Thursday, May 30, 2019

GNS 480 Procedures

For todays flight we will enter Ocean City to Wilmington, KOXB ENO KILG.  Procedures are stored in the 480 and can be added to your enroute plan. There are two ways to attack this; the first is with the line keys while in the EDIT or create mode of flight plan or with the PROC button.
Since the 480 sim data base is from 2004 it will not show the Cedar Lake Nine arrival into ILG, instead the old version is the VCN8.
Why am I adding all this? I like to role play ATC, it helps me learn the unit and buttonology needed to fly it.
So let's set up the scenario. I depart KOXB and I am flying a 270° heading as required on departure. This lets Patuxent ID me and then they will turn me on course.  We'll assume we are flying along fat dumb and happy, direct ENO and eventually handed off to Dover approach. Dover is the controlling ATC between Ocean City and Wilmington.

When we check in with Dover they direct me to fly the Cedar Lake Nine Arrival or for continuity with the old data base, the VCN8 Arrival, direct Sea Isle, SIE. Click on the PROC button (pic above) and there will be multiple choices available (pic below).
Select Arrival, and with the CRSR button select the VCN8 and SWL fix. From the KILG arrivals pictured earlier, you can see it has all the waypoints needed. Click on MENU/ENTER. Next click on EXEC and then XPAND to view the waypoints (pic below).
Use the CRSR to scroll down to select SIE and click on the Direct (boxed) button. You will now see the magenta course arrow noting you are direct SIE (pic below).
Once completed I select MAP and confirm I am on course to SIE. 

If ATC amends the arrival route once again, and decides to turn you direct Cedar Lake, VCN, just follow the same procedure
Click on the Direct button, cursor to VCN then hit the Direct (boxed) and EXEC.  Go back to Map and enjoy the view, sequencing will resume along the remaining legs.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

AirDorrin Visits Ocean City

My friend and fellow pilot Frank D visited Ocean City today. Frank flew his beautiful 1967 Twin Comanche down from Wilmington (KILG) to visit, and check out our new to us 76' Commander 112A.

We spent some time sitting in 3 Tango Charlie talking Avionics and our returns to flying. If you follow Franks blog, AirDorrin, you will know his plane was in for service for quite a long time. Frank knows exactly the struggle I am having, wanting to get back in the air, yet patience to do it safely and slowly.

We had a good discussion about personal minimums and how they have changed with all my down time. Great topics that I need to address as I move back into the left seat.

We talked engines and overhauls, shops and new power plants vs field overhauls, first time runs vs multiple rebuilds. All very good things to think about.

We took a break for lunch at the Green Turtle then headed back to the airport so Frank could get he and his plane home. I captured a short video of his start up, taxi and departure. The winds were brutal so we'll miss some engine sounds.  Enjoy!

GNS 480 Flight Plans

I will start off this post by saying I will miss my FlightStream 210!  Ok, with that out of the way lets address flight planning on the GNS 480.

Todays flight will be from Ocean City, MD (KOXB) to Wilkes-Barre, PA (KAVP). This is a typical mission for Mary and I so it will help me and hopefully help others that may have questions on this legacy unit.

The Plan

 KOXB - ENO - V29 - LVZ - KAVP
I like to use the ForeFlight Web program to put my plan together and save it, which makes it available on my other devices.
First things first, we need to select FPL and then on the following screen select NEW.

On this screen we enter the Origin, in this scenario we'll use Ocean City, KOXB. Then push MENU/ENTER.
Next screen will require a destination, we'll use Wilkes-Barre, PA KAVP.  Then push MENU/ENTER again.
Once the origin and destination are selected the next screen offers two choices, MODIFY or WPT (waypoint). Select WPT and enter the next fix or the entry point for a victor airway. My selection in this case meets both needs, the Smyrna VOR ENO. You guessed it, then push MENU/ENTER.
Once again, scroll to select the entry waypoint ENO and you will have an additional choice, ARWY (airway). Based on my initial Foreflight plan I will select ARWY and scroll through for V29. Yep, then push MENU/ENTER.

Again, the initial Foreflight plan notes the exit point of V29 as the Wilkes-Barre VOR, LVZ. Scroll through the choices, they are in alphabetical order, and select LVZ. As you can see the 480 populates the flight plan with each fix along V29.  Once again, push the MENU/ENTER.
At this point the flight plan is complete. However, we have a discontinuityUse the CRSR to scroll down and CLR this issue.

Discontinuities between two points are a common feature of Flight Management Systems. It is a reminder that you haven't spelled out an IFR route between the two points. If you add an approach to KAVP that uses LVZ in the procedure it will disappear automatically. Since I don't know what approach I will get upon arrival I'll clear it now then add in the approach when assigned.
If you XPND (expand) the flight plan you can scroll through each fix along the route. The airway feature makes programing easy, not as easy as taking advantage of the FlgihtStream 210 one click transfer to the 430/530, but it really is an improvement over those GPS 430/530 units.
I think you will see the versatility of the 480 when it comes to making changes on the go and programing holds, as previously covered on this blog.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

We remember. Thank you to those that have served, those protecting this Nation today, and the families that have sacrificed so much, all in the name of freedom.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

N453TC Rides Again!

I was up early and ready to head to the airport, I really needed to dial it down a bit.  Since I am still waiting for transition training, Bill B, 3 Tango Charlie's previous owner, introduced me to Bill H.  Bill H is a Commander 112A 390 Super® Commander owner. We agreed to meet this morning at 8AM on the ramp at Ocean City (KOXB).

Of course I was at the airport at least an hour ahead of time, wanting to have everything ready. I did a final walk around and sumped the fuel. Everything looked perfect so I hooked up the electric tug and helped 3 Tango Charlie out into the overcast sky.
Bill was right on time and I managed to capture him landing and his taxi into parking. We chatted for a bit then after closing up the hangar we climbed aboard 3 Tango Charlie.  I would be right seat today, no PIC time for me. I still need the transition training.

My adrenaline was pumping, I was eager to get in the air. Bill called clear prop and turned the key....nothing.  What?  He tried again and just maybe one blade. Hmmm... I had the charger on the whole time, maybe not plugged in far enough. I managed to climb back out and get my SUV started and parked near the aircraft battery access external hook up. 3 Tango Charlie took two tries but finally roared to life. I parked the SUV and climbed aboard, lets try this again. The airport was busy today, school planes working the pattern along with transient traffic coming in for the holiday weekend. We were up, the next to roll for take off. Bill gave 3 TC power and we were rolling, a bit longer roll then 08Romeo or the Deb but we were climbing out.

It was a nice flight and I learned a lot from Bill. The controls felt comfortable and responsive. 3 TC trimmed out very nice and behaved well. We flew south over Assateague and then turned towards Salisbury minding airspace along the way. Eventually I turned 3 TC for the beach just shadowing north of RT 54 heading over Fenwick, Delaware. With a turn south I followed the shore and swapped control back over to Bill so he could set up for landing. We worked our way into the pattern announcing downwind base and final. I was the human sponge, soaking up everything I could. Bill made a sweet roll it on landing and we taxied clear.

Once shut down we gave it a minute or two then tried the hot start procedure. It was different then what Bill uses on his Super Commander but I noted his procedure and will amend my checklist as needed.

Bill had to scoot, he had plans with his bride. I captured some footage of his start up, taxi out, and his take off.  Thank you Bill for your flight time today, it was very much appreciated. Also, thanks to Bill B, for the intro, for a great aircraft, and your friendship.

I just have to share a few of the emails I received when 3TC's flightAware track alerted.

Finally!  See you out there poking holes in the sky, Gary!   Judi

N453TC rides again....At last, at last...  Thank goodness it's free at last!   Hope big smiles all around.  Bill

Yep, I can see the bugs in his teeth from here, brother Bill! LOL, Go Gary!  Judi

FYI - I did try the Crazed Pilot headset today. My opinion is that it's not nearly quiet enough, it hurt my ears, and the mic made me sound like Mickey Mouse.  This headset will be stored away for emergency use only.

Friday, May 24, 2019

GNS 480 Holds

One nice feature of the GNS 480 is the ability to create a hold at any waypoint.  Once you select the waypoint from the flight plan or the data base you have the ability to select the inbound course, right or left turns, time or distance for the inbound leg and miles or time for the values.

As seen in the picture above I created a flight plan for Ocean City (KOXB) to Wilmington Delaware (KILG)with ENO VOR as a waypoint. On this simulated flight I set up a hold at ENO, pictured below.
A holding clearance issued by ATC will include at least the following items:
    • a clearance to the holding fix
    • the direction to hold from the holding fix
    • a specified radial, course, or inbound track
    • if DME is used, the DME distances at which the fix end and outbound end turns are to be commenced (hold between [number of miles] and [number of miles]). If the outbound DME is not specified by ATC, pilots are expected adhere to the standard holding pattern timing procedures
    • the altitude to be maintained
    • the time to expect further clearance or an approach clearance or the time to leave the fix in the event of a communications failure

    Let's role play a bit. ATC clears us as follows. 

    N453TC you are cleared direct Smyrna (ENO) VOR, hold east on the 090° radial, expect further clearance at 0930Z.

    This tells us what we need to set up and fly the hold. The unspoken info is, since no distance or time was given, is to fly one minute legs and a standard right hand pattern. Remember, standard hold patterns (right) are the opposite of the standard landing patterns (left). 
    In order to be inbound on the 090° radial I set up on a 270°, I left the default right turns and one minute inbound selections.
    In the above picture you can see the racetrack hold displayed on the GPS at the ENO VOR.

    Above you can see the hold listed on the flight plan page. Once everything is entered you must select the EXEC button on the bottom to execute the modified plan. I continued to fly the flight plan and after one loop in the hold, and approaching ENO, I clicked on the SUSP button to resume the original flight plan.

    I must say it was pretty easy, we'll see how it goes in flight, eventually under the hood. I have been previously spoiled by the FlightStream 210 and 'sending' every change to the 430/530 with a touch of a button. At least there is an autopilot to help when it gets busy or in IFR conditions.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    Learning the Garmin 480

    I have been a long time fan of the "Buttonology" posts on forums, YouTube videos, and training web sites. I have even put together a few of my own and provided a link to what I have compiled over the years.
    Granted, my "how to" posts have all been geared towards the Garmin 430/530 series of GPS units. Things are about to change, with my recent aircraft purchase I am now faced with learning a new GPS unit, the Garmin GNS 480.
    In addition to GPS navigation, the all-in-one GNS 480 combines a built-in 760-channel VHF comm radio with 200-channel VOR, glideslope and localizer receivers. View graphics in crisp detail on its 256-color, high-resolution, sunlight readable moving-map LCD display. Useful features include multiple frequency storage, standby frequency monitoring, digital CDI, voice prompting and audio alerts, auto-decoding of Morse code station identifiers and single-nav cross check of position fixes, along with airway segments to include V,C,N,Q , and T routes. Holds can be inserted at any waypoint, whether on or off your flight plan.

    Audio callouts are another 480 feature. The box announces 500 feet, missed approach point, and if an ILS approach is loaded, localizer alive. The 500 feet callout is handy for a final warning to check that your gear are down.

    The 480, unlike the 430/530 navigators, has a NAV page that displays an HSI with a glideslope when an ILS or VNAV or LPV approach is loaded. The 480 also has the ability to customize the data fields on the four different map pages.

    Over the next few weeks I plan on posting info on routing, holds, creating waypoints, and intersecting that point in space that ATC sends us to along some VOR radial.

    Sunday, May 19, 2019

    Hangar Time

    Today, Ziva got us going pretty early.  By the time Mary and I were enjoying our first cups of coffee and tea, Ziva was ready to go.

    It was a long day for all of us on Saturday with the neighborhood yard sale.  Ziva spent some time outside with us but we both thought it was getting too warm for her on the driveway, even with her blanket.

    So, today we decided we would take our baby girl out for some play time. We headed to the airport so she could turn it loose, and she did.  Not much for chasing the ball today, I think she tired herself just ripping back and forth along the fence lines.

    Once she was worn out we gave her ramp a second try and she did just fine. It's a royal PITA hauling the ramp so I'm not sure if we will use it or revert back to helping her in the back of our SUV.

    Once we were all loaded up I noticed one plane waiting to enter runway one-four. I quickly checked the weather Application for current METARs. It was not looking good.
    My personal minimums are at least seven to eight hundred feet depending on the surrounding terrain. To each their own, that's why they are personal minimums. I did go check on FlightAware if the aircraft at least filed an instrument flight plan, they did not, or at least they didn't open it on the ground.  

    Transition training update...

    The CFII in Doylestown just returned from California and he is going to call this evening and schedule my training.

    Friday, May 10, 2019

    Vlog Update 5/10/2019

    My Trackform bracket came in the mail yesterday so today was test fit day.  I loaded up the Ziva girl and was off for the hangar.  

    First it was play time.  Ziva ran up and down the north fence line then played fetch for just a few throws.  She was done in and ready for some cold water I keep in the mini fridge.
    I had two visitors, John the lineman and Chet my hangar neighbor.  John played with Ziva, she loves John, then he checked out the new plane. John said he is looking forward to a ride when I get checked out.

    Chet and I talked video equipment and touch up paints. Chet is getting ready to head to the Bahamas, I'm so jealous. I said to Chet, I would stop by his hangar when I finished mounting the new bracket and giving it a test run.  With that, he was back in his truck and heading to the B hangars. 
    I got busy setting up the mount and hooking up the video and audio cable. I did notice that there needs to be an additional spacer for the opposite side headrest post to keep it level and secure. I plan on cutting a one inch PVC conduit, and putting it back together with the wide roll of electrical tape. It will be neat and clean, and provide the balance of support for the headrest. I am also going to secure the audio cables to keep it from free wheeling around behind the seat.
    I also wanted to try my new Crazed Pilot Headset.  It seemed to work just fine but I will need to get comfortable with its over the ear wires.
    Please post any comments or questions you may have on the Tackform bracket, Crazed Pilot headset or Video hook up.

    Thursday, May 09, 2019

    Need a CFI with Commander Time

    Weather has canceled my transition training this weekend and the CFI I had scheduled will not be available again until July.

    I honestly would love to fly our Commander, ASAP. Unfortunately 3 Tango Charlie and I sit waiting. I'm tired of just making airplane noises and we really need to get in the air.

    To meet insurance requirements I'm looking for a CFI with 1000TT, 250 Retract, and 25 in Type (Commander 112A).

    Email, or comment, if you or a CFI you know can help me out.

    Getting desperate in OC 


    I have made contact with a CFII that has Commander time, and lives within an hour flight time from Ocean City.  We are going to schedule transition time in the next few weeks.

    Saturday, May 04, 2019

    Vlog Update 5/4/2019

    A Vlog update that shows my camera equipment and exterior mounting system. I did have interior footage but it was poor quality since I was in the plane, and in the hangar.

    I hope to get a video put together when I resolve my mounting issue with the headliner. Maybe in the next few days. 

    I was also asked to provide a walk around of the Commander, inside and out. That could be fun and I'll use some of the pictures from the annual inspection.