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 asked him to help me do the TKS preflight for the first time, so I'd have a good baseline of the sights and sounds when I do that solo from now on - it's a once-a-month check, or before flying into known icing conditions.

We took off from Concord, did slow flight, a few stalls, etc. and then started shooting approaches with different simulated failures.  The airplane has dual AHRS (attitude and heading reference system) and ADC (air data computer, for airspeed, altitude, etc.) sensors so a total failure of those is very rare, but we could still simulator it by pulling circuit breakers.

The failed ADCs was a tough one to deal with, at least when in the clouds.  You can still use the autopilot in pitch hold mode and command an angle of pitch, but it takes a fair bit of continuous adjustment to keep the altitude you want to hold.  Easy to get "behind" the airplane when talking with ATC and trying to brief and fly an approach.

We flew to KGMU for a late lunch (and the place was busy) then gassed up a bit and shot another 3 approaches before returning to Concord to end the lesson.  I gained up a huge amount of knowledge on how to fly the plane and the avionics, and had lots of fun doing it.  I can't recommend Mark highly enough.  He's got some great videos to check out too.

Using all that experience the next morning I blasted off for Sun n Fun down in Lakeland, FL.  I cruised at 180kts (burning about 16.5 gph) and a small tailwind even gave me a little boost past that.  I flew into Plant City where they had a nice parking spot and a car ready for me.

I've found the TAT turbo G3 Cirrus to be a pretty impressive upgrade from the G2 I used to fly.  Some of the checklists are shorter, which is nice.  For example, I don't generally touch the fuel pump switch, I leave the landing lights on full time, and I barely need to work with the mixture as I fly the turbo in the climb at the full rich setting and leaning for cruise is a simple pull back until the fuel flow matches the pre-calculated bug bug on the read out.

Then there's the enhanced safety: 2 AHRSs, 2 ADCs, 2 essentially full-power alternators, 2 displays capable of showing all the primary instruments, the ability to deal with more icing situations (which I plan to avoid in the first place), heated "stall" detector, hypoxia monitoring, additional alerts to the pilot for system issues, a better autopilot setup, and more.

The only drawback is the max weight.  Since the new airplane is heavier due to the additional equipment and since it can carry an extra 11 gallons of fuel vs the G2, you can't fill the tanks and expect to take more than one passenger somewhere.  So I am getting back into the habit of keeping the tanks at "the tabs" (60 gallons of fuel) unless I need to take a trip.  You also have to watch the manifold pressure at take off to keep it at 31in/hg - if you just push it all the way to max power you will put a bit too much load on the engine (that's because the oil is still warming up, and it's involved in the turbo control).

On the flight home yesterday I again cruised at ~180 and had an even better tailwind.  I had an average groundspeed of about 200kts.

Here's a photo merge of the PFD and MFD on the way home:


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