Showing posts from 2012

Pictures from this week

This week a few ForeFlight developers were in town for some coding and flying.  Here's a few shots from it.  Great week!

Waiting on the MFD data to update


Slow Teleportation

I made good use of my pilot's license today. I woke up at five and got myself ready to go.  Drove 10m to the airport and preflighted the airplane. Took off before dawn and picked up my IFR clearance airborne while looking at the glowing Charlotte skyline. From there it was a 2 hour flight to Gaithersburg (which was the closest airport the government will let me fly into for my Washington D.C. destination).  Got my rental car and drove the hour or so into town.  Attended the meeting and then drove in a bit of traffic back to Gaithersburg.  At 5:45 PM I was cranked up with my IFR clearance in hand and taxied out to the runway.  2.5 hours later I was landing at home and putting the airplane back to bed after having watched the sun set over thin clouds in North Carolina. It was a 15hr day, but had me traveling 750 miles to get somewhere far away and back in time to eat dinner at home.  Amazing.  Hard work, but amazing! This was my first time flying into the SFRA (restricted

Critical Decision Making Seminar

I'll be hosting a CDM at KUZA on Dec 1 for anyone interested in flying in and taking part in a scenario-based discussion of aviation. It will use Cirrus aircraft for examples, but applies to all GA pilots.   Check this out for details.  Please register here , as we have limited room available.  Hope to see you there!

Oshkosh 2012

I just returned from Oshkosh AirVenture in the Cirrus yesterday.  Had a great time working the booth for ForeFlight and meeting hundreds of folks.  I had the privilege of giving 4 talks throughout the week about using the iPad for flying and was hopefully able to share a few new tips in the process. My wife and I flew up on Saturday (2 days before the show) to give us time to wait out any WX that may have cropped up.  Last year we ended up making a few short stops trying to get around the back side of a storm. This year there was a storm just west of KFLD, our final destination, but it was moving so slowly that even though it took 5 hours to get up there we easily made it into the airport.  Here's what we saw using Stratus and ForeFlight Mobile 4.6 as we were under Chicago ATC control on our way north. As usual, Fond Du Lac was low-key when we arrived.  That's something I can truly appreciate with how much other stuff is involved with exhibiting at a show as big as Ai

It is now safe to turn off your cockpit

This isn't what I want to see on my cockpit avionics.  Apparently I removed the USB stick too quickly while it was rebooting.  The underlying Windows operating system revealed itself with a dialog saying "It is now safe to turn off your computer" and a button that said "Restart".  Not being able to actually click anything, I had to make due with a circuit breaker reset.

Back from Annual Inspection

Well, the airplane is back from annual, and it was a big one!  We had 2 cylinders repaired due to low compression, an expensive fuse swapped out, a landing gear issue repaired and numerous other small things.  I flew it back from GMU a few days ago and she seemed happy to be in the air again. After 6 weeks of no pilot time, it felt slightly weird to be in command again, but I sure liked it.   I plan to get out and take her up for a few local flights soon to gain more confidence in the engine repairs and knock more rust off my skills. In 2 months I have to go back to get two explosive parachute line cutters swapped out, and then later we'll be back to get a new anti-ice-fluid pump installed.  Nothing involving aircraft is cheap.

Annual Drop-Off

I took the plane over to GMU for our annual inspection today.  On the way over I went through a couple of engine test procedures that Savvy MX , our maintenance advisors, want recorded every once in a while. The first is a GAMI Lean test.  This one has you start with the mixture around 100 degrees rich of peak (ROP) EGT (exhaust gas temperature) and slowly, over 3-4 minutes, leaning the mixture until the engine gets rough.  Then you slowly reverse the process and richen back to 100 ROP.  Once the plot of this is viewed online, you can see how different the fuel flows were when each of the 6 cylinders peaked and went lean, etc. This helps find and debug problems with fuel nozzles or the induction system.  For instance, if one cylinder's fuel injector is injecting slightly less fuel than it should be, that cylinder will go "peak" sooner than the rest.  For smooth operation when running lean of peak (which offers best economy and range) you want the cylinders to experien

2012 Cirrus G3 Perspective

Today I had a treat - a flight in a new Cirrus SR22. This was my first time flying with quite a few new features. The Perspective system This is Cirrus' take on the Garmin G1000 glass panel system. It includes a keyboard to reduce the amount of knob turning required when making, larger screens than the older Avidyne panels, and the excellent Garmin digital autopilot. In general, I was very impressed with the system. It provide a tremendous amount of automation and information gathering ability - way more then my older Avidyne. You do need to know how to navigate around using "the Garmin way" which is not always clear, but once you know how to use it it seems extremely powerful. The G3 airframe I hadn't flown the newer airframe until today. Introduced in 2007 it included quite a few changes. More fuel capacity, more vents for the pilot/co-pilot, a higher stance, the removal of the aileron/rudder interconnect (and increased wing tip/ dihedral ) and new exterior l

Microsoft Flight

I downloaded the recently released game from Microsoft called Flight . Not to be confused with the old Flight Simulator series they shut down after some 10 years of development and, I believe, sold off a few years ago (that may have not been an exclusive sale though). Flight has been in development for a while now and is a reboot/re-imagining of the series. Unfortunately, they decide that being more game-like, instead of simulation-based, was required. Now the focus is on "missions" - like flying through rings that are way too close to boats or buildings or flying a passenger on a sight-seeing tour (at least that one is fairly realistic). They've also decided that the game should be free, at first, but that you should have to have a account with their XBox focused "Microsoft Live" and have to buy "points" that you then exchange for add-ons like small bits of new scenery or a new aircraft. You get two slow aircraft out of the free download, each a

FL flying

I just got back from a whirlwind tour of FL in the Cirrus. Airplane did great and it was a nice challenge doing a lot of IFR flying in busy, unfamiliar airspace. It was helpful that I feel so at home in the airplane, as that gave me more mental cycles for briefing approaches and talking with controllers - the mic switch got a nice workout. Flying home was quite relaxing once I got out of central FL. Much less busy up north. The winds were really rocking at home (14 gusting to 26) so my approach to land was exciting. I turned base for runway 20 and could feel a massive sinking feeling. I started putting on hefty amounts of power just as the terrain alerting system said "sink rate - sink rate". I wasn't looking at the instruments at the time, just looking out the window. But after researching when those alerts are triggered, I must have had a ~1500 ft/min descent going at the time. That was one serious tailwind. But I quickly flew out of it and wrestled the airp

First flight!

I had the privilege of giving a "first flight" to my niece Addison yesterday. I picked up her and her Dad from Atlanta and brought them back to Rock Hill to visit for a few days. The weather was perfect and KLZU was a nice airport to fly into. She seemed to really enjoy it, and did a great job using the headset - quite impressive for a 3 year old! She brought along some "pixie dust" she said was needed for the airplane to fly. Before we boarded she put a little on the wing and kept the rest in a pouch hanging from her neck. It must have really worked because the airplane seemed quite happy to fly! This was also my first flight with the Zulu 2 headset . I liked it enough that it will be definitely be replacing my Bose headset from now on.

Flight to KCDK

Made a flight to pick up my wife down in FL today. She managed to catch my landing on the short strip at Cedar Key:

Test Flight

With the airplane out of the shop I took it out for a test flight. She was performing strong and did well, so that's good news. I also experimented with my NFlightCam on this flight. I managed to not mount it rigidly enough, so there's more shake than there should be. I also forgot the adapter cables to patch into the intercom, so that will have to wait for next time (when I have a large memory card too). Here's the takeoff from today:

Stumble Pop Update

They found the engine ran really rough on just the right magneto and that EGT#1 went blank. They took it apart a bit to test the leads and the plugs but found no issues. Put it back together again and it ran great. So the thinking is that taking it apart knocked a bit of lead or other contaminent out that was causing the issue. We also found that we have fine wire spark plugs and plan to replace them with Tempest massives, due to this . The Platinum Aviation blog has some great spark plug info here too.

Stumble, Pop

I flew the plane on the 11th and halfway through the flight we started getting what I assume were backfires, about 1/sec. They were very minor "stumbles" with a pop sound. This was after flying LOP at that same altitude for about 10m. Occasionally there would be a slight stumble with no pop sound. Power settings changes and changing to a richer mixture did not seem to help. After getting around 2000' AGL no more issues occurred for the rest of the flight to landing. Tested the fuel tanks for water again after landing, found no issues. Flew it again on the 23rd and had no troubles until nearly leveling off at 4,500'. The mag check on the ground showed no issues but as I hit 4,400' I felt the first stumble and as I leveled off and started to go LOP the backfires started up pretty abundantly. I didn't actually make it all the way to LOP before it started and so I decided to try ROP. Left it there momentarily as I started to turn back to KUZA to land. I swapped fu