2012 Flight Summary

A Year Like No Other

The last two and a half months have been unlike any in my flying history and when I think about it, the whole year has brought me new experiences.

The spring and summer months brought me many counter drug flights for the Civil Air Patrol. I flew a 4 hour sortie in a Cessna 182 RG and also plotted courses and search patterns in our 182 G1000. It was fun even in 90 degree weather in a flight suit.

The fall brought me back into the flying club as a board member. I also secured a paid position as General Manager of the club. Because of this I was able to enjoy some Cirrus flying and other through the cloud adventures. Just last week I was PIC for a nice 154 mile cross-country trip to N71 near Harrisburg, PA and back. This was the farthest cross-country I had flown and the highest at 6,500 ft  (yeah I don’t get out too much).

And finally, out of the blue, I was offered a chance to fly in a Falcon 900B business jet from Rochester, NY to Boca Raton, FL and back. I flew in the jump seat most of the time but finally got a chance to ride shot-gun for an hour or so on the way back. I can’t tell you what an experience this day has been. It was something I never thought would happen in a million years…still can’t believe it!

Take a moment and enjoy the videos that I have posted.

Happy Holidays!

The Falcon 900B

The Falcon 900B

The Falcon 900B Panel

The Falcon 900B Panel

Me in the Right Seat

Me in the Right Seat (I didn’t touch anything)

View from the right seat.

View from the right seat.

Another view out the window.

Another view out the window from the cabin.

August Update…and it’s hot…the weather is…not the post.

This post has no purpose except to share a few random items regarding me and a few aviation related, so here goes.

Carenado  – has a number of interesting planes under development for FSX and X-Plane users. Go to their home page and click on “Incoming projects” in the center of their home page. A few things of interest include a G1000 182, an SR22 and a TBM 850 that are currently under development.

DuraCharts – produces up-to-date, durable, sectional aeronautical charts for discerning pilots who demand the very best at a reasonable cost. These charts are virtually tear resistant and are manufactured to last. The printing is as sharp and clear as any you have ever seen. No more tearing from constant folding and refolding. DuraCharts are available by subscription or individually as needed and can be ordered now from this website. Visit their website or contact Gil Stimson at gil@duracharts.com for more information.

MiddlesexValleyAirport – Received a small donation and a free breakfast coupon as a token of appreciation for the gratis site I created for them a few years back. Go get breakfast and bring a few friends to this great grass field.

Biopsy – Received good news that my biopsies for skin cancer came back as benign. It took $520 to find this out, which is $520 out of the flying budget or $520 from the funds I was going to use to remove what I have. However, some people don’t get good news so I will accept it and be grateful for it…and will let it go and move on.

Canandaigua Airport – I’m attempting to monetize this site and provide additional value by adding a “For Sale” section so that I can advertise aircraft for sale on the site, as well as offer banner advertisements on the home page. In addition, Thomas Road was closed on July 27th so that construction can begin to extend the runway. I will also be releasing a Canandaigua Airport BGL scenery file for use in Microsoft FSX. I have extended the runway and have used GPS measurements for accuracy. A few more measurements to go before its release.

Slogging through the Summer

It’s been hot. We have had almost a dozen days of above 90F degree weather here in Central, New York and we only recently got a well deserved break. To keep you up-to-day on current events I thought I would post a quick note on what’s happening now…enjoy your summer!

July Update

Back in May I suspended my flying club membership due to expenses at home and cut a few other expenses. To make up for it I have been focusing on flying (not piloting) on counter drug missions. I can’t blog about those for obvious reasons, but flying in a G1000 equipped Cessna 182 has been a good experience even though I am not the pilot.

On a personal note, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with Basel Cell Carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of nonmelanoma skin cancer. This was discovered when I decided to have a few lesion removed from my face after looking that them for years…decades actually. So I am not too concerned about them being worse than they are, but I have a biopsy scheduled for Monday and hopefully soon after I will have the results. Regardless, the lesions are being removed one way or the other which will cost me money, and will push back any hope of G1000 transition training for the foreseeable future.

I’ve been aggressively promoting on Indiegogo.com/seebarryfly to raise funds for flight training, which after 26 days has produced nothing. I’m not surprised by that, it’s much more exciting to fund a film project that flight training. The campaign will run its course and anything I get out of it will go towards CAP flying and training.

On a business note, I hope to have a new program in place for my business to help increase revenue starting in September. I am putting the pieces in place now and need to conduct a few phone conferences before it can happen.

Finally, my heart goes out to Aurora, Colorado. In May of 2005 I was at the Century 16 theatre watching the final Star Wars film. Aurora is a nice place with good people, so my thoughts and prayers are with them.

Blue skies!

Flight Log 5/21/2012 – FORM 5 Completed

Sorry that this post is late…

On May 21, 2012 I completed my form 5 check ride for the Civil Air Patrol. My check pilot was Roland Zavada and I managed to torment him for 1.7 hours. This flight was not my finest piece of work. I’ve never been fond of check rides because as much as you are pilot in command you have someone who is telling you what maneuvers to do. The good news was that I didn’t fall for the “oh look…there’s deer in the farmers field down there” distraction on downwind. Sterile cockpit…please!!!

2001 Cessna 172S (N927CP)

The plane I used for my check ride was a 2001 Cessna 172S (N927CP) – It’s a nice plane but I only flew it 3 times (5.9 hours) before my check ride, so I guess I might know what I am doing. It matched the 172S in Microsoft flight simulator so I was familiar with the location of gauges and was quick to adapt to it. The GPS is a bit different than what I was use to and I only messed with it a bit as the last part of my check ride.

A form 5 check ride in CAP (Civil Air Patrol) is pretty much the same as any other private pilot check ride. Even though I am a pilot already, CAP requires a check ride before you are cleared to fly solo in their aircraft. By competing the check ride I am now considered a VFR Pilot in CAP and because I have over 50 hours cross country I am also cleared to be a Transport Mission Pilot which allows me to ferry planes and people around as needed for the squadron. As you gain more hours as PIC you can become a Mission Pilot at 175 hours PIC or a Flight Orientation Pilot at 200 hours PIC.

Flight Time to Date in Hours

PIC: 119.5
Cross Country: 65.4
Complex: 16.7
High Performance: 3.8
Night: 7.4
Simulated Instrument: 6.4

Total Time: 223.6
Take offs and Landings: 652 / 20 night

What’s Next…

I will be focusing next on flying along on counter drug missions and will be transitioning to a G1000 equipped Cessna 182 as funds allow.

If you care to help me acheive my goals, please let me know. CAP is a volunteer organization and many people like myself pay for our own flying time and the cost of fuel. Only approved missions are funded flights in CAP so the time I’ve spent in the air flying for CAP has been out of my own pocket and not the tax payers. I enjoy serving and hope that other pilots consider the Civil Air Patrol as an opportunity for themselves to server their community.

My CAP Uniform

Flight Log 5/8/2012 – Changing things…

Well after years of being an active member in my flying club, I needed to suspend my membership due to budget changes. I also haven’t flown there since July of last year and want to change things up and focus more on my role in the Civil Air Patrol.

My promotion to 1st. Lt. was made official today and recently I was approved for CD missions. I am also trying to wrap up my form 5 check ride (if this weather gets with the program) so that I can finally become a CAP pilot, and then hopefully I can move on to become a transport and orientation pilot. The rest is all about building time and confidence to eventually be a mission pilot.

The plus’s are that I will be in newer aircraft and can also transition to a 182 G1000. No flying club has a 182 G1000 around here! And even if they did it would be very costly to operate. The other plus is that I would continue to be around other pilots, under a controlled airspace and piloting at a level that is more than recreational, but not commercial.

The minus’s are that I can’t take non-members up in aircraft, so no family flying here, but that could be remedied in other ways with a check ride here or there elsewhere. That’s about it.

So the focused has changed and I will keep you posted as things happen!

Working ATC Communication and My FORM 5 for CAP

Civil Air Patrols 172 N927CP

On Sunday I took to the skies in the Civil Air Patrols 172 N927CP. This was my first time in this aircraft and the first time in over 6 years of operating from KROC and class Charlie airspace.

Flying the 172 may seem like the main event, but for me the excitement…or as some might say…the anxiety…comes from being at a controlled airport, in controlled airspace and having to listen to what’s going on and doing my part. For pilots who fly into Class C and B Airspace, this posting is NOT for you…but it could be good if you have students.

LiveATC Got You Down?

At some point in your flying you have probably been told to listen to LiveATC at: http://www.liveatc.net/ – to become familiar with ATC communications. And that’s a great thing to do, but because of all the commercial air traffic mingling with private pilots, it doesn’t offer the continuity that you may be looking for in order to learn what to do. That was my experience and frankly it didn’t really make things easier or instill confidence. In fact it probably increased my anxiety because everyone sounded like a fast talking expert (because they are) and there is no separation of the frequencies. In particular, approach and tower frequencies. Frustrating!

So before I leaped into ATC communications cold turkey (and there is nothing wrong with that) I documented and asked questions of CFI’s, commercial pilots and even updated a few documents based on my real world experience (and my own ATC recordings) to create three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots.

Below are my three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots starting with setting up a VFR departure from KROC (Rochester,NY) and the VFR arrival back to the airport. So there is 100% continuity from a flight out of and BACK to KROC…which is a Class Charlie airspace airport.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and organize in your head, what you are going to do before you leave and before you come back and talk to approach for permission to land. These documents are not written in long English sentences, but allow you to fill in the blanks and act as a script, except for the KROC frequencies…after all…I did make this for me.

If you want the Excel spreadsheet I used, please let me know and I can email it to you!

ATC Communication for Private Pilots

ATC-Script – Clearance – Taxi Procedure (.pdf)

ATC-Script – Departure Procedure (.pdf)

ATC-Script – Arrival Procedure (.pdf)

If you want to hear a few of my recordings, you can download the .mp3 files shown below. Unfortunately I just don’t want to devote a lot of time downloading and editing mp3 files to find everything that I did, so this is just a taste. Again, pardon my amateurish radio work…at least I was brave (or fool) enough to post a few of mine!

Radio Call to Clearance Deliver

Radio Call to Approach – Getting Back to KROC

Radio Call to Tower – Permission to land at KROC

Fall Flying Update 2011

After 3 yrs and 6 months of procrastination, I finally got checked out to fly a couple of 172’s at my local airport which is 2 minutes away versus 45 minutes for the flying club. With winter coming I want to try to stay current and this seemed like a reasonable option…and it  gives me two more planes to fly.

For the time being my Cirrus training is on hold. The reality is that the cost of currency in a Cirrus isn’t that economical and I would be flying a 172 or a Cherokee anyway to avoid the $145 hr price tag on the Cirrus. It’s more important for me to fly more often than to fly glass. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice to have the option, but such is life and that’s all I’ll say about that. I don’t plan on doing more than keeping current over the winter, so the flying will be minimal. If my income changes than I’ll see  what happens and plan accordingly.

In all it took me 3.3 hours total for my checkout and BFR (biannual flight review). It was interesting being in a plane with no GPS.  Tracking a VOR was simplistic and worry free and I could keep my eyes outside the aircraft. True flight planning would be in order before I  would consider a cross-country in these aircraft, but there is something to be said about actual aviating and navigating without an autopilot or moving map.

I’m suppose to get checked out in the G1000 equipped Cessna 182 with the Civil Air Patrol…will see how that goes. The training is free but the plane is not and 182’s aren’t known for sipping fuel. That would also involve working in the Rochester airspace and getting use to ATC again. I should probably get the questionnaire for the aircraft completed and see what it would take schedule wise to make it happen. This time of year weather has the upper hand both mentally and physically. That’s all for now!

Cirrus Cylinder Head Temperature Redlines

August 29th was an important day; it was my youngest son’s birthday and he was turning 14 years old. He doesn’t seem so young now or as small as he once was and now that he is advancing nicely playing bass guitar, he is almost more of a room mate. His soon to be 16 yr old brother is even more to my eye level and size. Anyway it was going to be a day of celebration including a dinner out and ice cream and cake afterwards.

Around 10am I got a call from Gordy, my flight instructor / mentor who expressed an interest in taking the Cirrus up and going from Penn Yan (KPEO) to Rochester (KROC). There at KROC he wanted to do a few ILS approaches and figured that I might want to ride along. I thought it would be a nice flight and it wasn’t going to interrupt birthday plans, so I agreed. Gordy would pick me up in a couple hours and take us to Penn Yan.

During my wait I collected my log book and made a copy of my hours and endorsements and put them on file. I like to have another hard copy of things just in case I was to loose my log book or worse. When flying the Cirrus I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row. Why? Well as much as I like high tech gadgets, I am not a fan of advanced automation. I’m not against it…but too much of any good thing can be bad. I would love a large KILL switch that I could push to remove the autopilot, electric trim and so on…just in case the plane decided to do its own thing. The idea of “looking” for circuit breakers while I arm wrestle with a plane isn’t my idea of fun. The world is not moving in my direction, so I must move with it…which is why I am riding along.

On the way to Penn Yan between the normal chit chat sessions we talked about the Cirrus, ours is an SR-20 with an upgraded autopilot. Gordy mentioned that another member flew it and had to turn back near KSYR due to the cylinder head temperature on the #4 cylinder redlining. Apparently cylinder #4 went red in cruise flight and then calmed down. They brought the plane back and grounded it temporarily…until our flight. I don’t remember what happened between flights, but hearing this in route was not encouraging.

We got to Penn Yan in short order and took care of all the pre-flight and started our flight by heading northwest towards KROC. At around 3,500 ft and in cruise Gordy decided that we should lean the plane. So with me in the left seat I pressed “lean assist” and let him handle the mixture control. Generally we are pretty good at coordinating around each other and he found the first peak. I think we were trying to find lean of peak (or rich of peak), I forgot which at this point, but for some reason neither was working out. Gordy tried it a couple times, still no luck, so we just clicked “normalize” and contacted ATC to request a touch and go landing using the ILS on runway 22 at Rochester.

I was flying the plane in KROC airspace while Gordy handled the radios. We did the pre-landing checklist and with the ILS setup on the primary flight display I turned on a long final for runway 22. So far…so good…I trimmed as needed and tried to keep the glide scope where it should be on the PFD (primary flight display). This was starting to get fun! I was around 100 kts and pitching as needed to keep things centered. The runway was clearly in site, but I tried to ignore that fact and used the display as much as I could.

I finally had Gordy take the controls for the landing, it had been awhile and I didn’t want to kick the rust off on the main runway and be on TV if I screwed up. Gordy did just fine and we landed on 22 and just as quickly he brought in 50% flaps…away we went on the touch and go! We were climbing and turning right traffic for another ILS approach and didn’t have any issues as we headed outbound on a heading of 280 at 1,600 ft climbing to 3000 ft. We called up ATC and were now told to turn to a heading of 360.

By now the airspeed was between 115 to 120kts. Our oil temp was 171 F and the oil pressure was 50 PSI which is all within the GREEN.

Suddenly Gordy noticed a red light. He quickly turned the knob on the display on the MFD (multi-function display) to the ENGINE page and saw that cylinder head temperature on the #3 cylinder was at 468 F – REDLINE. Everything else was fine and the plane was cruising along as it should. We quickly went to full rich and reduced power and declared our condition to ATC.

MFD Showing a Redline on #3 (simulated)

As all of this was going through my head and as Gordy was talking to ATC, the CHT temperature began falling. We weren’t ready to declare an emergency just yet. We still had the airport in site and things were going from RED to Yellow and then back to GREEN all in about a minute’s time. Weird!

——————————————————

If you want to hear what happened, you can by clicking the link below. We are N8PY – Gordy is the first voice you hear with our request.

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kroc/KROC-Aug-29-2011-1700Z.mp3

On the tape at 2:48 to 3:07 – We are told to turn 330 after being stepped on.

At 3:49 we are told to maintain VFR at 3,500 ft (as a plane flies below us).

At 9:22 we begin our decent to 2,500

At 10:30 we are told to turn left 250 maintain VFR cleared ILS 22 approach.

At 12:14 we are told to switch to the tower frequency.

At 12:51 we tell the tower where we are and we are cleared for a low approach. We request a touch and go and then another try at the ILS. Finally we are cleared for the touch and go.

At 12:14 we are told to switch to the tower frequency.

At 16:50 we’ve completed the touch and go and are climbing out, we are switching to departure for a second go at ILS 22.

At 17:31 we are at 1,600 climbing to 3,000 on a heading of 280. So far so good!

At 17:40 we are told to turn on a heading of 360.

At 18:40 we are asked how the approach will terminate – we respond at we will be flying direct to KPEO. We are cleared to fly runway heading maintain VFR after the touch and go.

At 20:09 we notice our REDLINE and we report that we have a problem with our engine and have a request that we go direct to Penn Yan. We are cleared direct to Penn Yan.

At 20:45 less than a minute from reporting a problem, the CHT is back in the green and report that a cylinder was overheating – we are instructed to turn to a heading of 100.

——————————————————

As you can hear, Gordy requested a heading to Penn Yan after the engines CHT returned to normal. We eventually turned direct to KPEO after leaving KROC airspace. On the way back Gordy wanted to see if we could lean the engine. I successfully negotiated that we don’t push our luck. I didn’t want my son’s birthday to be the same day his daddy (me) died. Gordy…to his credit…left things alone.

Back on sweet mother earth we grounded the plane. The plane was quickly scheduled to be looked at in Batavia to see what was going on. This was the second time that a cylinder redlined and returned to normal. This occurred with #4 before us and now #3. The leaning issue was the only other one reported besides Gordy feeling the engine running a little rough, he flies this aircraft more than me so I didn’t notice it like he did.

The Cirrus was flown by Gordy a few days later to Batavia for a checkout. Apparently each cylinder head has a discreet temperature probe. We had problems with the number three cylinder head temperature readout being hot…they switched the probe from the number three cylinder to the number five cylinder and the probe from the number five cylinder was placed on the number three cylinder….same for 2 and 4.

Cylinder Head Temperature Probe

So now when you go to the engine monitoring page on the MFD and look at the temperature readouts for the cylinders, things are not what they seem. The indicated temperature for cylinder three is actually cylinder five and vice versa, this will allow us to troubleshoot the probes.

Cylinder Head Temperature Probe Closeup

If the probe for cylinder three reads high again, the probe is probably bad because it is actually reading the temperature of cylinder five. If the probe for cylinder five reads high, then it is actually cylinder three overheating and the problem is probably not probe related.

So the saga continues! Is it the temperature probes or the cylinders? I guess we will find out eventually once some lucky Joe flies the plane and replicates the proble

Cirrus Transition Training – Flights 2 and 3

Since my first Cirrus flight on March 17th I have logged two more flights and I now have a total of 5.5 hours of time in SR20-G2.

Second Flight

My second flight on March 30th lasted 2 hours and included using the DFC90 Autopilot a lot more than on the first flight. I was setting headings, airspeeds, and altitudes and just letting the plane fly itself. This never felt strange to me since I did this in flight simulator so many times…it was familiar ground to me and it was “neat” doing it for real.

On this flight we finally received a traffic alert as we were heading towards Rochester near the Geneseo VOR. We were alerted to traffic straight ahead and could watch the decent into the Charlie airspace at Rochester. I could turn 20 degrees to avoid and then once I determined that traffic was no longer a factor, I could resume my course. It will take a little more practice to interpret the traffic information since the traffic direction is not shown on the map unless I’m mistaken.

At the end of the flight I was finally able to get 4 landings in and actually fly the plane in the pattern in order to establish the routine as far as the “killers” and the sight picture on landing. The “killers” are the things you check upon entering the downwind. Yes, that terminology is a bit morbid but that’s because when pilots ignore the “killers” they end up wishing that hadn’t.

The “killers” list includes:

  • Turning the boost pump ON
  • Switching the fuel to the fullest tank.
  • Setting the mixture to FULL rich.
  • Preparing to put in the first notch of flaps.

It’s best to get this done before you are abeam of the numbers. While you are doing this you are keeping track of the airspeed (100kts) and the altitude, as well as watching out for traffic and making radio calls as needed.

As for my landings, they were ok. Unlike some planes you don’t need to apply much force to keep the nose up. Although I did ok on two of my landings, I had a tendency on the other two to pull back on the yoke more than I needed when trying to get it close. I should have let the plane do what it wants to do, under my control and let it get close rather than pushing it too close and then pulling back with an ever so slight balloon effect. I was never a big trim guy for landings, I just used what I needed, which was not all of it. The trim on the Cirrus is pretty sensitive so practice will improve this part for me over time.

Third Flight

My third flight on April 2nd lasted 2.5 hours and included many of the things that scare you when you think of Cirrus such as power off and partial power stalls. We also did slow flight and steep turns. The icing on the cake had to be the crosswind landings on runway 01 with the wind out of 290 at 14 knots gusting to 21 knots, which gave us a crosswind factor of 13 to 20 knots. All of this Cirrus goodness went toward my flight review which was a good thing!

For the record, I have come a long way in my stall anxiety. I felt that doing stalls was the equivalent of crashing a car for the first time just so you knew what it felt like; therefore you would not do it again. My first stall as a student involved me turning the yoke away from the falling wing side, like I was turning to avoid a deer in the road, instead applying opposite rudder. That screw up got my instructors attention and made me feel very dumb. The good news is that the more you fly and understand the plane, the more you “get it” and just look forward to getting stalls out of the way and moving on with life….which is just what I did today.

Stalling the Cirrus is like any other aircraft. Just keep your eyes outside, keep your feet light on the rudders to fly straight, listen for the stall horn and feel the buffet and recover. On the recovery put the nose to the horizon and apply power to complete the recovery.

I have no idea what the stall speed was or when the buffet started or what rudder I had to use since my eyes were truly outside the aircraft. It didn’t matter because I was flying the plane and not waiting for something to happen, so I wasn’t anticipating anything. The plane didn’t do anything strange at all and was stable.

Steep turns in the Cirrus are fun and easy to do. Visibility is less because of how the cockpit is configured so do a good job with clearing turns and have the traffic alert system on as a backup for your eyes. Turns in the Cirrus so far in my experience have not required much rudder at all, even in the traffic pattern, which surprised me. In Microsoft flight simulator the Eaglesoft’s Cirrus seems to need a lot more rudder than the real plane. You fiddle with rudder much more on landing than in any turns you might do with this plane. So the good news is that you have a very stable plane in turns and just a light touch of the controls is needed in the turns…just stay coordinated as needed.

Crosswind landings in the Cirrus were pretty easy even in the wind we were up against. On downwind we still had to crab so as to not get blown closer to the runway and on base you still needed to turn sooner to keep a clean approach. The Cirrus seems to slice into the wind easier and seems to be blown around a bit less on the turn to final in a crosswind than a Piper or Cessna. It also keeps more speed using the same pitch angle as those other planes. This is the time that you will put in rudder, a lot of it in fact on a crosswind, to keep the nose pointed down the runway.

On one of my landings I thought I was pretty much pointed straight down the runway, but my instructor felt otherwise. I was not seeing what he was seeing even though I was looking right at it. It’s times like this when I wish the Cirrus has a straight across instead of angled panel. The angle on the MFD, in the right conditions, could point you left without you realizing it. So I suggest you look straight at the runway or use the PFD for a reference, rather than a broad sight picture that would include the MFD. The result of my poor judgement on one of my landings resulted in a rather rocky, clumsy, multi-bounce landing which I was not too proud of. The good news is that you get to learn from my mistake!

Overall I was very happy with today’s flight and a lot of anxiety about the Cirrus was put to rest. Learning a new aircraft of any type should be at the top of every new (and a few older) pilots lists of things to do. I still can’t believe that I made it this far and still having this much fun!

Flying a Cirrus SR20-G2 for the First Time

Well I finally got to fly the Penn Yan Flying Clubs Cirrus SR20-G2 on a VFR Transition Flight from Penn Yan to Rochester, New York. I want to summarize my first flight experience in an orderly fashion without getting into a long blog, frankly the weather is too nice and I want to go ride my new bike so I can get some exercise!

Cirrus on the Ground

  • The plane is heavy and if you are on anything less than concrete or asphalt this would be a hard plane for a YOUNG man to move alone.
  •  The plane is close to the ground…prop is within 8 inches of the ground, so you don’t go off-roading with this plane.
  • The plane is heavy and will sink up to the boots on a soft or wet ground.
  • Use the checklist for your walk around because there are more things to observe and check off (like brake detection pads that show if the planes brakes have overheated…black is bad!).

Inside in the Cirrus

  • It’s a tight fit for an average man with a husky build and is more like a cockpit of a jet fighter than other single engine aircraft like a Cessna or Piper.
  • Things like the fire extinguisher are out of reach and are at your feet (dump place to put something especially in an electrical fire).
  • Things like circuit breaker are almost out of reach so I have memorized that the autopilot circuit is up four places from the bottom in the first row next to my right leg.
  • Use the checklists for ALL things…not just flight.

Cirrus in Flight

  • The Cirrus control system (side yoke) offers no “feel”, very little aerodynamic resistance is felt by your wrist because its control mechanism is centered by springs, not by aerodynamic pressure. A Cirrus control in flight feels the same to a pilot at any airspeed.
  •  The Cirrus control system (side yoke) offers no “feel” so crosswind landings can’t be “felt” out. So if you don’t know what the crosswind is on landing you will be behind the plane, not such a good thing. You will have to land on the assumption that anything you assume might be wrong over the numbers.
  • Trim to the left and right is aggressive, meaning you just need to do a quick light tap for left or right trim.
  • You must set takeoff trim (left and right too) as per the notch indicator on the side yoke for takeoff (use the checklist).
  • We use 50% flaps on all take offs (use the checklist).
  • The good news is that in flight the side yoke won’t be so different that you’ll have a problem so don’t fear the weird yoke (the springs are the problem)
  • Don’t go heavy on the controls. The plane turns nicely without the need to be aggressive on the controls – gentle turns are all you need anyway.
  • Be at 75 kts over the numbers for landing and get it close to the runway when you do this. You aren’t going to “leaf” this plane onto the runway….you fly it down to the runway. This is not a plane that does a 55 kt Cessna 172 landing!
  • Did I mention checklists? You have them on the MFD and in your hand.
  • Monitor fuel – it’s required – every 15 to 20 minutes depending on your burn rate, you switch tanks. (boost pump on, switch tanks, boost pump off).

My first flight was fun but it will take many more hours before I feel I can solo in it. The duel Garmin 430 WAAS’s were great, the autopilot was great, and the Avidyne 6 is a very easy glass panel to use compared with a Garmin G1000 – yes it does less than a Garmin, but it gives you what you need as a Private Pilot and I was never lost.

I have been using Microsoft Flight Simulator and the Cirrus SR20 from Eaglesoft Development Group (http://www.eaglesoftdg.com/) in my ground training and its been great at helping me getting to know the avionics in the real plane. Because of this program I knew just where to go in the real plane for the information I needed.

If I owned my own plane (please Lord) I would have no problem having the Avidyne 9 as my cockpit panel of choice.

Eaglesoft (please read this) needs to update the avionics or offer an upgrade to the avionics and Garmin 430 menu system, will see what Microsoft Flight offers later this year as far as aircraft models.

Finally, please DO NOT be in a big rush to get a flight in with this plane. This is not a start and go aircraft, so make sure you have no scheduling issues to deal with mentally. You need all of that juice to stay in the game…and a nice game it is!