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.
Exciting news – the new studio setup is up and running. (I was going to say complete instead of up and running, but then I realize that these projects are never complete and final.)
If all goes to plan, you will see it in use for the first time this upcoming Wednesday, November 4, 2020. I am going to be the guest on SuperAero’s live show that night, which starts at 8:30 PM US Central time (Chicago). Here is the channel’s LIVE playlist, and when the time comes (i.e. on Wednesday evening), you will see the link to the show posted there.
I will also use the studio for my own live events (Talk to Martin) in the future, and to record on-camera narration for my videos.
Martin flies a Bonanza – everybody knows that, right? Well…
First things first: I am not selling the Bonanza. It’s not going anywhere. It will remain my personal airplane.
I am in transition training for a Cirrus SR20 because I joined a new flying club here in Cedar Rapids, Executive Aero Flight Club. Their Cirrus is contently parked in the hangar immediately next to mine. Following my transition training, I will be one of the instructors in this club.
So what do I think about the Cirrus so far? It has a comfortable and roomy cabin, for sure. The side stick took less getting-used-to than I anticipated. The PFD, MFD and autopilot are fantastic – this is a G2 Cirrus with the Avidyne Entegra system, and an Avidyne DFC-90 autopilot – worlds better than my mechanical six-pack and ancient Century III. On the other hand, the audio panel (PS Engineering) and GPS/NAV/COMs (Avidyne) in my Bonanza are far better than what this Cirrus has today. The DFC-90 is world-class. Hand flying the Cirrus is easy, but not as much fun as hand-flying my Bonanza.
So if in the future you hear a familiar voice on the radio from N822GT, it may be me.
The www.martin.aero website so far was more of an experiment with HTML, CSS and BootStrap, and less of a source of meaningful and timely information – it was just too cumbersome and time-consuming to make edits. Today I am changing the technical foundation of the website to WordPress, a common and very popular framework for managing web content. My goal is to evolve www.martin.aero into a more attractive source of information not just for fans of my YouTube channel, but also for student pilots and for pilots interested in continuing learning and education – which ideally include all pilots (“license to learn”).