Casey Aviation Makes Piper PA46 Systems Videos Free

Casey Aviation Makes Piper PA46 Systems Videos Free

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The safest pilots are the ones who attempt to gain as much knowledge and learning about their airplane and environment as possible. These pilots are the ones who enjoy learning, going to seminars and conventions, and soak up all the MMOPA magazine articles in each issue. These pilots are the ones who get as much training as they can, above and beyond what the minimum requirements are.

If you are one of these pilots and you own a Piper PA46, then this blog is for you.

Casey Aviation, one of the best Piper PA46 training companies out there, recently released all of their Malibu, Mirage, Matrix, Meridian, and JetProp systems training videos for free. These are some fantastic videos that Casey Aviation created which go much more in depth than any power point presentation could.

The great thing about the videos is they give the viewer an all access “inside look” to the specific airplane. Joe Casey, owner of Casey Aviation, takes off cowlings, crawls under the nose gear compartment, and even shows an airplane with the interior out so all the flap cables and environmental systems can be seen.

I have started referring all of my PA46 customers to the Casey Aviation videos as part of the prep work for our training sessions.

To access the videos, check out the Casey Aviation website.

Chuck’s Aircraft 10 Year Anniversary Fly In

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Chuck’s Aircraft, the Austin Cirrus Service Center located at the Austin Executive Airport (KEDC), is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary this month. What better what to celebrate than to fly in for Texas BBQ? That’s what they thought too!

Chuck’s Aircraft will be hosting its 10 Year Anniversary Fly In on Friday, June 25th from 1pm to 5pm on their ramp at EDC (see airport diagram below). Chuck’s Aircraft always provides quality maintenance for Cirrus and other aircraft, so come show your appreciation for them.

Please RSVP to erin@chucksaircraftllc.com. Hope to see you there!!!

Chuck’s Aircraft is the hangar circled in green

Dry Motoring a PT6

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When it comes to turboprop engines, a hot start is a really bad thing. For you piston drivers out there thinking, “What’s the big deal, you are just starting a hot engine,” then here’s a little education for you.

In a PT6 turboprop engine, there is a very important temperature gauge that a pilot monitors very closely during each and every start. It is called the Inter-Turbine Temperature gauge, or ITT. This temperature is a measurement of the exhaust gases between the compressor turbine and the power turbine (s). In the picture below, the probe is located where the blue and red colors meet.

In a turboprop engine, specifically the Pratt & Whitney PT-6 in all it’s different sizes and variations, there will always be a specific temperature that the pilot will want to keep the ITT below. This article will deal specifically with a Piper Meridian.

A Piper Meridian starts hotter than almost any other PT6 engine because of the way it’s air intake is designed. Unlike other turboprops, the Meridian has a permanently open intertial separator. This means that not all the intake air makes it to the engine during start because some of it goes out the intertial separator opening. So, coming to a Meridian from operating other turboprop engines can lead to a little bit of a surprise on the ITT temperature being higher than what a pilot is used to when starting.

As a rule of thumb, when starting a Meridian, never let a start continue when the ITT hits 875 degrees. Based on the chart below, you are still in the safe zone at 875 and have about a 50 degree buffer before you have to start getting worried.

On cold starts with a good battery or a GPU, 875 is typically not an issue. Most starts when cold are going to be in the high 700s or low 800s. On a cold start, if you are seeing starts in the mid to upper 800s, try starting with a GPU and see if that lowers the start temperature. If it does, then that means your battery is weak and needs to be replaced. Another tell-tale sign of a weak batter is the Ng doesn’t spool up properly (meaning it settles around 12-13%) or takes a really long time to spool up. Also, never start on the battery with less than 24 volts.

When there are multiple flights in one day, the pilot has to take into consideration the warm engine prior to starting. If the ITT, prior to the start sequence, is above 150 degrees, it is time to do some motoring of the engine.

What is motoring? It is simply using the starter to turn the engine, which leads to air being sucked into the engine allowing the engine to cool off prior to start. The theory is, the cooler your engine prior to start, the cooler the ITT peaks at during start.

Here’s the steps on how to dry motor a Piper Meridian:

  • Battery on
  • Strobes on
  • Fuel Pumps and Ignition off
  • Throttle idle
  • Condition Lever feather/cutoff
  • Push the start button
  • Monitor the ITT temperature
  • Reaching 150 degrees, if less than 30 seconds have elapsed:
    • Fuel Pumps on
    • Ignition On
    • Condition Lever run
  • Reaching 150 degrees, if 30 seconds have elapsed:
    • Push Manual/Stop button to stop the start
    • Let starter rest for 30 seconds

The starter has a 30 second limit on the Meridian, followed by a 30 second rest period. You can do the sequence twice, then, after the 3rd start, there is a 30 minute rest period. Typically, if the ITT won’t cool down to 150 after the 3rd time, there is probably something wrong.

The most important thing a pilot can remember is never, ever push the condition lever forward if the ITT is above 150 degrees. You’ll be well on your way to avoiding hot starts that way.

FICON Reports

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Field Condition, or FICON, reports show up in NOTAMs both during the summer time and the winter time. In the southern states, FICON reports are seen more in the summertime during and after hard rains and thunderstorms (with the exception of 2021, where Texans quickly got familiar with FICON reports after some very unusual winter weather). In northern states, FICON reports are seen during the winter time during and after snow storms.

The question is, what do those codes mean in the FICON report? You could see 5/5/5, 3/3/3, 3/4/4 and any combination thereof. And why are there three numbers?

Let’s start with the second question first. The three different numbers in the FICON report indicate the 3 different sections of the runway: the touchdown third, midpoint third, and rollout third of the runway.

Now, what are those numbers describing? The three numbers are the indication of how slippery that portion of the runway is. This is referred to as a Runway Condition Code (or RCC). The lower the number, the more slippery the runway is. The higher the number, the dryer the runway. The scale is 0-6, with 6 being completely dry and zero being no traction at all.

Here is the FAA table for the RCCs.

Now, in order for those RCC codes to generate, at least 25% of the surface must be wet. If there are just spots of standing water, slush or snow, a FICON report will be issued to report the contaminants, but no codes will be generated.

The Runway Condition Codes are only part of a FICON report. In addition to the codes, a descriptor in the NOTAM will be published describing what percentage of the portion of the runway is affected and by what.

For example: RWY 28 FICON 3/3/3 100 PRCNT 2IN DRY SN OVER COMPACTED SN.

Deciphered, that is saying that all sections of Runway 28 has braking deceleration that is noticeably reduced or direction control is noticeably reduced and 100% of each section has 2 inches of dry snow over compacted snow. Sounds like a runway to avoid!

Braking action reports are separate from FICON reports, but also issued via NOTAM. Braking action reports are issued by the airport manager whereas the FICON reports are computer generated.

Coflyt Ownership App

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A new app came out last year that fits a need for many owners. Coflyt, available on the Apple App Store for $14/month for up to two airplanes, helps immensely with staying organized. Those questions of, “When is my oil change due?” or “Has the plane had it’s IFR inspections?” are easily answered by checking the app instead of having to dig through maintenance logs.

Not only does Coflyt help keep track of maintenance, but it also houses squawk lists that owner’s can send to maintenance shops as well as keeping track of Airworthiness Directives. If the pilot remembers at the end of flights to put the amount in, it even shows how much fuel is remaining in the airplane.

For flying clubs and partnerships, it provides easy scheduling without having to share calendars. Payments can also be taken and flights tracked. No more paper flight sheets after flights to track down.

As a pilot, it helps immensely to be organized. For $14 a month ($36/month for partnerships or flying clubs), that’s a small price to pay.