Feb 23rd

Trike that could be ultralight, S-LSA or E-LSA?

By Paul Hamilton

Just got a call from someone who wants to come out and learn to fly a trike, but does not want to buy a trike for his solo. Sure would be nice to be able to solo students in an ultralight which laws do not allow. Just make some stickers and paperwork and we could have a S-LSA ultralight for rental for about $20,000. Easier said than done i am sure.

 

I could see myself having an ultralight with S-LSA paperwork and would feel comfortable soloing students in a $20,000 aircraft. The ultralight could be upgraded with larger fuel tanks as an LSA and would not be restricted to ultralight rules. HUH.  I could sell it as an ultralight, E-LSA or S-LSA.

Any other thoughts from the community about such an idea? Should we push our manufacturers to spend the extra money for S-LSA certification? Could a manufacturer even build an ultralight that could additionally get S-LSA certification?

Food for thought. 

Feb 22nd

Energy Management - Low Passes - Low Approaches

By Paul Hamilton

This is what I do to get tuned into a trike/wing and feel it is one of the most important maneuvers for pilots to practice.

 Principles of energy management are important for low momentum trikes.

Sometimes we forget some of the basics are right in front of us.

Here is what is in the FAA Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook page 6-19:

Energy Management

The WSC aircraft has very little momentum because of its relative light weight as compared to airplanes. Therefore, it is important that pilots learn to manage the kinetic energy of the WSC. Higher speed and higher power is higher energy.

 

Lower speed and lower power is lower energy. The ability for a pilot to maintain high energy levels in turbulent air and while near the ground is the basis for energy management for WSC.

 

Energy management should first be practiced at higher altitudes. While maintaining straight-and-level flight, power is increased and decreased, and pitch control must be used. The pilot should start at the trim position and with the appropriate cruise throttle setting. As power is smoothly applied towards full throttle, the WSC aircraft pitch attitude attempts to increase. The pilot should decrease the pitch to

maintain level flight. This results in a high energy level. Once this application is held for a couple seconds, the pilot should then smoothly reduce power to the cruise power

setting and increase pitch to maintain level flight. The WSC aircraft is now back to at a lower trim/cruise power in a medium energy level.

 

Again, increase power and reduce pitch to stay level attaining a high energy level. Now, reduce power to idle and as the nose lowers, increase pitch. The pilot must be aware of the decreasing energy levels occurring during this phase of the maneuver for this is usually a precursor to accidents when

approaching the runway. The pilot should recognize this scenario and promptly apply the power as appropriate to prevent the aircraft from descending. Additionally, the pilot must be aware of the slow flight and stall characteristics to prevent a stall and to maintain a specified heading.

Once the student masters this maneuver successfully at higher altitudes, energy management can be practiced with low passes down the runway in calm winds at higher energy levels, then at the lower trim/cruise power medium energy level, and finally higher to medium trim/cruise power energy

levels. Low passes over the runway fine tunes the student’s skills for energy management and is an excellent exercise to prepare students for landings.

 It is important to understand that higher energy levels should be used while maneuvering near the ground especially in turbulent or crosswind conditions. This is discussed in Chapter 7, Takeoff and Departure Climbs, that higher energy is recommended as the WSC aircraft lifts off and initially climbs out from the runway.

 Higher energy is also recommended for a power on approach where the airspeed is higher than the normal approach speed; and the power is higher than the normal approach power. There is still a descent rate, but the WSC aircraft has more overall energy to handle turbulence and crosswinds.

 

[Figure 6-20]

 

 

Here is more in the FAA Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook page 11-15 for landing in the "Estimating Height and ovement" section:

The best way to recognize and become accustomed to heights and speeds for a particular WSC aircraft is to perform low passes over the runway, as discussed earlier, with energy management. Perform a normal approach first, then a high energy pass at a higher speed, and then medium-energy passes at lower speeds. These exercises are performed first in calm winds at a height, as an example, at which the wheels are 10 feet above the runway, then lowering to just inches above the runway as the pilot’s skills build.

The objective is to become proficient at flying straight down the runway centerline at a constant altitude. This exercise provides the opportunity to determine height and speed over the runway before any landings are performed. These should generally be performed in mild conditions. Higher energy and greater heights above the runway are required in windier and bumpier conditions.

 And finally on page 11-17 we have:

 Power-on Approach and Landing for Turbulant Air

 

 Power-on approaches at an airspeed above the normal approach speed should be used for landing in turbulent air. This provides for more energy and positive control of the aircraft when strong horizontal wind gusts, wind sheer, or up and down drafts, are experienced. Like other power-on approaches (when the pilot can vary the amount of power), a coordinated combination of both speed and power adjustments is usually required.


It is easiest to think of flying the aircraft onto the ground at an airspeed above the stall speed. The additional power provides the pilot the ability to reduce the descent rate to touch the wheels gently to the surface at a higher speed. Landing in turbulent air is where practice and experience in energy management are utilized.

This precise coordination of power and speed for higher energy landings should first be practiced in calm air and can be used as the next step in learning landings after the student becomes proficient at low approaches.

 To determine the additional approach speed to flying in turbulence, one procedure is to use the normal approach speed plus one-half of the wind gust factors. The wind gust factor is determined by how much the airspeed varies while flying. If the normal approach speed is 50 knots and the wind gusts are at 15 knots, an airspeed of 57 knots is appropriate.

 Another method is to ensure the aircraft is at least at VY speed plus the wind gust factor. In any case, the airspeed that the aircraft manufacturer recommends.

 An adequate amount of power should be used to maintain the proper airspeed and descent path throughout the approach and the throttle retarded to idling position only after the main wheels contact the landing surface. Care must be exercised in not closing the throttle before the pilot is ready for touchdown. In this situation, the sudden or premature closing of the throttle may cause a sudden increase in the descent rate that could result in a hard landing.

 

 Landings from power-on approaches in turbulence should be such that the touchdown is made with the aircraft in approximately level flight attitude. The pitch attitude at touchdown should be only enough to prevent the nosewheel from contacting the surface before the main wheels have touched the surface. Most WSC are designed so the front wheel is higher than the back wheels in this situation, but each

 

WSC is different. This must be evaluated for each model.

 After touchdown, the pilot should reduce the throttle to idle and pull the control bar all the way to the chest to lower the nose and prevent the WSC aircraft from lifting off until it slows below the stall speed. The aircraft should be allowed to decelerate normally with the aerodynamic braking of the wing with the nose lowered, and assisted by the wheel brakes as required.

Feb 22nd

Rotax 912iS installation on Delta Jet-II

By Abid Farooqui

912iS installation requires some careful considerations, specially for vapor-lock in rare circumstances that can prove to be very harmful. While designing the 912iS installation for Delta Jet-II and our airplane, I came across this video that puts the advice and warnings in the installation manual that don't seem that prominent into words in reality. Worth watching for serious contenders.

 

Feb 19th

Oil For 582 Rotax

By Dick Hall
About a year ago Paul Hamiliton gave recommendations for 2 stroke oils.  A clip from the article is below:

Use a good well know reliable oil. Many engine failures are from some new oil mixture, some magic new oil or someone trying to save money on cheap oil. I recommend three types of oil. The most reliable over history is the Pennzoil - 2-cycle Air-Cooled Engine Oil. This has been tested and is proven to be the best dinosaur oil. This is the preferred oil if you are in a humid area and/or go for longer periods without running your engine. Pennzoil - 2-cycle Air-Cooled Engine Oil produces the least amount of carbon deposits (for dinosaur oil) and keeps oil on internal components with so they do not corrode when sitting in a humid environment  for longer periods without being run.

The new Aero Shell Sport PLUS 2 has been recently developed specifically for Rotax 2 stroke engines and has been tested and provides the same protection as the Penzoil. This is another recommended viable option.


I just installed Oil injection on my low hour 582 grayhead and wanted recommendations for 2 stroke oil which I got from the above blog.  The only problem is this.  Aero Shell Plus 2 is no longer made and is discontinued according to the supplier.  As is Pennzoil 2 Cycle air cooled oil.  The only replacement is Pennzoil Outdoor Multipurpose 2 Stroke oil. See discription below: 

Pennzoil® Premium Outboard and Multi-Purpose 2-Cycle Engine Oil is a high-performance 2-cycle engine oil meeting or exceeding the warranty requirements of all leading manufacturers of 2-cycle products including chain saws, lawn mowers, motorcycles and string trimmers, as well as outboard engines made by: Johnson/Evinrude, Mercury Marine, Yamaha, Suzuki, Nissan, Force/US Marine, Mariner, Sears and all other manufacturers requiring NMMA TC-W3® oil.

Any opinions on this using this oil would be appreciated.  It seems there isn't much of any other choices other than the oils found in the Walmart aisle.  It appears that manufacturers like Shell, Pennzoil and Castrol don't have enough of a market to justify producing a specialized oil such as Aero Shell Plus 2, as they only produced this for a little over a year.  Comments are welcomed  

Feb 16th

Drones rules are coming. New FAA proposed rules has similar airspace restrictions as Ultralights

By Paul Hamilton

Drones are coming. Keep ypur eyes open below 500 AGL  where many of us like to fly.

 

AOPA came out with a great summary and here it is:

 

The FAA has announced a proposed rule governing the use of commercial small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that would address many of AOPA's concerns, including setting certification requirements for operators and requiring see-and-avoid capabilities. The rule affects UAS weighing 55 pounds or less that are flown for non-recreational purposes.

 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced details of the proposed rule during an unusual Sunday news conference on Feb. 15. Under the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), small UAS would be required to “see and avoid” other aircraft, giving right of way to manned aircraft.

They also would be limited to daylight, line-of-sight operations with a least 3 statute miles visibility at speeds of less than 100 mph and altitudes below 500 feet. The UAS would not be allowed to operate over people, except those involved in the flight. They would be required to remain outside of Class A airspace and at least 500 feet below clouds and 2,000 feet from them horizontally. Operations in Class B, C, and D airspace, as well as within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace, can be allowed with prior permission from air traffic control. 

The NPRM also sets certification requirements for small UAS operators, requiring them to be at least 17 years of age, pass an FAA-administered knowledge test every two years, and obtain an FAA-issued UAS Operator Certificate with a small UAS rating.

While the FAA will not require the aircraft themselves to be certified, it will require them to obtain an FAA registration and display an N-number. Operators must also conduct preflight safety inspections before each flight.

“Safety is our biggest concern when it comes to integrating unmanned aircraft into the airspace system,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Clear guidance for UAS operations is needed to protect pilots and passengers. We’re pleased that the FAA is moving the rulemaking process forward, but this really can’t happen fast enough.”

Privacy issues also have been a concern when it comes to small UAS operations, but the FAA’s NPRM does not address those issues. Instead, the FAA has said the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will engage with the FAA and stakeholders to address privacy issues.

In the meantime, the White House issued a presidential memorandum dealing with drone privacy issues shortly before the FAA’s Feb. 15 announcement. The memo requires federal agencies to make their policies and procedures consistent with limits on data collection and use as well as the retention and dissemination of information collected by drones. It also gives the NTIA and Commerce Department 90 days to create a “framework for privacy, accountability and transparency.”

In announcing the new rules for small commercial drones, the FAA said it would seek input on whether to create a subset of rules for so-called “microlight” UAS weighing 4.4 pounds or less. The FAA suggested those aircraft might not require a UAS operator certificate but could be restricted to daytime line-of-site operations at altitudes of 400 feet or lower in Class G airspace. Those requirements are not part of the current proposed rule.

The agency is also seeking input on how the agency can further leverage the UAS test site program as well as plans for a UAS Center of Excellence designed to spur innovation.

The publication of the NPRM opens the way for the public to review and comment on the proposal, and AOPA will file formal comments in advance of the deadline set for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

AOPA has long expressed concerns about safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System, insisting that commercial UAS be flown by an FAA-approved pilot or operator, have see-and-avoid capabilities, and be flown in compliance with current operating rules and airspace requirements.

In December 2014, Baker asked the House Aviation Subcommittee to reinforce the need for the FAA to expedite the rule governing commercial UAS operations and to address the reckless and careless operation of recreational UAS. In 2014, the FAA received nearly 200 pilot reports describing encounters with unmanned aircraft.

 

While the NPRM does not address recreational UAS operations, AOPA has asked the FAA to issue clear and definitive guidance for recreational operators, encourage manufacturers to include information on FAA guidance in their packaging materials, work with AOPA and remote control aircraft groups to conduct educational outreach, and publish guidance to help pilots file timely reports of reckless UAS operations.

End of AOPA article.

If you want the AOPA article go to 

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2015/February/15/Proposed-rule-sets-limits-on-small-UAS

We are all free to comment but the rules usually end up how they are proposed

 

Feb 16th

Using iPad Mini or iPad for Nav? My findings...

By Ted Hunting

Wanted to share my learnings as thought it would help others.  

Issue:  my iPad mini worked fine with Foreflight but when I went to fly this weekend for a cross country lesson, the gps did not work.

Findings: It turns out that newer iPhones and Ipads DO have a built in GPS chip.  However, on the iPad Mini the Wifi version does NOT have a GPS chip and only the cellular/Wifi version includes a GPS chip (this is unlike the normal wifi ipad which does have a GPS chips).  The iPad mini Wifi version only gives you GPS when you are on Wifi via the Internet, if you arent on Wifi there is NO GPS capability. Regarding the iPad Mini with Wifi AND Cellular capability: Even if you are not using celluar via a plan, the GPS chip will work fine if you have the ipad mini, but you will have no GPS chip if you get the Wifi only version.  Bottomline is you MUST have an iPad Mini with the celluar capbility if you want to get a GPS signal, even if the cellular capability is not being used.  You need a GPS chip!  

I also learned that any iPad, iPad Mini or iPhone that does contain a GPS chip, contains a chip that uses cell towers to locate the GPS coordinate.  This chip is not as accurate or as sensitive as a standard GPS which uses satellite.  For flying, the iPad GPS chip if it can't locate a cell tower cannot provide GPS whereas a standard GPS can with much better performance.

The Solution:   After researching I found 3 options I considered,  in order of quality and expense (funny how those 2 go hand in hand).  

Option 1:  By a Stratus receiver that has GPS that connects to iPad mini via Bluetooth and Foreflight.  This option gives you great GPS signal for Foreflight and also gives you real-time Foreflight weather and even shows you on radar other aircraft near you!  Expensive at around 700-800+ but something I will consider someday flying in the Bay Area.  

Option 2: By a Bad Elf Pro GPS (Foreflight recommended and found many pilots even commerical who use it).  It connects to iPad Mini via bluetooth and provides great GPS with around 16 hours of battery life and is rechargeable.  I just ordered on Amazon for around $139 and will be using this with my iPad Mini soon (also on some of the aviation vendor sites for $10 more).  Reviews have all been excellent from many sources I investigated.  

Option 3:  I had my iPhone  turned on and turned on "Personal Hotspot" and connected my iPad Mini to it when flying Sunday.  This let me effectively be on a wifi network (linking to my phone) and gave me a GPS signal.  But it was weak and did not work reliable when flying Sunday.  I could not find my location with the blinking dot but it did show me the distance to the nearest airport in Foreflight.  No cost with this last option except phone data charges.

Option 2 gave me best combination of excellent GPS/nav capabilities with lowest cost.  BTW there is a newer Bad Elf Pro+.  The + gets you a GPS using the Russian satellites too similar to my Garmin Running Watch and Garmin Backpacking Nav.  Has a few other bells and whistes but it's another $100 and not needed for me.

Hope this helps others.  If any questions let me know.

Have fun flying...

Ted

Jan 23rd

SilverLight Aviation Rotax 912iS power Offer for a limited time

By Abid Farooqui
SilverLight Aviation is able to offer a special price for Rotax 912iS powered trike option right now. Usually this option and installation would be $8000 extra but for a limited time and number of orders both on our trikes and gyroplanes we are able to offer this upgrade for only $4000 above 912ULS price. That measn you can have a 912iS fuel injected Delta Jet-II or Monsoon with the high performance Cheval 12 cross country wing loaded with other options including a BRS for $76500.00. Act now while the offer lasts.
Jan 23rd

Strong US Dollar - best time to order your new P&M trike!

By Tony Castillo
It is worth mentioning that the dollar is strong and the GP exchange is the lowest it has been in 11 years!!! also, there has not been a price increase yet for the 2015 models!!!

If you have been thinking on upgrading to the world class P&M trike, regardless of the model you choose, do not wait! place your order with a deposit to lock the price and have your trike ready to fly by end of Spring!

P&M trikes hold their value well, and having the opportunity to purchase a 2015 trike at 2014 prices, and with an exchange rate the lowest in 11 years it guarantee your investment will hold its value or better.

Call or email. Tony C. P&M USA / pmaviationusa

 
Jan 21st

Antares and SilverLight Aviation Co-operation

By Abid Farooqui
Hi All:
Antares USA and SilverLight Aviation have decided to cooperate in design and construction of their models and Antares will start sharing an assembly facility with SilverLight Aviation. SilverLight Aviation will help Antares certify new trike models and distribute certified and compliant models in the market. This cooperation will be beneficial to both companies and consumers as the venerable Antares trike designs will once again become available for the US market. Antares has roughly 200 trikes flying in the US market (pre-SLSA) and about a thousand around the world. Sergey Zozulya of Antares will join SilverLight Aviation in Florida.
Jan 12th

Nothing like being a pilot

By Abid Farooqui
We take a lot of things for granted in our lives. People here who fly, take flying for granted. We should always remember what a select group of individuals we are to break the bounds of gravity just because we can and for having fun.

Find the time to cherish things you love and find the time to fly, safely.

ERIC MAGNAN - showreel from AIRBORNE FILMS on Vimeo.