Thursday, June 13, 2019

OC Airshow Practice

I had to run over to the airport to pick up my leather briefcase that I will now use at my new job.  While I was in the hangar I heard jets overhead. I gathered up my few things, found my extra reading glasses, and ran out the door.
Mary said I just missed nine Snowbirds fly overhead.....CRAP!  She then said they have started to land. Ok, an overhead break, I'll catch a few of them landing on one-four. The videos here is all that I managed. I did catch  some great views of the Blue Angels practice but I was driving. I caught just a quick video while I was pumping gas into the SUV.
Maybe I'll head out to the beach tomorrow and bring my video cameras and see what I can record.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Hangar Rat

I spent some quality time with our Ziva girl over at the hangar.  After her traditional run, and burning a few circles in the grass, this is all that was left. Yep, a burned out pup.

I did do some cleaning, managing to finish the gear legs. Reaching up into the gear wells will be bestowed upon Ivan from CAVU Aircraft Detailing. My shoulders could not take it, I just love this arthritis....NOT!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Solo Time

I started working for a local company, just a few days a week. I'm learning new construction tracking software and doing strictly office work. This company is owned by two of our longest lasting friends and it's a very loose arrangement. They know I fly and that Mary and I want to get back to traveling, so it's a win for all involved.

Today I watched the weather roll through with showers and gusty winds, yes, from the comfort of my office chair looking out the window. I only had a few hours worth of work to get done so I completed the few tasks then high tailed it home. I sat and watched the weather, and somewhere between noon and one the sun decided to show.

Giddy up! I went in to give my bride a kiss goodbye, she was battling a migraine today. I grabbed my flight bag that was already on the counter near the door and ready to go. Mary said be safe, and with that I was heading out the door.

I completed my pre-flight and took on twenty-two gallons of fuel. I started using a fuel stick, it was calibrated by 3TC's previous owner. Well, the gradation chart was, I bought a new one for me. Bill kept his for his Commander 114.
I tugged the plane out and with the help of my step stool climbed aboard. The step stool is fastened to a rope leash that I lay up on the wing.  When I'm ready to board I climb up, then with the rope leash lift the small stool up and place it on one of the back seats. It's easy and it works.  FYI, the Commander steps sit way higher then the Sundowner and the Debonair.

METAR KOXB 111253Z AUTO 33012G22KT 10SM SCT070 SCT085 BKN110 19/17 A2994

Runway three-two it is.  With my start up complete I taxi out to three-two.  The little bit of activity as I taxied out was now clear so I turned towards the wind and completed my run up and checklist. I am going to use Bill's advice and let 3TC takeoff around 70 knots. With the correct trim she'll fly herself off and there will be less 'wallowing' as seen in the first training videos.
This flight was partially for autopilot familiarity and then the return trip for hand flying. The plan was to head to Wilmington (KILG), make a full stop, and then launch for home. Well, I made it north of Dover and got tired of the bumps and headwinds. I canceled flight following with Dover and pointed for home, circling out to the west side of the Dover AFB.

The tail winds were great! I saw speeds of 150 knots plus while dialing the power back to 21/2450.  I was saving fuel and enjoying the speed. I chased altitude for a bit and finally got settled in as I approached Delaware Coastal (KGED). Starting my descent I made my traffic call at ten north of Ocean City. When I reached 1,500 feet and almost ready to enter the downwind, I lowered the gear. I am retraining myself with GUMPS checks and still shedding rust. Once in the pattern, abeam the numbers, I added approach flaps, setting the sight picture and airspeed.
I added the second notch and turned base slowing to eighty knots. Everything felt stable despite the tail wind push. I made my turn to final, pointing for the numbers. Keep flying the plane to the surface, as Dick and Bills voices were on endless loop in my head.  More rudder control, less ailerons...I hear you Dick. I thought I would grease it on, but, right at the end, I added to much flare.  I quickly added a tad of power and flew it on. Not the best but not too bad at all.

I have to be honest, I was pretty nervous making my first solo landing. Not that the accident haunts me but the time off and trying to get comfortable with a new plane triggers those thoughts. Today was a giant stride for me feeling at home in the left seat.
Once the Air Show is over I'll get back in the air and knock out the last 3.7 hours.  After that I hope to hook up with Mike and knock out approaches, by hand, and with the autopilot.

I have never been one to just drag the plane out to go bore holes in the sky, I always needed a purpose. Flying off the solo hours is boring holes, yes, I'm learning and practicing. The mission is what I crave, new destinations, and flying away with my bride.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Flying The Aspen 1000 PFD
The biggest adjustment for me in our Commander is the use of the Aspen 1000 PFD. Progress is coming along, and I think I'll be fine as I log more hours. I think the hardest adjustment has been the Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI). It's contained on the HSI screen with a digital readout and a bar graph.
The steam gauge provided climb or descent trends in a clear and large format, maybe just easier on my eyes, or what I have come to know since I started flying.
After I shoot more approaches I'm sure I will settle in and feel at home. It's all about getting comfortable, and that will take some time.

I have searched the internet and found some helpful videos on the Aspen. I think the best out there is provided by Marauder92V.
Chris provides an easy to follow walk through of the set up and in flight use. Now I need to catch up with him and learn the tips and tricks to make my transition a bit easier.
I also found a very good pictorial of the Aspen 1000 produced by Douglas Fortnam for the Penn Yan Flying Club.
Once the Ocean City Air Show is complete I'll get back in the air to knock out my five solo hours and then hook up with Mike B for some additional approaches and buttonology.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

GNS 480 Intersecting Points
I am focusing on the GNS 480, utilizing the simulator, and 'what if' scenarios that I think up, or the flying forums provide.  This morning I found just such a scenario on one of the forums.  Insert evil mad scientist laugh.

OK, here we go, taken from one of the flying forums I frequent.
Assume I want part of my eastbound route at 11000 to be: CNX V264 V62 TXO. First is this technically allowed since there is not a named intersection where the airways cross? And assuming it's ok then how would you get that into any navigator? I can't figure out a way to get it into Foreflight or the GNS480.

The best workaround I can come up with is making the route something like CNX V264 TCC V12 ACH V62 TXO, and then when I reach the point where V264 and V62 cross I could just activate the leg from ACH->FLUTY (I could identify the crossing using the VORs).

Lets take the easy route first, ForeFlight. Similar to my previous Intersecting Points post, this is a simple entry. If you have the ability to upload Foreflight with the FlightStream products, you're one and done.

First, click on the FPL selection, top left. Next, enter the flight plan.  The V264 is not required but I forgot to delete it.


This will plot the intersection at V264 and V62, you're good to go.

Now on to the GNS 480.

The original flight plan would be CNX V264 TCC TXO. I assume the original plan was to avoid the Pecos High/Low MOA area. The above plan does that but unless you ask or are given the short cut along V62 you're flying way out of your way to get to TXO. Lets fix that, and save some fuel.
I selected the following flight plan by clicking on the FN soft key then the FPL soft key. I then entered CNX V264 TCC TXO.  Notice there is a discontinuity after TCC, the unit is looking for a way to get there.

After selecting EXEC the MAP page shows the route. Note the route CNX -> TCC -> Disco. Now we need to add the CrsTo, in order to plot the route to TXO.
I selected the following soft keys. FN, FPL, EDIT, CRSR to highlight discontinuity which highlights TXO. Next click on the direct soft key.
Your screen now provides multiple choices select MORE in the box. Next you will select CrsTo and with the CRSR dial in 98*.
Click on the soft key button MENU/ENTER. You should now be back on the map page, you are still on a 053* heading on V264 and you can see the 098* radial. 
Select the soft key FN, FPL and EXEC then MENU/ENTER. 
Select the soft key MAP and you will see the 098* radial (V62) highlighted. You will now fly on the 053* heading and intercept the 098* radial TO TXO.
Next up, how to create a user waypoint that will provide the same point in space. This user waypoint comes in handy if ATC sends you to that same point in space on your flights.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Commander Transition Training

Monday, Morning Session

Finally, today is the day that I get to fly left seat. I'm a little bit nervous, but more excited then anything else. Pilot friends have encouraged me, and remind me it's like riding a bike, you have the skills, dust them off and go fly.

My CFI arrived last night amid severe thunder storms. We had quite the light and sound show going on. Ziva slept through it all, while Mary and I tossed and turned for awhile then finally passed out. I am scheduled to meet with my CFI at 9:30. I offered to pick him up so that his bride could have wheels to get around town. I booked our friends condo right in Ocean City so Dick and his bride had easy access to restaurants, the beach, and great sunset views.

All my electronics are updated, charged, and packed. I have reviewed the POH a number of times over the last month, so I'm confident and comfortable with the information. The plan is to video, but the final decision on that is up to my CFI. At the very least I will have the tail camera running.

After completing my preflight and sumping fuel we were ready to climb aboard. I was nervous to be sitting left seat, it's been eleven months. My CFII made me feel comfortable as we discussed the plan of attack for the day.

Upon completing my run up, and getting used to a whole different set of checklists, I nervously squeezed the PTT and made my first call for departure runway one-four. I felt like we raced down the runway but in fact 3 Tango Charlie takes a bit more runway than the Deb used up. At just about sixty-five knots I started to push to the left side of the runway but managed to get enough right rudder to correct as the wheels broke free of the surface. Well that sure wasn't pretty!

3TC is a bit of, what I affectionately called her, a ground hog. She likes to keep in ground effect until she is darn ready to climb. It almost felt like we were gently getting sucked downward.
The aviation equivalent of the izzy dizzy drill
We soon climbed out and started the round robin of full stop landings. 3TC had to be wondering what was going on, as I adjusted to the new sight picture on final. We took a break and headed to the practice area for a refresher on all phases of flight. Slow flight, steep turns, S-turns, climb and descents in slow flight configuration, landing pattern configuration at altitude, working on the numbers for the plane, emergency procedures, stalls power on and off. I was getting a work out. Dick also had me work on some commercial maneuvers, this helped learn the control and feel of 3TC.

During this mornings flight we worked with the new to me avionics, getting used to the Aspen will take some time.  Working with the GNS 480 felt easier on the sim, sitting in my office chair, then it did flying. It will take some time to get back the multi-tasking skills to the point where I will be looking for things to do. Right now, it almost feels like those initial Private Pilot training days, drinking form a fire hose.
We made our way back north to Ocean City, now using the 'numbers' we had worked on.  I was getting a good workout as I knocked out a bunch more crosswind and power off landings.  Dick really emphasized using more gentle rudder controls and less aileron on final. The goal was to keep things smooth for the passengers. Landings for this mornings session, eight. It was time for something cold to drink and a debrief over lunch.

Monday, Afternoon Session

After taking on fuel to bring us back to 48 gallons we were ready to once again fly. This afternoons plan, more landings. Short/soft field, power off, cross wind, and no flap. I worked on gentle rudder input vs abrupt aileron inputs. Just as it started to feel like I was getting used to the control and sight picture I would plant one. Thanks to Rockwell for the trailing link gear.
We headed out to Salisbury, KSBY for some radio work in a class D environment and more full stop landings. We continually worked on getting familiar with avionics, especially the Aspen.  After a few rounds at SBY we headed for Delaware Coastal, KGED. I had originally planed for runway two-eight.  Enroute I checked for NOTAMS and found runway two-eight was closed, easy peasy, I changed up and made for runway two-two. This was a one and done, taxi back and head for home. On the way home we reviewed more emergency procedures and I finished todays training with a nice landing on runway three-two.

The numbers for Day 1

Flight time 6.5 Hours
Full stop landings 18
Ground Instruction 2.2 Hours
Biennial Flight Review (BFR)
Tuesday, Morning Session
Another day of practice area and landings. We departed Ocean City and headed off south west for more emergency procedure work. We did multiple emergency descents along with various maneuvers.

Just for a change of pace we pointed south for Accomack County Airport, KMFV.  More landings and configuration changes to learn the aircraft and how it handles. Once knocking out five full stop landings we headed back towards Ocean City for a lunch break and debrief.

We called our brides and asked if they wanted to meet up for lunch. Both ladies agreed so Mary headed to Berlin and the Atlantic Hotel while Dick and I picked up his bride, Dee.  The plan was for us all to have lunch together and then the ladies could shop the town and head back when they wanted to.
Lunch at the Atlantic was excellent! We sat out on the screened porch enjoying the breeze and company.

Tuesday, Afternoon Session

For the men it was time to get back in the air. I had the fuel brought back to tabs, twenty-four gallons a side. Once again we climbed aboard and headed out for more landings. This afternoon would be interesting and challenging for me. Hood work, approaches, intercepting and tracking a course, a hold, and actual use of the GNS 480. We started out with some old school VOR work without the GPS. Toss in the radio work with Salisbury tower and rusty skills...did I mention drinking from the fire hose.
I did get frustrated with my PTS standards while first going under the hood. Setting up the VOR and tracking then setting up the approach, reviewing the plate, and flying was an overload. My altitude varied and I found my scan slowing down, almost fixating at times. I found that using the GNS 480 sim, while in the office, was easy to learn and operate. However flying and maintaining standards while punching buttons took a bit more concentration. 

I know I posted this back in April 2008 but it still applies. Todays training reminded me of the old Ed Sullivan show (showing my age) when he would have the people that spin/balance multiple plates on the poles. Well, that’s how it feels with the scan when the work load gets busy or in my case covered in rust. I'm just trying to keep everything squared away.

After two approaches into Salisbury (ILS and RNAV), each one better then the last, we headed back to Ocean City. The final approach for the day was going to be the RNAV GPS 32. I made my way out over the ocean, six miles, to the Initial Approach Fix GOBYO. I should note I was using the autopilot in heading and altitude mode. I at least figured out the heading bug and altitude holds for the Stec/Aspen interaction. I'm still learning the Aspen.
At the top of the T turning inbound I added approach flaps, it helped getting my speed under control. As I crossed the Final Approach Fix, EULCO I extended the gear followed by a second notch of flaps. I disconnected the Autopilot and hand flew the remainder of the approach. The last landing was stable, with just rudder input followed by a squeaker of a landing. Not a bad way to close out my training.

The numbers for Day 2
Flight time 4.8 Hours
Full stop landings 10
Ground Instruction 2 Hours
Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC)

Next up, five hours of solo work. Following the solo time I hope to catch up with my flying pal and CFII Mike B. He'll have me whipped into shape and flying that Aspen/ Stec combo like a pro.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Photos and Copyright

While thumbing through a recent flying publication that I receive, I noticed a picture that looked very familiar. Sure enough it was a photo I took while in flight. 

Let's step back and take a look and when and where. Mary and I were returning from BACFest 2011 in Ithaca New York. I had been handed off to Wilkes-Barre approach and given a descent for six thousand, back into IMC conditions. We finally broke out of instrument conditions north of Allentown Pennsylvania.  
I found it a bit odd that a publication wouldn't ask permission or at the very least give credit for the source. Acknowledging credit would have made all this a non-issue.

I'm not sure what bothered me more, using the photo, or labeling it as "unexpected LIFR conditions".

So, on Thursday, May 30th, I sent the editor a brief email.
Subject:      Picture used without consent

Message:      Reading through my ____ subscription I noticed a picture of mine was used without my consent.  The article is  - ___________  by _________, on page _____, top left, of the June 2019 issue.  
My picture was taken on my way home from Ithaca NY on October 2, 2011. At the very least there should have been a request for permission or acknowledgement given.
This morning I received a return email in response to my inquiry. I appreciate the reply and offers to remedy the issue.
First, Gary, let me offer my apologies.
I've conferred with the author and he doesn't remember where he got the image. I'll accept without argument your statement that it's one of your photographs. My guess is that, as incestuous as the Internet is, the author found it on some web site—perhaps not even where you originally published it—that didn't carry a clear copyright notice, which is a common source of photographs for us.
Be that as it may, I can offer one of the following remedies.
a.       I’ll spank the author, again advise all our authors that images from the Internet need to be carefully reviewed for rights, again offer my apologies, and we move on.
b.      Pay you for the rights. Unfortunately, photos are cheap and our budget is shallow. Our standard fee to photographers for file photos is $30.
c.       Print an after-the-fact photo credit in the Readback section. While I’m willing to do this, it’s somewhat awkward and really wouldn’t look right. If this option is attractive to you, I’d probably print a short note ostensibly from you, a short apologetic reply saying it was an innocent mistake, and I’d reprint the photo with your credit.
I’ve been at the helm of _____ for nearly seven years and we’ve never encountered this problem before. I only mention that to further try to reassure you that we don’t make a habit of grabbing photos without the rights. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
It’s your choice, Gary. How can we make this right for you?
Maybe I'll ask for my annual subscription to be updated and call it even. At least they took the time to respond to my email, and I do appreciate that. Mainly, I just wanted to bring attention to the issue, and hopefully the next time the author thinks about using pics from a source without giving credit.

GNS 480 Approaches

The GNS 480 contains all published approaches which is easily added with the PROC button.
We will fly a quick hop back to Ocean City, - KOXB, from Wilmington - KILG. We soon copy our clearance and without delay are rolling for take off and climbing out for home.
Wilmington tower hands us off to Philly Departure and they in turn hand us off to Dover Approach. Dover sometimes reroutes towards Salisbury KSBY, but  since I'm playing all the parts in this scenario we'll stay with Dover and keep pointed to OXB.
After I report I have the weather at Ocean City, Dover tells us to expect the RNAV GPS 14 approach. Again, normally I'm handed off to Patuxent approach, but, my game my rules, Dover will take us home.
Ok, let's set this up in advance and review the Approach plate. By clicking on the PROC button we view the screen that provides destination with arrival or approach choices.
Selecting Approach the next screen provides multiple choices; GPS,ILS, LOC, VOR and NDB. Now the data is from 2004 so the IF UDMEW is now PFAIR. I click on MENU/ENTER to have the approach loaded but not active at this point.

Dover directs us to proceed direct UDMEW (PFAIR) cleared for the GPS 14 approach into Ocean City, Cancel in the air with us or on the ground, copy phone number blah...blah...blah.
Now that we are cleared for the approach we'll go back into the FPL, click on EXEC then CRSR to select UDMEW then click on the direct button.
The next screen gives multiple choices once again. This time select Direct in the box and that will have us fly to UDMEW (PFAIR).
As  we approach UDMEW you can see the PT already plotted. Do to the entry it will be a left turn to a course of 145 on to LANDY the FAF.
I will create another scenario that requires a PT for the approach and show what that requires with regard to the Suspend button - SUSP.