Lead a vivid life that does good

Category: Flying (Page 2 of 2)

Flying an Alpha 160A update

A brief update on flying in the clubs other Alpha (ZK-WJH) which I flew this morning. I did some glide approaches then went solo in the Alpha.

– The stall warning seems to function heaps better in this plane. I only heard it when I expected to.
– Only having two flap settings 10 & 35 Degrees is a pain on a glide approach. I duffed the first one because I put full flap down to early.

Still great aircraft to fly. Since I have done a solo I am back to normal PPL lessons.

Flying an Alpha 160A

Zkwkf_cockpit "It is like climbing into a new car when you have been used to driving a car that is 25 years old." citied Roger (CFI) when I asked him about the new Alpha 160A (R2160) that the Waikato Aero Club has replaced the Cessna 152's with.

A week or so later he is proven correct when I go for my first type intro flight. The first thing I noticed when I clambered into ZK-WKF, doing my level best not to stand on the plush leather seats, was that everything looks new, there are actually some digital gauges and a GPS unit.

Marie kindly explains the various features and start-up procedure and before long we are off to the eastern training area for some stalls and a forced landing. Zkwkf_ext

I have now completed 3 type introduction lessons in the Alpha 160A and here are my brief observations (from a novice perspective)

  • The view and the sunburn! The view is stunning on a fine day. My first flight out I could see down to Mt Ruapehu. With that comes the glass house effect, sunburn and heat. An interesting trade off.
  • It has a control stick as opposed to a control wheel. Feels really natural straight away (must be the experience of computer joysticks from my younger days)
  • HEAPS more right rudder. The larger engine and huge tail rudder means it takes a lot of right rudder to keep the aircraft in balance. It requires it so much so that you would almost expect it to have a rudder trim. Alias trim isn't there so its off to the gym to work on my right leg muscles.
  • The STALL warning sounds way to early. You are flying a well configured aircraft on approach and suddenly the stall warning goes when you theoretically are 20 kts above stall speed. Scares the crap out of me.
  • It glides like a rock (or slightly better). At the recommended 80 IAS you are dropping 1000 fpm, which doesn't leave a lot of time for a Forced Landing from 2500 ft. The club is teaching Forced Landings at around 72-75 IAS, but then the stall warning kicks in every 10 – 20 secs.
  • Gone are the long flares on landing that I have been taught about in the C152. You basically point the Alpha at the ground and do a small flare just before touch down. If you were to flare at the same angle as the Cessna that rear of the plane scraps along the runner (no brownie points earned if you do that)
  • GRUNT. The 160 hp Alpha verses the 110 hp Cessna can mean some pretty quick trips in the downwind portion of the circuit.

All in all a great asset to the club and a fun plane to fly. I'm looking forward to my cross country flights in it!

[Hat Tips]
Photos – Chris Nielsen
Waikato Aero Club
Alpha Aviation

Woolgathering at 17,000 ft about the Marlborough Sounds.

There they are! The Marlborough Sounds. Msounds

The picture from my PDA does it little or no justice, but I simply had to take some photos. The lady in front of me had a real digital camera and I thought of asking her to email them to me, but my courageous contemplation turned to weak actions.

I sit in the ATR, transfixed at the sight of the Marlborough Sounds out my window and grateful for the relief from a tiring day that woolgathering about the Sounds allows.

I have long dreamed of chartering a yacht and sailing around the Sounds. I dream of waking up on a still, warm, sunlit and cloudless morning surrounded by little islands covered in bush and farmland. The only sound is the sound of water lapping enchantingly against the side of the boat. I dream of jumping from the side of the boat for a quick swim to remind my body it is alive. Then I dream of the mandatory cooked breakfast that has smells and aromas and tastes that can only be experienced in location such as this.

It's a dream. A long held dream. Hopefully one day it will become a reality.

Cockpit/Crew Resource Management

Here is the video clip that Trevor the A320 pilot sent me.

We were chatting about how easy it is to end up in the right seat (first officers seat) of a jet overseas nowdays and that a day is potentially coming when pilots end up in the right seat without having ever flown a small plane. A concern is that they become too inexperienced to speak up with authority when needed.

Speaking up is not an issue for this first office (John Wayne). Trevor called this CRM the old way…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh5oS-NZeQg]

Yesterday I went flying, the guy in the right hand seat (in my case the instructor) was sick, so I did some rather challenging forced landings on my own. I also found out that the aero club will ditch the Cessna 152's as soon as the next Alpha arrives. I guess I wont finish my PPL in the 152 after all.

Fly by Wire

A320airnzBoarding your plane and taking a seat next to an Air NZ pilot wouldn't excite most of you, but it was one of the most interesting flights I have taken. I sat next to Trevor an Airbus A320 captain and pilot trainer as he was being repositioned back to Auckland.

Trevor has been flying for 40 years and you can tell straight away he is an experienced and safe flyer. In his 40 years flying he has never had a major incident, never had an engine failure, nor forced landing. This is as much a testament to aircraft maintenance as it is to his attitude and skill.

A320cockpitOnce we established that I was on my way to my PPL (so knew an incredible amount about flying), we talked Navaids, GPS, airports, handling of 737 vs A320, maintenance, CRM (Crew Resource Management), industry changes, ATPL training, the airworks accident last year, sims and pilot attitudes and leadership.

Interesting Facts

  • Wellington Airport was not closed on Wednesday. Trevor landed his Airbus, it's just the ground crew couldn't work in the wind.
  • Dunedin Airport is the hardest (=riskiest) airport in the country to land a jet in.
  • Airbus A320's self trim (Makes them heaps easier to fly)
  • At FL30 (30,000ft) and engine failure in a 737 required an immediate and positive from the pilot to stop it going over on it's back. An A320 will re trim, and put the plan into a descent.
  • Wherever possible they take off with reduced thrust to save the engine life. In the A320 they take off with the cabin pressurization off, which again saves engine life.
  • Great pilots come as a result of great attitudes.

Disjointed implications

  • The media never give you the whole story.
  • I'd rather fly in a A320 (or a next generation 737)
  • If reduced thrust take-offs improve engine life, then to what other areas or things could this principal apply?
  • Being great at anything, sport, flying, spirituality or leadership is all about ATTITUDE.

Trevor said he was going to email me a funny clip about CRM. If he does I will post it here.

What Origin Pacific lacked

It has been said 'The best way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a huge one'. I am sure that Mike Pero might have personally learnt this lesson after sinking $10 million into Origin Pacific. The full-blown disintegration of Origin Pacific last week, confirmed New Zealand’s domestic aviation market has become fully mature.

No one, other than a huge multi-national, has the resources to compete with Air NZ. They, along with Qantas who choose not to do regional, are the Super Powers [see previous post] in the domestic market and there is simply no room for ‘secondary [ugly] powers’, like Origin.  In the ‘business guerrillas’ camp we have small niche operators like Air2there, Sunair and Sounds Air. Each has very niche markets that Air NZ simply doesn’t care about or is too small to enter.

BIG question – Can you become BIG without directly competing with the Super Powers?

Short answer – No!; but the road of business is littered with companies that tried.

There is a place for specialists with a niche market, but ultimately they have to be prepared to stay as “guerillas”.

If you are not happy being a guerilla, then sooner or later you are going end up in the middle ground. To stay there and grow to be BIG, you will have to take it to the Super Powers. Once you reach the never never land of the Secondary Powers, you now must compete in price, service and features. If you can’t compete in that position for a prolonged period of time and if you can’t continue to grow month on month, you are near stuffed!

Now here’s the challenge if you want to be big, somehow you need to grow and yet maintain the nature of guerilla warfare. Making very strategic decisions about the markets, even specific customers you want, the service you will offer and the prices you will charge. If you can continually move the battle front, the Super Powers will struggle to fully understand what you are up to. They will respond with a defense that is already irrelevant as you have move to the next battle field and target.

In my opinion Origin was doomed to failure before their first flight left the ground. They tried to behave and act like super powers, then align themselves with super powers like Qantas, rather than establishing profitable niche markets and attacking and growing through guerrilla warfare.

Agree, disagree, have a question? – Post a comment now.

Newer posts »