Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hangar Time

I was too lazy to get out early this morning and fly.  By the time I got rolling the rain and thunderstorms were moving in and I decided to just take Ziva and head to the hangar. I wanted to pull the lens off the rotating beacon and see about removing the 'patched' or blocked area.  I also wanted to note the bulb type so I can replace it with an LED. The patch is not coming off, the bulb will be replaced with an LED.
I putzed around, playing with Ziva then finally got to work. Ok, work is a strong word maybe just tinkering, yea, I like that.

I finished up, closing the hangar and heading to the terminal. I wanted to have Ziva visit with Nola, she loves dogs.  Nola wasn't working today so I kept the visit very short and decided to head for home.
Picture provided by an internet source
As I was walking out the door I heard the folks at the counter mention two AH-1 Cobras inbound. Hmmm...I would love to see those birds.  I did take some video, it was really bad, I never used the zoom. However, as mean as it is, I did get to see them and they were bad to the bone!
Mary and I are on standby for a English Springer Spaniel rescue for Sunday. The ground transport is scheduled for Saturday but we are on deck if needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Approach Clearance - Crossing Altitudes

While reading through the many forums I frequent, I came across an excellent what if scenario. The pilot is a friend of mine and I always appreciate his insight to flying/teaching moments. I thought I would share.

Here is his post...

I was taking advantage of a rare chance to get in some actual today in Central Texas today. I did an IFR flight from KEDC (Austin Exec) to KLHB (Hearne). It wasn't a ton of actual but it was bumpy enough to work at it so I hand flew the approaches.

An interesting IFR question came out of this though. My approach clearance to the KLHB RNAV Rwy 18 approach was issued about 5 nm from CORAB

I had been cleared direct CORAB at 3000 prior to this. The clearance was "...cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, cross CORAB at or above _2000_ feet."

The leg following CORAB has a minimum of 2600' and the MSA on the plate is 2300'. Can I descend to 2000 at CORAB and continue until I hit the descent path?

I think this was the intent but I can't seem to find anything online on this. In this case I just flew the approach as published (it wasn't a challenge to loose 800 feet in 17 miles).

BTW - bonus point question. Looking at that plate - what does the grey shading between the VDP and the runway threshold mean.

My thoughts...

Once cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, like my friend, I would have stayed at 2600', flying the approach per the plate from there.

I watched a similar scenario unfold on a video of an aircraft given the "at or above" which the crew followed and triggered a terrain alert. I will continue to follow the approach plates unless breaking out and flying the remainder of the approach VFR.

By the way, I got the bonus question, ok partial credit because I took a shot.  I knew what it had to deal with but wasn't 100% positive until looking it up after the fact.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Sandbox

An odd title, but, after watching most of the FlyLikeThePros videos I am going to adopt a few of their tips for my flying now that I have the 530W and 430W in the Debonair.

The first tip that really peaked my interest was the 'Sandbox'. Flying with a two Garmin system this practice provides a way to secondary flight plan, have a dedicated DME or initiate your 'back up' plan without clearing your current flight plan.

The first step to accomplish this is to set up the cross fill operation. This can be accomplished on the active FPL page or NAV page one. I am going to keep the 'autofill' from the 530 to the 430 but switch the 430 to manual. This will allow the additional flight planning feature without disrupting my working flight plan on the 530.
I really enjoy learning new procedures about flying and implementing them in my flight routine. I have been given instructions by ATC that left me scratching my head on how to set up what they want. The worst case, I ask for an initial heading as I work through the issue.

Knowing your systems and practicing all the crazy what if's when with a safety pilot or your CFI reinforces what we need to do. I am grateful for the instructors I flew with and for all the bust my stone flights with Mike B. When in training, drinking from the fire hose seems crazy, until you need those skills in the real world. I can still hear my father reminding me how we play on game day just like we practice. This holds true in everything flying.

What are your thoughts on setting up the sandbox? If you took the time to watch the FlyingLikeThePros videos have you learned anything new, and if so will you add them to your flying.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Learning The S-Tec 50

This morning I was trying to stay ahead of the heat while getting some air time prior to the Ocean City airspace closing for a TFR at 2pm.  Today is practice day for the airshow and I am looking forward to hearing and viewing the Thunderbirds in action.
I headed over to the hangar early and tugged 45Yankee out into the sun, yes, that big shiny thing in the sky. The plan was to launch and fly the GPS 32 approach followed by the GPS 14 approach in order to get some autopilot practice. I completed my preflight and closed up the hangar.
Following my run up I made my call for departing runway three-two and was quickly in the air and retracting the gear. I ran through the take-off checklist prior to rolling for the runway to reinforce the target airspeeds and as a reminder to retract the gear.
I entered the GPS 32 approach and pointed 45Yankee for GOBYO. As I crossed the shore line I remembered that my vest was still in baggage and I hate being low, two thousand feet, over the water and five miles offshore. I made a U-turn and reset for the RNAV GPS 14 approach instead.
I wasn't sure why, when in approach mode, the autopilot turned me slightly to the right. Instead, I disconnected and turned to the outbound heading of 325° in order to perform a parallel entry. Once on the proper heading I switched back to the autopilot heading mode and continued my procedure turn. I was outbound for four miles, then with a turn of the heading bug, completed my procedure turn and was tracking inbound on the 145° heading.

I also worked on my power setting for approaches, noting manifold pressure, RPM's and degree of up or down with my trim setting. Having the chart completed and memorizing it will make my flying more precise. 

Some notes on the S-Tec 50

NAV – Navigation Mode
Before using the NAV mode, you must manually place aircraft within 10 degrees of the desired course. AP will NOT make large course
adjustments in NAV mode.
APR – Approach Mode
This mode is exactly like the NAV mode with one exception: It tracks the CDI with much greater authority, as you would want to do if you were flying a localizer approach.

It was fun to get in the air, however, it would have been better with another pilot in the right seat so I could focus more on learning the AP.  I did manage to work through some simple steps as if shooting approaches and still be mindful of traffic and radio chatter.

Monday, June 11, 2018

VTF, Don't Do It!

Since I'm stuck in the house keeping dry I like to search the internet for training tips and what if situations that spark my interest enough to fire up the simulator.

Today, while looking for answers on winds aloft, I stumbled upon this video from FlyingLikeThePros.
How many times have you be bitten by this Vector To Final scenario? Come on, fess up.  I have, twice. I no longer need to touch the burner on the stove to know it's hot and it will hurt. I have posted about this subject before but these guys do a great job with the video and I wanted to share.

Pay close attention to the last few minutes, they provide a new trick to add to the tool chest. In a busy airport environment you may get vectors extending your downwind on an approach. Since we have learned, some of us the hard way, that ATC does switch up, especially on hand-offs it's best to load a full approach.

If you need to extend or stretch the final approach a bit longer FlyingLikeThePros suggests the 'direct' to the last fix, entering the heading to extend the centerline.  It's sort of like using the OBS function and dialing in the final approach course on the CDI to extend the magenta line on those new to you airports that you're trying to find in VFR conditions. In the mean time you have an extended centerline to help.
Lets take a look at my recent trip to KCXY, Capital City in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was directed to expect vectors to the ILS RWY 8. If you look closely I did select VTF, only because it was VFR and I had no issue getting into CXY. This scenario still provides a good look at the benefit of loading the full approach.
On the sim TIVNE is LATLE due to the ancient version. However, the red arrow shows the extended centerline/approach and if there are step downs like the video this tip can really be helpful when flying single pilot IFR.

The next issue, as mentioned above, is winds aloft and lack of display on my iPad/Foreflight. I decided to dig into my avionics that I have in 45Yankee. I have tried to find in flight winds aloft, but can't seem to find the info displayed on my iPad/Foreflight. I sent Foreflight an email yesterday (Sunday)and I really didn't like the response, despite it being quick and thorough.

Winds aloft through ADS-B reception only shows winds for airports that report them. That is, the winds are viewable in the airports tab for that specific point.

Winds as a layer is not available through ADS-B because they don't send that information.

You can pack for a trip and have the estimated winds aloft data stored. The Pack feature creates an "envelope" around your planned route and checks to see which items need to be downloaded. The envelope covers 25nm either side of the enroute course and within a 50nm radius around the destination and departure airports. Pack will always check for the latest METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETS, TFRs, Fuel Prices, NOTAMs, Documents, Airport Database, and Obstacles.

You can set up which type of chart and map data that you want Pack to check for by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS > UNITED STATES or CANADA, and select options such as IFR Low, Terminal Procedures, or VFR Charts. Pack only offers downloads for those items that are not already downloaded to your device.

The information that is downloaded using Pack is accessed during the normal use of ForeFlight. Weather can be found from Map overlays and on the Airports Page. Terminal Procedures can be found from within the Airports Page or by searching for them on the Plates Page. NOTAMS are displayed within the Airports Page.

You can view which states are downloaded by Pack and delete unwanted states by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS. If packed data is not part of your normal downloads, when the data expires it will be deleted from the system automatically.

If your route is changed, use the pack feature to re-evaluate the downloads and re-alert the you of any available downloads. Every 10 mins Pack can be used to recheck the current route for new weather and NOTAMs.

For more on Pack, please see our Pilot's Guide:

I really miss the Garmin 496 and xm weather, I may be looking to add a unit to the Debonair.  Does anyone have a suggestion for winds aloft?

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Bits and Pieces

The Supervisor
Off to the airport this morning to get a few odd jobs done at the hangar.  I received my color coded toggle covers last week and they just didn't fit.  That will not be the end of this want. I brought along a hair dryer and heated each cap until I could stretch it over the toggle. It took some coaxing but I completed the project.

Next on my list was the install of LED navigation lights. I really liked the LED's I installed on 08Romeo so I used the same product and completed that task. I forgot to take pictures. Here is a shot from the online catalog of the LED's and clear lenses I also installed. 
Once finished up with the plane, I loaded up Ziva girl for the ride home.  I did give some thought to an ice cream stop but figured I would wait and ask the ladies if they wanted some after dinner. With everything picked up and the Batteryminder plugged back in I headed home. 
Got up to see the Pilatus PC12 roll out
When I arrived I saw a few packages sitting on the steps, two for Mary and one for me.  My new grease fitting caps were here.  Tomorrows project!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

US Kennels

I have been volunteering my time with US Kennels in Salisbury, Maryland. I was introduced to Chris Hardy, Executive Director, and we immediately hit it off. I have always enjoyed 'training' my dogs but I'm no pro. Chris is a pro, and an excellent teacher, I believe in his program. Anything associated with dogs, especially rescues, and giving something back to our Veterans is a win win for me. Check out US Kennels at the following two links.

US Kennels on Facebook
U.S Kennels Incorporated
Some info on US Kennels...
U.S Kennels Incorporated is a 501(c3) non profit organization. We provide trained service dogs, as well as supplies, to our combat wounded veterans who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries and affiliated physical disabilities. Our program is available to deliver free support to our veterans while at the same time saving lives of shelter dogs waiting for someone to give them another chance at life. Every veteran will be helped to find a dog which fits their personality and disability.

A dog will be rescued, rehabilitated, trained in advanced obedience, and advanced medical tasks. Our program is created in such way that everyone wins, multiple lives are saved. Veterans lives will greatly improve with the medical assistance and by the healing power of their new canine partner.

After the veteran has been accepted into the training program, the next step is to define the tasks, and skills needed to best assist the veteran with his/her disability Veterans are being scheduled to meet with the trainer, so can he understand their needs, and begin to identify potential dogs in the shelters which might be suitable. All the dogs match with veterans based on strength level, temperament, the Veteran’s needs, personality, and life style. Once the dog/dogs who meet the requirement are identified the process of adoptions begins followed by the obedience training.
I hope you will take the time to check out the home page and feel free to donate to a worthy cause.