Showing posts from 2013


Having recently crossed the 800 total hour mark, I thought I'd write a bit about my last few months of flying.  I've done a fair number of trips back and forth to Texas, not the least of which was my last one. When the day came that I was scheduled to head home, there was a major cold front that had just rolled in the night before.  After careful preflight planning (that I re-did at least three times to double check myself) I decided I could not only make it home with plenty of safety margin, but could climb up to 15,000', don the oxygen cannula, and get all the way home in one hop at 240kts.  It worked out really well, and I landed with nearly 2 hours of fuel still in the tanks. The FIKI (Flight into Known Ice) capability of the airplane helped during the departure as it gave that much more of a safety edge as I climbed out through about 6000' of thick, cold clouds.  In general, I've expanded my weather envelope a bit recently - I feel better able to evalu

ESP, Perspective update, and ADS-B Out

I had the plane in the shop recently.  The goals were three-fold: Update the G1000 software, install the ESP feature, and install an ADS-B Out transponder. The first two went OK, unfortunately, the latter not so much. But let's start with the Garmin update.  I was running version 08 previously, and this upgrade brought it up to version 15.  There's various bug fixes etc in that update, but here's some of the more noticeable changes, all of which I think are nice little improvements. Terrain profile - you can now view a side-view representation of the terrain in front of you just under the Map.  Handy for mountain operations.  I noticed it only shows terrain within a few thousand feet of you, so it's boring at good cruise altitudes, but that makes sense from a design point of view, no reason to show terrain when its not a concern. ETE on PFD - the PFD used to showing bearing to next waypoint, which had little value for me and couldn't be changed.  This updat

Updating data on the Garmin Perspective system

After changing from the Avidyne system to the Cirrus Perspective (G1000) system, I had to relearn an important part of owning an airplane: how to update all the data the systems use. There's even more data in the Perspective, including AOPA directory data and more charts. In this walkthrough, I make use of the Jeppesen app for Apple OS X: JDM .  It has worked well for me, though I did need to call Jeppesen when I first set this up to get my subscriptions fixed up.  They gave great customer support when I did. The process starts (optionally) by hooking up a ground power unit (GPU).  In the case of the Cirrus, you can certainly do this without it, but I tend to hook it up just to be sure.  The systems draw about 8-10amps while updating, but you won't generally have the power on for long.  One tip I've read: power up the GPU before plugging it into the plane, at least for the one I bought.  That saves the plane from seeing any power spikes that might have occurred when t

Weather Experience

I've gained some nice experience with in-flight weather recently, starting with my trip up to Sporty's for their annual fly-in.  The weather on the way up there was pretty easy to handle, but on the way back I needed to do a bit of deviating from the planned course.   I took extra care during the preflight checks, and had some places to divert in mind if the thunderstorms ballooned up, but it ended up working out quite well, as the weather slowly dissipated during my flight. Similarly, today I did a local round trip to get some good testing in ForeFlight Mobile and the latest from Stratus (a weather data receiver).   In both cases ATC was a huge help, proactively making suggestions on good routes and checking in on folks that were near precip activity.  It's so nice to have them on the other end of the radio while you're working on a game plan. Oh, and when you use a GCO on the ground (Ground Communication Outlet) it is 4 slow clicks on the mic to call ATC, 6 to

A little diversion

I just returned from a one night trip to AR and had a minor bit of excitement on the way out there.   My plan was simple - the weather was nice and the trip distance was easily within my margin for a single/direct flight with no fuel stop (especially since I managed to get a 2-3 kt tailwind).    However, an hour or so into the flight one of the engine sensors (one that measures the turbine inlet temperature) started behaving a bit "off".  It was showing a value bouncing between 1600 degrees F up to 1750.  At times it would bounce up to 1800+ at which point the avionics system would *bong* to alert me to the problem.   I monitored the other readouts and all looked good, but I lowered the power to see if that helped.  It didn't make a difference, and the readout would instantly correct itself from time to time, yet kept bouncing around.  Feeling confident it was just a readout issue, I decided to press on and simply monitor the issues closely.   However, it got

Night flight

I went up for a bit tonight to try about the G1000/Perspective system in the dark for the first time. I do very little (essentially zero) night flying, but when I have done it in the past I've really enjoyed it.  There's next to no one else flying, the air is smooth, and the sights are unique - at least when you're near a city, in the country there's very little to see. I took off just as it was getting pretty dark, careful to keep the power below 102% or so.  I made it a short flight, basically looped around the city and then shot a GPS approach back into the airport.  I found the airplane to be even better for night flying than the G2 Cirrus I used to fly regularly.  That's for a few reasons: Landing lights - the lighting is a bit better, though maybe not quite as much as I would have expected, with the wing tip recognition lights.  Every bit helps though. EVS - the IR/Visible camera system was mostly helpful on the ground to search for deer or other obstr

Ground Power Unit

I recently bought a small GPU from Sporty's so I could do database updates and avionics exploration on the ground without concern over draining the batteries in the SR22. I went with this one rated for 35 Amps max.   So far I haven't seen the plane draw more than 10 amps, so 35 looks to be plenty.  It seems well built and was easy to use. Here's how I use it: Hook up wires on GPU and power it up Remove GPU cover on airplane (quarter turn screw) Plug GPU into airplane Turn on Batt 1 switch Verify that GPU indicates reasonable amperage draw (7-10 amps in this case) Turn on Avionics switch if required Then when its time to turn everything off, reverse the order.

Even more instruction

   Spent an hour flying with John Collins yesterday.  He's a writer, aviation avionics/ADS-B expert, instructor, and my hangar neighbor.   We focused on making better use of vertical navigation while shooting GPS approaches, using the autopilot's VNV function.  Also spent time testing out Stratus 2 with the latest ForeFlight Mobile update.  Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Training and Sun n Fun

I recently started flying a newer Cirrus (with the Garmin Perspective/G1000 system) and needed to work on my transition training. I already had some time behind the TAT turbo-normalized engine in the new plane, so the main focus was learning the new avionics.  I'm lucky to live near an expert Cirrus instructor (Mark Wages of North Star Aero ) so scheduled a day to fly around with him, shoot approaches, do some basic airwork, and learn the various failure modes of the new setup. It was the perfect time to get fully IFR current and get a flight review knocked out at the same time.  It also let me feel much more at home in the airplane, as I have so much time in the Avidyne system that the Garmin one required a reset of my muscle memory ("oh yeah, the heading bug knob is over  there now"). I picked up the plane from GMU on Friday and flew it straight home.  Then Saturday morning I took off to meet Mark.  We started with a ground review of systems and procedures.  I as

Austin trip

Most of my recent flights haven't been much to write home about.  Primarily flight testing ForeFlight stuff during local trips,  but I did take a long trip out to Austin.  That's the furthest I have flown west, and it took roughly 6 hours to get out there (with a fuel stop midway). I got to spend some time with fellow ForeFlight coders at the Redbird SkyPort.  It's a gorgeous place for airplane geeks to hang out. We got some flight testing in while we were all together.  Here's a shot of that in a lovely Mooney. Here's a shot of us coding the next version of ForeFlight Mobile in the SkyPort.  After a while, we got pretty good at not being distracted by the Ovation in the hangar. I also got to fly a couple of "real" approaches (i.e. there were lots of clouds around) which was a ton of fun.  Such a feeling of accomplishment when you punch out of the clouds and ease in for a landing in WX that few others fly in. Last week I went up for a q