Category Archives: Tips / Technology for Pilots

ForeFlight

ForeFlight Mobile has released Version 4, the latest version of its popular app for the iPhone and iPad, to help guide pilots on the ground and during flights. The ForeFlight software application has been popular among pilots of small planes since its initial release, and Version 4 promises to offer even more helpful tools for flying such as a new airspaces feature, integrated FAA “green book” A/FD, navigation log, personal waypoints, plates organizer, and more. The technology isn’t perfect yet, but the latest version is a good additional resource to supplement the knowledge and on-plane tools that every pilot is working with.

The Pros of ForeFlight Mobile HD Version 4

Many pilots rave about ForeFlight for the instant access to A/FD, airport intelligence, flight planning, high quality weather and service providers, as well as its customized system for radar, satellite data and visualizing charts that assist in flight or at the airport. It offers a Download Manager that provides the latest data on a 28-day cycle, flight planning tools, and enhanced weather forecast imagery.

Version 4 does provide some striking enhancements, which are particularly helpful in the following areas:

  • Able to check airspace, fuel prices, NOTAMS, TFRs, weather, and wind aloft
  • Approved source of FAA chart supplements
  • Downloads approach plates, diagrams, IFT charts, and VFR charts for the entire U.S.
  • GPS moving map
  • File flight plan
  • Provides accurate airport information
  • Weather information on board
  • With a Bad Elf external antenna you will have GPS while in flight
  • IFR and VFR charts available
  • FBO information is available for every airport in country, it will have the contact numbers and the current fuel price.

What Does “Roger” Really Mean?

For most of us, we learned to use the word “Roger” early in our aviation career. We learned that it simply means that we heard and understand what the other person said. We were clearly taught that it connotes no permission or authorizations. For whatever reason, we then go through our career or hobby of flying and hardly ever use that word. And we seldom hear it spoken by ATC!

So what happens when we have a problem on the airfield and we tell ATC that we need to do something and they say “Roger?” What does that mean? Let me give you a recent example.

A C-210 received ATC clearance to taxi via Taxiway Juliette and to cross Runway 1/19. En-route, the C-210 pilot advised ATC that the aircraft just blew a tire. The pilot requested to exit the aircraft to inspect the wheel. The Tower authorized the pilot’s request and asked the pilot to advise if he needed help.

At this time, a C-172 reported inbound with a request for full stop landings or touch and go’s on Runway 1. The tower cleared the C172 as requested. (Can you see the Runway Incursion scenario developing?)

The C-210 pilot came back on the frequency stating he had a wheel come apart. The Tower asked his intentions, and the C210 pilot said if he moved the aircraft it would do damage and requested to go to an FBO. (Getting to the FBO from the damaged C-210 would require a runway crossing.) The Tower responded “roger.” The pilot responded, “Thank you very much.”

The Tower then observed two men on foot walking towards the runway. The tower called the C-210 several times with no response. The Tower, after observing the men crossing the actual runway told the inbound C-172 to go around and enter right traffic for Runway 1, later changing clearance to land on Runway 5.

It appears to me that with the additional stress caused by the blown tire, when the pilot made his request to go to the FBO, he expected the Tower to give him a “Yes” or a “No”, and when the Tower replied with a simple, “Roger,” he forgot his early training that “Roger” is not an authorization — and started hiking!

Fortunately, the pilot of the C-172 executed a proper go-around and landed safely on another runway.

The Aeronautical Information Manual is the authoritative source for proper aviation communications. You might want to take an opportunity to review communication procedures in the AIM: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/. But most of all, remember your early training – “Roger” only means that someone heard what was said; it does not give authority to do something.

Remember that crossing any runway, whether in an airplane, a vehicle, or on foot, always requires a specific authorization from ATC.

Have a safe and enjoyable Summer of Flying!

Hybrid Airliners Could Be In Our Future

 

Sugar Volt:  Nick Kaloterakis

 

SUGAR VOLT, BOEING

Target Date: 2035
The best way to conserve jet fuel is to turn off the gas engines. That’s only possible with an alternative power source, like the battery packs and electric motors in the Boeing SUGAR Volt’s hybrid propulsion system. The 737-size, 3,500-nautical-mile-range plane would draw energy from both jet fuel and batteries during takeoff, but once at cruising altitude, pilots could switch to all-electric mode. At the same time Boeing engineers were rethinking propulsion, they also rethought wing design. “By making the wing thinner and the span greater, you can produce more lift with less drag,” says Marty Bradley, Boeing’s principal investigator on the project. The oversize wings would fold up so pilots could access standard boarding gates. Together, the high-lift wings, the hybrid powertrain and the efficient open-rotor engines would make the SUGAR Volt 55 percent more efficient than the average airliner. The plane would emit 60 percent less carbon dioxide and 80 percent less nitrous oxide. Additionally, the extra boost the hybrid system provides at takeoff would enable pilots to use runways as short as 4,000 feet. (For most planes, landing requires less space than takeoff.) A 737 needs a minimum of 5,000 feet for takeoff, so the SUGAR Volt could bring cross-country flights to smaller airports.—Rose Pastore

Source: Pastore, Rose “Jet Setters” Popular Science May 2012


The 2012 Cirrus Features

New Additions to the Cirrus SR22 for 2012

The Cirrus SR22 is known as the flagship aircraft from this leading manufacturer of small planes in the United States. The SR22 is seeing some exciting new additions this year, including extra seating, new appearance packages, an enhanced onboard satellite telephone system and a fully integrated communication system. It looks like 2012 is a great year to be flying one of these sleek single-engine planes.

Seating for Five

The SR22 has historically been a four-seater, but now Cirrus is offering “60/40 FlexSeating” in the back that allows for one additional person to sit comfortably. Optional seat belts also provide customized seating for one adult and two children in the rear seat. The new seating system weighs 10 pounds less than its predecessor, despite its increased capacity.

Appearance Packages

Cirrus has classed up its appearance packages to provide a sense of luxury, sophistication and style in the cockpit and rear. New appearance options range from the classic style of the Platinum Package to the modern Carbon Package, inspired by the adrenaline of flight.

New Satellite Telephone System

The on-board satellite telephone system now available for Cirrus SR22s enables both voice calls and text messaging during flights, as well as worldwide weather radar coverage. Pilots can use the same keypad that they program the GPS with to type and send text messages, making communication from the cockpit a breeze. The option is now being included as a way for passengers to stay connected en route, which is especially pertinent to business travelers, according to Matt Bergwall of Cirrus.

Perspective Global Connect™

This new communication technology for the SR22 allows pilots to communicate like never before. Having this fully integrated communication system within easy reach allows pilots to see worldwide weather reports with graphics on a screen right in front of them. The system also includes a satellite phone from Iridium® Communications that allows text messaging through the MFD and group or private calls through headsets in the cabin.

Weather Inside And Outside Of The Cockpit

In the coming weeks, pilots can expect to see mountain waves in several snowy, mountainous regions. When wind flow is perpendicular to a mountain, as the wind velocity and altitude increase during an inversion below 15,000 feet, or a stable air mass layer aloft, mountain waves will occur. These atmospheric disturbances are characterized by lenticular clouds that alert pilots to their potentially deadly presence. It’s possible to predict mountain waves and other atmospheric disturbances with a high level of accuracy, though, giving pilots a chance to decide whether or not to fly under such conditions.

How to Check for Weather Conditions Before and During Your Flight
There are a couple of ways to check the weather for disturbances such as mountain waves before you fly, mainly through observations and weather forecasts. There are also online weather resources, including the Aviation Weather Center and DUATS.

Observations:
• Metar – Airman’s meteorological reports
• Radar Summary Charts – Reports showing analyses of precipitation surface with cold fronts, warm fronts and areas of high or low pressure
• Surface Analysis Reports – Focus on areas of high or low pressure, as well as cold or warm fronts
• U.A. – Real-time reports from fellow pilots (recommended)

Weather Forecasts:
• 12/24-Hour Prognostic Reports – Show where cold fronts, warm fronts and areas of high or low pressure are going to move
• F.A. – Explains reasons for weather forecasts in different areas
• TAF’s Terminal Aerodrome Report – Provides expected future weather for area surrounding airports (not available for all airports)


Deciding Whether or Not to Fly – Know Before You Go
In addition to mountains waves, thunderstorms are also a serious danger to pilots during this time of year. You should always be ready to change your plans or land if you’re presented with scattered storms, as the pilot did on a recent SR22 flight from San Diego, CA to Sarasota, FL, which is pictured below.


The pilot used an Avidyne radio and XM Satellite Weather to predict the weather and made the important decision to land.  In order to make a proper go/no go decision, it is necessary to understand the weather and where and how it is generated, so you can effectively predict whether atmospheric changes are likely to occur in the areas where you will be flying. Pilots who are proficient at flying in different environments may also be able to take more risks, whereas inexperienced pilots are in greater danger when flying into mountain waves and other atmospheric disruptions. Pilots should always look at weather observations and forecasts before flying, recognize their personal limits and the limits of their plane, and be ready to make adjustments during the flight if necessary.

Features and Benefits of The Cirrus Perspective By Garmin

Cirrus caused a buzz in the aviation world in 2008 when the aircraft manufacturer finally launched the much-awaited Perspective. The Cirrus Perspective by Garmin is a standard cockpit. It employs many of the same underlying technologies as the G1000 system, but is designed solely for Cirrus’ specifications. It offers numerous benefits and new features that Cirrus pilots will surely appreciate.

These are the most exciting features and benefits of the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin:

  • Autopilot Control Yaw Damper: The yaw damper reduces rolling and yawing oscillations caused by Dutch roll mode, and the new version has an intuitive autopilot control system.
  • Flight Management System: The FMS in the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin is a more user-friendly version of the computer system that automatically performs many in-flight tasks.  It basically gives the pilot a keypad like your computer.
  • Flight Path Indicator: This technology provides a clear display of the path the airplane is on at any given time.
  • HSI Display: This display shows a predetermined course for the pilot, which replaces the gauges and other hardware that pilots have traditionally relied on to create a mental picture of the situation their airplane is in.
  • New Autopilot: The Garmin autopilot offers a blue level button.  The will level the wings, recover unusual attitude and provide flawless instrument approaches.
  • Synthetic Vision: This new virtual reality display system for cockpits uses 3D technology to give pilots a clearer and more insightful understanding of the environment in which they’re flying.
  • Terrain Avoidance Warning System: The TAWS is highly reliable and efficient, as it automatically warns the flight crew of potential collisions with terrain, giving the crew plenty of time to react before danger strikes.

This is truly the safest cockpit option available in general aviation!