Friday, December 28, 2018

Simple, Short Flight Turns into more

Today, I wanted to pick up the Cirrus from my mechanic after some routine maintenance.  The plan was a VERY simple 24nm flight from Danbury, CT to Poughkeepsie, NY.  You can see the planned route below:
But the weather wasn't very good ... Not terrible, not dangerous, just light rain and low ceilings in both DXR and POU.

Shortly after takeoff, I climbed to ~ 1200 FT and entered the clouds.  From that point on, I found the skies and the NY Approach ATC frequency busier than ever.  Due to other commercial traffic, I got a couple of vectors and reroutes... But eventually, I made it to Poughkeepsie.  where the weather was a little worse than Danbury:

Luckily, POU is a fantastic airport with lots of instrument approaches.  I came in on the RNAV GPS 06, which had an LPV minimums of 503 FT.  Luckily I broke out of the clouds @ ~ 560 FT and was greeted by a runway that was lit up like a Xmas tree!  This turned out to be the perfect real world use case for the amazing Perspective Plus avionics in the new Cirrus!!

You can see what I saw from the cockpit in this short video:

So in the end, the simple, straight 24nm trip, turned into this:

After this flight, I am really starting to feel comfortable with the new avionics!

Stay tuned as I have many more flights/videos coming on My New Youtube Channel !

== T.J.==

Sunday, October 21, 2018

NYC and Long Island

This weekend, the weather was just perfect for flying.  Not too hot, not too cold... and just a few clouds to keep it interesting.

I wanted to test out some iPad Apps and test out some new camera equipment.  So I asked my buddy Ryan to join me. Since he has not been in a small plane much, I thought he would enjoy the view and be good assistant cameraman ;-)

We got an early start on Sunday and I think I may have burst Ryan's bubble at the hanger when I put him to work pulling the Cirrus out of the hanger and helping with the preflight.

I have the Best Cirrus tug in the world on order... But it hasn't arrived yet ... So we did it the old fashioned way... (Some brute force and a wimpy little tow bar.)

After the plane was prepped and ready to go, so were we:
Once preflight was complete and the cameras were setup, we were ready to go... Ryan had flown in a Cessna before... But this was his first flight in.a Cirrus.  After I briefed him on the parachute and the avionics deck, he was blown away as you can see below:

As soon as we took off, I realized what a crazy, windy day it was.  While there was no rain and the clouds were high enough not to be relevant, the winds were crazy! We had 30-40 knot winds @ 1500 Ft of altitude.  Luckily Ryan was OK with a few bumps and we pressed on.  He looks pretty calm here doesn't he??

The first stop today was going to be some simple VFR flying in the Hudson River Corridor.  Even though I have now flown this route many times, I never get tired of the views of Manhattan and doing 360s over the Stature of Liberty!
With the sightseeing portion done, now it was time to dodge some airspace and head out to Long Island.  We stayed low just offshore and out of the way of JFK traffic.  We saw the Jones Beach Monument and Amphitheatre up close @ ~ 1300FT then climbed up to 7500 FT to get on top of the clouds before approaching Farmingdale's airspace.

After that, I realized that going to Montauk would be waste because the clouds would not make it viable to see.  So instead, I took this opportunity to play with some apps.  The Garmin Pilot and Foreflight apps are both amazing and work really well with the panel mounted avionics in this Cirrus.

In fact, this plane has soo much gadgetry in it, that I felt more like a programmer that was testing code and then making code tweaks when the system did something unexpected.  .... I have high hopes of mastering this Perspective Plus the way I mastered the Avidyne R9 flight deck.  So far, I can tell this is way more powerful but also a bit more complex of a user interface.  (In fact, I think the Garmin engineers could learn a thing or two about elegant design from Avidyne)

Then it was time to go home... I wanted to fly an approach however, the winds had other plans.  While heading back to POU, the METAR was showing 320 @ 15 gusting to 20 Knots! Unfortunately, there are no approaches to runway 33 and the notams even said the VASI lights were out.  So we had to do an old fashioned visual approach and landing.  While every pilot certainly knows how to do this, I am actually more comfortable flying instrument approaches... So this was fun!

We captured the landing on multiple video cameras but I haven't had a chance to edit the video yet.  I hope to start posting landing videos soon on my Youtube channel... So stay tuned.

== T.J.==

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Finding the Right Next Bird

Now that I am current and legal, the natural next step is find the right plane.  I have been "window shopping" for several months.  I briefly entertained the idea of getting a different type of plane... Maybe an aerobatic plane or a seaplane..  But in the end, the safety and comfort of the Cirrus just felt like the right way to go.

So here is the new bird:

While this looks just like my old Cirrus from the outside, it has some really major refinements, most notably the wild Perspective + Avionics, which you can see below:
I think it will take me some time to master this new flight deck.  But it is a really fun cockpit to experiment with :-)

Lisa and I picked up the plane this weekend in Tennessee under clear blue skies.

Fortunately Hurricane Florence had slowed down and given us the perfect window to escape.  We flew direct 4.5 hours form TN to NY and missed all of the weather!

Now we are ready for many more adventures!


== T.J.==

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Getting Back in the Saddle

After a 4+ year hiatus from flying, I have been itching to get "Back in the Saddle". 

The closest I had been to flying was playing with drone, which was fun .... But nowhere near the same as true flying.  You can see some of my drone pix/videos here:

However, I was dreading the process of getting current... (My medical-=> expired; My instrument proficiency -=> Gone; My VFR proficiency -=> Gone; Even my logbook was "dusty")

But last month, I decided to get going! 

The first step before anything else was to get my medical in order.  Since I last flew, the FAA has created a simplified "Basic Med" that really is quite easy.  But that does not let you fly outside the US, which I will likely want to do.  So I found my local FAA doc and got the traditional 3rd class medical.

The next step was brushing up on all of the core aviation knowledge, which I thought I forgot.  With the help of the AOPA "Rusty Pilots" info, that got me started and I was surprised how quickly it all came back to me... Maybe it was like riding a bicycle ;-)

Now it was time to get down to business with some Cirrus specific training.  There was a bunch of online transition training material that I studied for a couple of weeks and then it was time to find an instructor and really get going.

I decided to reach out to one of my old instructors in Atlanta and scheduled an intensive long weekend to get current on everything at once!
About to jump into the SR22 G6 with my instructor Sherri
While the basics of flying all came back to me easily, the cockpit was totally different.  Over the past few years Cirrus has really upgraded the avionics dramatically in the SR22 G6.  You can see the new cockpit below.

The SR22 G6 Cockpit that I trained in

After the initial few seconds of terror, I started playing with the buttons on the ground with GPU connected.  They have added so much amazing capability into this cockpit it feels like a spaceship!

After a grueling weekend including lots of landings, approaches, etc I am now legal again!

Next step is to find a new bird of my own.  The tricky part will be to find right plane with Turbo, A/C and all of the cool new avionics toys ;-)

As soon as I have my new plane, I am hoping to start making some more videos and reviving my Youtube channel.

== T.J.==