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.
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.
Like many other pilots in my age group, I acquired my initial interest in flying by watching the CBS television series, “Sky King,” which aired from the mid-’50s through the early ’60s. I had the good fortune to meet the star of the show, Kirby Grant, in 1975 and we immediately formed a close friendship that lasted until his untimely death in 1985.
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.”
A first time buyer recently asked me to clear up some confusion about significant differences in cruise performance and range between a ’75 and ’76 model of an airplane he was considering. When reviewing some of the various web sites and basic information provided about the airplanes, he noted that the ’75 model could cruise at 150 mph for a range of 735 miles, but the ’76 only cruised at 130 mph for 535 miles. What had changed about the airplane? Nothing. In fact, the ’76 model was the preferred edition.
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.
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?
As we take to the skies, one thing is certain: we will eventually hear some interesting stuff over the electronic airwaves.
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.
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.