Friday, February 27, 2015

Support the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2

Send Letters to Congress 

Contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and support S. 571 and H.R. 1062, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. EAA helped to draft the newly introduced twin bills, and they already have bipartisan support from top lawmakers. The bill aims to allow pilots flying certain aircraft to operate using a driver’s license in lieu of a traditional third-class medical, and it will build upon the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights in ensuring that pilots and other airman are given due process in enforcement proceedings.

The medical aspects of the legislation would build upon the remarkable safety record proven by a decade of light-sport aircraft (LSA) operations. This success shows that it’s time to widen the pool of recreational pilots who can enjoy flying their small aircraft without the expense and regulatory burden of third-class medical certification.
In addition to reforming the 3rd class medical, the bill would extend important procedural rights to pilots facing FAA investigations, and protect FAA designees and volunteer pilots from liability.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When a portable becomes primary

I read a great article this morning on the AOPA web page, "When a Portable Becomes Primary".  We all train for what if scenarios and I know my CFII Mike tortures me on every BFR.  I guess this all ties into the current AND proficient discussion.
I've reposted on my blog because I really believe the training can save a life.  I know I will check the battery level on my portable, which is most likely dead.  I am going to set up a charger so I can keep my portable ready to go, full charge, in the hangar. I do have the adapter for my headset and a four foot patch cord that can easily tie into my outside antenna from the right side of my panel. I'll take some pictures and report back after my flying test.

Illustration by John Ueland
By Dave Hirschman
Cessna 210 pilot David Churchill wanted to do more with his regular instrument proficiency check than simply shoot approaches, so we came up with a plan that required him to use the portable GPS and handheld radio he carries as backups—but has never had to rely on it in a pinch.
The scenario we came up with was centered on a simulated electrical fire that required turning off the electrical master switch in flight, and leaving it off. We’d plug in a hand-held radio for communication and use Churchill’s portable Garmin 696 for GPS guidance.
To make our practice session even more demanding, we’d do it over West Virginia, where jagged terrain adds another layer of complexity. As it turned out, there were some surprises for both pilot and instructor.
We began at Greater Cumberland Regional Airport in western Maryland with a localizer approach to Runway 23. Churchill was under the hood and the airplane and its instruments were operating normally. After a missed approach, we entered a hold at the Kessel VOR (ESL), and implemented our scenario.
“Simulated electrical fire,” I said. “What are you going to do?”
Churchill clicked off the big red electrical master switch and, as expected, the panel went dark, the radios and intercom fell silent—and if you’re using a noise-cancelling headset with ship’s power—this is where it gets really noisy. The 696 was plugged into the panel, and it began a 30-second countdown to turn itself off. By simply touching any button, however, Churchill kept it alive on its internal battery.
“What next?” I asked, loudly, thanks to the dead intercom. Churchill reached behind his seat for his flight bag, took out a handheld radio, and connected it to the external antenna attachment on the right side of the instrument panel. Before doing so, he started to engage the autopilot, but quickly realized it wasn’t an option anymore.

With the handheld radio functioning normally (Churchill could hear it, I couldn’t), I asked him to take us to the nearest airport, Grant County (W99). He dialed in the approach frequency so that he could call ATC and ask for vectors to the final approach course, but he needn’t have bothered. “You’re too low for their radar coverage,” I told him. “And your transponder isn’t working anyway.” Churchill dialed in the CTAF frequency for Grant County, then he loaded the GPS-C approach on his 696 and switched back and forth between the geo-referenced Chart and Map pages. He hand-flew the airplane using the vacuum attitude indicator and pitot-static altimeter and vertical speed indicator, which operated normally.

He flew to the initial approach fix and had no trouble tracking the final approach course inbound. But there were additional complications. Most obvious, the electrically actuated flaps would have to remain in the Up position, and he’d have to lower the landing gear manually.

With those things situated, Churchill began the approach. But there was one more potential gotcha, a big one. The GPS Map page in the panel configuration contains a digital HSI that gives vertical guidance to traffic pattern altitude, and it was programmed to lead the pilot down on a shallow 500-fpm descent. In this mountainous area, however, that would have led us into a mountainside. Instead, Churchill ignored the siren song of the HSI and followed the published step-downs on the GPS Chart page.

Flying the actual approach on the portable GPS, even without flaps, was a relatively easy task. We arrived at the published minimums well-positioned for a normal landing.

For me, the takeaways from this flight were:

1) Even when you know a simulated emergency scenario is coming, finding the backup gear and getting it in place and tuned takes practice.

2) EFBs such as the Garmin 696 (or tablet computers) are nothing short of amazing in their ability to provide timely and critical flight safety information.

3) Ignore the temptation (and habit) of GPS-derived vertical guidance unless you are absolutely positive it will keep you well clear of obstructions.

This flight also showed me that IPCs don’t have to cover the same material every time, and that they can and should be customized for individual pilots. Almost all of us carry portable GPS devices, tablet computers, or handheld radios—and we should practice using the backup gear we might someday rely upon.


Master off?

Know in advance what capabilities your airplane will lose when the master switch goes off.
Make sure your portable backup equipment is fully charged and within easy reach.
Turn off the avionics master and/or individual instruments before turning the master switch back on again.
Realize that some glass-panel EFIS systems may not be able to initialize in flight.
Understand that a handheld radio transceiver operates much better with an external antenna and headset plug-in.

Dave Hirschman | AOPA Pilot Senior Editor, AOPA
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

N/A Newport News

With winter wx locking the mid-Atlantic and north east in we decided to get-away and take in a show. Of course my lovely Bride makes the statement that she is tired of rain and wishes we had some snow.  Ok, what is mother natures definition of 'some'?  Answer; 6-8"  with drifts. Now most of our pilot friends in the north east just busted up laughing but 8" of snow on the eastern shore of Maryland is an issue. These folks really have no clue about plowing, unlike the snowfighters of Delaware, who kick butt!
The HOA clears our driveway and roadway in time to head for Newport News Virginia.  I have taken enough advil to help relieve the back pain and we point the SUV south. Overall roads are clear with shoulders, turning lanes and crossovers still needing attention.  We make good time and cross the Bay Bridge Tunnel marking off 122 miles in just over two hours. I did stop the clock when we diverted for breakfast in the little town of Onancock, VA, just north of KMFV, Accomack County Airport in Melfa, Va.
The Bay Bridge was clear sailing, no traffic to speak of, we were the only vehicle in the tunnels, which felt very odd. The driving experience as we had known it came to and end once back on land south of the bay bridge.  I'm guessing there are no plows past the bay. The roads were brutal, passable but not safe conditions. We made our way to the Ferguson Center to pick up our tickets for the show then headed five miles to our hotel.
Pictures from our many crossings at altitude.
We went out to dinner with Mary's long time friend, Susan. It's always fun to catch up and once together it seems like we last saw each other the day before.  It's funny how that is with friends, like no time was ever lost or had passed. After enjoying a great steak dinner we headed for the show.
It's a five mile trip and parking at the Center is always pretty simple. There is a parking garage just a very short stroll from the main building and as people park they exit the garage and file along the brick paver walkway to the main entrance.  Once inside the atmosphere is charged. I love to people watch and it was almost sensory overload. As show time neared we made our way to our excellent seating, row D, center stage. Cue the music.....lights come up!
I must admit Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons are one of my all time favorites so this was a real treat. Hit after hit as the story unfolded, you could not help but sing along. I enjoyed the hits, including their first, Sherry along with Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, December 63, Rag Doll, Who Loves You, Working My Way Back To You, Dawn, and Bye Bye Baby.
I did enjoy the movie but the stage show was even better. The crowd was into it and it made for a fantastic night out with my Bride.
We met up with Susan for breakfast and then headed home. The ride north was just under three hours and once again no traffic on the Bay Bridge. Plenty of police pulling over speeders along the way but overall smooth sailing. We did make a stop at KMFV airport for a nature call and I wanted to find out about courtesy cars or rentals that would be available. It seems Enterprise is the only game in town and they will drop off and pick up the car at the airport terminal. I think Mary and I are going to fly in and rent a car then antique shop the area for the day sometime this spring.
If we can get some decent wx I will be once again posting about our "flying" travels.  For now it's sharing the ground pounding adventures.
Why didn't we fly?  The wx was looking perfect for the flight south, clear sky not much winds.  The return home was changing from scattered layers to a broken layer and freezing temps. Winds were noted around 25-30 knots.  I didn't like the mix and the potential for icing, let alone riding a crazy bucking horse home battling the winds aloft. There will be many other opportunities to make this trip by air.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Do NOT Remove

Chris (Photographic Logbook) purchased a new CO detector for his plane and received this 'trinket'.  This one is just to good not to share with the pilots who read my blog and may not belong to Facebook where Chris posted.  THANKS CHRIS!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Georgetown Breakfast Run


My last flight was January 17th so 08Romeo really needed to get the oil pumping. I also needed some flight time, the skill set is use it or loose it, ok I like to keep telling myself that. It's only been a few weeks so it's more like knocking off some rust.

I turned the Reiff heaters on early Saturday morning.  No, not once I got up but sometime around midnight when the thought hit me. I ran all my errands Saturday so there was no time to fly but this morning flying was first on my to do list.

The Woodbine flying bunch started text messaging this morning and a destination was selected. Todays flight would be to Georgetown, KGED.  This is an up and down for me, maybe fifteen minutes if I do some steep turns and slow flight. It was gorgeous, why not play a little. I eventually made my call ten south with landing intentions for GED, a pair of Mooney's chimed in too.  The Woodbine bunch was heading for a straight in and that would work out perfect as I entered the left down wind. I was number three and followed Jeff in. I landed a bit long and had to make a U-turn for the fastest runway exit for Harv's  Mooney that had already turned final.

It was great to catch up with the group. I honestly look forward to Sunday mornings and the text for the weeks new destination.  When walking out to 08Romeo I saw Franks plane on the ramp. I had the chance to catch up with him (AirDorin)and checked out the fresh paint on his twin Comanche, awesome paint job! Frank was getting ready to fly some approach work with a fellow instructor so we kept it short.

I ended the day with a nice landing back at Ocean City. I tucked 08Romeo in for the night with a cowl blanket, heaters and the battery maintainer hooked up awaiting her next mission.