The twin-turbine Bell 412 helicopter I fly for Baptist Hospital in North Carolina sucks a lot of Jet-A. This is why when we land at FBOs, the line crews have big smiles.
Do you remember the days before digital watches or clocks? When we were asked for the time, the answer usually would be something like “It’s almost 2:30″ or “About 1:15.” Then came digital timekeeping and the answers became “2:28″ or “1:13.”
For those of us who use general aviation to travel, conversations often come up comparing the use of our airplanes to the commercial airlines. This has become a major issue since Sept. 11 and the absolute mess the commercial airline system is in right now. The growth of fractional jet ownership organizations is one direct result. But what about small plane GA versus the airlines?
In June, I flew my plane 38.4 hours, of which 37.3 were all cross-country. I was in IMC for 15.9 of those hours and shot two localizer, two ILS, and two GPS approaches — and all six were to within 100 feet of minimums. My personal airline had a 100% dispatch reliability and on time record for those trips, but I did all the work. Well, maybe not all the work. I had George to help me.
My Cardinal RG recently returned to service after a pretty extensive annual inspection. The 12 months leading up to that annual were good because not one trip was canceled due to maintenance problems and only one trip was delayed.
What better way to end another great year of traveling in my Cardinal RG than a December business trip to Canada? (Yeah, I know, a better way might have been a trip to the Bahamas.) Wheels up from my Rowan County, N.C., airport (RUQ) base at 1 p.m., with an OAT of 55°, and 3.5 flying hours later (and a 35° temperature drop) I’m landing after a back-course localizer approach in snow at the Waterloo Airport in Kitchener, Ontario.
A few months ago, my column addressed pilots as SCUBA enthusiasts, and the subject of combining flying with dive destinations. The excellent response I received from that column only enforced my belief in the flying-diving connection.
From mid-November of last year until mid-February of this year, I was at “non-flying” status while recovering from surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear. I used the time as effectively as I could. I put my Cardinal RG in for an extensive annual inspection, leaving my mechanic with a long list of items to check and attack now, while they weren’t problems. With the airframe having just turned 3,000 hours, I wanted to have a “hit list” of favorite items looked at in greater detail. Now that the plane is fully refurbished, I feel it’s time to start going back through it again during regularly scheduled maintenance to double check additional items which, although not a problem now, are known to give problems.
This is the second in a three-part series describing the problem with the writer’s currrent avionics package, the solution and his experience flying with the new avionics choices he made. – Editor.
This is the first in a three-part series describing the problem with the writer’s currrent avionics package, the solution and his experience flying with the new avionics choices he made.