Showing posts from 2007

Another first timer!

Today the weather was too nice to resist a quick trip around the patch. Ryan, a new employee at the office, was "forced" to join me on the trip - his first in a general aviation plane. :) I flew around the north side of the KRIC airspace to overfly his house on the other side. We then asked for a landing at Richmond, which we got after a bit of vectoring around. I must have picked a busy time to come in - had I known I might have not bothered with that stop. We spent a decent amount of time on the ground as well - getting a lengthly takeoff clearance and then being given the option to just turn right back around to depart opposite the runway we came in. We taxied into position quickly but had to wait on a few other bigger airplanes landing on another runway before blasting off. On the way back to JGG Ryan took the controls for some straight and level flight. After I showed him a few steep turns he was back in control to enter the landing pattern. We landed on 31 and p

Adding a New State to the Portfolio

I had the pleasure of accompanying two friends on a trip down south in the Turbo Cirrus this weekend. We left at 7:30 Sunday morning after filling up the TKS anti-ice fluid tank. Cirrus thoughtfully redesigned that tank for the G3 airplanes – which is nice because the G2 and earlier have a less-than-ideal design. The only way we know to find that the TKS tanks are full is to try to put fluid in and watch it overflow all over the place. The G3 has the filling port on the wing, instead of on the fuselage. I assume you can also look in to see the fluid level. We filed IFR and picked it up from Norfolk Approach in the air. We climbed up to 8000 feet and broke out on top about 200 feet above an overcast cloud layer. It is so much fun to be barely over the clouds like that – it gives you a true sense of speed since you are passing the clouds so close by. Feels like what I imagine low level mountain flying might be like – but way way safer. Skimming the tops of clouds at 180 knots i

Final Thanksgiving Travels

After returning solo from the thanksgiving holidays I got to fly back down to UZA this weekend to pick up my better half and our young son Evan. I was able to take the Turbo down for this trip and loved every second of it. Charlotte was kind enough to give me slightly better vectors than normal, saving me a minute or so of flight time. Being by myself I had some fun making use of the good roll rate of the Cirrus when I was entering the pattern. I kept all the banks under 30 degrees, but brought them in and out fairly sharply - lots of fun, but not something I would do with non-pilots on board. After 1.5 hours of near total straight and level flight banking felt good. I had some lunch with the family and then we were back to the airport for the return trip. I tried to get the airport folks to fill up the oxygen tank but they require a maintenance person do that task. It being Saturday no one was there to do that for me. Here's a video from the return trip which starts at take

Thanksgiving travels

I flew the family down south to visit with my parents for the long weekend. We had a nice easy trip down, with a little headwind adding about 10 minutes to the trip time. I flew back today and had to go IFR due to a few different overcast layers. Here's my shorthand for the clearance I was issued on the ground at KUZA: That basically says to take up a heading of 130 after takeoff and expect to go direct to my destination shortly thereafter. I was cleared to 3000 feet with 7000 feet being issued within 10 mins of departure. The departure control frequency was 120.05 and the squawk code for the transponder was 7151. The :54 and 59 refer to the time that my clearance was valid. The Start -> LT is just to remind me that I started feeding from the left fuel tank and that I plan to switch after burning 12 gallons (the SR22 can have a max difference of 10 gallons between the wing tanks and I was 2 gallons heavier on the starting side). The 6100 was just a note I made so that I c

Last 3 Flights

I'm a little backlogged on the posts so I thought I'd increase efficiency and kill 3 birds with one post. My first flight in this group involved a short hop with John in the Turbo SR22 to Newport News. We met fellow owner Mike in order to use his laptop to update all the databases in the plane. Mike handed me 2 USB thumb drives to update the MFD navdata and CMax charts. I took them out to the airplane and followed the MFD boot-up process to do the update. Mike took the Garmin data cards and updated them as well. After that was done, which took a surprisingly long time (mostly copying the data to the nav cards) John and I departed to shoot a GPS approach into the brand new KXSA airport. I choose the runway that was not favored by the winds when picking my approach so we worked with the other pilots in the area to keep out of their way. Everyone was very accommodating and, with the sun setting, the airport was cleared out by the time we got there. I went missed and then

Evan's first flight

Today I took up my 17th "first time in a small plane" passenger - my son! The whole family (Dad, Mom, and Son) went down to South Carolina to visit with family for a few hours. The SR22 made the trip in 1.5 hours each way. Had a little trouble picking up our IFR clearance in both directions. I was picking it up from approach right after departing the airport and Norfolk had some confusion when looking up my flight plan in the morning and Charlotte just ignored me for a while in the afternoon. Thankfully it was severe clear out so I didn't have issues with avoiding clouds while waiting for clearance. We hooked Evan up with some swimming earplugs. They stayed in his ears well enough. They don't go in the ear canal, which is good because his 8 week old ears are very small, but that means they only block 20 or so decibels instead of 30 of so. He was quite fussy in the car on the way to the airport and quite fussy when we finally got him situated in the airplane in h

Solo turbo time

Today I made my first solo flight in the turbo version of the Cirrus SR22. Had planned to shoot a few approaches but found that the GPS data cards were out getting updated. That meant the GPSs had no database of waypoints. So I decided to do the next best thing - get some landing practice in. I turned on some jazz on the XM radio and set the heading bug in the direction of nearby KPTB. Then I punched on the autopilot and started looking for traffic (as best I could while pointed into the sun) and monitoring the gauges. Since I was doing about 180 MPH across the ground KPTB arrived off the nose rather quickly. I powered back and told the autopilot to lose some altitude. After checking the KPTB metar on the MFD and AWOS I decided the use runway 23. Shortly afterward I heard traffic using that runway so I set up to come in behind them. One guy reported that he was on the GPS approach to the same runway, but was 9 miles out. I figured I could easily get down before I got in his way

First Cirrus flight solo

Today was my first flight in a Cirrus "solo" - or at least without another pilot on-board. Family was in town so I took two of my brothers-in-law up for a quick jaunt around the local area. We did some steep turns and a little unloading (a few seconds of 0.5G). Had a good time and I felt totally comfortable behind the wheel. :)

Cirrus SR22 Training - last flight

Today was the last day of my Cirrus SR22 transition training – I finally finished! This means I can fly without an instructor and actually be insured while doing so. Part of this training also included a high-performance checkout, but that was accomplished by default as part of all the transition training. Today we used the morning to focus on instrument approaches. They went fairly well. During the first approach I was mentally behind the airplane a bit. This was mainly due to some minor confusion when we discussed holding pattern entries. That confusion persisted after talking over it on the ground as well so I need to reference the AIM for a little clarification – and maybe another instructor or two. Other than that issue, the approaches went fine. I did a coupled ILS into Newport News and then flew the published missed approach. Since I did OK with that hold, we just made one turn and asked Norfolk approach for another ILS. This one I hand flew. The approach controller k

Cirrus SR22 training - flight 3

Today I met with my new Cirrus (CSIP) instructor for a morning flight. My parents were in town so my Dad joined us in the back seat. We started the flight with a bit of ground discussion on IFR take-off minimums and departure procedures. I learned a good bit in a mere few minutes! Chatting on the ground allowed the fog to burn off so we didn't worry about picking up our IFR flight clearance. We did the VOR approach into KPTB but called that off early as they had parachutists in the air (along with at least 2 other local airports). From there spent some time doing airwork (slow flight, stalls, steep turns) then went to Franklin (FKN) to do 2 landings. After that we went back to Williamsburg to end the flight. On the way out of FKN my instructor and my Dad took a look at a recent crash site . The crash involved 2 people who were stuck 50' up in a tree for 6 hours, in swamp land. They were eventually lowered to the ground and walked away, but not before the rescue crew h

Headsets, Inc.

I recently decided that I needed a better headset. The main driver for this feeling was changing from the C172 to the Cirrus SR22. While the Cirrus is superior to the C172 in nearly every way, there's one place it's not: noise. Thankfully there is an easy fix for this in Active Noise Reduction headsets. However, my old David Clark 10-13.4 headset, though it fits like a glove and works well, does not have active noise canceling. This means that I hear a nice low rumble when flying in the Cirrus. My friend John has been lending me his Lightspeed headset for a while to keep me covered as it does have ANR. However, I needed to get an ANR headset for myself. I spent a good deal of time contemplating getting a UFlyMike for my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 stereo headphones. They have noise canceling in them and are the best headphones for music that I've ever used. They are also low profile, at least compared to an aviation headset, and are very comfortable. I even tried them

Potomac TRACON

The Potomac TRACON (air traffic control facility) had an open house today so I joined some 100 or so other pilots in visiting their Manassass, VA building. I was lucky enough to get to fly up in the Cirrus with John and Mike. John made use of the time to train towards his Instrument ticket and I used the flight to test out my "new" headset. The open house started with a presentation in the conference room off the lobby. They told us the history of the TRACON - it is about 5 years old and consolidates approach and departure control from quite a few north eastern airports, including Richmond and Washington National. They gave us a few stats on traffic throughput, showing that the N.E. of the US is quite a busy place. Atlanta was the only area that gets busier. After the presentation we went on a tour of the facility. We got to check out the warehouse-sized room housing the racks and racks of electronics that let the TRACON do it's thing. It was quite impressive - lot

Cirrus SR22 Turbo training - Day 3

Today’s 3.3 hour training flight focused on IFR work. We flew from JGG to KDAN (Danville, VA) and shot the ILS there. I flew that one by hand, using the flight director as a terrific way to “cheat”. Just like a video game – keep the yellow thingie nestled in the green triangle bars! Then we filed IFR for the trip to KFKN (Franklin) to shoot the GPS 9 approach partial panel (we failed the PFD). A quick stop for fuel (good prices!) and we were off again to JGG. We had to stay down at 1500’ to remain VFR until we could pick up an IFR clearance. For some reason we couldn’t pick up the clearance on the ground via the GCO (ground comm outlet) – it might have been out of service. ATC was fairly busy during that last leg. In fact, one pilot was chewed out for not responding to calls from ATC. He was then promptly told “radar service terminated” and to “stay OUT of the airspace and get off my frequency”. Seemed a little excessive on ATC’s part, but I imagine the pilot was not very profe

Someone likes the airplane

I think Evan is in awe of the Cirrus during "baby's first left seat time":

Cirrus SR22 Turbo training - Day 2

Today was a great day – I had my first flight lesson in a Cirrus SR22, my favorite airplane. Even better, it's a Turbo model with all the bells and whistles – lots of electronics for the geek in me to sink my teeth into. We spent the lesson doing airwork (stalls, steep turns, slow flight, etc.) and landings. It took 3.4 flight hours, but we got in 9 landings throughout the trip from Williamsburg to Petersburg to New Kent to Petersburg to Chesterfield and back to Williamsburg. I felt the airplane handled really well. She climbs like a bandit and is fairly easy to land (at least in today's calm weather). On a few landings (where my approach was less than "stabilized") I had the stick pulled back to the stop (meaning "all the way") but found that I didn't really need to pull back further than that. That did make an impression on me that getting the center of gravity right when loading the airplane is important. Too far forward could cause issues in th

Help find Steve Fossett

This morning I spent a while combing through newly photographed aerial views of the search area being used to locate Steve Fossett . Amazon's Mechanical Turk, the artificial artificial intelligence system - where humans are the brains - has a HIT up to let you look too, check it out . How does it work? Well, amazon will show you a small aerial image and ask you to look for a plane (or similar debris) in the image. If you see something that needs further scrutiny, mark it as such, otherwise you can say that the image appears to contain nothing of interest and move on to the next. Occasionally you have to type in a captcha to let amazon know you are a human (and not an automated bot). You can also download the entire set of images for viewing in Google Earth. I looked around on my own in GE for about an hour using that data. Unfortunately I saw nothing of interest.

Cirrus MFD work

I rode with Jim over to KRIC today to get the MFD (multi-function display) swapped out in the older SR22. After a few hours wait we got it swapped out successfully. However, there was good and bad news with it - the good is that we have CMax charts on the MFD now, which was not in that plane before - the bad is that the traffic monitoring system (SkyWatch) was not configured on the new MFD. So we'll have to go back to RIC sometime to get that fixed up and use the Garmin displays for traffic awareness in the meantime. Jim let me do most of the flying, including the 2 landings. I was happy with both of them, especially considering they were from the right seat, my first landings in about a month, and only my 4th or so Cirrus landings ever.

Cirrus SR22 Turbo training - Day 1

Well, my airport buddies have given me a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get access to their SR22 Turbo for a while and I am happily taking them up on the offer. Moving from a 1968 C172 to a 2006 SR22T will be quite a fun challenge. I've gotten a lot of right seat time in the SR22, thanks to those same generous gents, but only an hour of left seat time with about 3 landings under my belt. In order to get insured for the airplane I need to take a transition course under the tutelage of a CSIP instructor. Today I did the majority of the ground school with my instructor. We spent the time going over the ~50 page worksheet I filled out as he quizzed me about the systems on the airplane. We had planned to fly but the weather prevented it. Next steps: spend another day doing a few cross-countries. We will do scenario-based training, trying to make it as life like as possible. Here's a few pics of the gorgeous machine:

Oshkosh - Day 3 - the day of many flights

Day 3 of our Oshkosh trip, the 2nd day of the show, was our "flying" day. We started off with a flight in an old Trimotor: Then we moseyed on over to the complete opposite side of the airport (using shuttles when able) to find the ultralights. Jim set up a ride in a trike and then promptly told me to take his spot - I tried to refuse but he had none of it. He even held all my junk so I wouldn't have to worry about it falling overboard. Here's some pics from that 10 minute flight (I think I may buy one someday - they are WAY too fun): Then it was back to the Eclipse area for a special event - test driving the E500 jet. Jim is in the market for a new plane and is very interested in the Very Light Jets that are coming out. Seeing as how Cirrus' is still on the drawing board, the E500 was the one to check out. We hopped on the Eclipse golf cart to go across the airport. From there we got a ride out to the Appleton airport. After a bit of numbers talk in the te

Oshkosh - Day 2 - first day of show

Day 2 of our Oshkosh trip, the opening day of the show, was our busiest day. I think this day is best described in pictures… We started the day with the unveiling of the new Cirrus LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) concept. To me it looks a lot like the Lancair Legacy FG. Cirrus says they'll have to slow it down to make it LSA compliant. Personally, I wouldn't look to Cirrus if I wanted a slow airplane, but if the price is right I imagine they could do quite well. I expect the avionics to change before it goes to production as one of the selling points of this airplane is that it would be a good starting point before moving up to a SR model. Then we stepped over to the Cirrus G3 displays. The "X" on the tail is what you get when you go with one of the new paint schemes, like the red one below. They must have figured out how to keep the composite from melting in the sun under dark paint. At least I hope they have. ;) A short hop over to the Columbia section had us ch