Showing posts from December, 2006

Where I went on Christmas vacation…

K and I just got back from a 5 day aerial tour of VA, NC, SC, and GA. After delaying the trip for a few days to wait out some rain clouds - we wanted to go VFR - we were able to take off early Sunday morning (after clearing the wings of a little frost). We couldn’t have had better weather for the 3 hour flight. It was severe clear with just a slight headwind down at 4,500 feet. The iPod was playing Bjork and Zero 7. Norfolk approach started us off with the flight following that had us talking to Raleigh, Washington Center, Greensboro, and finally Charlotte. Being Christmas Eve, many well wishes were, well, “wished” to the controllers by the various pilots, including us. A decent number of airline captains were earning their pay with just a few small general aviation craft on frequency. The lady controller in Charlotte was in such a festive mood she cleared us to transition their Bravo airspace without even being asked – that saved us a few minutes. Krista was left seat on this tr

Oil change #2

Talked to our local aviation mechanic (Kevin) recently and he suggested an early oil change since we didn't clean the oil screen last time. So at about 30 hours of tach time John and I went back out to the airport to remove the cowling and get started. Armed with the proper knowledge of how to clean the screen we drained the old oil (which went much faster this time since John had just flown over to PHF and back) and clipped off the safety wire from the oil screen nut. We backed out the nut and, with it, the tubular metal screen. A decent bit of oil came out as well, causing us to scramble to wipe it all up quickly. I took the small assembly over to Kevin so we could look at it together. The main goal is to make sure there are no metal pieces in the screen as that could indicate the engine is starting to eat itself. Kevin pulled the screen off the nut (it was just sitting loose in the nut) and started picking at it with his fingers. He found a bit of latex (how'd THAT g

BFR finished

Today Chuck and I finished up my BFR with a local flight. I flew from the right seat for the first time and received an intro to a few new maneuvers (new to me) including: Chandelles Lazy-8s Rolls on a heading Shortly after we cranked the engine I was running through the rest of the checklist when I noticed that the RPMs were lower than I had set them. I thought "hmm, that's weird" but figured the throttle had just slipped out a bit. I tightened the friction lock and re-set the RPMs. Moments later they were too low again. I paused, increased the throttle, and watched as they start dropping again. Mentioning this the Chuck he remarked that he'd never seen that before, not had I. My plan was to go out and do a run-up to see if we could clear it out. Chuck did a quick low RPM mag check which seemed fine. Then he had an idea - "let's try the carb heat". He turned it on and the engine RPMs jumped right up to where they were supposed to be. We had c

Hungry? Try a Cessna 150

This man spent 2 years eating a Cessna 150. Yes, EATING it. I'd rather fly it, but to each their own!

Ground portion of BFR finished

Every 24 months pilots have to take a BFR: Biennial Flight Review. This can be substituted for with a variety of other check-ups (such as passing an FAA practical test or participating in the Wings program) but for many of us general aviation pilots the BFR comes every other year. During the BFR an instructor gives you (at least) one hour of ground instruction and (at least) one hour of flight instruction. Used to be that there was no set time minimum for the test. That opened up the market for mail-in BFRs, where you never even had to see the instructor - just send him your logbook and a check and get your logbook returned with the BFR signed off. I think all that was before I was born though - certainly before I got my private ticket. The point of a BFR is not to test you, but to give you, the pilot who may have not flown with an instructor at all for the last 2 years, a chance to learn any new regulations and ask questions about the stuff you're rusty on. The flight time is

Test driving a unique airplane

The Velocity is an experimental kit airplane generally based on Burt Rutan's Long EZ . The particular one we test drove today was a fixed-gear, fixed-pitch prop, 200HP version of the Velocity Elite. Gary, the owner, is based out of Sanford, NC and was kind enough to come up for lunch to show it off. The first thing that is obvious about the plane is that its ramp appeal is through the roof. In just the short time it was on the ramp at JGG there were at least two groups of people that came by to ask about the plane and get a closer look. Gary gave us a nice walk around of the airplane and then we hopped in for a quick demo flight. I sat up front in the right seat as John was exceedingly kind (as he always is) in taking the back seats. Here are some of things I learned through the time we spent with the plane: Each of the winglets is nearly vertical and has a rudder surface that only moves outward. Each rudder is operated independent of the other, so you can actually put both

Multimedia trip to Luray, VA

The weather today was too good to pass up so K and I decided to take a flight over to Luray, VA. We grabbed up the cameras and a bit of picnic food and headed to the airport (after a good weather/TFR check of course). I performed the preflight checks while K did some interior decorating with the portable GPS, headsets, cameras, and charts. We added another 1/2 quart of Aeroshell 15W-50 to bring Thursday's post-oil-change levels up to snuff for the longish flight. We flew direct both ways, using flight following from the gracious Potamac Approach and Washington Center folks. We battled a nasty headwind on the way up, which at one point (during a climb) had us getting a lovely 40 kt groundspeed. Some of the landmarks we saw included: Paramount's Kings Dominion off I-95: The Blue Ridge Mountains (they peak around 4000' MSL in this area) Skyline Drive After a while we landed at Luray: At Luray we were met by a very helpful gentleman named John. He fueled us up to replace th

Cirrus Videos

Being a big fan of Cirrus Design I routinely search small parts of the web for Cirrus videos. It's my way of coping via vicarious living, OK. Don't you judge me! . :) This post is a quick collection of some I've found so far, please add comments for ones I've missed! First of all, I should start with the Cirrus147 website. They are a flying club in the UK and have posted a large number of videos to their site in the past, including many parts of the ferry flights they do to get their airplanes home from the U.S. They seem to be updating their site now, so hopefully the videos won't get lost in the process. Now on to the more convenient youTube-based ones - check this out .