Clearly, this was a humbling experience. Im left wondering how many of us who are more than a few decades and a few thousand hours past flying trainers at 60 knots would do better. Your takeaway from this self-deprecating story is that no matter what you fly, youve got to play well with all the others, be they fast or slow, pro or student. Im glad I relearned that lesson with no worse than some personal embarrassment. And, the students probably learned to watch out for fast twins with inattentive pilots.
Various government agencies think its necessary to potentially render GPS useless throughout hundreds of square miles of the NAS nearly every single day. We who live in the West have experienced this for years. From my home in Santa Fe, NM, I get at least one, sometimes a few, notices of nearby GPS outages every week. But, more recently, those of you in the East have begun to feel more of the same pain.
Removing the old autopilot will leave holes in the left panel that would be too ugly if we just covered them, so were going to cut new metal. Since were doing that, the shop has suggested we might consider replacing the backup analog airspeed indicator, attitude gyro, and altimeter with an integrated electronic standby instrument. Yeah, thats probably a good idea, especially right now, as the vacuum attitude indicator has been slow to come alive recently and is probably about to die.
After recounting some of his adventures as a military pilot, he went on to say, Anyway, during all of this time I always wondered what happened to her. Losing track of her was like losing track of an old friend. I hope she is well. Perhaps by now she has forgiven if not forgotten the times I ran her a little too rich or too lean, smacked that branch with her wingtip, or disparaged her tail number by having it reported to the authorities.
You already have a transponder that transmits a dumb and blind signal in response to interrogation from other sources. Well, its not entirely dumb in that you can enter a four-digit base-eight (no 8s or 9s) code on the instrument and when the transponder responds to an interrogation, it puts that code and even your present altitude (to the nearest 100 feet) onto its outgoing signal. ADS-B Out keeps that but takes it a bit further.
Thinking Id found a loophole, I told him the G500 was only about six years old. But your airplane is over 30 years old, he countered. But, I continued, the airplane isnt broken. Its the six-year-old G500. As youve already guessed, this fell on deaf ears. He walked away, seemingly glad to be rid of me, and simply added, Sorry. Its company policy.
My motivation to write this right now is that my Cessna 340 is at the shop getting its annual. This year I chose what is arguably the best Twin Cessna maintenance facility in the world, TAS Aviation in Defiance, Ohio. Yes, Defiance is a long way from my Santa Fe, New Mexico home base-about 1100 NM and two legs, in each direction-but, I chose this shop for good reasons having far more to do with safe than just legal.
But, if you are going VFR, deciding if you want flight following should definitely be on your list. If youre going to pass through Class Bravo airspace you might as well; its virtually a requirement. Otherwise, if the weather is clear and a million, youre not going through any airspace requiring you to talk to ATC, and youve decided to go VFR, should you consider flight following? Long story short, and after all factors are considered, the answer is Yes.
The normal path for a fledgling airline pilot is to build his/her hours-traditionally as a CFI for pitifully low pay-and get a job with a regional carrier. That new first officer had an average starting pay in the mid-$20/hour range just a few years ago, before the hype of the pilot shortage. Second-year pay jumped nicely, sometimes as much as 50%, but then it stagnated at a few percent a year. A fifth-year first officer might have been making into $40-some/hour.
I had this exchange on a flight back to a rural Arkansas airport from Florida. I usually fly IFR even in VFR conditions. I was at 6000 feet, with a broken layer below me. I usually cancel about 20 miles in advance, as Memphis Center cannot see me on radar, or communicate with me once I descend below 3000 feet.
An approach to safety of dont have an accident and always effectively weight risks doesnt work because we dont take actions we think will cause accidents. Tom Turner recently presented a Wings seminar, Stop Teaching About Safety, covering this. Safetys an integral outcome, not a separate goal. Instead, he suggested approaching flying as its master and commander: The result will be safety. While being master and commander will work for all pilots, the instrument environment presents unique challenges to achieving that goal.
The Saratoga suddenly requested a climb. He was getting knocked around by turbulence in the cloud bases. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do at that moment. Passing 1000 feet directly over him-my minimum vertical separation-were a string of climbing airliners. I couldnt bend the jets away from him, as I had another line of descending jets ten miles west of them. It would be an impromptu air show.