Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kick the Tires, light the fires

I'm sure it was really never that easy. As A/C have become more complex the ground procedures to check the myriad systems the pilot depends upon have by necessity become more involved as well. This session focused on those procedures.

The weather was perfect. A beautiful day sandwiched between a fast moving cold front with embedded hail storms and another stationary front funneling rain showers along the low pressure area.

Objective: Familiarization with enroute procedures and practice in the landing pattern. The CFII suggested that we go to Reading (KRDG).

I'm becoming more comfortable with the preflight and initial cockpit procedures. The flow of items make good sense to me. I still bump my head, takes me awhile to adjust my seat and get it started but I'm confident that will improve. As we finished the break check an Eclipse Jet taxied through the ramp area..what a shame.

My attention turned to getting the plane to the run up area. MFD switched to engine functions and checked to insure HSI and turn indicator track properly and manage the speed, with occasional right brake to counter torque. Then make sure the nose wheel is centered once turned into the wind.
Next came the "Run Up", actually the Before Takeoff checklist. I did 'OK" with most of the steps. finally got the autopilot check, although I got confused trying to set the trim when I failed to disconnect it. My major stumbling block this time was the memory items. Anxious to push the power up 'precisely' 1700 RPM, I forgot how I was going to check the alternators and voltages. Rats. Another lesson learned.

We took some time to set up the navigation and communication radios on the GNS430s. Using the chart function on the MFD to find frequencies, approaches and airport data needed for the trip is great.I've made a note to switch my current chart subscription to Jeppeson. Checklist complete, it was time to move to the hold short line.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the plane to turn right. Try as I might to release the left brake I just kept going left. After shutting down we found the left tire was flat. Fortunate to find it here, but nonetheless disappointed our session was over...except for the walk back to the office.

Time =0.6

Footnote: We had a very good discussion about the use of the airframe parachute. Another well known blogger had written an excellent analysis of the situation and what contributing factors may have led to the use of one in Gaithersburg. Key was the discussion about solid head work and decision making that must accompany the added sophistication the Cirrus designs provide.


  1. Ahh, Bummer. I was late getting out of work and passed by the airport about 5:20, noting the georgeous weather and wishing I didn't have to get home, otherwise, I would have pulled in and rented on the spot.

    Reading is a nice airport. If you haven't flown in there, make note that even though it is CLASS DELTA, it does have an Approach/Departure frequency like CLASS CHARLIE. If you call tower, they make you call Approach first, which sometimes hands you back to Tower about a minute later. Great restaurant there too, make sure to make a trip there after the checkout is complete with your wife. See you tomorrow night.

  2. Hi Dave! God to se you're back at it. Ain't glass a hoot!