Showing posts from February, 2007

Instrument current again...

...though hardly proficient. Today K acted as my safety pilot for the first of what I envision to be MANY times. Since she passed that pesky private pilot practical test, I can now further exploit her aviatory abilities. Plus she gets to log time to which we expect will ultimately be helpful for insurance reasons. We got up early and flew down to Franklin to shoot two approaches there. The first was a standard VOR approach with a hold. That went fairly well. The second was a DME approach, which I had to "fake" with our VFR GPS for DME purposes (not legal for real IFR flight). That turned out pretty well too, especially considering that the VOR radials are NOTAM'd out (not working) for most of the DME arc. K had to tell me at one point that, although I was following the needle OK, we were not going toward the airport as we should be. Some cheating (i.e. lifting the foggles) got us back on track for a circle to land. My first touchdown was nice and smooth but the

Test Driving the Columbia 350

My wife and I are exploring the purchase of (a share in) a new airplane, at least one that's new to us. We're looking at airplanes from the Cirrus SR20 (which cruises around 155kts) all the way up to the Columbia 300/350 (which cruises around 185kts). We are generally steering away from retract airplanes, though nothing is set in stone. Today a nearby Columbia Aircraft demo pilot flew into JGG to show off a Columbia 350 airplane with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. He spent nearly the entire day with us, showing off the plane to about 10 different people. I sat in the backseat for one trip, where I spent time filming, and then took the pilot's seat for an hour. Let me start with the punchline: The Col 350 is one hell of a machine. It would make an excellent cross country traveler. Airframe and Engine Even when fully loaded we saw climb rates around 750 ft/min (in cool air) and hit cruise speeds that trued out around 182 kts @ 6500 feet. The side stick control instan

Back in the saddle, sorta

The stars finally aligned today: the airplane was available, the winds were ok, the clouds were high, and the temps were warm enough. K and I went out to the airport for the first time in 4-5 weeks for some practice. I sat in the right seat and K in the left - she is getting ready for her private pilot check ride so she needed the practice more than I. We had a heck of a time starting the engine, possibly due to flooding though I'm actually not sure. Thankfully the battery held up for the long amount of time it took to get it cranked. Since we wanted to finish by 11AM we kept the flight to 1.2 hours. I acted as an FAA checkride examiner and asked K to perform a few different maneuvers. Here's the rundown of items we covered: Short field takeoff VOR tracking Steep turns Slow flight Power-on stall Hood work to go back home I had planned to give her an engine out scenario on downwind but we had turbulence and winds that were enough to deal with on the first time out in weeks


With N35388 on a long trip for the last few weeks, my lack of flying is starting to get the best of me. It's not hard to "go without" when the winds are high and the temps are way low, but we've had a few wonderful days recently that have me looking to the skies. For now, I'll happily put my energies into preparing for this . ;)