Showing posts from September, 2007

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.