Archive for April, 2011

AIF, 93.0 hours (1.1 hours last flight)

N204SG on the ramp

This was a very enjoyable flight for me for many different reasons. For one, I was able to share it with my cousin! Was awesome having Alex flying right seat. The weather was beautiful, and we had a reprieve from the crazy winds that we’ve seen in North Texas.

I also got to play with my new Drift HD170 camera and Panavise mount! Check out the video on Vimeo here. It’s a little bumpy while we are on the ground simply because the ground is BUMPY! The only runways I have ever landed on that were as smooth as glass were recently repaved ones like Stephenville (KSEP) or the north 1-2K feet of Denton (KDTO). I’m going to take another look at the mount that I am using to see if there is a potentially better option that might have a bit more cushion for the runway activities. Also, there is no intercom audio on this one because I was missing an adapter cable (should have read the WHOLE review), but that will be remedied for the next video!

We took off to the north and headed south east toward Dallas. I’ve learned that when the winds are from the north, air traffic around downtown Dallas gets pretty complicated. We had to do some circles outside of Addison’s airspace to wait for a path to be opened up for us. Once we were granted in, we had to stay east and south of downtown Dallas (you can see in the video). I was OK with this because for some reason the G1000 was kicking out a strange error that I had seen before, but was not part of the normal operations. Apparently there are other conditions where you want to leave the fuel pump on (as opposed to following the checklist which instructs you to turn off the fuel pump in many scenarios). I found another screen that I can use to diagnose issues around fuel PSI that is not in the main engine readout on the MFD. Also would LOVE to figure out how to get that readout back on the PFD. Low fuel PSI did not negatively affect the FLOW of fuel, but I think it made the engine run leaner than it should have, and one of the cylinders started heating up a bit. Nothing that would have caused an unsafe issue because I had Dallas Love very close if we had an emergency, and flipping on the fuel pump immediately resolved the problem.

You will also see me using the autopilot a bit. If you can get set up on an altitude prior to entering ATC control, the autopilot absolutely helps from a workload management perspective. See me enter a heading change at 3:40 in the video when we were cleared over the top of DFW Airport.

If you are wondering why my right hand seems to eternally have a pen in it, it’s because I will write down instructions from ATC if they give me rapid fire details so I can read it back. When in congested, controlled airspace, it’s pretty critical to be on your toes and focused.

Anyway, great flight! Hope you enjoy the video!

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AIF, 91.9 hours (1.3 hours last flight)

Preflight!

One week before this flight, Chris asks me how long it takes us to fly to the airport by her sister’s house (about 20 minutes) after she sat through some Friday afternoon traffic to get home. I said, I’d be happy to fly us as a family down there, but just remember that the amount of time will be pretty close to the same because we have to drive to and from the airport and pre-flight the plane. She said, let’s do it.

So we did!

This was the first time that we flew as a family where everyone was outside the womb. Payton flew once before when Chris was pregnant, but not since she would need her own headset.

We got to the airport, moved all of our gear into the DA-40, and got started! Unfortunately, Chris had to hold Garrett’s car seat on the way down because the seat was too large to allow me to fully control the yoke to fly the plane (which could be a very serious problem). Garrett sat right seat and enjoyed!

This is how she rolls!

It was a busy day, and ATC vectored us around several areas of congested airspace and around other airports. We did not have clearance in to the class Bravo airspace on the way down, but did get cleared on the way back (FWS AFW DTO). I took FULL advantage of the autopilot so I could monitor the radios and watch for traffic (in addition to relying on the collision avoidance feature of the G1000).

We landed without incident, were marshaled in, and met the cousins outside the FBO. This was the first time that they saw a small plane, and both kids were crawling all over it while we unloaded our gear.

We loaded all the kids up in the van, waved Buh-Bye, and then headed our way back to the plane to get going! Upon takeoff, we saw the kids in the van and flew right over the top of them before heading back to KDTO. We went direct Alliance first, then direct Denton to avoid traffic. We landed on a very warm ramp, expedited our taxi off the active, and parked right back where we started just an hour prior.

Fun little flight, and my new audio cable works FANTASTIC! See the video below!

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AIF, 87.8 hours (1.9 hours last flight)

I’ve been lazy. I had another flight since my last one, and neglected to blog about it. I have one more you will see immediately after this one as well from this past weekend.

After getting rated in the DA-40 with that beautiful glass cockpit, Cayce, Nancy, and I made a run down to Stephenville for some BBQ! The original plan was to go into Tyler, but low ceilings and en-route IFR conditions sent us west.

PRETTY!

Initially, we had to hang close to the ground, which makes me very uneasy. We finally got a hold of a flight service station that helped us decipher the clouds we were looking at outside the glass. Sometimes clouds are an optical illusion, and you can’t really tell where the lines are until you are in the clouds. For someone not on an IFR flight plan, that can be terrifying and illegal! After we determined that climbing was acceptable, we shot up a few thousand feet.

We had some serious headwinds on the way down that turned into tail winds on the way back. 160Kts over ground on the way back is pretty fun! Makes for a very short flight.

We had some fun with ATC on the way back as we usually do at some point during the flight. We were cruising at 6,500 feet heading direct to KDTO from KSEP, several miles outside of the Class Bravo airspace (including the 30NM ring around KDFW), and we heard the following conversation from Ft. Worth Center:

ATC: “Eagle 1234: Traffic, twelve o-clock, fife miles, traffic is a Cessna at six thousand, fife hundred.” (At this point, I started looking around because any small plane is often entered into the ATC system incorrectly as a Cessna. Shortly after I started looking around I saw a blip pop up on my traffic avoidance system.)

Eagle 1234: “Roger, we’re looking but don’t see him yet, Eagle 1234.”

Two minutes pass.

ATC: “Eagle 1234: Traffic, twelve o-clock, tree miles, turn left heading 270.”

Eagle 1234: “Turn left, heading 270, Eagle 1234.”

At this point, I looked out the right side of the aircraft and saw the wingspan of an ATR-72 banking away and behind us, but coming up quickly from below. At this point, there is no way the pilots could see us because they would almost have to look through the floor to find us.

Me: “Ft. Worth Center, 4SG, we have that Eagle traffic in sight and he will pass behind us.”

ATC: “Roger 4SG, maintain VFR.”

Then a few minutes later that poor eagle flight got the call to re-intercept the intersection or point they were shooting for on their departure. So thanks to us, fully abiding by regulations, some poor schleps on their way to Abilene or something had to fly around us in our glorified lawn mower in the sky. It’s amazing flying in the system and watching all of the various elements of the air traffic system work to prevent accidents.

Was a great flight, and a great airport! Hard 8 in Stephenville is SO MUCH better than the one in Coppell.

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