Name: Frank


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Posts by fdorrin:

    Nov 24, 2019 – Can’t sit still……

    November 24th, 2019

    As you know, my PA30 N833DF is coming back with fresh engines and I’m sitting on my hands waiting. No – actually I’m getting caught up on things Beverly needs me to do now, before I leave for training or go to my hangar. I am very excited and looking forward to going flying instead of just working, reading, and enjoying my waterview.

    I put up a few Christmas decorations, picked up some paint and other supplies, and assigned a plumbing job out to my volunteer son-inlaw. Good man to jump in there and take that off my hands.

    Looking at this table my recently passed father in-law had left to me, I decided it might work quite well as a replacement to a beat up old one that I was trying to use. The desk would hold airplane pre-heater and battery tender equipment while it was in use. I took it apart and loaded up the wife’s van to go visit the hangar.

    I hadn’t seen Hangar 22 in months and it was nice to be back. Cars were everywhere and airplanes were going flying. I was there to swap desks, so I opened up the door and got busy. I loaded the old desk into the van, and eventually cut it into burnable pieces for Scot’s fire pit. The new one is in place, and I’ve ordered retractable casters that will allow me to roll the desk from the side of the hangar to the center front when I’m using the heaters and tender.

    Waking up way too early this morning, I reviewed some of the test flight videos I’d put out there since the airplane came back in January of this year. You will hear lots of wishful thinking in this and other 2019 test flight videos (one linked below) concerning the autopilot, engine vibration, and a few other things. After extensive testing all year, I confirmed mechanical vibration in both engines, and an autopilot control head that had internal issues. I have not taken any short cuts in correcting all identified issues, and my intention is to achieve a zero squawk and high quality aircraft on the line very shortly.

    Beverly and I have a few things going on today, but I’m headed upstairs for a bit to simulate approaches on my home simulator. Later today I’ll re-activate my sirius weather and update my Jeppesen data card. I’ll also order a new Canada sticker so that when we come on line, we’ll come equipped.

    I’ll make a point of doing a video shortly after the first few flights. I’m so ready for this.  Thanks Beverly, for your continued support of this significant investment.

    Fly Safe!


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    Nov 22, 2019 – I’m getting excited!!

    November 23rd, 2019

    N833DF is almost back! I am having trouble containing my excitement at the prospect of using these days home to go fly. This Wednesday I stopped to check on the progress of the overhaul and found both Paul and Ralph working hard inside and outside of the airplane.

    The battery tender is sitting in position inside the nose now as Ralph is in the cockpit wiring the new engine monitor from the inside. The tender is still in its original packaging, but ready to go in when they get to it. The difficult to manage quarter-turn fasteners on the nose bonnet have been replaced at this point, with simple stainless screws.

    The props were due back yesterday, and Paul thinks he might make enough progress to do a test run this week. I can’t get too excited because there is still so very much to do before I’ll get to fly it.

    Light Switches: I’ve had a burr in my saddle concerning the placement of switches. Paul had installed a new switch for me years ago when I had him add wing tip strobes for me. I didn’t specify where to put the switch for those strobes, and it ended up on the extreme far right of the panel. Nowhere near the other light switches, and I found it to be aesthetically insulting. I like everything just so, and this was annoying. Today we agreed to combine this switch with a double pole switch. The down position would be beacon only, middle would be off, and up would be beacon and strobes. PERFECT!

    Avionics Switches: If you go flying with me, you might notice that both my avionics master switch and my Aspen master switch are installed upside down, and are located right above the VOR Head. This was done because I had two instances where I inadvertently knocked off all of my avionics in the middle of a low instrument approach! When that happens, the entire panel except the Aspen goes dark.

    The picture here shows the current installation with the VOR Head right under the avionics switches. The outages I described occurred as I was centering the course on the VOR Head when turbulence caused my extended arm to fly up. I knocked off both switches in one case (Aspen on Battery), and just the avionics panel in the other. When the panel goes completely dark all at once, the GPS loses its course immediately and you aren’t talking to anyone. The Aspen will retain the missed approach course it its memory, but you have to go around and reset the Garmin to the approach you are on and the missed you need. You are suddenly busy close to the ground.

    When I get the airplane back, the VOR head will be moved to the right (next discussion), and that will help in and of itself. Additionally, these switches will be replaced with locking lever switches like my gear handle. Now an inadvertent bump will not affect you. You’ll have to pull them out first in order to change their position. Another satisfying solution.

    VOR Head Movement: I had no idea that the temperature controller for the new EDM760 would be so large behind the panel. I just had a FlightStream 210 put in when I got the airplane back in January, and that might have been in the way a little as well. There isn’t allot of room behind (or in front!) of my panel. In order to fit this new engine monitor in, Paul had to move the VOR head further to the right by one position. I’m lucky there was enough room to put it in at all, since it wasn’t at all cheap to buy and I really wanted one.

    Below are two repeat pictures that show the old and new left engines. Turns out that the clean baffles I spoke of in the last post were actually the ones I did. The work passed muster and did not need to be redone. I like it!

    On with the shiny and new!

    Fly Safe!  I’ll be joining you very soon!


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    Nov 15, 2019 – Engines are back!

    November 18th, 2019

    Today we’ll do a brief update covering an accomplishment on the old jet, my progress on the new jet, and some exciting news about my Twin Comanche. The travel to get all this done continues to be a drain, particularly with the holidays approaching. Bev and I soldier on though, and look to 2020 as a year with more balance in our lives.

    My mother in-law’s health began to deteriorate rapidly during the October trip, and the professionals told us to expect the end within a short time. People came to visit and left food for the inevitable celebration of life. Delores is one strong lady though, and an adjustment to her treatment brought her back relatively strong for a few days. After an initial period of relief for her, the gradual decline phase we’ve been seeing returned once again. Beverly does amazing work with her Mom day to day. She is helped in the process primarily through the support of a sibling, hospice professionals, and a loving Aunt and Uncle who are there most days. The loving maintenance continues to be a focus of our lives, and Beverly’s in particular. It’s all good, as she will say.

    Old Jet News: After a day or two of being home, I headed into the Wilmington center to prepare for yet another check-ride in the Astra. This one would be to earn my TCE (Training Center Evaluator) rating with the FAA observing. This particular check had been scheduled before and canceled for reasons beyond my control – maintenance or scheduling conflicts mostly. I volunteered to deliver two sim sessions as a warm up for the check, and was finally able to earn my TCE during the third session. Earning a TCE in the new jet will be easier as a result.

    N833DF Update: I had gotten busy and hadn’t heard from my A&P in awhile. I knew my engines were due to be shipped back, but was concerned I hadn’t heard anything. Paul is an active cargo pilot and goes away allot, so I wasn’t concerned not hearing from him. I just figured the engines were delayed being shipped, and I’d have to wait. I sent him a note looking for an update on what he knew. I didn’t feel a pressing need to speed things up or put pressure on him, since I’d be busy with the new jet for the rest of the year. I’d also be busy enjoying holidays and home catch-up, so it is likely I won’t fly much in December anyway.

    After a few more days wondering where all this was, I received a surprising update on my airplane. Two pictures showed up that answered all my questions and gave me something wonderful to look forward to. I looked these over and began day dreaming about flying this wonderful machine all of next year, with Beverly at my side!

    I was over-joyed to see that not only had my engines been shipped, but they had been hung on the airplane already!

    Look closely enough and you can see the wires leading to the new electro-air ignition systems, and those systems themselves mounted on the firewall. I couldn’t pick out the GAMI injectors, but the nose cowl is off, so the battery tender will be either installed already or close to it. The tender leads will extend through the nose gear shroud.

    The baffles look much sexier than when I repaired them, so I’m guessing Paul got Foy working on them.. He has done a much more credible job of cleaning those up, and they look great from here. Skytech lightweight starters can also be seen all shiny and new. She is starting to look fast again. I can not wait!

    New jet News: I completed my practice Recurrent Sim training on the last visit to DFW in October. My time at home went incredibly fast, and I found myself back in DFW in early November doing the same routine for Initial sim practice teaching. I hadn’t taken very good notes on the recurrent experience, but I was much more prepared to get more out of the initial. This project I am in requires a significant amount of studying, learning, and practice. The learning curve is steep, and I have a long way to go.

    My supervising instructor is a real professional with a great attitude. As for myself, I was better prepared this time to accept what he was telling me, so it all came together for me on this trip. Each session he delivered was organized and goal oriented, with one supervising instructor training two fledgling instructors.

    While I wasn’t being taught how to conduct and instruct these sessions, I was the pilot flying to allow my fellow fledgling instructor to test his skills on me. The supervising instructor was kept very busy refining the flying pilot’s skills while simultaneously developing the fledgling instructors skills (behind him on the operators panel). Both sessions held tremendous value for me.

    When I was instructing, I was very busy running the machine while documenting and refining the plan I’d use to conduct these sessions. We began each sessions at 3am and wrapped it up with a debrief around 8am each day. The three of us had a great time and made the most of it, even though the schedule was difficult. It was inspiring to see the professionalism and enthusiasm our supervisor brought to the table. He set an example for us, and I’m excited at how much I have improved during this work with him. The learning continues in both my instruction and in my flying.

    I have a number of days off waiting for sim availability. HUD training is all that remains for this trip. I understand I’ll be flying a considerable number of approaches to get the process down, so that will be fun. Train to proficiency with no jeopardy.

    I can’t wait to get home and see my wife – and then down to see my airplane. I’ll be teaching in the new jet during December, so the pace isn’t slowing down any.

    Fly Safe!


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    Oct 17, 2019 – N833DF Motors Due Back / G280 Practice & Astra Check

    November 15th, 2019

    This post has been half finished for a month now. I’ve just completed a G280 instructor training phase that I’ll discuss in a subsequent update, so I’m back to finishing this up. It is a little dated, but I’ll put it out anyway. 

    N833DF Engine Overhauls are due back at the end of this month. That means the 7 week estimate was only off by 110%. In terms of aviation projects, I’m ahead of schedule and happy about it. I cannot wait to get my hands on this airplane and get moving again.

    I’m on another work trip to DFW, and am taking the time off to learn about Lean of Peak operation in the new engines I have coming. My homework this trip is to learn more about the EDM 760 I’m putting in; how the electronic ignition and GAMI injectors should be operated with the new instrumentation, and how I might want to operate Lean of Peak after the break-in period. I’ve been using a number of resources to expand my knowledge, and that all started with reading Mike Busch’s book about engines.

    I started some time ago reading ‘Mike Busch on Engines’ as a way to decide how to decide when to overhaul my engines. I’d been having strange vibrations that were rotational in nature, and proven not to be related to the props. These engines were talking to me and I needed to do something.

    I learned from my first read that Mike likes to run his engines until their condition dictates replacement or repair. He operates his engines far beyond TBO and keeps on going. I came to the conclusion that he can do that because of his skills as an A&P. He not only observes their performance, but can also directly assess their physical state. I don’t have that advantage, so a different approach is required.

    His book is still a valuable resource, even though I’ll plan on being much more conservative than he is. I’ve read it twice now. On the first pass through, I discounted the Lean of Peak (LOP) discussions because I deemed them to be far too risky. I felt that I can afford the extra gas to keep my engines safe, so why take the time to learn something radical. The purpose for buying the book initially was only to help me decide the best course for correcting the engine issues I already had. I certainly didn’t need to stress them any further.

    With the decision being made to overhaul both engines while I’m young enough to enjoy my ‘going out airplane’, I would later come back to read Mike’s book for a second time. This time through – everything is on the table.

    I searched YouTube for the EDM 760 and Lean of Peak subjects and found a video by Martin Pauly. Martin did a very nice video explaining the process he uses in his Bonanza. He did it in such a way that made it easy for me to understand, including a discussion of the red box. I think he also discussed the Big Pull concept as well. As I continue to develop my own procedures, I’ll return to his video to get more out of it after I do some additional work. Very well done indeed.

    The G280: Just came off of a practice session in the G280 last night. I very much enjoyed to two instructors I was paired with for the evening. They both have a comfortable, professional demeanor and are teaching you something the entire time they are with you. Our mission was to give me a chance to operate the simulator while teaching a recurrent session to two clients.

    We briefed for an hour and I laid out what I hoped to do that day. I also admitted the things I didn’t know how to do, or thought might cause me trouble trying to execute. After that, we jumped in the simulator and I ran the session. My impression is that the equipment is first rate. The jet itself is the most capable machine I’ve flown, and the simulator equipment mirrors that. It will be a joy to work with compared to the older equipment I’m used to.

    Earlier in the week I was in there with my boss for an hour getting an overview, and then spent two hours on my own in there. This trip has been fun, though I miss being home and constantly have to buoy my own frame of mind to stay positive. It’s best to keep working, even on your days off, since there is nothing much going on in DFW.

    Fly Safe!


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    Sep 8, 2019 – N833DF, PA30 Training, and the G280 Re-check

    September 22nd, 2019

    The N833DF Engine Overhaul project is well underway. I’ve been told that the camshafts and crank cases are in good shape and can be used again. That avoids about 9k$ in potential cost over-runs, so Paul ordered the electronic ignition option for both engines as we had agreed. GAMI injectors are under consideration, but the EDI 760 with fuel flow option has been ordered. I’ll be writing a few checks when I get home, and stopping in to see how things are looking down there.

    PA30 Training / Instruction: If you are at all involved with Comanches, you know that the owner’s group is in disarray. While staying out of the politics myself, I have thrown in my lot with the NorthEast Tribe. I am currently having discussions with them regarding my providing instruction to Comanche owners; particularly twin drivers. I look forward to working with some of the particularly good instructors who are also involved in this insurance driven effort, and hope to really improve my personal flying and instruction techniques in the process. This should be good, and no – I won’t be using my own airplane to provide any instruction unless you are a close personal friend.

    Grousing about FlightSafety isn’t terribly productive nor healthy. In the last post I was bitching about the process they put me through during my last visit. I wouldn’t have been bitching if I didn’t drag a wing tip on my check-ride. That made me come back early for a re-check. I completed that recheck successfully on September 9th.

    I flew very well on the re-check, as I had on the initial. With only a few things left to complete, I was through the process in a very short time. I was even more irritated seeing how close I was to being done.  I have to get past that, however. The hard part is over and most of the rest is gravy.

    New people everywhere. I haven’t been happy with this experience, but the truth is that they (FSI) treats me pretty well overall. I signed up for this run, after all, so this complaining only serves to give the reader some insights into how I’m managing this process of failing my first check-ride ever. I can see more clearly where my weaknesses are, and I’m learning to take this with a grain of salt. FSI is not a bad place to work, although Wilmington is a more productive and hospitable place, in my opinion.

    Regarding my latest career choice, I have gotten somewhat used to the extra income at this point. I wanted to avoid relying on that income, but recently decided to go all out on N833DF and get the engines overhauled firewall forward. Spending heavily to secure our airplane for the rest of our flying lives is what I’ve committed to do. God bless Beverly Dorrin for putting up with me and understanding what I’ve invested in this machine.

    I think at this point I’ll continue working until at least the end of 2020. The guy I am working for seems to understand the balance I’m trying to achieve in my life, and is giving me some room to figure it out on my own. I really like working with the Wilmington Team, and would miss having something like this to do. For my part, I need to get a bit more self motivated and push myself to continuously improve. I want to have a good time too, so that means doing contract flying when I can.

    Recurrent Training began after the recheck was completed, and my progress in learning the airplane continued. My instructor/examiner was my boss. In one event, he set the wind at a 25 knot crosswind for a landing. The landing went very well, so we lined up to takeoff again. I assumed that the maximum crosswind was removed, and didn’t have my headset on to hear otherwise. When doing simulator sessions, always check the winds before you takeoff. It is very easy to get out of sync with the session. The resulting takeoff was exciting. We did that one again once I knew about the wind, and it went just fine.

    Observing Initial Simulator Sessions is my next requirement. I’m doing that now and learning snippets here and there from the clients in the session. These guys are experts who have been flying similar and larger equipment for many years. The both of them are clearly experienced, and watching them teaches me quite a bit. Sitting back and watching instead of doing can be boring at times, however, and that makes these sessions difficult. Going back to the hotel and having nothing to do at night doesn’t help either. It’s Sunday and I’m counting the days until I go home Friday. I cannot wait to see my wife.

    Fly Safe!


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    Aug 24, 2019 – My days off….

    September 12th, 2019

    This blog and others like it represent the updates I’ve been sending to my teammates as I go through the training required to get a type rating in the Gulfstream G280 corporate jet. These are intended to help them understand how the training is structured, and be even more prepared than I was.

    I was off Saturday and Sunday, and my check-ride was scheduled for early Monday morning. I was still working to understand the FMS, but making stead progress each day. I was still pissed at having to cool my heels for two days, but I did get the chance to observe my partner do his check-ride early in the morning.

    His examiner was a Delaware native, and he and I sounded off names and found we walked in similar circles. I enjoyed talking with him.

    My partner made one significant mistake, but the ride was continued. I agreed silently that it should have and was glad that it had. I also knew that mine would not have with the FAA in back and an examiner in training evaluating me. That sucks, but it is what it is.

    [Redacted Paragraph based on feedback….]

    Ground Simulator: After congratulating my partner and seeing him off, I spent the rest of my day in the ground simulator on my own. I not only practiced what I already knew, but actually started branching out and experimenting. The MAP and CHART buttons both were big finds for me, allowing me to quickly reconfigure my screens that more closely resembled what I’m used to in instrument flying. Now I can configure what I want on the fly, and go right back to what the examiners tell me I should be looking at. I was excited to be finally feeling the master of this FMS.

    I left for Dinner and the hotel to study for the orals the rest of my evening. I found that I was sick of looking at this stuff and couldn’t put in more than an hour of so. That is usually when I know I’m ready, when I just can stand looking at it anymore.

    Sunday the 25th was more of the same. Early morning ground simulator, followed by studying for the orals. I couldn’t do anything more by 3pm, and packed it in. Either I knew it or I didn’t; let’s get this done!

    I am finally getting back to filling out the timeline, now that I’m sitting in recurrent on my way to instructor qualifications. I’m going up to check on how to set up the classroom, and my instructor’s invitation, so I’ll get to the check-ride experience shortly. It didn’t go smoothly – I’ll tell you that.  Back soon…..


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    Aug 19th, 2019 – SIM 03 through SIM 06

    September 12th, 2019
    My sim partner and I began working together pretty well. SIM03 went fine, with not surprises. There is allot to learn and I committed to working 12 hours days everyday to improve my understanding of the FMS operation. I had to make changing screens and finding information second nature, or I’d never be able to fly this thing well.
    SIM04 was weighted a bit heavy on the client. In other words, my partner went first and got more time. SIM05 was balanced and SIM06 was to be the LOFT. We really didn’t do a LOFT, but instead allowed my partner most of the session to improve his circle maneuver. Mine was spot on every time I did it, and it was nice to know i could do something well. I took the last hour of the three hour session and just practiced my approach to landing stall recovery.
    I must have done this maneuver 6 times, but never got it right. Later I realized that no instructor every stopped to analyze what I was doing exactly, and why I was having trouble. On further thought, I never did either. It was only just prior to my checkride many days later that I re-read the procedure and realized that hitting the go-around button was part of it. I hadn’t been doing that, and thus deprived myself of vertical guidance. The recovery on the check-ride was rough, but turned out to be my best ever. More on that later.
    My instructor at the time wanted to fine tune my circles before we stopped, but I turned him down. I had that maneuver down and didn’t need another approach to getting that done. Don’t mess with something that isn’t broken.
    I will say that I was exhausted at the end of SIM06. Frustrated because of that one stall recovery maneuver, and really pissed at having to sit for two days to await my check-ride. I missed my wife and started to think about whether this was all worth it.
    Then I remembered I have two engines being overhauled at the moment, and will be spending some of my retirement money to do that. I’ll want to replenish though funds before I start thinking about moving on.  Then again – I’ll be 62 in April and Social Security can be my new airplane maintenance fund…….
    More to come!

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    Aug 18, 2019 – SIM 02.5 of only Six

    August 19th, 2019
    Today was my day off. It was also the instructor’s only day off in a long line of workdays, but he offered to come in and train us if we wanted him to. My partner and I both felt like we needed more time, and jumped at the chance.
    I went in early and spent two valuable hours in the ground simulator learning avionics by myself. He showed up and we worked the GFS for another hour before the instructor stuck his head in. Turns out the simulator was indeed available, and we could do that if we wanted. Outstanding – let’s go!
    I was excited for the opportunity to straighten out my steep turns and try to get a handle on the basic stall series in this aircraft. I knew I could do it, but had worried that just one session would not be enough. Then my phone pinged with a teammate asking if I knew of a Baron pilot based at Wilmington.
    I had spoken about my hangar neighbor before, and how he flew a Baron and kept it in the hangar right next door to mine. He talked about flying down to the Carolinas to play golf, and of course, about our airplanes. Through him I met a G280 Captain flying out of Philly, and the prospect of knowing someone in that community was a stroke of good fortune for me. I wanted to get some airtime in those as a contract pilot, and knowing someone local flying those would be good.
    The question itself felt ominous, and it turns out that it was bad news. It appeared that a Baron went down and one person was DOA. There may have been two people aboard. I hoped it was not my neighbor Terrence, and I further hoped that it wasn’t the instructor/G280 captain I’d met. They were both very nice people, and loved my airplane. I didn’t want it to be anyone hurt, of course, but for my own sake let it not be the two I did know.
    I called Terrence’s instructors number and left a message. I told him that a Baron had gone down, and I’d appreciate a text to confirm he and Terrence were ok. Then I got into the sim just a little shaken. Those of us who fly light aircraft understand the risks, and form a community.
    In the simulator again. I start out in the right seat and Dan is in the left. He had the airwork down already, so he gets ahead a little and practices V1 cuts. V1 cuts are engine failures that occur just at the moment you are are ready to leave the runway. He does well, and we move on to the finer art of flying approaches with full automation. I’m learning as well as he is during this phase, but worry that I haven’t yet even tried a V1 cut in this airplane while Dan is ahead. Then I remember that this isn’t a race. Or if it is a race, it is only with yourself.
    It is my turn now in the left seat, and I practice steep turns repeatedly. Instead of +/- 250 feet up and down, I hold it to 20′ of deviation and fly the stalls within limits. The approach to landing stall needs work, but we spent a good 20 minutes cleaning me up (both my partner and the instructor contributing), and too much of that intense work becomes non-productive.
    We ended the session with me doing a CATII approach using RAW data and no autopilot. I landed the airplane on the centerline without ever looking outside. What a machine.
    Baron Crash Update. Terrence’s instructor Tom got back to me and confirmed it was indeed Terrence’s airplane that went down. Later that night, other friends and colleagues called to let me know that Terrence had been killed, along with one other well known airport figure. Since Tom was not available as an instructor, Terrence brought Al D along instead. Terrence was clearly not yet comfortable in the airplane, and wisely sought further instruction.
    Al was an older gentleman who was a successful retired person, working as a CFI and as an operations guy for the airport for the airport authority. Sadly, Al was killed along with Terrence.
    Getting ready for SIM 03. So I’m up early today and going for a breakfast of cereal and coffee. I’ll facetime Beverly and then go hit the GFS ground sim for a few hours before our 6 hours in the simulator. Tonight I’ll be back at my hotel studying limitations, and hopefully not feel entirely behind. I hear that SIM04 and SIM05 are a real bitch.
    Prayers and kind thoughts to the families of Terrence and Al. The pilot community mourns their loss.

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    Aug 17, 2019 – SIM 02 of only Six

    August 18th, 2019

    This blog and others like it represent the updates I’ve been sending to my teammates as I go through the training required to get a type rating in the Gulfstream G280 corporate jet. These are intended to help them understand how the training is structured, and be even more prepared than I was.

    I’m in single digits now – only 9 days to go. I’ve gotten to know my partner much better. We are getting along and working together. He is a religious man, plays trumpet in several bands and a small orchestra. He – more than me – has been making an effort to bring us together and I wonder if prayer does that for him. I do need to get back to church, and Bev and I will figure that out when we are able to leave the house on Sundays.

    My SIM 02 performance left something to be desired. It’s not like the second time flying the jet could be used to build on your experience from the first session and you’d get better. Instead we are introducing new avionics features, changing the flight director displays we count on, and adding multiple failures and checklists to the mix. I know learning is occurring because my instructor tells me this. He won’t give us new challenges if we weren’t flying the airplane acceptably. What Dan and I see is two pilots that are all over the sky and making what we’d consider grievous mistakes that cause deviations. ‘Damn it! I know how to fly!’ is a common thought.

    Steep turns and stalls are difficult for me to keep tight. I’m not happy with them and shouldn’t be. Today I’ll practice chair flying the drill and do believe that will help. If we get sim time today, the best outcome will be to master the entire dance I’ll need to demonstrate for the ride. These motors are so incredibly powerful that I believe they will fly you out of a dense forest if you ask them to. Amazing power.

    My partner has been having his own struggles with avionics and approaches. I’m working hard to support him when I’m flying right seat (PM), but haven’t always been there. So I have issues as the PF – Pilot Flying, and issues as the PM – Pilot monitoring. Our instructor is not concerned at all. He explained that we are both effectively primary students, as you would be in getting your first instrument rating. He says we can clearly fly airplanes and are progressing well, but at this point we have two monkeys pushing buttons and trying to figure things out. Later we’ll have harmony.

    The best thing we have going is our ability to work together. I very much appreciate that Dan is making such a strong effort to build a team.

    I’m calm. Usually I’m a wreck after an experience like yesterdays sim. I generally don’t sleep at all, and feel like I’m letting everyone down. The fear of failure in the back of my head can be overwhelming. But that is not happening! I slept last night better than any night I can remember. Seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. My fears are diminishing to the point where I’m having fun. I have HP and Dan to thank for that, although I’ve had similar guidance in the past and couldn’t follow it. Maybe life experience is giving it to me. I don’t really care where it is coming from, but I love it.

    I am blessed to be here with this opportunity, and blessed to have a strong wife who understands. I have not one damn thing to complain about. Not one. Thank God.

    Speaking of God: Getting to know Dan has been a blessing. We were talking in the lounge before our session yesterday and I asked him about his mission upbringing. Dan grew up in Indonesia. His parents were missionaries in the jungle and had the daunting task of bringing the Gospel to a tribe that didn’t want it. They not only had to learn how to live in the jungle alongside a tribe, but they had to develop relationships and learn a new language. Then they had to translate the bible verse by verse into this new language. Wrap your head around that! I have trouble reading the bible and understanding it in English.

    Dan told a story of a mission family preceding them. That family had to work their way into the jungle, cut out a landing strip so it would be possible to get supplies in and out, and introduce themselves to a jungle tribe. They met with resistance year after year, but continued their attempts to work with the tribe.

    On one fateful trip, four people in a mission family suffered a plane crash. Only the 5 year old boy was spared, and he crawled out of the tree where the airplane was lodged, down to the jungle floor. There he was, in the middle of the jungle with no prospect of rescue and no one knowing where he was. He started walking. He had to be terrified and frightened beyond words.

    As fate would have it, he came upon a tribal elder from the very tribe the missionaries were trying to reach. As Dan spoke, I imagined all the evil that could have befallen this kid in this situation. As I listened to the tale, I envisioned bengal tigers, poisonous stakes, and murderous tribal members.

    The tribal elder responded exactly as you and I would. He took the boy under his care and brought him back to his village to begin to recover. From there, the two traveled back to the missionary camp so that the boy could be returned to his people. In the midst of this tragedy, the tribal elder realized that these people were very much like those in his own tribe. They had children, mothers, fathers, and friends. He witnessed their joy at the return of the boy, and began to feel trust and kinship. Resistance faltered and the missionaries found a way into the tribe as a result of this tragedy. Relationships were built.

    My point in bring this out is that my partner and I are working together on this daunting task ahead, after it initially appeared I’d be doing this alone (not possible). It could be that pairing me up with Dan on this adventure was the very best thing that could have happened to me at least. I’m starting to think so. I am a very fortunate man, and of course, God is responsible for that. Now I just have to be worthy.

    Instructor Schedules: [I redacted two paragraphs here based on feedback…]

    I miss my wife and want to go home, but I can see where I will not mind flying my Twin Comanche down here for a few weeks at a time to learning the art of instructing in this airplane. We are preparing for our program up north, and that should be starting up in June. This could work.

    I have the day off today, which means I’m meeting my partner at the office to practice procedures and avionics management. Our instructor volunteered to meet with us as well, and even get us an extra sim session if he can. Failing that, we’ll use the GFS ground avionics simulator to do the same thing.

    I’m heading in earlier than everyone, since I feel I am the weakest link. Very little jet time, and flying behind a vastly different set of avionics while being strapped to a rocket is a handful.

    All of the sudden I wish I had more time.

    Fly safe.  Frank

    Comments Off on Aug 17, 2019 – SIM 02 of only Six

    Aug 16, 2019 – SIT 06

    August 17th, 2019

    This blog and others like it represent the updates I’ve been sending to my teammates as I go through the training required to get a type rating in the Gulfstream G280 corporate jet. These are intended to help them understand how the training is structured, and be even more prepared than I was.

    11 Days before I go home, and this is the last ground school we’ll have. The session is completed in the simulator, but not on motion. I cannot wait to go home.

    This SIT session was in the sim and not on motion. It went pretty well, although they took away my chicken lips (flight director) and gave me a HUD image on the PFD. That is exactly what I needed – more interactive data. I’ll include few images later, as time permits, to make these comments clear. I’m told I’ll eventually love it, but interpreting on the fly is not intuitive.
    I am hoping the HUD flight director pays dividends for me on the next session. More failures and continued learning. I’m not falling behind yet, which is good.
    The airplane is still amazing, and I feel like I’m keeping up.

    It is laundry night tonight, and I’ll try once more to get to WhataBurger to try that out. Paul J is a friend of mine with family down here, and he always FP posts himself eating there. I thought I’d give it a try. Didn’t make it last night since I went out with the 2 instructors and my partner for a beer or three. That was a good get-to-know-you session. I am getting a sense that the instructors down here have horrible schedules and need some relief.

    What follows is a description of the SIT Session for today. It was an introduction to checklists for both emergencies and alternate normals. Don’t do anything without a check-list – even a fire. Abnormal starts; aileron jams; elevator jams; V1 cuts (I didn’t get one of those yet).

    My weak area was call outs on take-off and landing. I have too many of them and they are non-standard when I’m in the right seat. I’ll correct that for today (airspeed alive; power set; 80 kts; v1; rotate; Vse).

    One instructor asked us questions to prepare us for the oral. I knew most but not all of them. It was enough to send me back to the walk-around to remember where the various doors and vents are.

    We learned to include the destination airport not only as the arrival airport, but also as a waypoint in the flight plan. It helps the computer predict fuel at the destination.

    From this point forward I have summarized my notes thus far for my teammates preparing to train. I doubt they’ll be of interest to the average aviator. I’m first in the left seat today, and actually looking forward to it.

    Questions of the day:

    • 123.4: Oxygen. 123.4 lbs of O2 at 1850 psi
    • 95 kts / 98 kts: Vmcg and Vmca or Vmcl
    • Red/Black/Green: Emer Bus or Stdby Bus; Distribution; Main
    • 60 deg: nosewheel steering limit
    • 70 kts: below this speed on a rejected takeoff you get medium auto-brakes. It is the only call-out on landing
    • Vref + 10: Circling speed – fully configured two engines
    • Vref + 5: SE approach speed with flaps 20 (not asked, but I added it anyway
    • Vse-10/V2+15/Vref+20: Min Flap Retract speed in normal, SE eng failure, and go around mode.
    • 95+4 / 95+90: APU at 95% will get you a generator after 4 seconds and bleeds at 90 seconds
    • 0.78/0.80/0.90/1.00: Underspeed CAS; PLI Angry eyebrow symbol; Stick Shaker; Stick pusher
    • 340/0.77: speed limit with MAC Trim InOp

    Questions from the previous day included:

    • 20a / 8a: Battery charge limits. You can’t takeoff with more than 20a if the APU in available (it can be off but available). You can’t take-off with more than 8a if the APU is InOp or unavailable.
    • 2600-3000: Required Gear Bottle Nitrogen Charge
    • FL 390 / 10: Hydraulic EMP Limited above FL390 to 10 minutes
    • 3 deg: Fuel temp limit at the filter
    • 15% N2: Causes APR to activate
    • 1300 psi: EMP turns on if armed. If accumulators are lower than this at the start, turn on EMP to charge.
    • -1/2.6: G load limit flaps up
    • 0/2: G load limit flaps down
    • Emergency gear down at 175; normal gear down at 195 kts
    • FACE: order of fuel burn. Forward tank, aft, center, everything else
    • 16 fuel nozzles and only 4 used to start
    • 1 ignitor is used to start, but 2 are used for starting in flight
    • 7240 max continuous thrust; 7624 max take-off and max apr as well
    • You can start APU in the air up to FL350 and operate it up to FL400
    • Fire bottles are 600psi in the tail

    Initializing the CDU

    • Pos Init
    • Check database
    • Perf Init
    • Take-off Init
    • Departure and Arrival data
    • Note the CG is going to be 39 or 40, and your perf calculations would have that

    Some other things that came up along the way:

    • DDA: Derived Decision Altitude. If you are using automation to level off at an MDA, add 70′ to the MDA.
    • When flying a programmed glide path on a non-precision approach, dial the dirt (set 0 in the altitude selector. This will take you all the way to MDA +70 (DDA) without leveling off. At DDA you go missed by selecting TOGA and PF commanding ‘Set ref+30’ and ‘Set Missed Approach’. The later means altitude as well and ensuring the flight path is set up.
    • Pavement weights: PCN / ACN: This has to do with the amount of weight an airport pavement can take. Not all airports report a PCN, but you can find it in the AFD.  PCN is for the airport itself. ACN is for the aircraft. If ACN is less than PCN, you are good.
    • TORA/TODA/ASDA/LDA all in the AFD. Takeoff runway available, Takeoff Distance Available, Accelerate Stop Distance Available, and Landing Distance available.
    • Sims are based on Specific Issue #1 aircraft, and are updated to continue matching those aircraft.
    • This aircraft uses NO BLUE WATER and cannot be serviced with it. Also DO NOT use distilled water since the level sensors won’t see it. The later means that computers see no water and won’t work. You’d have to drain out the distilled water and refill with tap. Water must be drained before leaving the airplane in freezing conditions.
    • If you need WAI (wing anti-ice), the wing temps must be at 130 deg for T/O. WAI needs to be on prior to entering icing conditions
    • 26000′ limit for single source bleed operation
    • 185 kts min hold in icing
    • 30 second limit for testing probes on the ground
    • Static ports are not heated – EVER. They are in an area that won’t ice.
    • Turn on anti-ice below 10 deg with visible moisture
    • Nacelle bleeds fail open
    • V-speeds will not post if 10 kt tailwind limit is predicted on the landing runway
    • SE ILS on autopilot is approved
    • At 30,000#, the best L/D is 170kts. It changes 3 kts per 1000′ (faster I think)
    • Nose temp fans come on at 113 deg and you get a CAS message at 140
    • Engine starts need 32psi min
    • Temperature set points for bleed air: 400 with no WAI; 450 with WAI; and 500 for SE operations
    • There are 3 general aviation digital controllers that make up the Air Management System Controller
    • Turns are automatically half bank over FL290
    • Tire Speeds: 225 mph/195 kts mains;  210mph/182 kts nose

    Fly safe


    Comments Off on Aug 16, 2019 – SIT 06