Nov 15, 2019 – Engines are back!

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!

Frank