Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings

Month: May 2020

Transitioning to G1000 course, because… why not?

One of the things this pandemic has given everyone, is an abundance of time. Along with learning to fly more complex aircraft, I am also learning to fly a technically advanced aircraft (TAA). One of the requirements, for the aircraft I want to fly, is that I take a transitioning to G1000 course via online ground school.

Had the first class last night. We covered all of the internal workings of the G1000 system including the electrical bus and Line Replacement Units (LRU’s) that replace all of the fancy electrical and vacuum systems in current steam gauge aircraft.  See Diagram Below:


G1000 LRU Diagram


We went through each of the systems and discussed how they are connected, failure modes, etc.  Being an engineer, this fascinated me.  I have a good understanding of how steam gauges work and their failure modes and basically each of these LRU’s replace a single analog component.


  • The GDC (Air Data Computer) replaces your vacuum system and calculates the Airspeed, Altitude, VSI and Temperature.
  • The GRS (AHRS) replaces your attitude indicator to give you Attitude, Rate of turn and slip/skid.
  • The GMU replaces your vacuum DGI to give you heading.
  • The GTX 33 in this diagram replaces your transponder/ADSB

You have two screens that read information from these core systems to display data.  Each has a dedicated GPS, Comm, Nav, Glide slope, etc.

If one screen fails, it defaults all the pertinent information to a single screen.

If your alternator fails, your avionics run on a battery just like a normal steam gauge aircraft.  You will have to unload some of your avionics to preserve power just like any aircraft.  If that battery fails, you will automatically kick over to a backup battery that powers the “Essential Bus”.

The Essential Bus powers, the PFD, the main LRU’s (ADC, AHRS, GMU… etc), Com1, Nav 1.  The MFD and push to talk on copilot side is disabled, but engine data that is normally displayed on the MFD is moved to the PFD.

Basically, you’re now in an emergency situation and you need to get down.  Once on the backup battery, you have 30 minutes of power in order to find a safe place to land. You still have the backup steam gauges as a last resort but you really want to find a place to land and figure out what is going on. Especially if you are in anything but Day VFR conditions.  Safety first!

We haven’t even talked about using the G1000 in any practical manner but I found the background very interesting.  Of course as a pilot, I want to know how everything works in case of an emergency situation, things are easier to troubleshoot.

I am technically familiar with the G1000 through at home simulators and several training flights that I have had in the past but I haven’t had any formal training that can fill in the gaps.

Besides… I’m stuck at home for the most part, might as well learn something new!

Bigger Airplane? The time has come …. sorta

It has been a while but it is time for me to start my commercial training in earnest. In order to complete the training, I need at least 10 hours of commercial training in a complex or Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). So the time has come to checkout in a bigger airplane. Well, bigger than I have flown myself.

I am going to checkout in one of our clubs Mooney M20J’s. Not quite high performance, only 200 hp.. 1 hp short of high performance, but complex. It has a variable pitch prop and retractable landing gear. Quite a bit faster and more capable versus the Cessna 172 that I normally fly.

A bigger airplane and more complex airplane introduces more challenges and opportunities to learn. I look forward to the challenge. So far, I have limited my flying to Cessna aircraft. This means that I have been engrained with the Cessna way of doing things. I don’t worry about switching fuel tanks, I am used to how high wing airplanes enter the ground effect, etc.

I will need to build a new set of skills as I transition to this new aircraft. I’ve only flown 1 aircraft with a variable pitched prop and during this flight, I didn’t mess with it because I was in cruise during my time at the controls. It isn’t really all that difficult from what I understand but it is another variable to deal with.

The new skills that I will need to learn include but not limited to:
– Remembered to switch tanks
– Adding the fuel boost pump during takeoff and landing
– Remembering landing gear on takeoff and landing
– Obviously the V-Speeds
– Prop adjustments
– Fancy Fuel management system (Installed in the Mooney)

Those are just the things I can think of at the moment. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it. My club is just now starting to reopen as my state has entered Phase 2 of the Covid re-opening. Everyone at the club is taking special care to make sure that we keep each other safe… so things may not move as fast but looking forward to getting back in the air.

Crazy Times, lockdown blues… a view from the couch

It has been a while and as the title says, it is crazy times my friends. Since my last post I haven’t actually been flying as much as I want. A lot of work and other obligations have gotten in the way.

This past fall, I joined Civil Air Patrol and currently, working on getting qualifications for Search and rescue as well as flight operations. I should be qualified transport pilot in the next few months. My sights are set on Mission Pilot and Cadet Orientation Pilot.

I have always wanted to do more with my flying, searching for purpose outside of hanging certificates on the wall.  The dream has always been to fly with purpose.  $100 hamburgers are fun with friends but the goal has always been more purposeful.

I have not abandoned my quest for Commercial certification and hopefully will be back in the air working on that in the next few months. My quest to build time has been slow but I am coming up on the 250 hours that I need. I am currently sitting at 204 hrs. I figure around 15-20 hrs of commercial training, so really only need around 25 or so. Between trying to get current VFR & IFR after the lockdown ends, I will be close.

We may be in strange and crazy times right now but it is a chance for all of us to be thankful for what we have in front of us and refocus on the things that matter. Family, health and safety as well as looking to the future. I hope everyone stays safe and see you in the sky soon!

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