Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Monthly Meeting

Guest speaker: Keith Smith
Topic: Pilotedge (Air Traffic Simulation Service)
Date & Time: Thursday December 2, 2010 @ 7:30pm
Place: NJ Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum

At this month's general meeting, we have Keith Smith who will discuss PilotEdge, and demonstrate some of its capabilities in the X-Plane simulation environment. More information about PilotEdge can be found on their website.

As usual, pizza and refreshments will be funded by a 50/50.

The meeting is open to the public. As usual there will be a quick discussion of club business as well, including status of fleet maintenance, and destination of breakfast flights. This is a good opportunity for pilots interested in PFC to meet our members and board. NJ Aviation Hall of Fame is located at 400 Fred Wehran Drive, Teterboro Airport, NJ 07608, located adjacent to the control tower. Free admission to the museum for attendees starting at 7pm.

Airports of NJ: Linden (KLDJ)

We would be remiss if we did not discuss our other home base, Linden Airport (KLDJ).
Linden is located just 6nm southeast of Newark International Airport (KEWR)---when Newark is landing on runways 4L/R, the conga line passes almost directly overhead. Linden has a single runway (9-27@4100+ ft). Has a single GPS/RNAV approach.

Airports of NJ: Caldwell (KCDW)

There are (by our count) 46 airports in NJ. This is our attempt to chronicle all of them. Essex County Airport (KCDW), which is one of our home bases seemed like a logical place to start.

Essex County Airport (more commonly referred to as Caldwell Airport) is a class-D airport located 12nm NNW of Newark International Airport, sitting under the "inverted wedding cake" of the overlying NY-Bravo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gear: Bose QC2/15 + uFlyMike

On the PFC member email list, there is occasional discussion about recommended headsets.  That is one piece of gear we all have, and have an opinion about.  There are those who swear by their Bose or Lightspeed ANR headsets. Others who would drop dead before donning headsets of any shade other than David-Clark-green. In one such thread, someone brought up the possibility of combining the Bose Quiet Comfort (QC) 2 or QC15 headphones with the uFlyMike attachment. You can read reviews of the other aviation headsets at the usual places, but the Bose+uFlyMike doesn't get nearly as much play, so here are some impressions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Alumni: Living the dream of airpark life

One of the wonderful things about a club like PFC is the vast network of alumni that we manage to keep in touch with.  One such alumnus, Bruce Goldberg, and his wife graciously put us up for the night on our recent expedition to go retrieve our new G1000 C172 from FL.  This allowed us to break up the 10 hour flight from FL to NJ, with an overnight in SC.
What made this doubly special was the fact that they are living the dream of all pilots---they live in an airpark. What could be better for two tired pilots than to land, park the plane, and just be able walk into a cozy living room. Their home has  a hangar for their C182 (complete with workshop and three car garage), and a 4000 ft runway right off their back yard.
Oh, and the rest of their house was very nice, too... And their hospitality much appreciated. (Unfortunately, we arrived late and too tired to snap any pictures of our lovely hosts.  Otherwise we would share them with you...)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

iPad in the Cockpit --- SkyRadar?

In the writeup on the use of Foreflight in the cockpit, one of the things I noted was the lack of in flight weather information.  I also noted the poor quality of iPad's built in GPS.  Both are really hardware limitations.  Apple's refusal to provide a serial stack for bluetooth means no hope of compatibility with existing weather solutions currently available.  And the same also goes for the inability to use cheap but accurate external WAAS GPS receivers.

A potentially interesting solution comes to us in the form of SkyRader:

The SkyRadar receiver, gets around Apple's hardware limitations in an interesting way.  Rather than using Bluetooth, it broadcasts WAAS GPS and ADS-B data over WiFi.  Which opens up the possibility for real time traffic and weather, not to mention a more accurate GPS.

To be sure, we aren't sure how WiFi signals will affect cockpit avionics.  And ADS-B rollout won't be complete for a few years yet. So the full utility of this device is still a bit of an unknown.  But at least this is an indication that people are thinking of creative ways to get this data into the cockpit.

When the ADS-B final rule was announced, there was quite a bit of clamor about having to shell out a significant amount to upgrade avionics, for not much benefit.  Well we can always hope that solutions like this will come along that would allow GA pilots to take full advantage of ADS-B, at a price point that won't break the bank.

If anyone has tried this device, and has any pireps on it, please let us know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Overheard: Braking action reports

Courtesy of Steve (and other PFC members who swear up and down this is true).

An airport in the northeast issued a NOTAM indicating a NIL braking action report by a vehicle on its sole runway. The NOTAM was followed 10 minutes later by an airport closure NOTAM indicating vehicle accident on the runway as the reason for the closure.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Safety Tidbit - Removing Frost

We all know that we are supposed to remove all frost from aircraft surfaces before flight. But with high-wing aircraft like Cessnas, that can be quite a chore.  The best thing to do is to pull the plane into a warm hangar for an hour or so before flight, but that's not always possible.

Here's a great tip from Tim McSwain's presentation at last week's general meeting. Carry a length of thick gauge rope with you in the back of the airplane. Drape the rope over the wing at the fuselage end. Stand under the wing and grab the ends of the rope in each hand.  Now while gently pulling the rope across the wing, walk the length of the wing.

Will have to give it a try when one cold crisp morning this winter.

Winter Flying

Last week's general meeting featured speaker Tim McSwain who gave a humor filled talk on the special considerations required for winter training. It's not practical to reproduce all of the many points he reminded us about before setting out on cold winter days. But a few that seemed particularly important:

  • Remember the value of recurrent training. It's not mandatory but it could save your life.
  • When GA pilots think of the perils of winter flying most think of icing. But most winter accidents are not caused by icing. So while icing is something to watch out for---most GA aircraft simply do not have the power to get out of encounters with serious ice---there are many other "gotchas" that pilots should be aware of.
  • When considering information (reports on braking, icing, airport runway conditions), always consider the source. e.g. Braking reports from a vehicle (truck) driving down the runway may not be particularly useful to you.
  • Consider the effect of winter weather (snow, slush, ice, etc.) on all phases of flight---taxi, run-up, take-off, climb, cruise, descent, landing and taxi---not just the cruise phase of flight.  There is no substitute for local intel---call the airport ahead to make sure it's open and what sort of condition it is in.
  • Consider the terrain you will be flying over. Bring appropriate gear.
  • Be careful about places where water might collect and freeze---it will seriously affect W&B and flight characteristics.
  • And remove ALL frost.
There were obviously much more in this information packed presentation. The presentation drove home the point about how much there is to know, how much we forget after the PPL check ride, and the value of recurrent training at natural pivot points like the changing of the seasons.

We hope to have Tim back in the spring as a guest speaker. So if you missed him this time, be sure to join us the next time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The new addition to our fleet --- N6189Q (2008 C172 G1000)

The newest addition to our fleet N6189Q, a 2008 model year C172 G1000, made it safely to its new home at KCDW on Tuesday. The oil has been changed for the colder NJ weather, and our mechanics have given it a once over. The plane is parked where N63017 used to be, and is now ready to fly.

We have set the rate for this aircraft at a competitive $135 per tach hour wet. Transition training for existing members will begin shortly.

With a nearly new exterior and interior, complete with comfortable leather seats and airbag seatbelts, this aircraft certainly passes what our president refers to as the "spouse test." And for the pilot, the G1000 suite presents a wealth of information---nav, traffic, weather---at your finger tips for better situational awareness and more efficient flying. The capabilities of the GFC700 autopilot are simply stunning---you just have to fly it to believe what it can do.

We fully expect this new aircraft to be one of the club's most popular in the coming months. See a few photographs of our brand new aircraft on our website.