Marc's Public Blog - Flying


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This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots

Table of Content for flying:

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2007/07/27 Oshkosh/EAA Airventure 2007 report
π 2007-07-27 23:18 by Merlin in Flying, Oshkosh

One of the few things you're likely to notice when you get there, is the amount of planes parked everywhere. It's pretty amazing.



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Then, you get through the main gate, and go look around at all the vendors and displays. If you're thorough, it can take 2-3 days (especially if you account for pretty much guaranteed times of bad weather where you'll be hiding in vendor tents).
Seeing the vendors in the big hangars was definitely useful, I learned about a nice Angle of Attack (or reserve lift) indicator which should be on all planes in my opinion, as well as saw the Vista Nav 3D synthetic vision device, and got to meet the nice folks from Seattle Avionics I had corresponded with many times.
I also learned in the process that Garmin were actually a bunch of bastards who managed to get near exclusive rights to all XM weather hardware, preventing innovation or competition among XM weather receivers for PC tablets, which is a damn shame considering that XM weather should be available to all due to the extra safety it brings to pilots. Anyway, I'm personally hoping for a combined PC tablet with solid state hard drive, a small XM weather receiver/GPS combo and vistanav + voyager on it. We're close, but not quite there yet.















The Xwind trainer is a great idea, I paid for a session and it was quite useful






What's also cool is some of the formation flights over the expo. Likely more planes than you'll have seen anywhere else.







There was so much to see and do. In 3.5 days, I only got to see a portion of it (and missed a few evening movies and talks due to being a bit too far and too tired to come back just for them). It was nice to be able to see and hear historic people like Chuck Yeager recounting his war stories and talking about how he broke the sound barrier.





Of course, a good portion of your day is likely to be taken by the airshow performances, some of which are quite good. Unfortunately, the F22 performance got cancelled two days in a row (the second day, due to a fatality during the air show unfortunately), so I never got to see them perform outside of their arrival from a distance. Seeing a couple of Harriers doing hovering up close was pretty ool though.


















Outside of the main conference location, about a 15mn walk way, the air museum was nice to visit, and across from the museum, they were selling cheap 7mn heli rides above the whole place. Nice to get a bird's view if you were too busy flying the plane when you got in (as you should have been :) )










Before heading home, at the recommendation of Dave, my CFI, I got a real live briefing at a flight service station, probably something I won't get to do again in the future. It was nice to see one of the guys who picks up when you call WXBRIEF





I was a bit apprehensive about landing at Oshkosh, mostly due to some horror stories I heard about very long wait times to get out. I didn't quite figure it out, but on wednesday morning, I walked to the entrance instead of taking the bus (not very smart: 2.5miles/45mn), but I got to see a scary line of people waiting to get out:









Luckily, when we left on saturday morning around 09:00, they were sending planes out 2 at a time and we got out in less than 15mn.

I obviously have many many more pictures. You can following this link for the pictures of EAA/Oshkosh 2007 including the 10H flight from and to Oshkosh.
It was definitely worth attending and made for an interesting cross country flight.
2007/07/23 Long cross country flight to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and back
π 2007-07-23 11:59 by Merlin in Flying, Oshkosh

I hadn't been able to go to Oshkosh last year because it conflicted with OLS, which in turn conflicted with my Birthday. This year, I only had a double conflict (my BD), so I figured I'd give it a shot.
I used the flight to make more serious use of Seattle Avionics, my flight planning software, and it did a good job. My main problem was to have to print all those pages of airports I might stop at, or not, just because I couldn't use my laptop at altitude in the plane. I think I'll be getting a custom laptop/EFB with a solid state hard drive (i.e. Flash Ram) so that I can just use that in flight and not have to worry.

I was first hoping to rent a Mooney 231 for the flight so as to get a good cruising speed (190kts), but unfortunately, it was already rented, so I had to select another aircraft. I had to settle for a Cirrus SR22 :) (well, it was settle because it did cost a fair amount more and was somewhat slower. That said, we got slightly better avionics in return)

The trip was nice for my getting used to the plane, There is no better than a 22H/3200NM cross country to get used to a plane :) but it confirmed that I don't like Avydine avionics. They have too many quirks and just aren't well integrated. We had several bad behaviours from the STEC 55x autopilot (going left and right on an ILS without staying on centerline, or pitching wildly down), a total localizer heading failure on NAV 1 (Garmin 430) where it went on a completely incorrect centerline, and weird communication problems between the PFD, MFD, and Garmin 430s. Stuff that's just unacceptable for a $400k plane.
Apart from those issues, the plane itself flew well though, and we ended up averaging 160kts ground speed on the way there, and 170kts+ on the way back (yes, I know it's opposite from the typical prevailing winds), and I did the flight with one of my CFIs, both to learn from his experience in flying around or close to thunderstorms, as a copilot to help out if I got too tired, and because I wasn't fully checked out to solo in the SR22 yet.





Let's now look at the legs:

Flight from Palo Alto to Oshkosh


The flight was about 1900NM (3060km) in 10.9H of hobbs time and 3 legs. We left a bit after 09:30 and first stopped at Evanston, Wyoming to refuel. In hindsight, we had enough fuel to go a bit further and we should have because we almost got pinned in the airport by a thunderstorm. Luckily, it was only a big rain and thunderstorm cloud, and it blew over while we waited on the runway.
After that, we went to Sioux City and we had to traverse a line of thunderstorm sigmet to get there. Luckily, it was rather mild, and thanks to XM weather and looking out the window, we were able to find a reasonable hole in that line of thunderstorms to get through.
The next morning, we left for Oshkosh by first finding a hole in the low broken clouds at Sioux City, and we got to Oshkosh under lowering overcasts 'on the green dot' of runway 27 thanks to Dave's help feeding me the instructions on how to fly there while I was doing the flying.



Our plane at Palo Alto


I brought in a good bottle of Oxygen so that we could climb at higher altitudes (low fuel flow/high speed cruise at 12500 to 14500)


Departure at Palo Alto was almost IFR but we got out




Salt Lake City


Approaching Evanston, NV for landing


By the time it took to refuel, weather had caught up with us: thunderstorms with lightening on upwind. Luckily we were able to get out




I went through my first convective sigmet, a line of thunderstorms, that was exicting (even if they were mild)




Arrived in time at Sioux City (KSUX) before sunset and before the fuel tank ran dry :)


Flight to Oshkosh was medium to low-ish ceilings


Landing at KOSH on runway 27


The pictures from this flight are here

Return flight from Oshkosh to Palo Alto


The return flight was easier to do in a day since we had 2 hours additional in that day instead of two hours fewer (or a 4 hour differential).
I had planned the flight a bit more to the north to stop at Rapid City, South Dakota for refueling and a quick lunch, and then to fly by Mount Rushmore before flying north of Salt Lake city towards Elko, Nevada. We did a quick refuel in Elko and got to Palo Alto "soon" after that.
Turns out that by sheer luck, my alternate routing mostly kept us out of thunderstorms, which made the flight pretty uneventful.
We got home a bit quicker, but I still recorded 10.9H hobbs on the way back since I shot some approaches for each of the 3 landings, including an ILS approach into Moffett, which was a bit of a detour.



Waiting in line for takeoff (thankfully a short wait)


People were leaving let and right, and those were only the ones that had their transponders on (they were supposed to be left off for about 30NM)


Some light thunderstorms on the way back too


Crossing the Mississippi


Our lunch stop in rapid city, mixed with a few airliners




Mount Rushmore


There were some thunderstorms on the way, but by luck, my flight plan managed to skirt the edges of them without having to worry about them much








Salt Lake City seen from the North this time


A quick fuel stop in Elko, NV for fuel (KEKO)




The pictures from this flight are here

Conclusion


All in all, it took about 20H of flying (plus ground run time), 3800NM (7000km) of distance covered, nice landscapes along the way, and weather that was interesting enough to learn from, but never a thread to the flight.
It was definitely a nice experience, in addition to the time at EEA itself (see separate entry for that)
2007/07/22 Recent Flying
π 2007-07-22 19:53 by Merlin in Flying

After some trouble with paperwork and getting the phase check to happen, I got checked out in the Mooney 231, my first turbo plane. I'm exited, it'll be the perfect plane to fly across the Sierras to Lonepine for our John Muir Trail hike.
The Mooney 231 is a very capable plane, but it does require some special handling (risks of overboost, and crappy flaps actuator). Yet, it can easily get to FL 240.

The rest of my time, I've been working on learning the Cirrus SR22. It took a while to learn the avionics and the specificities of the plane, but it is our most advanced plane up for rental right now, and it looked like a good choice for my upcoming flight to Oshkosh (the mooney 231 being already taken), so while I really don't like the avidyne avionics, it'll be useful for most destinations (and will get me there faster than the other planes I've been flying so far).

Last, but not least, I've been studying the flight to Oshkosh, some 1700 miles (about the same as SJC -> Chicago). I used Seatlle Avionics' Voyager to make a few routings and spit out some flight plans and plates. It's very good software for such uses, I just wish I had a laptop with a solid state drive to use it inside the plane to view my real time routing and approach plates if/as I need them

More pages: August 2017 April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999