Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Commercial Pilot training

I've been thinking about it for a couple of years.  And now I've stopped thinking and started doing something about it.  I'm officially working on my Commercial Pilot certificate.
As part of this, I have to have 20 hours of instruction, including 10 hours in a "complex" airplane.  That's defined as a plane with retractable gear and a constant speed prop.  My go-to rental outfit, Above and Beyond Aviation, has a Piper Arrow, N77WE, that I can use.  As it turns out, I need 10 hours of instruction in this airplane to meet the insurance requirements needed for solo flight.  So I've been flying with John Prickett and have accumulated 8.3 hrs as of this writing. 
Most of the work we do is flying what are called performance maneuvers:  Chandelles, Lazy-8's, steep turns and steep spirals, power off accuracy landings and turns on Pylons.  Some of this I can practice in my plane, but a lot of it is muscle memory kind of stuff, and the Arrow handles very different from the RV.  When I cut power in the RV, it glides very nicely at 85 knots.  I can almost fly a normal traffic pattern with the power off.  In fact, if I don't stretch it a little, I'll overshoot the field.  In the Arrow, when you cut power, you better be starting your base turn.  The plane is going down!  I'm trying to simulate this in my RV by slowing to 80 knots and adding full flaps at the numbers on downwind.  But it's still not quite the same.
Another difference is Chandelles.  In the Arrow, I can pitch at about 15 degrees and finish the turn at a slow enough airspeed.  But in the RV, I really have to pull on the stick.  The RV will happily climb at 70 knots at 15 degrees of pitch, and that's too fast for the finish of the Chandelle.
The other big difference is Lazy 8's.  In the RV I can fly nice even lobes to the maneuver because I can hear my airspeed as the fixed pitch prop drives engine RPM.  But in the Arrow, the engine always sounds the same (the constant speed prop keeps engine RPM the same).  So I have to look at the airspeed indicator more often, distracting from what is supposed to be a visual maneuver.

I don't plan to quit my day job to become a professional pilot, but this gives me good training, meets the needs of the Biennial flight review, and gives me more options.  I can do ferry flights, for instance, and get paid.  Besides, I like the way it sounds:  Instrument rated commercial pilot.

Nov 23, 2014
As I mentioned on my return from Virginia  post, my fuel flow reading has been unreliable.  Actually it had stopped working completely.  I tried re-crimping and even replacing the connectors.   No joy.  I finally broke down and ordered a new Red Cube fuel flow sensor from Dynon and installed it.  That fixed the problem.  That was with 3 years and 390 hours on the old sensor.

October 31, Halloween
I took a few pictures of the pet cemetery.  My brother in law sets this up every year.  The collection grows every year. They are all real stories.

Oct 25, 2014
So I'm at Spicewood pulling up to the fuel pump and there is another RV. He moves out of the way and I pull in and shutdown. We get to talking. RV'ers will recognize Daryl Tolliver. He's just passing through. The world is small when you have an RV. I often meet people I know from the forums. It was a pleasure to meet you Daryl!