Is The Approach Active? Flying Garmin Instrument Approaches Seminar

Is The Approach Active? Flying Garmin Instrument Approaches Seminar

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Hank Gibson from Texas Top Aviation will be presenting a seminar on flying Garmin instrument approaches with the different Garmin GPS units.  Whether you have a Garmin 530/430 unit, a Garmin GTN 750/650 unit, or a Garmin G1000, all will be discussed.  You’ll walk away with some tips and tricks, plus a better understanding of your Garmin unit.

WINGs credit will be given for attending.  The seminar is hosted by Redbird Skyport at the San Marcos Airport (KHYI) in Redbird’s large conference room.  The seminar will begin at 10am on Saturday, June 30th, 2018.

It’s always quicker to fly than drive and Redbird has plenty of ramp space to accommodate seminar attendees.

Registration is required.  Please visit the registration page on FAASafety.gov.  Space is limited to 20 individuals, so please make sure you register if you want to attend.

Garmin GTN 750 Tips & Tricks

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The Garmin GTN 750 is an awesome piece of equipment.  Garmin tried to make the user interface with the touch screen as simple as possible (though there still is a bit of a learning curve when moving up from a Garmin 530W).  Garmin also integrated several key features that the 530W did not have that makes flying with a Garmin GTN 750 in IFR all that much better.

The two features of the Garmin GTN 750 I want to focus on today are the “Load Airway” feature and the “Hold at Waypoint” feature.  If a pilot isn’t looking for these specifically, they can actually be a bit hard to find.  The “Load Airway” feature is especially handy when flying IFR long distances with several airways as part of the clearance.  Here’s how to utilize both.

Load Airway

  1. On your flight plan page, insert the waypoint that you will be joining the airway, or, if your clearance was radar vectors to join an airway, then insert the waypoint on the airway that begins the leg you will be joining on.
  2. Tap the waypoint you just inserted.
  3. A menu will pop up.  Tap Load Airway.
  4. Select the Airway you want from the next menu that pops up.
  5. Then, a list of waypoints will display to exit the airway.  Select the waypoint where you will be exiting the airway.
    1. Note:  Garmin defaults to listing these waypoints alphabetically.  If you unselect the “Sort Alpha” option, it will sort the waypoints by direction and distance from the entry waypoint.  This is a little more practical, easier to work with, and how I recommend doing it.  This way you can either scroll up or down depending on the direction of travel on the airway and find your exit waypoint.
  6. Tap Load.
  7. The Airway and all the waypoints in between your entry and exit waypoints appear in your flight plan.
  8. If you are getting vectors to join the airway, you’ll need to use the Activate Leg function to activate the leg you will be joining the airway on.
    1. On the Flight Plan page, tap the waypoint that ends the leg you want to activate.
    2. On the menu that pops up, tap Activate Leg.

Hold At Waypoint

The Garmin GTN 750 allows pilots to place a holding pattern at any waypoint that is in the Nav Database (or any user created waypoint).  Here’s how to do it.

  1. On the Flight Plan page, tap the Waypoint that you want to hold at.
  2. On the menu that pops up, tap Hold At Waypoint
  3. On the next menu that pops up, input either the inbound or outbound course, right or left turns, leg time or distance, and the EFC time, then tap Load.
  4. You will see the hold now as a Waypoint in your flight plan.

 

Once the hold is entered, the GPS will go into Suspend mode, suspending the Flight Plan Waypoint Sequencing.  Once you are ready to depart the hold, you will have to tap Unsuspend before crossing the holding point on the inbound leg, then the GPS will resume normal waypoint sequencing.

These are 2 of the really cool, gee-wiz features of the Garmin GTN 750.  Following the above steps will make IFR flying much easier for the pilot, as well as much more enjoyable!

The Importance of Slowing Down

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Technology has made our job as pilots simpler, streamlined, and safer.  With all the new GPS & autopilot technology that seems to come out every month, flying an airplane is getting easier every day (and when I say flying, I mean programming!).  I can’t tell you the last time I actually used a VOR for navigation, other than a practice approach.  The AIM even has guidance in it now allowing pilots to use the GPS overlay on a VOR or LOC approach instead of switching to the actual NavAid on the course needle (you have to WAAS in order to legally do this).

I hear the argument already.  I am young (31) and used to all the different touchscreens because I have grown up with them.  Tech is nothing new to me.  It’s not that easy for everyone, I do understand.  There is also the argument that all the tech causes pilots to not know how to fly the airplane, which is also valid. This is why I put an emphasis on hand flying in any kind of training I do.

For the sake of argument in this article, yes, I am young and I adapt to technology pretty easily.  I’m not afraid to press buttons to figure out what they do, but I usually do it while sitting on the ground with a GPU hooked up (or I go look in the manual).  And yes, all the autopilot ability has caused a decrease in base pilot skills.  I actually encourage every customer I have to go get a tailwheel rating so that they can actually learn how to fly better.  You don’t use a rudder much in a Cirrus compared to a Super Cub or a Citabria.

What I want to focus on for a few minutes is how to alleviate the frustration that comes with getting so wrapped up in the technology when it doesn’t do something that you want it to, or the wrong button gets pressed, then you end up somewhere you had no intention of being.

The biggest thing a pilot can do when it comes to technology is NEVER to get in a hurry.  Good training is first and foremost, but, after that when flying without an instructor or even in recurrent training, SLOW DOWN and think through what you are doing and what you want the system to do.  This will alleviate a ton of frustration.

It can be very easy in hot, turbulent weather to get tuned in to the GPS programming, trying to do five or six different things in the span of five or six seconds, before looking up and realizing that plane is 500 feet off altitude (without an autopilot) or you blew through the course you were supposed to be intercepting (with an autopilot).

What I teach is to slow down, whether or not you have an autopilot, and do one thing at a time.  Once that item is done, look up at the instruments or the horizon, check on things, make sure the airplane is still flying properly, then do the next thing.  Don’t try and do a bunch of things all at once or in a hurry.  It will usually get you off course and off altitude, plus it distracts the pilot from his main job:  Flying the airplane.

So, next time you want to do something on your GPS, pause, take a breath, think through what you want to do, then do one item at a time.  The outcome will be less frustrating and you’ll keep flying where you want to go.

Cirrus Alternator Failure

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A Cirrus is an electric airplane.  There are no vacuum pumps and therefore no vacuum driven instruments. The Klapmeier brothers did this on purpose, trying to make it a modern airplane.  No vacuum systems means no vacuum pump failures, hence there is a lower likelihood of instrument failures in IMC.

What Cirrus did instead was put a lot of electricity producing and storing devices in the airplane.  All SR20 and SR22s are equipped with 2 engine driven alternators and 2 backup batteries.  Alternator 1 is a 28 volt alternator (the amperage varies based on whether or not you have an air conditioner) while Alternator 2 is a 28.5 volt alternator.  There are 2 24 volt backup batteries, as well.  Battery 1 is also used for starting.

In traditional airplanes that have 1 alternator, an alternator failure can affect a lot of things.  Depending on how many electronics are in the airplane, the battery can get depleted quite quickly.

The Cirrus electrical system is quite ingenious.  It’s a little bit different based on whether you have an Avidyne Cirrus or a Garmin Perspective Cirrus.  I will discuss that further below.

The main goal of this article is to talk through what happens in the event of a #1 Cirrus Alternator Failure (an Alternator 2 failure actually isn’t a big deal at all, though Alt 2 is required for IFR flight), the procedure for trying to fix it, and a technique I have developed that makes the pilot’s job easier.  First, let’s go through the #1 Cirrus Alternator Failure procedure.

Alternator 1 Failure

In either avionics configuration, the Cirrus Alternator Failure procedure is the same.

  • Check and reset the circuit breaker for Alternator 1 (Reset only once)
  • Cycle the Alternator 1 master switch
  • If Alternator 1 doesn’t come back online, leave the Alternator 1 master switch off and shed load on the battery

Avidyne Entegra

The Avidyne Entegra has 2 busses, the Main Bus and the Essential Bus.  Alternator 2 isn’t set to come on until the engine RPM reaches 1700.  While on the ground, Alternator 1 runs both the Main and Essential Buses.  In the air, Alternator 1 runs the Main Bus and Alternator 2 runs the Essential Bus.  Since Alt 2 is 28.5 volts, the higher voltage won’t allow the power from Alt 1 to cross over and run the Essential Bus.  There are also 2 one-way directional diodes that prevent the voltage from Alt 2 to cross over and run the Main Bus.

Having said all that, when Alternator 1 fails, Battery 1 is now running the items on the Main Bus.  There are a significant number of items on the Main Bus which causes the 24 volt battery to quickly lose it’s charge. This precipitates the need for shedding load.  Items like GPS 2, the air conditioner and aircraft lights can all be turned off.

In the above scenario, Alternator 2 is running the Essential Bus still that has all the Essential items on it.  Those include:

  • The PFD
  • Flight Instruments and associated Avidyne computers
  • Engine Instruments and associated Avidyne computers
  • GPS 1
  • Com 1
  • Nav 1
  • Autopilot
  • Stall Warning
  • Charging Battery 2

Note 2 important items that are not on the Essential Bus:  the flaps and the landing light (which is very handy at night).  Those two are only on the Main Bus, which Battery 1 is now powering.

Let’s further enhance our scenario.  You are flying over Nevada (quite remote and not a lot of airports) at night, 30 minutes from the nearest airport when your Alt 1 fails.  When you get to the airport you are planning on landing at, you want to have your flaps and your landing light, but we don’t know how long Battery 1 will last.

The solution (this is where my technique comes in):  Turn off the Battery 1 master switch.  This is an easy solution to ensuring you have battery power to use your flaps and landing light.  Instead of going through and shedding load, simply turn off the source.  You’ll still have all the above items on the Essential Bus, which is all you need to keep safely flying.  Then, when you get to your landing airport, turn Battery 1 back on to utilize your flaps and landing light.

Garmin Perspective

Cirrus wired the Garmin Perspective plane a little bit differently.  There are now 2 Main Buses along with the Essential Bus.  Alternator 1 runs Main Bus 1, while Alternator 2 runs Main Bus 2 and the Essential Bus. Both Alternators are running all the time.  The Alternator 1 Failure procedure remains the same.

The cool thing that comes along with the second Main Bus in the Perspective is the amount of items you still have available to you in the event of an Alternator 1 failure.  The only items you lose will be:

  • Yaw Damper
  • Landing Light
  • Air Conditioner and associated components
  • EVS Camera
  • 12 Volt power supply in armrest

Everything else is powered off of Alternator 2.  That’s not much.  The only item you really want on the above list is the landing light if you are going to be landing at night.

Follow the Alternator 1 Failure procedure, then do my technique again.  Turn off Battery 1 to save the battery power in order to use the landing light when needed.

Cirrus did a great job creating an all electric airplane with plenty of backups in case something fails.  I focused mainly on the Alternator 1 failure here.  If Alternator 2 fails, the system is wired for Alternator 1 to run everything while still charging Battery 1 and 2.  No big deal.

In my experience, turning off Battery 1 to conserve battery power is just a simpler solution when shedding load in the event of a Cirrus Alternator Failure.

Cirrus Embark

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Free training?

Yes, you heard correctly.  Last fall, Cirrus released a program called Cirrus Embark.  The Cirrus Embark program offers 3 Free Days of Training to new purchasers of used Cirrus aircraft.  The 3 Days is equivalent to the Cirrus VFR Transition Training Course.

Previously, Cirrus offered free factory training to anyone who purchased a new Cirrus from the Cirrus factory. Now, anyone buying a used Cirrus gets the same offer through Cirrus Embark at their home airport with a local CSIP training provider.

IFR pilot?  No problem.  The Cirrus IFR Advanced Transition Training Course is 5 days in length, but the Cirrus Embark program covers the first 3, reducing the out of pocket pay to only 2 days.

Want more information?  Check out the Cirrus Embark website.

To get more information on both the VFR and IFR Cirrus Transition Training Courses, visit the Texas Top Aviation Cirrus Training Page.