Home remarks


Bigger Class B?

I used to fly out of an airport on the coast just south of the San Francisco Class B. While controllers tried to permit transit, there was no guarantee. If they also have a 91.131(a)(2) problem, that Miami solution would seem attractive to San Francisco. The result for VFR traffic on a trip headed north might be to add up to 100 miles or more to bypass the Class B to the east, or a deviation far out over the Pacific Ocean, neither of which is an attractive alternative.


As my simulator was nearing completion in July 2018, Carl left his company because of some conflict with their new investor, Meiya Group, chaired by Roland Pinto. I wont go into specifics, but after paying in full for my simulator about 18 months ago, Mr. Pinto ultimately ignored all my attempts to get my sim. The Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association, another big proponent of FlyThisSim (FTS), has now advised their members, Any dealing with FTS is at high risk of non-delivery and potential loss of funds exchanged.

Living is Risky

Anyway, once we accept that GA flying is dangerous, we can focus on making it less so. Look at maintenance. Tony Saxton of TAS Aviation, a Twin-Cessna specialist, reports that the total number of annuals they can do in a year has decreased by a whopping 28 percent simply because theres more to inspect (from ADs, service bulletins, or just from experience) and more discrepancies to fix; their comprehensive annual merely takes longer.

High Too Tech

Step two: Set the clock that held no resemblance to the actual time of day. I fiddled with it for a few minutes and gave up after finding myself seemingly 50 layers deep in menus. I assigned the task to my wife, also an engineer and a pilot. She even got out the manual-a separate one for the man-machine interface but after a frustratingly long time, she was also defeated.

(Always) Learning

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.

Our Intermittent GPS Future

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.

How Much Is Enough?

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.

Old Friends

Look around the ramp and in hangars at almost any GA airport in the country, and youll find some amazing aircraft. Youll also find some once-amazing aircraft that have been neglected and nearly abandoned for years, rendering them useless place holders. Sadly, one of those in the latter group belongs to my wife and me. (Its a Beechcraft Skipper we got for my wife to fly after we invested in the Cessna 340 Ive talked so much about.)

Utility of GA

I could fly above the worst of that, but headed west wed need a fuel stop. Now, I trust the near-all-weather capability of my airplane, perhaps more than I should, but descending through freezing rain and snow, and then climbing back through it were activities Id rather avoid. A new route was needed.

Too Old…For What?

Like many of you, I also ride motorcycles. I have two Hondas, one of which is 25 years old but still suits me quite well. Due to a confluence of some logistical and health challenges, now past, I hadnt ridden in a few years. Late this past summer I again undertook two-wheeled transportation.

Maintenance: Legal vs. Safe

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.

It Did Happen To Me

I installed a G500 on the left-side flight panel. Wanting some real redundancy-not just backup-the limited space on the right panel was perfect for Aspens PFD. This way, if my G500 ever croaked, Id just hop over to the right seat and fly using the Aspen. That also had the advantage of giving any planned right-seater good PFD information should that ever be necessary. I was set.