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Article Archive (357)

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 21:28

Moving Up: Attaining Your Multi-Engine Rating

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Important things to consider about multi-engine aircraft and training. March 2015- The multi-engine rating is often a step in the training progression for pilots that are considering a commercial flying career. But it's also an important step for single-engine General Aviation pilots. Often these pilots would like to challenge themselves and take their experience to the next level. For many GA pilots, a multi-engine rating is a big feather in one's cap and one way to experience something more like "big time" aviation.No matter what category you fall into, a multi-engine rating is serious business. For those pilots that are considering a multi-engine rating and/or plan to move up to a larger twin engine airplane, I would like to pass along the knowledge I have garnered in my 46 years in aviation. RequirementsGenerally, all a pilot will need to begin working on a multi-engine rating is a private pilot certificate. However, I would recommend at least 400 hours of single engine experience and an instrument rating before you consider a multi-engine rating. You must know how the airspace system works and be able to operate within it.Per the FAA, the minimum requirements for earning your multi-engine rating are set in…
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 21:12

The ABCs of ELTs

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A clear understanding of FAR 91.207 is just the beginning for pilots looking at installing a new ELT. March 2015- "ELTs are specialized radio transmitters that sit in the aircraft and are designed to do nothing," says Joan Goodman, president of Emergency Beacon Corp. based in New Rochelle, N.Y. "And they should do nothing—that is, they are designed not to interfere [with other equipment]."That is, until they're needed. "In the event of an incident, the ELT will either trigger automatically, or can be manually activated," Goodman explained. Automatic ELTs begin transmitting an emergency distress signal only after a significant change in velocity of the aircraft.There are a number of companies that make 406 MHz ELTs for use in the United States. These include ACK, ACR/Artex, Ameri-King, Emergency Beacon Corp., Emerging Lifesaving Technologies and Kannad. Factors in the priceA 406 MHz ELT can be costly, and there are several reasons why. First, the parts play a big role. "The signal is so specific and so narrow, you need a very specific oscillator—and it's very expensive," Goodman told me. "If the price of the oscillator came down, prices on ELTs would come down."The testing process is also a factor in the final…
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 21:01

Restoration Rules of Thumb

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Have a DIY project in mind? Read these eight simple tips before you start. March 2015- As pilots, we have a responsibility to know our aircraft as well as we can, and one great way to learn about our airplanes is to complete a restoration project.Things like replacing bulbs, installing new seatbelts and new seats, repairing upholstery and decorative furnishings; as well as simple repairs and adjustments—and many other service actions which don't involve disassembly of the primary structure—are all permitted under the preventive maintenance section of FAR part 43, Appendix A. (We've recently added a link to the U.S. Government Publishing Office on CessnaFlyer.org. Look for "Browse e-CFR Data" under the Knowledge Base tab. There you can review FAR part 43, Appendix A and other regulations. —Ed.) Here are some general tips to keep in mind if you're contemplating a DIY project. 01. Define the scope of your project, and be realistic about your restoration skills and budget. If this is your first restoration project, you'll want to keep your project small and inexpensive.When you're planning, keep in mind that if you run into trouble you could have your plane down for weeks (or longer) while you get help.…
March 2015- Hi Steve,I have two top-of-the-line noise-canceling headsets that work great, but I prefer to fly my 1975 Cessna 210L without them.I've tried all the top brands and not one of these headsets is entirely comfortable. I suspect it's because I have an extremely large head. The reason doesn't matter; I just don't like anything on my head—especially something that applies pressure.So my question is, what can I do to make my airplane quieter? How much work is it, and what's the cost? —Bob Bighead Dear Bob,Good questions. And is it even possible to soundproof a light airplane? That's another good question.In-cabin noise levels can be reduced in varying degrees by the installation of ever more sophisticated solutions. There's just one caveat: every product installed must be at least flame resistant and must be self-extinguishing when tested in accordance with Appendix F as specified in FAR 23.853 and 23.856. These materials can be costly. Keep in mind, too, that any solution will add weight.
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 20:13

Push To Talk: How Did This Happen?

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We and our airplanes are just getting older. March 2015- For a lot of us, there was surely that one moment when you caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror one day. OMG! you may have said. How did this happen?Day by day, we all get a little older, though we may be no better at accepting the realities. We all love to banter around those cute little sayings about getting older, my favorite being the old Bette Davis line, "Growing old is not for sissies." The older I get, the more truth I find there.And if you think your body is showing the wear, what about the poor Cessna 150 which has lived its life at the hands of countless student pilots, slammed and jammed on to runways for decades?At the turn of the millennium (that's 15 years ago, thank you very much) the FAA noted that the average age of the nation's 150,000 single-engine fleet was more than 30 years old. By 2020, the average age could approach 50 years. Five years from now. 50-year-old airplanes. Average. AVERAGE.Take a ride in a DC-3 at the next airshow; that airplane made its maiden flight 80 years ago. Let…
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 20:02

Full Circle: Old Notes, Part Two

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Fragments of what I was seeing and hearing and thinking in those early days when I flew as a copilot in a Convair 240. March 2015- We are back again at my archeological dig, wherein old boxes of aviation notes had been ferreted out of deep storage and dusted off. These are fragmented creations from decades ago when I was flying the original airliners I had laid my hands on—notes made for a future use which I never got around to.These piles of observations from my earliest years of driving airliners have been put into a semblance of order to provide a sense of what I was seeing and hearing and thinking in those days. Here is part two.The Convair 240 splashed through the puddles as it swung from the gate. The columns of churning wind behind the propellers had swept a spray against the empty terminal. The agent, who knew better, had already hustled inside to watch from behind thick glass as the lights of the airplane moved across his rain-smeared view and disappeared around the corner."Three-eight-six, ready for your clearance?" The controller's voice was clear and it filled the pilot's headphones with a friendly closeness, as if the…
February 2015- Dear Steve,My 1964 Cessna 210 during a recent annual was noted not to have the landing gear horn sound, so the wire was replaced.Two flights ago during taxiing when I lifted the nose, the horn started; when I relaxed, it stopped and I had no problem.During taxi on very my last flight, the horn was okay, but then on base turn the horn started to sound—even though I had not retracted or touched the gear handle during the short flight.I pushed the gear handle down, but it would not go to neutral and the green light would not light, so I went around and came back for a low approach pass and requested that the tower check if there was anything visually wrong. The tower told me that the gear was down and the gear doors were open, which I did notice by looking at the under-the-wing mirrors.After this go-around, the radio sounds started to weaken and then I had total electric failure. Thank Almighty God, I landed safely and taxied to my mechanic. He charged the almost-new Concorde extra-crank battery and put the plane on stand for many gear cycles (which went fine), but now the gear…
After a medical leave of their own, John Ruley and his wife Kate have resumed their volunteer work for medical missions in northern Mexico. February 2015- From my notebook:Nov. 7, 2014, Hotel La Herradura, El Fuerte, Mexico –I can't recall ever being so tired at 7:45 p.m. A couple of margaritas probably had something to do with it, as did nine hours flying yesterday and today...We started out from Modesto, Calif. (KMOD) yesterday. It was a nice flight down with surprising weather: marginal to IFR in the valley (three miles at surface, a lot less at pattern; tops 1,500) and clear in the Los Angeles basin (at least, as clear as it gets). I didn't see Hawthorne (KHHR) approach lights until we were five miles out. We were met by a friend who took us out for dinner and we bedded down for the night at a house owned by the Mission Doctors Association (MDA), where we met our passenger for departure the following day.Our departure was almost an hour late, compounded by the FBO failing to fuel the airplane overnight. We made up some of that lost time when ATC gave us shortcut vectors, and instead of setting our…
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 23:17

The Soul of a New GPS: Avidyne’s IFD540

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In 1982, journalist Tracy Kidder won a Pulitzer Prize for "The Soul of a New Machine," a book that described the development of a next-generation computer by Data General Corp. and its competitor Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). For engineers in the story, the time-to-market pressure was constant. As Wikipedia notes, "The 'soul' of the new machine comes from the dedicated engineers who bring it to life with their endless hours of attention and toil. The soul is theirs, stored in silicon and microcode." February 2015- Thirty-three years later, a similar narrative is playing out just 30 miles from the site of that original drama. Avidyne Corp. of Lincoln, Mass., has introduced the IFD540, a plug-and-play GPS Nav/Com. Pilots are already embracing this exciting new choice in the avionics market. Avidyne's next product, the IFD440, should be available this spring. Meet Norris BrownOne pilot who embraced the choice is 69-year-old Norris Brown. Brown has logged 2,200 hours since 1973 and flies a Cessna P210 from his home base in Spokane, Wash. His love of flying began in his childhood on a farm in Boulder, Colo. "A flight of four F-102 Delta Dagger jets went zooming over our fields at low level…
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