Sundance Flying Club
November 2008 Newsletter

What's Inside!

N738GE Evolves

N738GE, one of our C172s, has been off the line for the past two weeks having an avionics upgrade. When we get it back on line late this week it will have a new Nav/Com 1 and a glass panel. The new Nav/Com is a digital SL30, similar to the unit in the Bonanza. The unit provides flip-flop capability for both Nav and Com, as well as a unique "monitor" capability which allows the pilot to monitor the standby frequency without missing any transmission on the active one. Another great feature is the unit's ability to decipher and display the VOR ID.

Both Nav 1 and 2 are displayed on N738GE's new Aspen PFD. This unit is the same as those installed in our Archer (N2865M) and Bonanza (N7201N). However, N738GE does not have an IFR GPS, so the operation of the PFD is even more simple. If you do wish to check out in N738GE, you will need to take a ground school and fly with an instructor. Most pilots make the transition in about 1 hour of flight.

Welcome N600JG

In September we added a C152 (N67307) to our fleet. This month we welcome N600JG, a 1969 Piper Cherokee 6, to the Sundance fleet. The Cherokee 6 is the biggest of the Cherokee single engine airplanes. It is a true 6 place airplane and has the reputation of being able carry anything that can fit in its huge cabin.

N600JG is well equipped, with an IFR GPS, autopilot and dual Com radios. Powered by a Lycoming 300 hp engine, N600JG is a true high performance airplane. It is well suited to take a family on camping vacations.

N7201N at AOPA

The AOPA convention is in San Jose this Thursday through Saturday. If you have never attended one, now is your chance! The convention is of great interest to ALL pilots, with its wide variety of seminars, its huge trade show where you can buy all sorts of pilot gear at cheap prices, and its airplane display area at SJC. Aspen Avionics will be at AOPA, and will be displaying our Bonanza, N7201N, as part of their exhibit. Feel free to go and pat its nose!

Aspen PFD Courses

With the arrival of N738GE back on the Sundance line, pilots who want to fly it need to take a ground school on the new avionics. Our next ground school will be on Wednesday, November 12th. Enrollment is simple; just follow this link and do it on line. To check out in N738GE you only need to complete the Introduction to Aspen course. Student pilots are welcome to take these courses.

If you want to fly the archer, N2865M, especially in the IFR environment, you also need to take the second course offered on the 12th. This course focuses on the interaction between the PFD and the WAAS enabled GPS in the airplane.

Finally, on Thursday, November 13th, we are again offering our Bonanza Systems ground course. This builds on the other two courses and examines the interaction between PFD, GPS, Autopilot and JPI - all of which are installed in N7201N.

Sundance Safety Snippets

In this periodic column our instructors discuss items of safety that concern them

Flying at Night (part 1) -- Heather Green, CFI

This is the first of 2 parts. We will consider the regulatory requirements for night flight in this part, and then go on to a consideration of the realities of night flight in a future newsletter.

With the approach of the holiday season the days are growing shorter; all of a sudden we are off Summer Time; suddenly night comes early. So, what about flying at night?

Unlike most countries, most private pilots in the US have night privileges. So it is worth reviewing the special characteristics of night flight.

Let's start with the FARs. The FAA considers night to mean the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight. You can determine these times simply by going to the scheduling page of the Sundance web site and clicking on the button labelled Get data at the lower left of the page. The results will be displayed in the yellow area to the right of the button.

The FARs allow a student pilot to fly solo at night provided they have taken suitable instruction, flight conditions allow 5 mile visibility and visual surface reference, and have a current instructor endorsement in their log. The latter is rarely given!

Once you gain your private certificate, night flight carrying passengers is permitted provided you meet the Recent Flight Experience requirements for night. To meet these you must have made 3 takeoffs and 3 landings at night in the last 90 days. However, things are not quite so simple. The takeoffs and landings must take place between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise and each must be to a full stop. But, you say, what about the definition of night? What's civil twilight got to do with all this?

Again, the Sundance web page comes to our rescue. Looking at the data for November 3rd we see that civil twilight ends at 5:35pm PST; sunset is at 5:08pm. Any takeoff or landing performed after 6:08pm (and before 5:37am next morning) will count for recency.

The FARs require aircraft flown at night to have a number of additional items. These include

The position lights must be lighted at night; so is the anticollision light. However, the PIC can turn off the anticollision light in the interests of safety.

The FARs also specify VFR weather minima changes at night for class G airspace. The most important changes are that, at night, flight visibility must be at least 3 miles and cloud clearance of 500' below/1000' above/2000' horizontal is maintained.

Flying a Turbo 206 to Jamaica
Part 5

by Chuck Cali

As promised, we bring you part four 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 . Discovering the utility of XM Nexrad weather has enabled Chuck to make it as far as Savannah. Southern Florida, and the promise of a steak dinner beckons him on...

Sometimes, the best IFR flights are made VFR. This leg of our journey certainly ranks as a great example, for a couple of reasons. One, the convective nature of this air mass made sticking your airplane into clouds very risky business. Two, this experience - this application of capability - was an epiphany of sorts.

In all previous weather flying, the whole, of a weather pilot's being - sitting alone at the head of a rain soaked runway under heavy clouds - was to turn the cockpit into a monastic cell and reduce the instrument panel to its most fundamental indications. At that moment, when pilot and airplane become as one, the throttles are advanced and, on wings, the pilot tempts his fate.

It has been said that flying weather in small underpowered airplanes is like a negotiation with Goliath. You negotiate by slipping in a few miles at a time, judging and probing the clouds, moving higher or lower, turning and detouring, rarely surrendering.

If the cockpits of old were monastic cells, the cockpits of the modern generation are brightly lit windows with a clear view into the future - a way of discerning a pattern - in the disorderly world of storm flying. With such a view, storm negotiations could easily tend to favor the patient and prudent pilot. Like any negotiation, however, beware of trying to squeeze too much from your adversary.

Our weather briefing provided no new information. However, we did learn that our direct Ft. Lauderdale plans might need revision. That annoying low-pressure system was still sitting south of Miami.

South out of Savannah our view out the windscreen confirmed the briefing. Our plan was to stay VFR. The whole southeast was before us. We had options. As it turned out, we would use them.

Once again, the Nexrad proved invaluable to in flight decision-making. Zooming out, we could watch as the system moved weather across Florida from the southeast to the northwest. This ability to see the effects of the system, almost real time, is, in this author's opinion, God's gift to weather flying.

Our desired course was to take us down the east coast from Savannah toward Jacksonville, Florida then down the Florida coast to Ft. Lauderdale. Unless we wished to fly miles out to sea east of the coast to avoid the biggest storms, that plan was not going to work out as the southeasterly flow from the system was firing up thunderstorms all the way up to Jacksonville.

Using Nexrad and, what we could see in front of us, we climbed to 12,500 feet, changed course and headed for Gainesville, hoping to dodge the worst stuff on the coast. Our plan was to turn south over Gainesville toward Orlando and circumnavigate the worst weather. For the moment - still three hours away - the green, yellow and red were going north of Ft. Lauderdale.

To be continued ...

FAA Charts

IFR charts will change again on November 20.

The following VFR charts have changed recently -

The following charts will change soon -

A Night at the Movies

The ever popular Fred Thomas Presents continues in November with The Dam Busters. 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!



Nataliya Voloshina flew N94565 for her first solo. Her instructor is Peter Sturdza.

Dave Steer soloed in N739ZL. His instructor is Mike Feary.

Dave Dissmeyer soloed in N738GE. His instructor is Fred Thomas.

Private Pilot

Tami Ransom flew N94565 to pass her private pilot checkride with Sherry Diamond. Her instructor is Rich Prillinger.

Sampath Jambunathan passed his private pilot checkride in N67307 with Jim Currier. His instructor is Jim Long.

Justin Dawkins passed his private pilot checkride in N8256E with Sherry Diamond. His instructor is Ralph Robinson.


Rich Prillinger took the checkride for Instrument Flight instructor with Sherry Diamond to become a CFII. Jim Long was his instructor, with Fred Thomas ensuring that Rich had a thorough grasp of the FARs.

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