pushed the autopilot button.  Sally made the correction, captured the course and flew us inbound to the FAF. At that point I set the altitude to the DH and performed my 6Ts. (I missed having a clock to start and used my watch instead.*Edit; use the function button on the transponder for a stop watch or countdown timer.) I experimented with the power setting that would yield 500ft/min descent.

Setting up the 696 GPS
I did a GPS for RWY23 next. I'm not satisfied with the way I swapped pages on the GPS. I could have the chart, but if I looked at another page I would lose the approach chart and return to the airport diagram. Also, I had to fumble a bit with activating the approach. I spent some time in the run-up area perfecting my technique, but it still takes too many twists and pushes to get the approach set up. This will take more practice to refine. I made progress but will spend more time in the practice area before I'm ready to let a student try.

Finally, it was time to play. I took off on RWY23 and headed to the southeast. Sally and I enjoyed the fireworks from 1500'. While the big community shows were wonderful, I especially enjoyed the backyard patriot displays. And there were a LOT of them to watch. 

Video Notes: Night Shift

We lost Gladys today. I hope she and Bill also enjoy watching the fireworks from above.

Monday, June 27, 2016

More Practice

We had one of the wildest light shows I've seen in quite some time. The afternoon Florida skies turned dark and winds picked up considerably. Temperatures plummeted just before the rain came. Heavy drops pounding from the ragged clouds, and then the lightning. Fantastic blazing bolts from all directions. Yesterday was a good day to be on the ground.

I wondered how Sally would be in her covered tie-down spot. She looked surprisingly clean! I know she could use a good Waxall cleaning but considering the conditions I was very pleased. As I removed the canopy cover two spiders jumped away. I saw another insect nest near the copilot air scoop, and found a squashed tree toad under the nose wheel. (I suspect he may have been hiding in the wheel pant and got caught when I rolled Sally out.) The tie down ropes were still wet. I took a large fuel sample from each wing. The fuel caps must still be tight, no debris or water found. The gascolator  check also looked good. Start and all ground procedures went well. Temperature read 33C for OAT. I left the canopy open for taxi.

KVDF is a busy little field. A constant stream of piston singles, a few twins, a few helicopters and the occasional business jet make it an interesting place for pattern work. Today I needed the practice. A couple of missed approaches because we were too high, one was a bit too deep and all of my landings were just "OK". I tried a right hand pattern that went well.  It was a good work out.

The upwind leg for RWY5 goes directly over I75. The northbound lane was just barely crawling along. A news helicopter was buzzing around and called saying he was at 600ft. I think it was construction but didn't venture up that way to find out.

Today was a good day to be in the air.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summertime 2016

I was out at the airplane early enough to get the preflight done before the client arrived. Sally looked good. She could use another thorough cleaning but was more than acceptable for this flight. The weather was excellent, maybe a bit warm but nothing that would keep us grounded.

The client arrived early had a lot of good questions. He had done some research on the web and was curious about everything from SLSA registration to burping the Rotax engine. After the safety brief we strapped in and Sally started easily. I let him taxi to get the feel of asymmetrical steering as we headed toward RWY5. More good questions about engine performance indications as we completed the run-up. A Sandhill crane flew by and landed next to our taxiway. Sally got a little warm at the hold short while waiting for landing traffic (250F) but cooled off nicely with a bit of throttle. We made a normal take off and departed to the southeast.

A Technically Advanced Airplane is a lot to handle the first time out. Scan pattern is different for glass, add to that the electric trim and it can be overwhelming. He had almost always flown a yoke with left hand on the throttle. I should have realized sooner that there were just too many differences for him to enjoy flying the airplane. By the time I took her back he was frustrated and exhausted. My fault. So I demonstrated the autopilot and let Sally take us home. He relaxed and started to enjoy the flight.

Visibility was great. The city of Tampa looked beautiful next to the bay. I talked through the landing pattern and answered some more questions about the EFIS. I had too much speed in the flare and made a lousy landing. Not my best day as a CFI.

That evening I got an email from him. He would like to try it again. I'll take the Mulligan.

Video Notes: Summertime

*Because of the claimant's policy, this video can't be played in some countries. - Sorry Germany!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


"...the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration."

Be a Sport Pilot, have more fun!
 I got a call asking for a Discovery Flight. We set the time and date and I began my preparation. A Discovery Flight is not a lesson.
  • This person is bigger than the "standard" American. I did a weight and balance to determine just how much fuel I could carry.
  • Checked weather for the rest of the week to insure our day was at least feasible.
  • Went out to the airport to check on Sally. In addition to the normal preflight I also cleaned out much of my personal gear and made sure the cockpit looked neat and clean.
  • Did a short flight to insure all systems were nominal. Then double checked the avionics to insure they all worked and would fit into my "scripted demonstration" (Autopilot, GPS, EFIS and EMS are work well and DSAB is engaged.)
  • Video cameras checked.
  • The flight also allowed me to burn fuel to the appropriate level.
  • Post Flight included polishing the canopy and general exterior cleaning.
 All systems are ready.

Tonight I'll review key points of the presentation. I cover a lot in 20-30 minutes flight time. I'll also send an email reminder and ask for logbook, explain payment methods (I'm starting to use Square), and ask to be contacted immediately if the flight has to be postponed.

We are prepared.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rust Removal

Good day for the sun shade
I find that if I'm grounded for more than a week the "rust" begins to form on my piloting skills. So one of my missions is just to go out and take a few turns in the landing pattern.

The rest of the week is going to be typical Florida weather with high temperatures (33c or about 90f) with high humidity and the likelihood of afternoon thunderstorms. Monday would be the best day. Preflight went well. Start and taxi were all normal. OAT read 33c. CHT on the ground stayed in the 230f range. All other indications were normal. We used RWY36. 330@6
  1. A little tight and high. Other traffic reported inbound, I slipped her in and transitioned for a nice touch down. We were off by the first exit.
  2. Better downwind distance, cut base a bit short. (Just missed a diving with red markings.) Landing was OK but too long.
  3. Nice pattern, watched a C130 landing at MacDill (double checked to make sure he was landing and not taking off flying at me). Good base and final (no power adjustment needed). Squeek
  4. Nailed the pattern, added just a touch of power on final then landed a bit long. (Wind sock showed a change of left to right)
Sally had no issues with heat. I was ready for a cold one.

At the insistence of my social network consultant (daughter) I've created a "Landing Page".