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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays

I hope my fellow aviators and families have an excellent holiday season. The weather can often be dicey, but there will be some superb flying days, too, so I hope you have an opportunity to get out and "aviate." The 2013 Known sequences are out and below is the Sportsman sequence. It looks challenging. A note about the Aresti symbols: The figures are numbered in order of execution, starting with 1. A figure starts with the little black dot, and ends with the "T" shape. The dotted lines are just used to join two figures (not as an indicator of vertical flight). The red "2x4" means a half-roll (or two of a 4 points over 360 degrees).
The sequence begins with a pull, pull, pull humpty bump (1), hammerhead (2), reverse shark's tooth (3), loop (4), reverse shark's tooth with a half-roll on the 45 degree downline (5), Cuban 8(6), Immelman (7), hesitation roll (8), looks like a 45 downline followed by a Immelman (9, and can't find it in the Aresti dictionary), and a roll (10). One trouble spot I see is after the Immelman (7) in that energy is lost at the top of that during the half-roll portion of the Immelman, and up next is a hesitation roll. Those are fairly easy at 100 mph, but one doesn't nearly have enough speed after the Immelman (so a longer horizontal line is drawn to build some speed). Looks like a lot of fun! Come on out to GVE and we'll turn the Decathlon upside down. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Engine, Cool Wx, Cool Fun

After Erin's birthday ride to the Outer Banks in early October, it was time for a 25-hour oil change. It turned out, it was also time for overhaul. As usual, I drained the oil, pulled off the spin-on oil filter. As the engine got closer to its time before overhaul (TBO), I started the practice of cutting the oil filter open BEFORE adding oil to the engine, just in case there was trouble in paradise. Sadly this oil filter presented a few ferrous shavings. Trouble. We were at 1,350 hours (50 before the then factory recommended TBO). It was time. I talked with Othman Rashed of Triad Aviation and he committed to a two-week turn-around on the engine. He did it, but with a full-time job, it took me another few weeks to get it installed, and run-in. The good news is that it now has about 12 hours on it (included is 2 hours in Triad's test cell) and it's performing flawlessly. Last two rides I did acro.
In addition to the overhauled fuel servo and distribution manifold, new starter, new mags, plugs, wires, I elected to have the exhaust system rebuilt, the prop governor overhauled, the prop inspected, re-sealed, and balanced (it was 3-years post overhaul and due), all new oil and fuel lines, oil cooler cleaned, flow and pressure checked, and new engine baffles made. As Triad is a authorized Lycoming dealer, with the work that was done, the engine goes to zero-time (that's engine speak for new, baby). All this means is that we're up and operational. The next fifteen hours of operation will be at and above 75% power, to assist in the run-in process (coincidently that is the power setting for acro!). After that first 25-hour of high power setting operations, we can return to "normal" operations, e.g., pattern work. Hope this cool weather we're having doesn't slow down your aviation plans. See you at the airport!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Devil on Your Shoulder

I think it's fair to write that we all have at least a healthy respect of the aerodynamic forces that can cause an airplane to depart controlled flight into stall and potentially resulting in spin. When that "respect" turns into fear, then a problem exists, one that can cause unnecessary and sometimes dangerous operational practices. Fear can be good: A healthy amount can focus our efforts, sharpen our skills. When that fear takes a hold of us, it can prevent "adaptation," that is, efforts and actions appropriate to the activity; we become afraid of events that haven't happened. For example, an unreasonable fear of stall/spin might cause us to increase landing airspeed, reduce pattern turn bank angles, both preventing effective approach/landing procedure. This can produce anxiety and even panic. It's a potentially dangerous condition in the cockpit. If you think you may be victim to this kind of fear, examining it, using coping mechanisms to minimize its effects may be prudent. A recent EAA webinar may help. Don't Let Fear Stall Your Flying may be just what the doctor ordered. Hope to see you at the airport!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yes, Another Private Pilot!

Mike Lake, a primary flight student of mine, passed his check ride yesterday, with Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), Mike Price. Evidently Mike, the latter, thought Mike, the former, meet all the Practical Test Standards (PTS), and awarded him the certificate. It is truly a certificate that allows one to learn, and Mike (the former) seems like the type that will press on. Acro, maybe, but I think his interest lies in the coveted Instrument rating. What ever direction you take, Mike (the former), congratulations on your achievement, and Blue Skies!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Working Stiff - Weekends Only

It doesn't take a degree in meteorology to see that this is prime time for some excellent flying. Temps aren't very high and the spring winds have headed elsewhere. I hope you're aviating when able. Since I landed a nice contract with a pharamceutical manufacturer to provide technical writing services, over in The Valley, I've had to scale back instruction to weekends only. My apologies if this somehow affects your ability to fly with me. By compressing my availability to weekends, it requires some advance reservations as I'm typically booked out three to four weeks. My latest goal is to temporarily abandon the glider rating and persue competing in the East Coast Aerobatic Contest, to be held at Warrenton in September. I'll be developing a freestyle sequence over the next few weeks, and continue to practice the Sportman Known sequence (below) ad nauseum. Practice makes perfect! This weekend looks like a nice one. Hope to see you out at the airport!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spring, Right Around the Corner

Okay, not much of a winter, but who's complaining? Flying has been steady through this mild winter, with only a few days canceled as a result of brisk winds, turbulence, or precipitation (in the liquid form, thankfully). A handful of fellow aviators are learning or refreshing skills to turn the Decathlon on its back (sides, and everything between). Others are learning some tailwheel skills, still others taming the spin, or recovering from unusual attitudes.

My schedule has been a challenge as my "day job" takes me over to the Shenandoah Valley to Merck pharmaceutical for a forty-hour weekly commitment. Weekend flying is almost always booked a week ahead of time, and I block out some time for a little R&R. I apologize if you're unable to book some time with me on short notice.

Plans for the summer include at least one competition, probably at Warrenton for IAC Chapter 11's East Coast Aerobatic Contest. I would also really like to take a few days off and get my Commercial glider rating. I think that would be more fun than a barrel (roll?) of monkeys, and I'd learn a whole lot about energy management. Plus it would be nice to fly without that noise-making machine droning away up front.

If you're interested in aerobatics, have a look at the International Aerobatic Clubs web. A great benefit of joining is the Sport Aerobatic monthly magazine. The current February issue has a great article on the roll by John Morrissey, examining the history and important elements of this figure that factors highly into good sequence scores, if you compete, and if not, good troubleshooting advice on errors and fixes. There's also an interesting article about the Sukhoi 26, an unlimited Russian aerobatic machine. It's nice to dream....

Posted at the bottom of the blog is the new Sportsman Known sequence. Have a look, and if that looks fun, give me a call and we'll go fly it!

Okay, enjoy what's left of this mild winter, come out and fly upside down, hang at GVE for some excellent FREE food provided by Faith Olen-Glick every Saturday and Sunday at Bluebird Aerodrome at Gordonsville Muni!

Happy Aviating!