Powered by Lycoming

About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

23 January 2007

DA40 Lights

Here they are, in all their puny glory. The ultra-dim taxi and landing lights, courtesy of the engineers at Diamond Aircraft. Seriously, guys...I know that the leading edge is rather skinny....but couldn't you mount something more powerful on the nose cowling? Apparently, the DA40 was only meant to be landed on brilliantly lit runways at night. I don't think that I would ever be tempted to land on a grass strip with these wal-mart flashlight excuses for lights. Okay. I'm off my soapbox now. The DA40 is a great plane, great avionics, handling, performance, etc.....just needs better lights.

Floody Waters

After a long rainy spell in Coshocton, the weather finally cleared up and a 30.65inHg high pressure zone camped out over the fields and vales of this part of Ohio. It was absolutely beautiful all day, so after work, I was itchin' to get out and enjoy the day. You can see me soaking in the warm rays in the opposing photo. Very nice. Even nicer was that I have become such an expert with taxiing the DA40, that I can do it with my eyes shut (see photo). Let's just say that the Dad's pucker factor was WAY up, and we hadn't even left the ground. This flight, incidentally, marked my first two un-assisted landings in the DA40, and there were no tail strikes:). I still think that Dad was a little apprehensive on short final about whether I would flare right...

Anyhoo...lots of rain means floody waters. The Muskingum River was up about 17ft above flood stage, and it really shows in the pictures below.
These pictures were taken in the Muskingum River valley, just north of Dresden, OH. A little bit o' water flowing over those banks, huh? It's really neat to fly over the river and see where the river USED to flow 500 years ago. Pretty neat.

Speaking of pretty neat, we then headed north to Mohawk Dam, one of the several flood control dams in the Muskingum Valley Watershed. At the time that this photo was taken, the lake level in Mohawk Dam was about 50ft above normal winter pool. You can check out the real time lake levels in the Muskingum Valley Watershed courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers here. Of course, you can always just fly over and check them out real-time yourself. Can you read the lake level marker from 1800ft AGL? Yeah, I didn't think so...
Mohawk Dam from about 3 miles away....

Directly over Lake Mohawk, looking west

Directly over Lake Mohawk, looking south

DA50 Superstar

Watch out, Mary Katharine!! There's a new SuperStar in town, and it doesn't have smelly pits. "Sometimes, when I'm shooting an instrument approach at minimums, and I get nervous, I put my hands under my armpits and then I smell them....like this.....SSSSNNNIIIIIIIFFFFF!"

Apparently, Diamond didn't think of the marketing implications when it named its new aircraft to compete with the Columbia 400....so here you have it - the four-bladed, 350HP DA50 "Super Star". It chews up SR22's, Cherokee Sixes, Columbia 300's, Bonanzas, Arrows, and a good plenty assortment of twins and eats them for lunch. At least I hope so. Maybe I can get a ride at Airventure 2008? I'll bet Mary Katharine Gallagher...the TRUE "SSSupahstar" would be able to get a ride.

11 January 2007

The Slim Pickens 2-Man Taxi

Went flying with Dad in the DA40 today, fresh out of the manufacturer's complimentary 25-hour oil change and general all-around checkup. It's really kind of odd, but Diamond will cover pretty much everything that is needed for an annual on a 25-hour check, except for the following:

1.) Weigh & check charge in Fire Extinguisher
2.) Test & Check magnetic compass
3.) Something else rather mundane.....(I'll update later)

Odd....I wonder why they don't just pick up the tab and give you a fresh annual when you buy the airplane and take it in for the 25-hour service. Anyhoo....We went flying this evening, and it was w-i-n-d-y! Winds at 2500ft were about 35kts, and winds at 4500ft were 50kts out of the southwest. If I was flying to Buffalo, I could've been there in 1 hr 30 min. But, I wasn't. Just getting a little more familiar with the aircraft. It's a lot different than a cessna, especially when you want to fly traffic patterns, in this regard - you really need to start pulling the throttle back once you climb off the end of the runway. I was not really looking at my altitude for the first takeoff, and I went to take my cross-wind leg in the traffic pattern and had completely blowm my altitude. I was at 2100ft, and still climbing at 1300FPM! It just all happened so fast....usually at this point in the C172, I'm about 200 ft short of pattern altitude and not even thinking about reducing power yet. Something to really keep in mind when I fly this newer aircraft in the future.

Well, we went around a couple of times and had fun playing in the crosswinds and the gusty conditions, and managed to get four landings in. On rollout of the fourth landing, I was sitting in the left seat completly oblivious, when Dad started to turn the aircraft towards the right side of the runway, and then brought the aircraft to a stop. It was then that I noticed the intense Whump-Whump-Whump, and Dad looked over at me and said "We have a flat tire. Shoot." We were stopped about 1500ft short of the turnoff at the end, and crept slowly along to clear the active runway before we got out and inspected the aircraft. Mains were okay....the NOSE was flat. Fortunately, only one of the wheel pants sustained minor damage, but how
were we going to get the aircraft back up the hill to the hangar? Hmmmmm.......

The DA40 is fairly well balanced, like most aircraft usually are required by the FAA to be, so we started by pushing down on the tail, just in front of the vertical stabilizer and pushing on the trailing edge of the wing, just at the root of the wing. After pushing the DA40 about 300 ft up the 1% grade of the taxiway off the end of Runway 4, we could see a very long and frustrating evening getting this aircraft back to the hangar. Well, at that point, we decided to perform the Slim Pickens 2-Man Taxi maneuver, much in the same fashion as Slim Pickens rode that H-bomb down to earth in Dr. Strangelove.
I hung my 200lbs over the rear fuselage to keep the nose wheel off the ground and Dad started the engine up and taxied slowly back to the hangar. It's rather windy back there.....I can't imagine what it would be like at 2700RPM! Shoot! You fellers shoulda been there! A feller could have a pretty good time in Vegas with all that!

03 January 2007

Columbus at Night

Tonight, we had a full moon and some extremely clear skies, so I stayed inside and watched TV all night. WRONG! I went flying with my Dad, and we headed for Columbus, OH. I've been wanting to fly into CMH for a while, and even though Dad was a little trepadacious, he agreed to fly into a big busy Class C airport.

We were cruising along at about 4500ft just sipping fuel in the DA40, and listened in to 120.2 to monitor approach on our way in, which was remarkably quiet. We even wondered if we had the frequency on right. So, we called in and picked up a transponder code from CMH approach. Minutes later, we got the call "Uhh....Delta-Sierra....can you increase to maximum airspeed? You are the first of eight aircraft coming in for landing." The skies were really clear, and we could see probably 50-60miles very easily, and the landing lights just started popping on all over. It was real exciting, but we managed to fly a straight-in approach to 28L at CMH and stayed ahead of the plethora of lawn darts that were coming in behind us. We told CMH ground that we were headed to KOSU, just a hop, skip, and jump across town.

The G1000 and DA40 dashboard is GREAT at night. The panel is extremely well lit and has lots of adjustment with dimmers and you can really fit it to whatever brightness level that you need. Totally much nicer than the C172. However, the big detractor to flying the DA40 at night is that the landing lights are weak and pathetic. I think that most lawn tractors have better headlights than a DA40. Diamond.....you need to put some Hella hi-intensity lights in these aircraft so that you can actually SEE the centerline of the runway you are trying to land on!

Obviously, I tried taking photos during this flight, but the camera I used didn't have super-great low-light capabilities, even though we had a full moon. The best photos I took were over Columbus, with the city lights all blurred as we flew over. Pretty neat effect...but not what I was hoping for.

On our way back from OSU, we stopped at Mt Vernon, Newark, and Zanesville airports, before heading for the barn at I40 and putting the DA40 away for the night. We flew 2.9hrs and logged 7 landings, two of which were at a towered airport! Not too shabby for my first flight of 2007!