Showing posts from 2011

Cirrus Model

I ordered a wooden SR22 model a few months ago, and received it this week. I'm quite happy with it - seems nicely proportioned and pretty sturdy (as long as I can keep it away from the little ones). I plan to get a wall mount for it since I don't have a good bit of available desk space.

A touch of ice

This morning I got up early and went out to the airport to crank up for a flight to KCFD, about 800nm away. I ended up taking off right at sunrise, but didn't get to see much of it. I entered the clouds at about 500' and started talking to Charlotte approach. Before long they had me climbing up to my requested altitude of 10,000'. Around 6,000' I noticed the temperature falling off pretty quickly to get near freezing so I turned on the pitot heat and started watching for ice. Still in the clouds once leveling out at 10,000' I started to see a bit of ice just forming on the wings. I immediately turned on the TKS anti-ice fluid and it started working with a few minutes. I reported the conditions to ATC and, after leaning out the engine for cruise, was paying careful attention to the ice. After a bit the TKS had cleared most of the slight icing that had accumulated and it appeared that before long I would be out of the clouds, so I stayed put. However, within 5

Surveillance approach

This morning I got up early to take a short flight over to KGMU for the Southeast Aviation show . The flight didn't start too well when I couldn't get Charlotte Clearance to respond on the radio. I tried multiple times, on each radio, and got a good radio check from the local UNICOM. After waiting until the hour changed over to 8 AM (thinking maybe someone on break might be back then) I gave up and called flight service on the phone. They were able to get me a clearance after about 8-9 minutes. Most days I would have taken off without clearance and gotten it airborne. But today had clouds around 500' so I couldn't do that maneuver. Once I got through the clouds Approach was their usual helpful selves and had me pointed to Greenville in no time. The Greer Approach controller asked if I would do a Surveillance approach into GMU so he could practice it. I said sure, but that I had never done one before. He explained it to me, and it was what I remembered - essentia

Flying in Canada

For some ForeFlight work I spent a bit of time in Canada recently. We had the privilege to get some flying in, in a gorgeous C182 with a G1000. This was a tour of the capital area, complete with an overflight of downtown before landing (not something we'll ever do over the U.S. capital). We even caught a few glimpses of a concert below, with an impressive light show, and a video presentation that was shone on the Parliament central building. The flight was at sunset, and was one of those perfect flights - light winds, cool temps, perfect sky. I haven't had a flight like that since I used to live in Williamsburg and flew with my buddy John. It was a pretty interesting experience. The primary differences that popped out to me were: Instead of talking to the traffic in the area of the airport (CYND, Gatineau) we talked to "radio" (FSS) and told them our intentions. They gave us a heads up on other traffic and advisories on when to enter the runway. My unde

Simulator time, IPC, BFR

I just returned from a trip to KRYY where SimTrain has a full-motion Cirrus SR22 simulator. The goal for my visit was to review emergency procedures, like dealing with engine outs or electrical problems, while being able to actually experience them in a realistic, yet safe, fashion. Since the emergency procedures involved a good bit of instrument and basic fundamentals, we decided to combine it with an IPC, Instrument Proficiency Check, and a BFR, Biannual Flight Review. The former makes sure you are a competent pilot for flying in clouds, the latter is required every two years to keep your license "valid". I started the day yesterday with a 1.4hr flight to KRYY. I got a bit of instrument time in the first part of the flight, as the fog had only lifted 600 feet or so. By the halfway point the fog was clearing, but the haze kept the visibility down to 5 miles or so. I was given a straight-in approach to RYY which made for a convenient landing. I taxied over to the sout

Recent flights

Our plane was down for annual for a few weeks, but it was cleared for flight again recently so I made good use of it. We had some ForeFlight folks in town, so one pair of trips was to act as a shuttle to KGSP and back, about a 30 minute trip. The first day brought fairly crummy weather. Calm winds and good temperatures, but plenty of rain and low clouds. GSP was clear so that side of the trip was easy, and even though it had been a few months since I worked with a Tower I felt quite at home with it. Coming back to Rock Hill was a bit more interesting though. As we approached there were red radar returns right over the airport. We had to shoot the GPS 2 instead of the ILS as the ILS was down for maintenance. That meant we could only descend to 500' AGL instead of 200' AGL. ATC had us slow down for an aircraft in front of us. I happily did so as that gave the stronger rain time to move away from the airfield. Luckily the clouds at the airport were barely above 500'

Sun N Fun 2011

I flew down to Sun N Fun at Lakeland, FL this week to help man the ForeFlight booth and take in the sights. The trip down there was easier than I expected. I briefed the VFR arrival procedures numerous times, but when I finally got there it was light IFR. That meant they were just bringing us in on the GPS 9 approach which made things very simple. The line crew gave me a good parking spot on 4 inches of soil over an old runway and, after a good walk across the airport, I was soon helping out in the booth. With the threat of high winds Thursday we went out to the airplane again to see what we could do to further secure it. Turns out there was a PilotMall retail shop on field and they had "the Claw ". A set cost ~$85 so we got one and headed out to the airplane. We hitched a ride from some friends that had a golf cart so that saved us from some of the hike. After installing the claw (leaving my other tie downs in place as well) we went back to work in the booth. A few hours lat

Trip to KJZI

After my autopilot testing Friday I flew down to KJZI in Charleston, SC. I had a few business meetings to attend but also got the chance to take up a new friend in the Cirrus. We introduced him to general aviation in style with a lazy tour of the coast. He grew up (and still lives) in the area so he knew all the sights. My business partner sat back seat and filmed the landing for me.

New autopilot - DFC90

We recently installed a new autopilot in the Cirrus. This one, a DFC90 , is a drop-in replacement for the STEC 55X we used to have and adds a few great features: Much more precise as it uses the digital sensors in the airplane instead of fewer, analog-only sensors as before It can climb at a constant airspeed, which is great for maximizing climb rate without risking the airplane getting too slow It will automatically correct a too-slow or too-fast condition when the autopilot is running It has a "straight and level" button that can be pressed anytime you need a quick way to get the airplane into a good attitude/state. SkyTech in Rock Hill did a great job with the install and everything worked well except we still have a bit of an overshooting of heading when turning right. It's better than it was with the old autopilot, but we are working with Avidyne to sort it out. We also think the turn coordinator may be going bad, so we plan to get that checked. Additionally the