May 2008 Newsletter
Our Bonanza, N7201N, has returned sporting its new avionics suite. The new panel centers around a new
glass Primary Flight Display, or PFD. The radio stack is a Garmin 430W GPS/Nav/Comm, a new Audio panel, a Garmin SL30 Nav/Comm in the #2 slot, and a new transponder.
Wondering what it looks like? Come by the club between 5 and 7pm on Wednesday, May 21st and take a look!
Anyone wishing to fly 01N must be requalified in the airplane. Requalification consists of a groundschool, followed by one or more flights with one of our qualified instructors.
The first groundschool will be held on Wednesday May 28th, starting at 7pm. Cost will be $75.00. As the class size will be limited, please call the office or email to register. If you are unable to attend this course, there will be others scheduled in the near future.
We have added American Express as one of the ways to pay for flights and other club services. It joins Discover, Mastercard and Visa. If you wish to substitute it for your current billing method, just present your card and we will make the change.
We have added more new items to our retail area.
Pilots Guide to California Airports, or the Blue Book, is one truly indispensable item in any pilot's flight bag. Whether you are an ATP or student pilot, this book is an essential when flying into any unfamiliar airport. We now have it for sale, complete with a 1 year update service.
Need to study for a FAA written exam? We are now carrying the complete range of MS Aviation's Ground Courses on DVD. You can sample the courses here.
In this periodic column our instructors discuss items of safety that concern them
It's a wonderful feeling. You leave work early on a Friday afternoon, head to the airport and fly yourself and your family to Santa Barbara for the weekend you've been planning for weeks. You execute a perfect trip, have a great weekend in SBA, and return home Sunday evening. Then it comes time to fill out the time sheet for the aircraft and your wonderful state of mind is dampened by the money you just spent.
We all are familiar with the cost and rewards of flying. But what can we do to keep this hobby from getting more and more expensive? One of the easiest things that we can do has to do with that red knob.
When we rent an aircraft at Sundance, we usually rent it "wet." This means that whatever fuel we need for our mission is included in the hourly rental rate. If you haven't noticed lately, avgas is now over $5.50 a gallon at Palo Alto. So?
Back to the red knob. Aircraft engines are perfectly capable of burning a lot more fuel than is required in a particular circumstance. The red knob controls the fuel-to-air ratio that the engine burns. For a given state of flight, there is a full rich setting which will likely keep the prop turning, and there is a properly leaned mixture which will also keep the prop turning.
In most of the aircraft in the Sundance fleet, the difference between full rich and a properly leaned engine is about 2 gallons per hour (refer to the POH). This is $11/hour right there. The Bonanza is capable of flight at 24 gallons/hour or 12 when properly leaned. That's 12 gallons per hour potentially wasted, or $66/hour! You wouldn't readily give anyone $66/hour for no reason, would you? (if you would, please contact me).
"But I rent the airplane wet so why should I care?" you ask. Ultimately the renter does pay for this. The average fuel consumption of an aircraft over time plays significantly into the hourly rental rate of that aircraft. Fuel is the single largest component of most rental rates now with fuel prices where they are. If, collectively, a given airplane could reduce it's average consumption by even 1.2 gallons per hour, that's $6/hour not literally burned up. If we can all do this, rental rates will stay where they are for that much longer.
Of course there are other, non-financial benefits to careful leaning too. A properly leaned engine will actually generate more horsepower. Next time you are cruising at 5500 feet in a fixed-pitch prop airplane, try this: Set your mixture full rich and your throttle at 2400 RPM. Now slowly lean the mixture and watch your tachometer. It's a pretty good bet that you will get an extra 25-50 RPM out of the engine at the same throttle setting simply by leaning the mixture. You're now burning less fuel, emitting less pollutants, have more power, and are spending less money. A win-win-win-win! This extra power can be the make-or-break at high altitude airports. With summer coming and the associated nice flying weather comes high density altitudes - leaning the mixture is absolutely essential in these cases. Also remember that fuel consumption numbers shown in the POH assume a properly leaned engine! If you fail to lean, you may not have the fuel reserve you think you do.
To lean an engine with a Cessna mixture knob, after established in stable flight (flying the airplane is still the most important thing!), slowly unwind the mixture control. How slowly? About one full turn every 5-10 seconds. Continue to do this - again, slowly - until the engine shows the first signs of roughness. When this happens, enrichen the mixture by two full turns. You are now running a properly leaned engine. If climbing higher, the engine can likely be leaned further using the same technique. Remember to enrichen on the way back down!
For Pipers, the same procedure applies, but the mixture control should be leaned about 1/4" every 5-10 seconds. Enrichen by 1/4 to 1/2 an inch when roughness occurs.
For other more instrumented aircraft such as the Bonanza, the proper leaning procedures can vary. If you are not familiar or comfortable with leaning an engine, give you favorite CFI a call and they can get you up to speed in no time. It will benefit everyone and you will be a safer, more knowledgeable pilot for it. And you might just save a few bucks too.
by Chuck Cali
As promised, we bring you part three 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.
Our story so far - Chuck Cali has been tasked with ferrying a T206 from Massachussets to Jamaica. Equipped with a G1000, the late model T206 is a most competent airplane. However, the weather on the east coast has taken a turn for the thundery worse as Chuck sets out from Boston. After navigating the NY airspace, avoiding thunderstorms while appeasing ATC, he realises that there is insufficient fuel to reach their destination, Kinston, NC.
Manifold pressure set to 30 inches and prop RPM at 2300 and leaned to POH recommended TIT (turbo inlet temperature) N65556 was sucking, in round numbers, 23 to 24 gallons per hour. On a true airspeed of 150 knots were making about 110 across the ground. Time to find a place to land and explore our options.
Three hours and 30 minutes into our first leg we touched down in Salisbury, Maryland. I was close to exhaustion. Though we were cleared for an ILS approach to the tower-controlled airport I was able to do a visual once we were below 3000 feet. That was ok with me. I didn't feel like shooting an approach to minimums.
It was early evening. I was tired from all the travel and IFR flying. The very nice people at the local FBO suggested nice places to eat and stay overnight. For the record and with no malice to Salisbury, MD, this place is in the middle of nowhere.
As tired as I was, these suggestions were sounding most acceptable to me, counting on an early start the next day to make up lost ground. Anders however had other ideas, like, someplace near an actual city. Staying the night in Salisbury was not setting right with my young energetic client. We needed a plan.
Having spent nearly the entire month of June in an airplane with Anders I knew he could fly. I was too tired to think and fly but ok put on my CFI cap while he actually handled the controls.
We agreed to continue VFR from Salisbury to Norfolk, VA. He would fly under my supervision. Norfolk was only an hour or so away. A weather briefing told us nothing we didn't already know ... scattered T-Storms all over the southeast. It was certainly clear in Salisbury. We needed one more hour of clear. Little did I know how true that would turn out to be.
We departed climbing to 2000 feet over the flat coastal plain of southern Maryland GPS direct to Norfolk. Our route from Salisbury to Norfolk took us back inland from the Atlantic coast, a beautiful flight with the scenic Chesapeake Bay coming into view over the cowl of 556. Also coming into view on the horizon were huge and building cloud formations. Of course they were in line with our route to Norfolk. We were too far out to see Norfolk International located on the coast of the Chesapeake, but could tell these clouds were close. Nexrad - updating regularly now - located the cells west of the airport. Based on the refresh rate of the Nexrad and our ground speed it was shaping up to be a close race to Norfolk between N65556 and the weather.
Here the real beauty of Nexrad comes shining through. By adjusting the viewing area scale on the MFD, we could see the big weather picture over Virginia, even the whole southeast, facilitating several high confidence escape routes should the weather beat us to Norfolk. I cannot find the words to describe just how great this tool is for in flight planning.
30 miles from Norfolk (Class C) we listened to ATIS warning of local Thunderstorms. After contacting the local approach controller we were told to plan on a straight in landing to runway 23. So far, so good. Anders was doing a fine job flying 556. Ten more minutes and we would be unloading and on our way to a fine steak dinner.
Ten miles out, crossing the Chesapeake and descending toward the airport now clearly in sight, I could see the towering build-ups on the other side of the field. At the same time the Nexrad refreshed showing red about five miles west of the aerodrome. Moreover, in the small little box in the upper right corner of the MFD I noticed a significant increase in head winds. They had gone from under 20 to 40+.
Not a good sign. By my calculations, we would still get there first, but not by much. Not exactly the peaceful one-hour flight I was hoping for 50 minutes ago. Reviewing everything I knew about microbursts and thunderstorms in general, it was time to decide, continue or divert. My decision was to continue. I felt certain we would be on the ground before the storm passed over. If necessary, we could still turn and outrun it to the south, hold and return after the cell passed.
If you are wondering if my decision to continue was influenced by my desire to get some sleep the answer is,
yes, but.... The greatest value in the G1000 cockpit is information, most of it real-time. All the bells and whistles indicated we would be wheels down before the storm passed and our headwinds sheared to tailwinds. It wasn't hard to look out the windscreen and judge the same thing. It would be close to be sure, but there was wiggle room. We had our escape plan in place knew we could execute. We also had plenty of fuel and a fresh pilot.
Just the same, I told Anders to keep his speed up. Understanding quickly displaced his look of confusion as I pointed out front. The rain had crossed the fence at the other end of the field. Handed off to the tower and cleared to land we could see a long line of airliners waiting. I like to think they were waiting for us to land but ... they were waiting for the storm to pass.
Just as the rain started to moisten the 05 numbers tower called,
N65556, do you have any wind information? A quick glance at the MFD and I keyed the mike,
556 at 500 feet, showing 47 knots on the nose.
N65556 cleared to land runway 23, wind 230 at 18 variable and gusting to 30. Was this their way of alerting us to a thunderstorm on the very edge of the runway?
With only 10 degrees of flap and 90 knots indicated we crossed the fence and flared, globules of oversized raindrops starting to pelt the windscreen. Facing 30+ knot headwinds we were not using up very much of the almost two miles of cement. It didn't take long land and find us still on the numbers. As we taxied along the runway the cell finally passed over us before we could reach the first taxiway to turnoff, deluging us in rain. We had beaten the storm by only minutes, perhaps less. The ground controllers were happy to let us sit on the runway to wait for the rain to pass and we could see again. After all, no one else was using it.
To be continued ...
IFR charts will change again on June 5.
Seattle sectional and terminal charts will change on June 5.
The ever popular
Fred Thomas Presents continues in May with the NOVA program on the Joint Strike Fighter Competition,
Battle of the X-Planes. 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!
Justin Dawkins soloed in N8256E. His instructor is Ralph Robinson. (Somehow we managed to get our past Chief Instructor's name wrong, so we are running this milestone again. Sorry Ralph!)
Pierre-Alexandre Masse soloed just before press time for this newsletter, too late for his photo to appear. We will run it in the next issue, along with that of his instructor, Rich Prillinger
Rich Prillinger added a multi-engine commercial to his ratings. Here he is being congratulated by his instructor, Heather Wagner, after completing his checkride with Sherry Diamond.
Devansh Gupta became our first Airline Transport Pilot in the refurbished Duchess N25B, spending just 1 week on the training. Devansh and his instructor, Scott Stauter, engaged in an intense accelerated program to achieve the goal. Mike Shiflett was the examiner.
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