News

Cirrus SR22 Partnership in Houston

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Ever wanted to be a Cirrus owner, but the economics of being a single owner just don’t make sense for you? If you’re in the Houston area, you now have a chance to join a Cirrus SR22 partnership at the West Houston Airport, KIWS.

The group, CirrusShare, is a 4 member group, but one of the members is looking to sell his share.  The airplane is a 2007 G3 SR22.  It is in excellent condition, with dual WAAS 430s and air conditioning.

If you would be interested, please contact Texas Top Aviation for more information.

N578AG

 

Scud Running

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I was speaking with a pilot a few months back who was not instrument rated.  He was telling me of his flying experience while continually speaking fondly of scud running.  He told me several stories, most of the time with a smile on his face, about scud running to his destination while staying clear of clouds.  While he was talking, my mind was cycling through the numerous accident reports I’ve seen where a scud running VFR pilot has crashed into terrain or an obstacle.  Needless to say, scud running is not a very good idea.

This pilot’s stories got me to thinking, how common is the practice of scud running amongst VFR only pilots?  As an instructor, I always teach my private students about personal minimums and making that no-go decision when clouds are below those personal minimums.  The act of scud running falls under several of those dangerous pilot mindsets, get-there-itis, invincibility, and macho-ism, to name a few.

To bring everyone on the same page, let’s define scud running.  Wikipedia has a very good definition:

Scud running is a practice in which pilots lower their altitude to avoid clouds or instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The goal of scud running is to stay clear of weather to continue flying with visual, rather than instrument, references. This practice is widely accepted to be dangerous, and has led to death in many cases from pilots flying into radio towers and high tension wires; however, even instrument-rated pilots sometimes elect to take the risk to avoid icing or embedded thunderstorms in cloud, or in situations where the minimum instrument altitudes are too high for their aircraft.

To put some numbers with that definition, a scud running VFR pilot would takeoff with a 1200-1500 foot ceiling and stay 700-1000 feet above the ground, right in the area where towers, hills, and rapidly rising terrain reside.

Scud Running

How do we change this mindset?  Well, if someone has been scud running for years without incident, the practice becomes normal, like the pilot I mentioned above.  The mindset of invincibility sets in and the practice continues.  This particular pilot can also lead other pilots to adopt the same practice, encouraging them that nothing will happen to them, since we all know that our pilot peers know better than our flight instructors (insert heavy sarcasm here).

In order to change this mindset, instructors need to emphasize personal minimums from day one.  This includes ceilings, visibility, and winds.  For a seasoned pilot, a review of accident statistics might help the process.

Scud running is not a safe practice.  If you’re a scud runner, you need to rethink your attitude.  Is getting there really worth it?

Still not convinced?  Read this pilot’s experience from AOPA.

Redbird Skyport Fly-In Rescheduled

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The Bluebonnet Fly-In at Redbird Skyport has been rescheduled due to weather and the recent flooding in San Marcos.  The new date for the Bluebonnet Fly-In will be Saturday, June 6th from 10am-4pm.

Hank Gibson of Texas Top Aviation will still be presenting on Garmin 430/530 Approaches this Saturday at 2pm in the large conference room at Redbird.

Cirrus Autopilot Check

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In the Pre-Takeoff Checklist for any Cirrus aircraft, it calls for pilots to perform a Cirrus Autopilot Check.  It is prudent to check the autopilot before your flight to ensure that all aspects of the autopilot are working properly.  The only problem is, the checklist doesn’t spell out how to perform the Cirrus Autopilot Check.  You would have to go to the POH for the airplane, which is usually in the back seat or a bag somewhere and therefore hard to get to, in order to find the procedure.

The procedure for checking the autopilot is slightly different depending on what autopilot is in your airplane.  The procedures for all three are below.

S-TEC 55x

  • Sync the heading bug to your current heading
  • Activate heading mode on the autopilot
  • Twist the heading bug left and right to ensure the ailerons move left and right
  • Sync the heading bug to your current heading
  • Activate vertical speed mode on the autopilot
  • Move the vertical speed bug (or the vertical speed on the altitude pre-selector if you have a steam gauge Cirrus) up and down to ensure the elevator moves accordingly
  • Ensure you can overpower the autopilot
  • Press the autopilot disconnect switch to ensure the autopilot shuts off

 

Avidyne DFC 90

  • Press the AP button to activate the autopilot
  • Ensure AP, ROLL, and PITCH Annunciations are depicted in green on the top of the PFD
  • Set the heading bug 90 degrees from the current heading
  • Press the HDG button on the autopilot
  • Ensure the ailerons are moving in the proper direction and HDG is annunciated on the top of the PFD
  • Ensure you can overpower the autopilot
  • Press the autopilot disconnect switch on the stick and ensure the autopilot has disconnected

 

DFC90

Garmin GFC 700

  • Press the AP button to activate the autopilot
  • Ensure you can overpower the autopilot
  • Press the autopilot disconnect switch on the stick to ensure the autopilot has disconnected

Cirrus SR20 Partnership Forming at KHYI

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Ever wanted to be a Cirrus owner, but the economics of being a single owner just don’t make sense for you? If you’re in the San Marcos/New Braunfels/Austin area, you now have a chance to join a Cirrus SR20 partnership at the San Marcos Municipal airport, KHYI.

The Cirrus SR20 partnership group is looking for 2-4 more members to buy in to a 2006 or 2007 Cirrus SR20 GTS.  The plane will be kept at KHYI and the group already has a hangar for it.

For more information, please contact Texas Top Aviation at info@txtopaviation.com.

Cirrus SR20 Training