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Eden Prairie, MN 55347

Archive for October, 2009

28
Oct

FCM Construction

Posted by Jeff Dalton Comments Off

Airport Construction

FCM Airport Construction

FCM Airport Construction

There are lots of changes happening daily to the Flying Cloud Airport runways and taxiways. Next time you fly you will notice that the hold short markings for runway 28R and 10L have been moved further from the runway. These hold short lines are now 200 feet from the center of the runway. For the next few weeks you will see both the old and new hold short lines. The official hold short line will still be the old markings until the runway signs are moved to align with the new hold short lines.

Eventually this will affect the operations on taxiway alpha. When exiting runway 28R or 10L towards the north you will have to taxi all the way onto taxiway alpha to clear the runway. Aircraft will not be allowed to take off or land until you do this. If you exit 28R or 10L towards the south there will be 50 feet available between the two runway hold short lines so that you can be clear of both parallel runways. Another change is the removal of run-up space near the threshold of 28R. I would suggest doing your run-up prior to your taxi to the runway. This will help prevent a backup of aircraft trying to reach the runway for takeoff.

Over the next few weeks there will be lots of changes in runways, signs, and markings at the airport. Check notams and be diligent in your taxi planning and ground operations. If you have any questions about  your taxi instructions, airport signage, or markings then stop and clarify with ground control.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
23
Oct

Cross Country Adventures

Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast off the right wingtip of SR22

One aspect of flight training that most pilots never gain exposure to is cross country flying. And by cross country flying, I am not referring to the 50 mile requirement for every private pilot. I am referring to cross country training in the literal since; flying across the United States of America. I just returned from such a flight beginning at Flying Cloud Airport and ending at Tampa Executive Airport (7 hours of flying and 1200 miles). The knowledge and experience gained from a flight of this time, distance and difficulty encompasses the skills required for every private pilot or instrument rated pilot.

I always look forward to the days leading up to such a long cross country. I view the flight more as a mission to get somewhere than a typical training session. I enjoy the strategy session prior to departure as much as the flight itself. The strategy on a long flight like this starts with interpreting the weather and then developing a plan to overcome it. In small aircraft this plan normally starts by figuring out a route, altitude, and departure time to stay clear of thunderstorms, icing, low clouds, low visibility, headwinds and terrain. The next part of the strategy is making sure that there is a plan B and always a safe “out” in the event that the strategy that was planned didn’t work.

On the actual flight there are lessons learned that are difficult to encounter and address on the typical 50 mile cross country training flight.  These training opportunities include, unfamiliar clearances and routing, talking with ATC en route (including accents), fatigue and its effects, diversions, route changes, and fuel management to just name a few. One of the most valuable lessons learned is the thought process and decision making steps that must occur when unexpected circumstances like mechanical issues, unexpected weather, or passenger needs arise.

For me, this cross country represented more than a piloting adventure.  It also allowed for a trip down memory lane with regards to my own flight training. I flew over where I received my Sea Plane Rating where the Rock River joins the Mississippi River. Minutes later I saw the airport where I took my Instrument Rating. Later in the flight I went over the Wabash River which I spent hundreds of hours flying over when I taught in West Lafayette, Indiana. Towards the end of the trip we flew down the coast of Florida which reminded me of one of my earliest logbook entries on a similar trip with my father.

Going on a flight of this nature will help you correlate all of your previous training and use it to accomplish the goal of getting somewhere. There is also no better confidence builder than to plan a long flight and carry it out.  After a long flight, it is rewarding to sit over a nice meal and enjoy the accomplishment and adventure of piloting your own plane from the Great North to destinations unknown.

Wabash River joins Ohio River

Wabash River joins Ohio River

Category : Activities | Blog
22
Oct

VFR to IMC

Posted by Kelly DeBerg Comments Off

Controlled Flight Into Terrain

The FAA publishes Practical Test Standards for applicants for a certificate or rating.  In those Practical Test Standards, or PTS, they dedicate a good portion of those standards to “Controlled Flight Into Terrain” or CFIT.  This is such an important issue that the FAA puts special emphasis on it in the PTS requirements for a check ride.  There have been numerous incidents where aircraft had gone out in marginal weather and ended up flying into terrain.  The reason they call it controlled flight into terrain is because there is nothing wrong with the aircraft or the pilot, just that the aircraft was flown into terrain under normal control.

I found this video on YouTube. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Nm8pNgqBAk

It is a very unique incident because CFIT actually occurred, but the pilot and passengers were able to return home and live to tell the story.  I would imagine this pilot will see some sort of action against his pilot certificate by the FAA.  But the training value in this video is very good.

What is the way to avoid a situation like this one?  Proper planning, understanding and sticking to personal minimums, and having the good sense to cancel the flight if weather, personal minimums, or aircraft capabilities don’t meet the requirements of the flight.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement to fly, even when weather is unfavorable, but the best pilots, and the ones that live the longest, are the ones who are willing to walk away from a flight if things aren’t right.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
21
Oct

One of the top questions I hear from prospective helicopter students is this… “Should I train in a Robinson or a Schweizer helicopter?”  It is an excellent question, but it does not have a clear answer.  The information I provide below may help you decide.

To qualify my own experiences, I have trained and worked professionally in both Robinson and Schweizer helicopters, so I can reference first hand experience.

To compare apples to apples, we must compare the Schweizer 300CB/CBi models to the Robinson R22.  These are both 2 seat helicopters that are the most widely used primary training helicopters in the country.  I will discuss the Robinson R44 in a subsequent article.

To start off, both machines are superb to fly, a lot of fun, and very safe.

Lets talk about the R22.  It is a very light helicopter that was originally designed by Frank Robinson to be a personal

Robinson R22

Robinson R22

 transport helicopter for aviators who were already licensed pilots.  The design originates from the 1970′s.  It evolved into the most widely used primary training helicopter in the civilian market.  It is not a helicopter for folks that are on the heavier side.  It has a small useful load; meaning fuel, people, and cargo capacity.  If you are over 240 pounds, it is probably not the helicopter for you.  The R22 is fast compared to the Schweizer.  The R22 tops out at 102 knots of airspeed, and on a good day with one person on board, you could actually reach that speed.  It has a non-conventional T-Bar cyclic system, which makes it very easy to board the helicopter, and with a little time, easy to work with. 

Here are the two important issues with the Robinson product… The R22 (like the R44) has very touchy controls and has additional time requirements associated with it for training.  The extra time requirements refer to the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) contained in the Federal Aviation Regulations.  In order to solo, you must have 20 hours in the aircraft.  Some people are ready to solo before 20 hours, but the rules associated with the Robinson don’t allow that.  Also, in order to do flight instruction in the R22, you must have 200 hours in helicopters, and 50 hours specifically in the R22.  This can be cost prohibitive, especially in today’s economy.  A lot of people are ready to be flight instructors around 170 – 200 hours of flight time.  If you can finish your instructor rating well before the 200 hours requirement, then what do you do?  Pay for more flight time just to teach in that helicopter?  That’s tough to swallow for a newly minted flight instructor who is ready to work and be paid to fly, rather than pay for more time.  As for the flight controls, they are not very forgiving and require a lot of finesse, which sometimes requires students to take a little extra time getting accustomed to the flight characteristics.

Now lets talk about the Schweizer 300CB and 300CBi.  (The ‘i’ stands for fuel injection.)  It is a helicopter design that has been in existence for nearly 50 years.  It is a derivative of the Hughes (yes, Howard Hughes) 269 model helicopter that received FAA certification in 1959.  It is a much more robust helicopter than the R22, and it also has a gross

Schweizer 300CBi

Schweizer 300CBi

 weight that can handle the heavier student.  I have trained students and flown with commercial customers who were nearly 300 pounds.  It has more traditional and common type of flight controls, making it very similar in control and operation as it’s larger turbine powered cousins.  The Schweizer was built for training.  Every piece of the design was done with the student pilot in mind.  The helicopter is tough and resilient.  The other nice thing is that there are no additional time requirements to train in the helicopter.  If you are ready to solo, your instructor will send you off without having to reach 20 hours.  And you don’t need 200 hours to teach in it.  Once you have your flight instructor license, you are ready to teach others how to reach the same dream you have!  Another nice benefit is that it is more roomy inside than the R22.  Some models even have a third seat available to accomodate a small child passenger.

The drawback to the Schweizer helicopter is that it is slow.  The best speed you might see out of it is 80 – 85 knots airspeed.  It’s maximum speed is 94 knots, but it would be extremely rare to see that speed.  The reason is because the machine has a large and flat front windshield.  It was never meant to be fast because it was built for training, and in the training environment speed is not required.  There is one other thing that is usually initially seen as a drawback, and that is the lack of a throttle governor on the Schweizer.  But just like anything else, with enough practice, you get used to it.

We have Schweizer 300CB and 300CBi helicopters here at Hummingbird for your primary training.  We do not utilize Robinson R22′s here.  We do also have a Robinson R44 for training.  Look for a discussion on the R44 very soon!

When it comes to helicopters you want to train on, look at the informtion and decide for yourself.  Both helicopters are great machines to fly and are relatively low in cost to rent and purchase.  It is important to remember that both aircraft do the same thing and accomplish the same goals.  They just do it in different ways.  It boils down to engineering.  Each aircraft design has to give and take in order to accomodate different jobs and pilot needs.  Both aircraft have an up side and both aircraft have a down side.  As the person who is considering training, you have to decide what is important to you.  We are here to guide you in that process.  We can be reached at 952-944-2628.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
16
Oct

First Flight

First Flight

Common mistakes to avoid on your introductory flight or first lesson:

-Not showing up because of weather. I call all students well ahead of time if the weather will prohibit us from an enjoyable flight.

-Not eating because you are worried about motion sickness. Nervousness and an empty stomach will amplify motion sickness. If you do feel sick on your flight, let me know immediately.  There are tips that I can give to help resolve the uneasy situation.

-Having a death grip on the controls. The aircraft is very responsive and only takes light inputs to fly.

-Looking at the instruments to much. It takes hours of practice to fly the aircraft by looking at the instruments. Look outside and flying will be much easier.

-Not letting me know your concerns. I understand that the first flight is exciting.  However, it is a totally new situation to most people and can be a little scary or intimidating. Let me know if anything is bothering you.

-Worrying that you will maneuver the aircraft incorrectly and cause an accident. I will not let the aircraft get into a dangerous situation. I have a full set of flight controls and can take over before an issue becomes dangerous to us.

Most people are surprised by how easy it is to fly a small aircraft. On your first lesson you will be taxing, taking off, and flying the entire time. The only skill you might not attempt on the first lesson is landing the aircraft. I assume that each new student knows nothing about aviation, so don’t feel like you should have a rich knowledge base before signing up for your introductory flight or first lesson. On your first flight, your only responsibility is to have fun. Avoiding some of these common errors will make your experience that much better.

Category : Training Articles | Blog
15
Oct

 
Flight Training Barriers

Flight Training Barriers

Overcoming 3 Flight Training Barriers

I constantly hear from people “I have wanted to learn to fly for the past 5, 10, 30 years but I don’t have (a) the money,  (b) enough time, or (c) my spouse doesn’t want me to fly in small airplanes”. If you fall into one of these 3 categories, here are solutions to get you up in the air.

 

Money: Hummingbird Aviation rents a Jabiru Light Sport Aircraft, in which you can complete your Sport Pilot Certificate or Private Pilot Certificate. The training costs for the Sport Pilot can be half of the costs for a Private Pilot Certificate. In addition, you can rent the 2008 glass panel Jabiru for under $100 per hour, which is considerably less than most aircraft. Hummingbird Aviation also offers a loan program where clients can complete your entire Private Pilot Training for installments of $199 per month. Discussions with the Chief Instructor or your flight instructor can also yield tips on how to economically complete the most advanced training.

 Time: Flight training occurs around your schedule and isn’t as time consuming as you might imagine. While some of my students choose accelerated training and finish their certificate in a couple weeks, most fly 2-3 times per week devoting just 2 hours per lesson. Our scheduling is open online where you are allowed to book lessons weeks and months in advance and then make changes as necessary.

My Spouse Says “I don’t think so”: I can personally attest that when my wife says those words that there is a formidable barrier to overcome, but it is not impossible. Without giving away too many of my secrets, I will stick to how it relates to flight training. I have found that most spouses, including mine, think that small aircraft are dangerous. This almost always stems from the fear of the unknown. I offer individualized ground and flight training to spouses to go over these concerns and how they are addressed in training and during flights to provide education on the safety afforded by properly trained pilots and safety measures of small planes.

 Everyone’s situation is unique, but there is almost always a strategy I can develop with my students to overcome these three common flight training barriers.

Category : Training Articles | Blog
13
Oct

We would like to announce some great deals available to our customers!

 $399/hour block rate on Robinson R44 through October!*

Robinson R44

Robinson R44

 Our Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter is discounted to the fantastic rental rate of $399/hour through the month of October!  Take advantage of this terrific deal while there is still time.  If you always wanted to get the hours you needed to qualify under the SFAR requirements, or you haven’t flown the R44 for awhile and want to brush up with an instructor, or if you’d like to do instrument training in the R44 using the Garmin 430 GPS, now is the time!

 

Fall Flight Training Special: $199/month** for Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land! 

Jabiru J170-SP

Jabiru J170-SP

Experience the dream of airplane flying for this great special loan program for the fall. 

  • Start immediately
  • 2 flight lessons a week around your schedule
  • Instructors and aircraft readily available
  • Loan application is free and can be done right in the office
  • Same day response to see if you qualify
  • $250 down payment which goes toward your flight training
  • Fraud proof loan where the funds are dedicated to flight training!

The loan will cover all costs of aircraft rental, instructor, fuel, ground school tuition, books, and supplies.

Call us today at 952-944-2628 to arrange your helicopter or airplane training!  We look forward to seeing you!

* This Special Rate is available through the month of October 2009.  Special rate applies to flight training only as a block rate in the Robinson R44 helicopter.  Must purchase at least five (5) hours of flight time to qualify for block rate.  Special rate not applicable to commercial work such as aerial tours, photo flights, etc.  Normal block rate is $460/hour plus $18/hour fuel surcharge.  Standard rate is $529/hour plus $18/hour fuel surcharge.  Special rate does not include instructor fees.  Special rate is wet rate that includes cost of fuel.  Other restrictions may apply.

 ** This loan program applies only to fixed wing airplane flight training for a Private Pilot Certificate.  Information listed is a sample loan rate for a qualified buyer.  60 months to pay.  Other restrictions may apply.

Category : New Offering | Blog
13
Oct

Hummingbird Aviation is now on Facebook

Hummingbird Aviation is pleased to announce that we have entered the world of Facebook, the premier social networking site.  Click here to link to our page.

There you can submit and comment on wall posts, view and post to our blog, view helicopter and airplane photos, or even post your own photos about your flight experiences at Hummingbird.  Adding this component to our online presence is great for everyone to network in order to share stories, photos, and other experiences that bring us all together in the aviation community.

Already, we have professional pilots and pilots who just fly for fun as fans of our Facebook page.  We even have designated pilot examiners as fans, giving everyone wonderful resources to seek out for information!

Thank you for taking a moment to check it out.  We hope you enjoy it!  If you have suggestions please take a minute to comment!

Category : Activities | Blog
11
Oct

Steve Goebel after his first solo flight

Steve Goebel after his first solo flight

Steve Goebel Completes First Solo

Today Hummingbird instructor Dave Klemenhagen sent Steve Goebel on his first solo flight in the Jabiru Light Sport Aircraft. Dave told me the landings were textbook for a first solo. Steve’s next step is to complete a post solo stage check with me and then move on to navigation and solo cross countries. I want to congradulate all of our students who completed their first solo flight this week.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
9
Oct
First Solo  Fun!
Camilo Pineda(left) and Jeff Dalton(right)
Camilo Pineda(left) and Jeff Dalton(right)

The weather was perfect this morning for a first solo so after a few landings with Camilo I told him to take me back to Hummingbird and go take the Jabiru Light Sport Aircraft around the pattern by yourself. After Camilo’s first solo he was greated by his wife who stopped by for a surprise visit to watch the event. Camilo got out of the Jabiru and all he could say was “WAHOOO!”

Category : Uncategorized | Blog