Aug 2, 2020 – What I’ve been looking for

I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I retired from engineering and have successfully transitioned to aviation. I’m instructing in jets, and my airplane is in great shape and actively flying. I have no clue how long all this will last, but I’m making the most of it while it does.

I’m still working: I don’t want to explore the gory details here, but we have had a staff reduction. I had taken a voluntary 30 day leave, but came back full time after that. Some of my friends weren’t so lucky, and have since moved on. My interest in this new jet is the reason I’m still working, so I’m happy about that.

One of the things I asked for when I signed up for this, is the ability to fly myself back and forth whenever I need to travel for work. I was thinking Savannah, but have been commuting to Dallas. Kudos to my management for staying with that commitment and supporting my desire to fly. In this environment, I’m even more excited to avoid the commercial flying experience, and supplement that with my hobby – flying myself!

There are some friends really struggling in this virus economy, and I wish them well.

Flying to work: So the really cool thing is that I’m flying the hell out of my new engines. I’ve logged 22 hours in June and another 26 hours in July, with 81 operating hours on these engines as of this writing. I’m ready for LOP ops on the next flight, and really curious what effect that will have on the time it takes to reach Dallas. I expect to reduce the 10 gph per side fuel burn at Rich of Peak to about 7.5 gph Lean of Peak. My range will improve, but at what impact to cruise speed?

Check out one of my favorite videos in the link below. I made this while traveling back and forth to Dallas. I like this one in particular because of the colors, the view out the window, the minor weather challenges I encountered, and what i consider a successful experiment with the time warp video feature on a very long flight. I really like this video, and will use the technique again.

 

I believe I’ll be flying additional trips to Dallas in August and September. After that time, our sim should be ready and the need for travel should subside. The experience has made me aware of just how capable an airplane this is, and moved one of my goals from being a stretch goal to a very real possibility.

Sitting in my hotel room in Dallas, it occurred to me that flying to Oceanside, CA would take less time than flying home. I have been routinely traveling more than half way across the country a few times a months, and it’s no big deal.

Once I got home, I spoke with Bev about it. We are going to plan an around the country trip to include San Diego,  San Francisco. Catalina Island, and Washington State. Then we’ll head back across the country east, with various stops along the way. The difficult part will be deciding where to stop and spend some time, while being careful to avoid the trouble spots.

I’m getting better: As you’d expect, the increased flight activity has improved my performance all around. I’ve noticed my radio work has improved, and that will be reflected in the instruction that I provide. Fuel and Engine management skills have significantly improved, as has my understanding of those systems and subjects, since I now have new equipment to manage. Weather management has been a big deal in the summer heat, and my landings have improved in various conditions as I fly more.

With all this flying, it still has been more than a year since I shut an engine down in training. I was supposed to fly to KXLL last night to do PA30 emergency training in their PA30, but postponed that with the incoming storms. My intent was two-fold. Mitigate the insurance increase everyone expects, and supplement my single engine training. Too late for the former – I got my increase yesterday. Not too late for the later – I’ll get it done over the next two months.

What I need this week, however, is an oil change. I am expecting a call from my A&P today, and will fly down and stay with the airplane when he is available. I’ll either help him or I’ll study while he does the work. He and I can discuss if there is time to swap the probes out as well. I need this done if I’m going to Dallas next week. I’m not a fan of exceeding the 50 hour oil change.

Studying Airplanes: I’m teaching initial ground school in the Astra on Monday, and leaving after that to fly to Dallas to provide sim instruction in the G280. I’ll be doing an initial simulator session to one client.

My study plan is to bone up on G280 Initial SIM sessions first. Review limitations and procedures; ensure my plan and documentation for the client is in order. Once I am satisfied that I’m organized enough to instruct next week, I’ll review the Astra ground school material that I’m more familiar with. Once all that is complete, I’ll review multi-engine and single engine procedures in the Twin Comanche.

Enjoy the day. Fly Safe!

Frank