January 2008 Newsletter
We are excited to announce the return of Duchess N25B to Sundance Flying Club! After spending a year in limbo, this beautiful twin engine airplane has been bought and returned to service in the club. Both engines have been overhauled, and once broken in, the airplane will be available for rent and flight instruction. We estimate that it will be available at the beginning of February. See this month's
Airplane of the Month article for more details.
We have been assembling a procedures trainer based on Microsoft's Flight Simulator software. As we see the primary use of this system as a trainer for IFR and for Multi-engine, we elected not to focus on an FAA approved PC-ATD, but instead to go for the greatest flexibility relevant to our fleet.
Some of the features of this trainer are -
We expect to rent the trainer for $15/hour. Your instructor will charge their normal rate. Ask at the office for more details.
One of the more perplexing questions is "When can I log time as a Safety pilot?"
We can use the term "pilot-in-command"
(PIC) for two purposes. One use is in the definition in the FARs, part 1 and section 91.3 as the person with final authority
and responsibility for the aircraft -- often referred to as
acting or serving
as PIC. The other use facilitates logging of PIC flight experience.
Strangely, these two uses of PIC are not always mutually inclusive. That is, a
person may not be responsible for the aircraft, but be permitted by 61.51 to log
PIC. And, there are situations where the person responsible may not be
permitted by 61.51 to log PIC.
Consider this scenario:
Joe occupies the left seat. He is instrument rated, but not instrument current.
Jane occupies the right seat. She is instrument rated and is current.
The flight departs KPAO in VFR conditions on an IFR flight plan to KTCY. Shortly after takeoff, according to a preplanned agreement Joe dons a view limiting device. About 10 minutes later, IMC is encountered. While being vectored for the approach to KTCY the aircraft returns to VMC. The aircraft lands in VMC at KTCY and Joe removes the view limiting device.
Throughout the flight on an activated IFR flight plan, the pilot that is IFR current (Jane) is the only one that can be the responsible pilot/final authority, etc. -- acting as PIC. Acting as PIC is not "seat-dependent" so she can be in either left or right seat. Upon departure from KPAO in VFR conditions if Jane is actually flying (sole manipulator of the controls) then she may also log PIC per 61.51(e)(1)(i). However, if she allows Joe be the sole manipulator of the controls, Jane may log PIC per the same regulation and Joe can NOT log time even though he is responsible for the flight -- simply acting as PIC.
This changes as soon as Joe starts using the view limiting device. Now, a safety pilot is required per the operating rule section 91.109(b)(2). Since Joe is rated in the aircraft and is the sole manipulator of the controls he may log PIC regardless of the weather conditions, again per 61.51(e)(1)(i). Jane [our acting PIC] now is required as a crew member for an operational purpose -- safety pilot -- and may log PIC per 61.51(e)(1)(iii) or SIC per 61.51(f)(2) because of the "regulations under which the flight is conducted." Since there is a "flying pilot under the hood" and we can never predict when we will go in and out of conditions less than VFR, Jane may (should) continue performing safety pilot and logging PIC (or SIC) until reaching minimums and Joe's view limiting device comes off. The last few minutes (final approach, landing, etc.) would then be logged by one or the other, depending upon which one is sole manipulator of the controls.
We intend this column to be periodic. In it our instructors will discuss items of safety that concern them
We've all heard the stories - old wives tales - if you've spent any time hanging around an airport or pilots. These colorful stories sometimes contain questionable advice that should be more closely examined before incorporating it into one's knowledge bank.
This information can be relayed by colleagues, other pilots,
or instructors. It can also come from official reports
and publications. The most recent one I saw was in the
2007 Nall report
on page 17, where an excerpt of an NTSB accident report was
provided, and stated in part
A factor in the accident was the
strong tailwind encountered as the airplane turned from upwind
to downwind during the teardrop maneuver.
The thinking here is that the speed of the airplane through the air decreases when an airplane turns from the upwind to the downwind, so one should expect a loss of lift when turning downwind. Does this make sense? This is an NTSB report so they must be correct in their analysis. Right?
Actually, no. This incorrect understanding of airspeeds has been
paraphrased elsewhere many times, often as
beware the downwind
turn. Let's quickly review why this is incorrect.
We all know that airplanes become one with the air mass in which they operate once they leave the ground, and that airplanes don't know which way the wind is blowing. Imagine an airplane flying around in a giant cardboard box. The giant box contains an air mass. Assuming the box doesn't change direction or velocities, the airplane inside the box has no idea whether that whole box is standing still or moving in a given direction. All the air inside the box moves with the box, and the airplane is flying through the mass of air inside the box, aware only of it's speed relative to the air mass inside the box. The box could be moving in any direction at any speed and the airplane wouldn't be the wiser. Remove the cardboard box - now you have a mass of air above the earth and a ground reference, otherwise known as normal flight. An aircraft's engine provides thrust to counteract drag from the air mass around it - the difference in the aircraft speed and the air mass is your airspeed. For a given power setting, airspeed won't change whether you are flying into a headwind or being blown by a tailwind.
So why did the NTSB report contain this technical inaccuracy? It is hard to say. Reading the full report this looks more like a low-altitude stall/spin accident. But you can be sure that unless there was some wind shear (not mentioned anywhere in the full accident report) the turn to downwind itself caused no airspeed loss, and thus had nothing to do with this accident. More likely to blame is the loss of engine power, a poorly coordinated turn, and a stall.
Reading accident reports
I got really scared when... stories are one of the best ways
to stay safe in aviation. If someone else has made a mistake
before, all you need to do is read about it to hopefully avoid that
mistake yourself. But more to the point, think about what is being
said and ask yourself if the explanation makes sense.
This forces you to think, process information, and reminds yourself of
some ground material you may have forgotten since your last flight
by Chuck Cali
As promised, we bring you part one of Chuck's excellent flying adventure. Again, for the newsletter, we have edited the text for brevity. The full text appears on our web site.
Life is good, I'm a fortunate person and the new Cessna Turbo 206H model with G1000 is everything that has ever been written about it. This story begins in Palo Alto, CA. and has not ended yet though I parted company with this fine airplane in Kingston, Jamaica. It is a treatise about my experiences with Turbo Stationair N65556. Those that have tested and promoted the airplane were spot on with their adjectives. I concur; this airplane is truly the SUV of the sky.
It was mid-April 2007. Bert Postma - who has been running the Stanford Flying Club just about since Orville and Wilbur first flew - called me in to ask if I could help him out during a short term CFI shortage.
Sure, I say, however, I've never flown the G1000 C172SP that Stanford Flying Club uses.
Two weeks later and more or less proficient in G1000 ops, I am at the airport Monday thru Friday. I met some very nice student pilots. Among them, Anders Jones, an energetic Stanford Economics major trying to finish up his PPL before school was out for the summer. He hadn't soloed yet and school was out in three weeks.
What's the hurry, turns out, his family business does much of its work from Kingston, Jamaica. In Jamaica a four or five hour drive is a 30-minute airplane ride. Being the entrepreneurial type, he believed (and convinced Dad) that the right airplane could easily pay for itself there as an air taxi. Coincidentally, his father and he were working a deal for a new (125 hours) T206H. He wanted to be able to fly it, perhaps even to Jamaica, where he would work this summer. He still had a lot to learn about insurance requirements and cross-country flying. Not to mention complete his PPL. None-the-less his enthusiasm was infectious. We tried but could not quite complete his PPL. He did however ask me if I was available to ferry the T206 to Kingston from the Boston area should they make a deal. As luck would have it, my wife would be able to cover my absence so I accepted. He and I would be flying this beauty, N65556 from Boston, MA to Kingston, Jamaica.
Fortunately for me I had a bunch of T206 time in a late model (1999) doing an insurance checkout and instrument rating with another client before 9/11. The major differences were the King Avionics stack versus the Garmin G1000.
As good as that King stack was in its day, the current all glass approach Garmin has taken, will, in this pilots opinion, provide a whole new level of utility to this type of airplane. This is true primarily because of capability. Garmin has integrated all the good stuff, right down to XM Radio. When it comes to weather flying, the G1000, dollar for dollar is about as good as it gets. Simply stated, with full G1000 capability, there is no good reason to take the airplane into harms way.
As these journeys go, this one was not extraordinarily different from my others, though I have never flown outside the borders of the contiguous 48. I should also preface by saying that whenever I have a long cross-country flight the weather inevitably turns from CAVU to marginal VFR or IFR. The east coast enjoyed mostly clear skies and little convective activity the week before our planned trip south.
By the time I was driving to SFO for my early afternoon flight to Boston, the dominating high-pressure system that had produced such nice weather had moved east and north, now sucking hot moist air up from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The temperatures dew point spreads from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale were nearly identical with highs hovering close to 100 and humiditys about the same. On the backside of the high over the southern and mid west huge thunderstorms and a few tornadoes were reported. Things were heating up weather wise. No pun intended. The weather in South Florida was being influenced by a small low-pressure system that was sitting south of Miami and causing trouble of its own. We would deal with that two days later.
Conventional wisdom on these sorts of flights during thunderstorm season is to leave early land early. By early I mean wheels up before sunrise and land before too many cumulonimbi block the way. However, the airline had different ideas. My flight was delayed 5 hours.
At Norwood, MA (OWD) we acquainted ourselves with N65556. There was also work to do. Before we could think about departing we needed to review all the logs and test fly the airplane. I have made it a rule not to just hop in an airplane and go. Especially if we departed IFR, as we would likely do. This was a new airplane and confidence was high but a short flight to verify everything was working still was in order. It was.
Loading our cargo, (five cases of very fine wine, baggage and a box of Cessna parts) took some time. We would be at max gross weight with two souls on board and we wanted to be sure we were inside loading limits as well as have a way to get out in a hurry if needed.
Finally, by 1430, we were ready. The forecast had been for hot, humid, hazy air and scattered thunderstorms along our entire route of flight from the Boston area southwest toward Kinston, NC (KISO), our intended evening layover destination. The forecasters were right on. Our look at radar and satellite images confirmed what the briefer was telling us. The thunderstorms were scattered and because there was really no frontal activity along our route, no thunderstorm lines to deal with.
This Stationair is very capable. With turbo charging, Nexrad Radar and storm scope like capability we filed IFR at 10,000 feet, expecting to spend little actual time in the clouds. We figured we could go up, down and around, all the while using direct to GPS navigation as well as the more conventional Victor Airways. We were wheels up at 1435.
We were sure ATC wouldn't change our initial routing due to a presidential TFR over Providence, RI. Departure and integration into the ATC system went as expected. We were soon cleared 10,000 while joining our first leg. Of course looming dead ahead as I turned 556 on course was the first of many thunderstorms. It was time to start that sometimes-delicate deviation request dance with ATC.
Any of you that have flown the Boston, NYC and Washington airspace will know that it is some of the most crowded airspace in the country. With airliners coming and going from at least 10 major airports and us flying over all of them at 10,000 feet, deviating around big clouds was an exercise in the art of negotiation. The Nexrad radar was an invaluable aid in picking our routing around the worst of the weather.
I haven't flown an airplane with real-time weather radar in a while. But if memory serves me right, the pilot was limited to relatively small field of view and had limited see through capability. Those systems were very helpful to be sure, but are incredibly outclassed by the Nexrad on the G1000. It was here, still early our flight that we discovered one of the downside risks of such electronic wonders as the G1000. Written by many authors before me, the key to successfully using the downlink Nexrad is its refresh rate.
Just when we were in the thick of NYC metro airspace, the frequencies jammed, and buildups everywhere, with ATC vectoring us around traffic, what we saw through the windscreen was not being depicted on Nexrad. Whatever weather ATC saw on their radar, did not correlate to the vectors they gave us directly into some of the largest clouds I've seen from a cockpit, ever...
To be continued ...
The Los Angeles Terminal and Sectional charts changed on December 20, as did the San Diego Terminal chart. New ones are available at the office.
The Seattle Sectional and Terminal charts also changed on December 20.
All IFR charts changed on December 20, as did the AF/D. Of particular note is that the AF/D now covers NM.
IFR charts will change again on February 14.
Starting February we will see the return of the popular
Fred Thomas Presents movie nights. We will continue to show the greatest aviation movies, along with cartoon and serial - just as in the old days! As usual, the movies are free, but we would appreciate a donation for the light supper that we provide. The movie schedule is posted on our web site, so check it out. See you at the movies!
Sampath Jambunathan soloed in N94565 at Hayward in time for the holidays. His instructor is Jim Long.
Dave Wellwood passed his checkride in N8256E on the first attempt. Jim took the ride with Sherry Diamond and is one of Fred Thomas's student. Our congratulations to all involved.
One of the iconic training twins is the Beech Duchess. In the multi-engine world it fills the same niche as the C152 does in primary training. As with most twins, the Duchess is a
Complex airplane, having retractable gear and constant speed props. However, with O360 engines, it is not
High Performance. The design makes the Duchess the ideal airplane to train for a multi-engine ticket as well as being an excellent cross-country machine.
N25B is an excellent example of the Duchess. It is equipped with a Garmin 430 GPS, so can be used as /G. It has an STEC autopilot with roll steering which couples to the GPS for modern approaches.
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