Sun ‘n Fun 2021 is a wrap – and the biggest news is probably that the fly-in and expo actually happened this year. Yours truly was in Lakeland the entire week, and I witnessed first hand how say after day attendance increased, leading to a record crowd on Saturday.
Now I am in the process of turning the approximately 4.5 terabytes of video footage I captured into a few videos from the week. The first one is out on YouTube; a new one will follow every day (or every other day) from here on, before I return to my “regular programming”.
It was nice to see many fans and subscribers, and even a few patrons of the channel in Lakeland. To me, aviation is as much about people as it is about airplanes, and there is no better way to experience this than at these fly-ins.
Now I have less than 100 days to pack for AirVenture 2021 – hope to see you there!
All indications are Sun ‘n Fun – only three weeks away at the time of this writing – is going to happen in 2021. I can’t wait – I will be there, and I will give forum presentations again this year, on two topics:
I. Making Sense of Lean of Peak and Mixture Management:
Yesterday I went to Airplanes and Coffee for the first time, a once-a-month event where everyone is invited to join for a cup of coffee and to drool over airplanes – trainers, warbirds, and in this case a beautiful L-39 owned by Chris L. who had his stunning jet on the ramp at Sulphur Springs, TX (KSLR). Chris created a fantastic video of his transition training for the L-39, which you can see here.
This month I completed the online training for the ABS Flight Instructor Academy, which is a first step towards accreditation in the BPPP program (Beechcraft Pilot Proficency Program), which I hope to achieve later this year.
I have flown over 1,000 hours in my A36 Bonanza, and I look forward to helping other Bonanza owners feel comfortable and safe in their aircraft.
Just before the end of the year, N70TB was due for its annual inspection. As usual, I took the plane to Iowa Wing & Rotor in Vinton, IA (KVTI) where Mike Zenisek took good care of it, as usual.
There were no issues with the engine and propeller, as you would expect from the brand-new setup which I had just installed in the spring of 2020. A couple of minor things were corrected, and I swapped out the old LED landing light for a newer, brighter one.
Now we just need some nice flying weather – Iowa so far has had an unusually gray and icy winter.
2020 couldn’t be over soon enough – but not all was bad in 2020. A look back at some of the highlights shows 2020 was far from a normal year, which put the spotlight on a different things. Fewer cross countries meant more time for flight training, culminating in my flight instructor certificate. At the end of 2021, I am a CFI/CFII and I thoroughly enjoy training students at the Executive Aero Flight Club in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Just before the end of the year, I accomplished a training and learning goal by adding an instrument rating to my flight instructor certificate. Commonly known as CFII, this allows me to prepare students for their instrument rating. I have been very passionate about instrument flying since I obtained my own instrument rating (as a Private Pilot Certificate add-on) in 1998, and I am excited to share what I have learned with others from here on.
I finished work on a new page today with the goal of helping students become familiar with ATC radios communications. The information covers the typical dialog at towered airport with (Class C) and without (Class D) approach control, as well as the use of the CTAF Common Traffic Advisory Frequency at non-towered airports, and a few other things useful to know.
After several flights, ground instruction and computer-based training on the Cirrus Approach website, I completed my transition training to the Entegra-equipped SR20. We wrapped it up this morning with a two-hour flight with Matt Gunderson, flight instructor extraordinaire and also a CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot).
It has been fun to get to know an airplane which in some ways is similar to my Bonanza, and in others quite different. The spacious cockpit of the Cirrus is very comfortable, and the avionics – even in this older G2 model I’ve been flying is superb – with the Avidyne PFD, MFD and the phenomenal DFC-90 autopilot. The GNS430 GPS/NAV/COMs are a step back from the IFDs in my Bonanza, and while I am no stranger to the Garmin GNS units, my muscle memory has deteriorated in the 18 months since I upgraded to Avidyne IFDs in the Bonanza.
The side stick – sorry, the control yoke, as the Cirrus POH calls is – was a concern for me, but it shouldn’t have been. It feels very natural. The stereotype is that Cirrus pilots fly on autopilot 99% of the time, but from what I have seen the airplane is quite pleasant to hand-fly. Not as pleasant as my Bonanza, but a lot more pleasant than the Arrow I was flying during the spring and summer for my CFI training. And the modern digital autopilot is a thing of beauty – more stable and much smarter than my old Century III in the Bonanza. Performance isn’t on par with my A36, which has 50% more power than the SR20, but 135 KTAS at 8 GPH (LOP) isn’t too shabby, and pretty darn efficient. You can go faster, but then the range goes down.
If you live in the Cedar Rapids, IA area and are interested in flying this Cirrus, Executive Aero Flight Club is always looking for new members.
This coming Wednesday, November 4th 2020, I’ll be the guest on Ryan Dembroski’s weekly show “SuperAero LIVE”. The show begins at 8:30 PM US Central time (Chicago). You can not just watch live on YouTube, but participate through comments and questions in the live chat.