First Actual!

I got some of my first actual IMC coming out of KSBA the other day.  I got to the airport at 7:45 am and during the drive over the conditions had become 900 overcast.  I called clearance delivery and they were nice enough to file my IFR flight plan for me right there!  What a relief – I thought I was going to have to walk back to the FBO to get internet access to file from foreflight and wait a bit for it to get into the system, but they have some sort of magic foo down in Santa Barbara.  He just asked my route.  I guess they need to put something into the system in order to get something back out.

So I told him “Gaviota, Paso Robles, Direct”.  After only about 30 seconds he comes back with:

  1. Cleared to San Carlos airport
  2. Expect runway 15
  3. Right turn heading 200
  4. Radar Vectors Gaviota
  5. Victor 27
  6. Morrow Bay
  7. Victor 113
  8. Paso Robles
  9. Direct
  10. Climb maintain 3000, expect 8000 5 minutes after departure

.. the rest is frequency and squawk code.  Awesome!  Nothing to clearance in less than a minute.  I’m sure they can’t do that all the time, and it was not very busy at all that morning, but still – thanks Mr. Santa Barbara clearance delivery guy.  If I knew he you were I’d buy you a beer.

Here’s a picture after breaking through the ceiling:

And of course, after I got just above the clouds they give me “cleared Paso Robles, Direct”.

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Updating The Nav Database In The Garmin Perspective

The last cycle of the nav db expired on March 8th.  I figured that I should get a jump on things and figure out how to update it long before I needed it, so on March 2nd I read the Perspective Manual.  If you go all the way back into the Appendix B they pretty clearly state that you should  be able to install a “standby” nav database in the top slot of the MFD and have it copy to the main db card (bottom card).  They also say you can enable automatic database synchronization so that if you update the MFD, the PFD will get updated from the MFD.  I know that’s a little confusing, but I made a picture below to help.

To upgrade these databases you have to write to the little SD card.  I purchased a “Sandisk MicroMate SD / SDHC Memory Card Reader (Static Pack, New, SDDR-113)” from Amazon for $9.99.  I wasn’t quite sure if this would work since the title of the product says “reader”, and to me that implies it doesn’t to writes, but I think the world of consumer electronics sees things differently than the world of computer science.  In any case, this thing is able to write SD cards just fine.

You also have to download a little Windows based installer app from the Jeppesen website.  Luckily I had some old Windows laptop laying around, so I was able to do that without having to install a VM image on my Macbook.  Then I called Jeppesen.  The guy was pretty nice, stayed on the phone to make sure my download worked, all that good stuff.  I then asked about updating the “standby” database.  He had never heard of such a thing.  He transferred me to Jeppesen support.  I explained to them that I was planning to use this update to update the standby database, and again this new guy explained that they had never heard of such a thing.  I read him the appropriate section from the Perspective manual, and again he said he had never heard of anything like that.

Well, ok.  Garmin says it works, Jeppesen doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  If I try it and it doesn’t work, too bad.  If I try it and it corrupts things then I’m screwed.  But I just had to know – so I tried it.

Turns out that it works just fine!

  1. Insert card in the MFD top slot
  2. Boot the system
  3. Tell the MFD you want to update the “standy database” when it asks what to do with this new card.
  4. Once things are up, go to AUX/System page
  5. Enable “Automatic Database Synchronization” between MFD and PFD

The synch from MFD to PFD only takes about 12 seconds for the Nav database, so don’t be afraid to do it just before a flight.  I actually did mine in flight.  Some of the other databases, for example the terrain database, can apparently take up to 50 minutes, and they recommend using an alternate power source, etc, etc.  Sounds like a pain.

Here’s a little helpful picture.  This was made with a composite of two cellphone pictures that I took, so sorry about the strange shading.  The steps in the picture are just showing the copies, so the numbering doesn’t line up with the numbering above, but I think you get the picture.

Airplane In The T-Shade

I did pick up my airplane the other week.  I flew out with Max Trescott to Madison Wisconsin and we flew it all the way home back to San Carlos.  We flew KMSN (Madison) to KTOP (Topeka) where we stopped and got fuel.  We were hoping to get lunch but the little restaurant was closed so we had to settle for M&Ms from the machine :(.  From KTOP we flew to KAMA (Amarilla TX) and stayed the night.

That first flight day was great!  I learned about my new airplane, we did some approaches, and I just generally got comfortable with everything.

The next morning we woke up and winds were gusting to 38kts in Amarillo.  That’s not great, but what put it strictly into “no-fly” territory was that it was coming from at least 40 degrees from any of the runways.  SR22 is only rated for 20kt crosswind.  38kts at 40 degrees is 24+kts.  We spent the day bumming around.  We got to see some funny little local restaurant that is apparently famous:

We also went to this place called “Cadillac Ranch” where some guy stuck a bunch of old Cadillacs into the ground:

The next day the winds had finally calmed down.  We finally got out of Amarillo and headed over to KHND (Hendersen Executive, Las Vegas, NV) for some fuel and food.  The scenery on the way over was much more interesting than the flat middle of the US.  After lunch we bombed up to KMMH (Mammoth Lake, CA).  We got to 16,500 ft using oxygen:

This was with using the actual Precise Flight mask that I had purchased.  The approach into Mammoth is pretty great.  You fly in right over Lake Crowley.  It’s beautiful.  We explored the little airport a bit.  They have a little scale model of the plans for future expansion in the area.  Apparently they’re putting in some sort of luxury condos and a spa right next to the airport.  I can’t wait to come back and check it out.

Here’s a cool shot of the airplane in front of the mountains:

So now the airplane is back home, safe in a T-shade at KSQL.

I’m super happy with this airplane!

Precise Flight Guys Are Cool!

The guys over at Precise Flight are officially cool.  I mailed them my wrong mask that I bought and they reworked it to fit with the Precise Flight flowmeters in my airplane.  They only charged me about $40 for it!  I think they took pity on me because, as I explained to them, I had no idea what I was doing when I bought that competitor mask.  They seem like a great company.

Part of the problem I originally had was that I couldn’t find the mask that I wanted online.  The Precise Flight website had the nice blue ones with the microphone shown on there, but it also said you couldn’t purchase them online.  After this debacle with the other mask I asked them via email how would one be able to purchase a mask from them?  Their email response was that it was a mistake, should have been available online, and that I should try it now. So I went there – and it was suddenly for sale.  How many people had gone to that website and decided to do something different because they thought they couldn’t get it?  Well, given how great they were, I hope this helps their sales numbers now that people can actually buy these things from them 🙂