Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A better Perspective

Canc: Wx. It was marginal at best. A cold front had moved just south of the area and the low pressure area had lots of crud associated with it. Some airports were still reporting VFR, but most were changing to IFR and many were reporting high gusty winds. Since I wanted to do that )@#^ approach the conditions might be sufficient, but the other work in the pattern might not get done due to the winds. The trends predicted the weather to get worse.

So I drove out to the airport anyway, just to see the actual conditions at the field for myself. As I was getting out of the car my CFII called to offer his opinion and I decided not to go. I went into the office to cancel the flight and schedule another for next week. (If the weather ever breaks I'll try to go sooner, but the 'weather guessers' say its not going to get flyable for awhile.)

The Owner was sitting behind the desk and asked how things were going. I'm making progress, but not as fast as I thought I would. I love the airplane and am having fun, I like working with his staff and the CFII, so things are good. He has a deep background in power plant and systems technology and started asking probing questions about my last 'non-flight'. Evidently resetting the autopilot cb really should not have fixed the problem. He suspects that the controls were not neutralized properly during the check which may have lead to the failed servo indication. Interesting.

...and then the other systems questions started popping. The engine had been at low idle for awhhile, did I consider pushing the power up and burning off possible build up? Why does the book say do a mag check at 1700 RPM (not 2000 like it is for most other aircraft I've flown)? Why do you check to insure the flap light is not on when you do the battery check during preflight? How can you tell if the external lights are working from cockpit indications? What are the nominal engine indications during takeoff or cruise? What key indicator engine indicator should you monitor during Takeoff and climb out? Have you noticed that when you disconnect the autopilot the electric trim doesn't respond immediately?

...and many more "why's" and "how's". It was a good workout, and I'm afraid I didn't do too well. This is partly due to my current perspective. I realize the systems work is important, even vital for single engine operations in IFR conditions, but I'm still at that stage focused on checklists and procedures. I've yet to graduate to the "why" kind of questions.

It was great hanger talk. I'm not sure that all of the questions could be answered by studying the POH. This conversation provided motivation to learn more about the airplane...and enjoy the journey to becoming proficient again.


  1. Wow, sounds like a good mental workout. Was this Tom? He knows his stuff and on a good day he is very personable to talk to and learn from.

  2. Yes, I enjoy talking with Tom. I have to make arrangements to fly with him sometime, I'm sure it would be a great workout.