Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yesterday, At The Airport...

Disaster was narrowly avoided, and the IFR Pilot never left his desk at the office...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Planning Another Bucket List Trip!

So, The Boys are planning a bit of an adventure. It just so happens to be a Bucket List item for the IFR Pilot: Flying to the Bahamas! More of that story as it develops. But in the meantime, due diligence is being performed. Photographic evidence of same: 

It just so happens that Plane and Pilot recently ran an article on this very subject, aptly titled "Bahamas 101: Recipe for Paradise."  Of course there's a copy of that amongst our due diligence materials.

Also included as a copy of the 2012 Bahamas & Caribbean Pilot's Guide.  As the title implies, it's a resource guide for planning a flight by light airplane to anywhere in the Bahamas and Caribbean.  The guide is chock full not just of the expected airport diagrams and frequencies, but also color photographs of the airports so you can familiarize yourself with the airport and its environs.  There's also plenty of information for the tourism side of your trip planning, so of it narrative by the publishers and some of it commercial advertising.  No matter how you slice it, this is a can't-miss item in your Bahamian Flight Planning Bag.  It's also available for your iPad.

Also occupying space is a Caribbean VFR chart, using a WAC scale (1:1,000,000).  Interestingly, it contains the following disclaimer:  "This is a refrence [sic] and planning chart and is not to be substituted for legal charts."  Setting aside the spelling error (groan), it raises the question of what exactly are the legal charts necessary for flight to and within the Bahamas.  Time to do some reading, in particular to see whether the sectionals on the iPad (a) cover the necessary territory, and (b) satisfy any Bahamian version of the FARs.

Finally, I picked up a small "survival kit."  It consists of a metal water bottle and various items that you'd want to have if you really were stranded, such as waterproof matches, fishing line, thermal blanket, and a signal mirror.  One of the nice features of the bottle is that it is covered with a variety of survival hints like where to look for water, signs of dehydration, etc.  I'm not sure how much of that would come in handy in the event of an off-airport landing in the Atlantic Ocean between KFXE and MYBS (and beyond), but the bottle will certainly be filled with fresh water before we depart the Florida coastline for the overwater portion of the flight.

Our timetable for this adventure is still undecided, but it will be chronicled in all of its glory here.  

A shoutout to my friends at PilotMall.com for their great service in sending the Guide and the survival bottle in my order, which also included a set of self-adhesive decals to replace any that may have worn off in N62TB.  Service was fast and friendly, as I experienced when I spent way too much time browsing their booth at AOPA Expo 2009 in Tampa.  If you're looking for aviation gear, give www.PilotMall.com a look for great prices, inexpensive shipping (mine was free! for a $75+ order), and great customer service!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Still Kicking, Still Flying

Well, hello there friends.  Bet you thought this little blog was defunct.  Can't blame you, it's been four months or so since the IFR Pilot last posted.  

N62TB continues to be in the fold and getting flown more often.  In fact, 2012 is looking like it might reverse the trend of the last few years of continued decreases in the total number of flying hours.  Here's what logshare.com shows for annual flight hours:

Took a long trip to NOLA earlier this year, which really helped boost the flight hours.  Hoping there might be at least one more long trip before December arrives and we have to sum up the year's flying activity.

SM rode along a $100 breakfast run to 38D this morning.  Been working on video production skills, so here's a campy little video highlight reel from today's jaunt through the skies.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

February CAVU

It's been an unusually warm winter in Northeast Ohio this season.  Sure, we've had some pretty good snowstorms, but they are promptly followed by a warm front that melts everything.  As a result, there's been no persistent snowpack.  This, of course, means no snow banks at The Home Base, and the runway is dry as a bone.

So, when another high pressure system arrived this past weekend, The IFR Pilot was saddened when other commitments meant no weekend flying.  February flight time is a relatively rare thing around here.  The logbook shows only 26 hours logged in Februaries from 2001 (when I started flying full-time) through 2011, and no February time at all in 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2010.

Fortunately, the Aviation Fates smiled on me yesterday, when I was able to scoot from work early and head out for a little takeoff and landing practice before a 7:00 p.m. airport board meeting.  Best of all, the suction cup mount for the Nflightcam had arrived, so I was able to test the camera in flight.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and so there's a bit of overexposure/sun glare in these videos, but I suspect they aren't too awful to post, particularly when accompanied by the twin disclaimers of "I'm no video pro" and "This was my first time using this thing."  (Oh, and I know, I need to clean the windscereen.)  Thus properly disclaimed, I offer the following for your vicarious aviating pleasure:

Inbound to KBJJ

Landing at The Home Base

I just wish we had one of these for The Great Alaska Flying Adventure of 2005...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Surgery on the Trinidad

Last year on the birthday, Mrs. IFR Pilot bestowed a long-sought iPad 2 on the IFR Pilot.  It's been used for a few flights, but the lack of a proper mount has meant resting it on the lap, glareshield, or the co-pilot's seat when that was unoccupied.  Time to rectify that.

Using a Christmas gift card and prowling the depths of Amazon.com, the IFR Pilot located this little gem:

That's an Arkon IPM2-FSM 18.5-Inch Flexible Floor Mount for iPad 2.  Price?  A whopping $34.99.  Note that the actual pad holder that was supplied looks a little bit different than what was pictured, but remains completely workable.

Here's what it looks like installed, using an existing bolt in the co-pilot's seat rail:

Close up:

Here's how it was secured to the aircraft:

A preliminary check shows that full reward deflection of the elevators and leftward deflection of the ailerons is still possible without any interference.  The arm is flexible, so it can be promptly repositioned in-flight if necessary.  Also, the iPad holder can be detached from the arm in the event that the front seat area becomes too crowded.

You can also see in the cigarette lighter a dual 12volt charger that was also secured from Amazon.com, which can be used for simultaneous charging of the iPhone and iPad.  Haven't checked yet to see if that will trip a breaker, so that needs to be done before any in-flight usage.

All told, with free Super Saver shipping, the cost for bringing 2TB's cockpit into the iDevice age was $50.42.  Can't hardly beat that!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

We've Got Momentum

A peek at the logbook reveals: 
  • January 2011:  .8 hours for the month
  • January 2012:  2.4 hours by January 7!
The first week of January has seen unusually warm temperatures to Northeast Ohio.  As a result, 2TB has been pulled from her hangar twice already for flying adventures.

On Friday, SL and I took our first flight together.  He's one of two prospective partners in the aircraft, and so we did a demo flight.  I flew for a bit, he flew for a bit.  Flying an unfamiliar airplane from the right seat by a non-CFI probably isn't the easiest of tasks, but SL did just fine, particularly so on the ILS 19 at CAK with winds that were something like 15G20.  There are certain to be some adventures together in the near future.  Stay tuned.

On Saturday, Momma Nature continued her benevolent ways and so the IFR Pilot dragged nephew JK for his first ride in a light aircraft.  The plan was for a quick flight to PHD for some chicken wings.  The winds made it a choppy experience, but I think he still enjoyed every second of it.  The only hiccup was that Perfect Landing restaurant is no more.  Apparently, it closed some time ago and was converted to a pizza parlor.  Apparently, there was some controversy about it all.  However, no one had reported the closure AirNav.com, so it was quite a surprise when we arrived -- because the restaurant doesn't open until 4:00, and we were ready for lunch at 1:00.

Fortunately, the owner was there, invited us in, and offered to make us the pizza of our choosing.  Turned out, it was quite good.  Thin crust, and made with a yellow cheese (later disclosed to be Colby Longhorn) instead of the more traditional mozzarella.  JK and I each polished off a 10" pie.  With one drink, the total tab was a reasonable $20.  And the owner didn't want to take our tip!  It gets the IFR Pilot's official rating of two thumbs up!  Check it out for yourself!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Looking Back and Going Forward

Looking Back

Unfortunately, 2011 was another valley in the peaks and valleys of the IFR Pilot's aviation career.  Here's a look at the cold, hard numbers and other matters of interest:
  • Total flights:  18
    • 17 in N62TB
    • 1 in N2447E, a G-1000 equipped Cessna 182T during a trip to Phoenix/Sedona.
  • Total flight hours:  32.0
    • 30.2 in TB20; 1.8 in C-182T.
    • 29.3 daytime; 2.7 night
    • 1.5 actual instrument; 3.2 simulated instrument
    • 23.0 hours cross-country
  • 31 day landings, 11 night landings
  • 12 approaches
  • New airports visited:  3 (KDVT, Phoenix, AZ; KAOO, Altoona, PA; KPKB, Parkersburg, WV)
  • Longest leg:  3.9 hours from KWST to the Home Base
  • 1 Angel Flight (boo, hiss, unacceptable give-back)
Here's the long-term picture of how 2011 stacks up against prior years:

There was a brief glimmer of hope that one more decent flight in 2011 would reverse the 4 year decline, but Momma Nature slammed the door on that idea with some crummy weather during the last week of December.

Going Forward

Here are a variety of things that ideally will be accomplished in 2012, in no particular order:
  • Sell 2TB, or better yet, find one or two partners to share the costs.  (Active discussions occurring as we speak.  Keep yer fingers crossed.)
  • Obtain single-engine commercial pilot certificate.
  • Obtain sea-plane rating.
  • Write more for the blog.
  • Get an nFlight Cam and post more videos to the blog.
  • Attend the Socata.org Fly-In in Florida in April (if 2TB doesn't sell).
  • Find another outlet for publishing law-related aviation articles.
  • Fly five Angel Flights.
  • Master flying GPS approaches with the Garmin GNS480, both with and without the autopilot.
  • Fly at least once with a local TV personality.