Health and Fitness Project: After a visit to a new doctor back in April, I weighed in at my heaviest weight ever – 250 lbs with clothes on in the middle of the day. That translates to 243 lbs as measured in my birthday suit in the morning. My bad cholesterol was inching up, and my blood pressure remained higher than the FAA or my doctors would like. 

I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and won’t bore you with the details. It’s time to front burner this project and change what I’m doing. Beverly and I are doing this together, so we cut out the carbs and added exercise. She is doing really well, and I’ve dropped 14 lbs already, at about a rate of 1 lb a week.  When Bev and I exercise together, we walk two miles on the canal. When I go out on my own, I ride my trail bike on a 12 mile route. No bread, pizza, etc. Greatly reduced beer and allot more water.

The blood pressure is under control, being helped by Lisonopril – 5mg. Thanks to my pilot friends who are also doctors, pharmacists, and scientists for convincing me to do something until the weight is actually off.  Good move.


On the fun side: I’ve upgraded my bicycle in order to expand my exercise time and keep the burn going. I’m hoping this helps me to go further and have more fun.

I’ll be celebrating getting under 200# in February

Things I Learned in Astra Recurrent: Mike and rotating members of the team gave me a nice workout and I learned and re-learned a few things while getting periodically qualified again.

The PRICE check is a pneumonic for checking your oxygen.  Pressure, Regulator, Indicator, Connected, and Emergency (oxygen quantity for each person should be 10 minutes for each soul onboard).

Following the pseudo glideslope down to an MDA can be done by a) setting the MDA in the altitude selector; b) intercepting the pseudo glideslope and riding it down to maybe 100′ above the MDA; c) hitting APR button again to turn off approach mode, and d) verifying that ALTS shows up to indicate A/P will capture. Mike says to use the NAV button and not just to cancel approach mode by hitting the APR button. In any event, continue monitoring to ensure the altitude is captured.

Use the 357 Magnum pneumonic to remember circling clearances. I’ll have to have him define this again, since I lost it in my notes….

This one is a good one, as in I’ve seen it before and never took the time to incorporate it in my thinking. In order to estimate what altitude you should be at on a visual approach using a 3 degree glidepath, just add 300′ for every 1nm out.  If I’m 3nm from touchdown I should be at 900′.

On take off with the Astra avionics, you can set up the flight director by pre-arming NAV mode on a SID using the UNS-1C. The FD will automatically activate the SID once airborne. I’ll need to clarify exactly what triggers the transition, but pitch will be controlled by GA mode until you pitch sync, and lateral guidance will be FD driven by the box. 

On the Go-Around on a single engine approach, remember not to use the pitch sync bars on the FD, but instead fly your airspeed in A/S mode. Have the FO set that on the go.

The A, B, C, and D approach class speeds are included on the Jepp charts. Have these readily available if you are using NOS – review periodically.

N833DF Might Actually be getting done!! I have had a busy week and couldn’t make the 2 hour ride south to get any pictures of the progress. What I do know however, is that these offending (‘cracked’) parts are completely out of the airplane, and Matt has another resource working on building the new ones I need. Remember that the left wing already has them replaced, and these came out of the right wing. Matt is working on the other remaining items while the parts are being built.  It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long, but the end may well be insight.  I cannot describe how nice it will be to have all of my stuff squared away at once.  I’m really hopeful that I’ll be traveling again soon. 

Contract Jet Flying: I’ll wrap up this post with an update on what appeared to be an exciting opportunity to add contract flying to what I’m doing. I completed all of the paperwork 3 weeks ago, but haven’t heard anything after that. Just yesterday I sent a brief email asking what the typical response time was to review everything, and was told that 1 month was typical. I guess that makes sense for security clearances and such, so I’ll give it more time. Hopefully I’ll get some experience and additional valuable contacts this year and next that will help with this goal.

Off to a beach party and a well deserved day off for my wife today. Our granddaughter will take care of our seniors while we are way, and I’ll try very hard not to delay my slow decline in weight.

Fly safe and stay healthy!


By fdorrin

Recently rated Gulfstream 280 pilot, working on instructor qualifications. WestWind and Astra corporate jet flight instructor. Contract corporate pilot. Own and operate a PA30 Twin Comanche. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; Typed in DHC-8, B-25, IAI-1124, IAI1125, G100, G280. Retired engineer / executive - Delmarva Power, Conectiv Energy, and PEPCO Holdings, Inc.