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Archive for December, 2009

15
Dec

Career Day

Hummingbird Aviation was able to send two representatives to address a group of Jefferson High School Juniors about aviation careers. David Klemenhagen talked about airplane training while Jimmy Young shared his experiences with helicopters. The students were interested in the flight training requirements and also had questions about all of the different job opportunities that aviation presents. David was able to share his experiences flying for WCCO radio traffic reports, DNR fire watch, and flight instructing for Hummingbird Aviation. Jimmy went over the large variety of different helicopter careers.  The students also verbalized interested in flying for Missions or the Peace Corps

If you are interested in aviation careers, I would suggest reading a recent article in Plane and Pilot. It gives an update on the state of the current aviation industry and also a look into the future.

Flying The Friendly Skies: No Better Time! This may be the perfect time to achieve your aviation dream

I want to thank Jimmy and David for sharing their passion and experience with Jefferson High School students.  Hopefully they were able to inspire the students to pursue the avenues of a career in aviation.

Category : Activities | Blog
11
Dec

How Cold Is Too Cold?

Posted by Jeff Dalton Comments Off

How Cold Is Too Cold?

Minneapolis Skyline

Minneapolis Skyline

I know winter is officially here when I start getting asked this question. With the recent cold snap, I have been addressing this topic a lot lately. The quick answer is that the flight school generally stops training if the temperature drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for airplanes and a little colder for helicopters. However, there are some exceptions and variables to consider when deciding what temperature to stop flying.

One consideration depends on the type of training that is taking place. The problem with flying in very low temperatures is that the equipment becomes brittle and more likely to damage.  Therefore, if I am going to be staying in the traffic pattern or working on maneuvers requiring large adjustments in power settings, I want the temperature a little warmer. If I am going on a cross country or other training flights where the power settings are higher and constant, then flying with temperatures near 0 degrees is acceptable.

Another factor to consider is engine and cabin temperatures. At

Jimmy Young's View While His Student Is Having Fun In The Helicopter

Jimmy Young's View While His Student Is Having Fun In The Helicopter

Hummingbird the aircraft are either in a heated hangar or the engines are preheated with a Tanis or Reiff preheat system prior to starting. If I am in good graces with the line staff a space heater gets placed in the cabin prior my lessons. The aircraft have cabin heaters installed that will make the cabin comfortable during the flight with proper attire. Somewhere around 0 degrees the heaters can’t keep up and it can get brisk.

A more important concern that I have relates to the chance of an off field landing. When the temperatures drop below 0 degrees, it doesn’t take much wind to make it extremely dangerous to be waiting for help exposed to the elements. Due to this worst case scenario, I also find it necessary to look at wind chill when making a go no go decision.

Helicopter Approaching Hummingbird Aviation

Helicopter Approaching Hummingbird Aviation

Don’t let this season and the cold weather fool you!  Winter provides some of the best weather of the year for flying. In a few minutes I will be on a lesson at 3000 feet. From this vantage point I will be able to see over 50 miles because there is almost no moisture in the air. The winds are calm and it will be completely smooth for the entire flight. The sun will be shining bright helping to warm the cockpit. I can’t think of a more enjoyable place to be.

Category : Activities | Blog
8
Dec

Ben Lewis was cool and collected while accomplishing his first helicopter solo flight. Ben is already a fixed wing private pilot and is working towards his helicopter add-on. His previous experience in airplanes explains how he stayed so calm while going on his first solo helicopter flight. None the less, this is a great accomplishment towards your helicopter add-on.

Category : First solo | Blog
8
Dec

Congratulations to Steve Gale for completing his Helicopter Private Pilot Certificate! This was an unusual check ride because in addition to having a designated pilot examiner giving the exam, there were also two FAA Inspectors observing.  I want to congratulate Steve and his flight instructor Jimmy Young for having a successful rotorcraft private pilot check ride under the increased scrutiny.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
4
Dec

Lightning Arrives at Hummingbird Aviation

Steve Hacker's Lightning pulling onto Hummingbird Ramp

Steve Hacker's Lightning

Steve Hacker’s Lightning flew into Hummingbird Aviation this week. Steve is in the process of completing his Private Pilot Certificate in the Lightning and before I start his training, I needed to familiarize myself with his aircraft. My first impression of the Lightning as it pulled onto the ramp was how fast it appeared.  The airplane has a sleek design and gives the impression of an aircraft that will handle nice and be fun to fly.

Once airborne, my first thought was related to the great visibility through the bubble canopy. There were no obstructions to my view and on the bright sunny day it was a pleasure just being in the air. I then took the controls and made a few turns, climbs, descents, and some slow flight. I didn’t need long to realize that it was an impressive flying aircraft without any strange flight characteristics, so we returned to the airport. Over the next week I will take some more flights in it to explore how the Lightning handles in various configurations and speeds. Once I know the limits of the aircraft, Steve and I will start his flight training.

Steve Hacker Building The Lightning

Steve Hacker Building The Lightning

Lightning During The Building Process
Lightning During The Building Process
Category : Activities | Blog
1
Dec

I recently went on a routine checkout flight in the Husky Pup which started

Husky Pup

Husky Pup

out all too eventful. The pilot being checked out was experienced at flying different tail wheel aircraft. He had just finished all of his familiarization training in the Husky and I was going on his last flight just to make sure there were no gaps in his skills (which there weren’t).

We were holding in position on 28R for a King Air which was taxing from the north on taxiway Charlie towards the new threshold of 28L. The King Air crossed in front of us and then held in between the two parallel runways waiting for his takeoff clearance. Due to the new runway configuration with 28L and 28R thresholds being staggered, the King Air crossed about 300 feet in front of where we were holding for takeoff on 28R. We were then cleared for takeoff and preceded down the runway. About 3 seconds into our takeoff roll the student pushed the nose down to lift the tail and as he was doing that the Husky got slammed by the prop blast of the King Air holding on taxiway Charlie. At this vulnerable moment in our takeoff role our nose swung hard to the left. After full control inputs and tires squealing we were able to swing the nose back. I was grateful to be instructing in the Husky with the 160 horsepower engine to muscle us out of trouble.

King Air

King Air

I kick myself for not foreseeing this major safety concern, which didn’t exist prior to the new runway. What I learned and have made Hummingbird Aviation policy is to not accept a takeoff clearance if a large turbo prop or jet is holding in between the parallel runways and their prop blast is across my path. When taking off either wait or taxi past the prop blast. When landing either do a go around or fly above and land past where the prop blast is going. There are no regulations on the air traffic controllers to prevent them from giving you the clearance in these situations. Use your authority as pilot in command to take appropriate action. If you don’t like your clearance for any reason don’t accept it.

Category : Training Articles | Blog
1
Dec

site-logo_betaLast week I took two editors of Gameinformer on their first flight lesson. They were interested in seeing how gaming and flight simulation would transfer over to flying the real thing. I took them up in the Jabiru Light Sport Aircraft to see how they would perform. In an unscientific yet very fun experiment we launched to see how they would perform.

Jabiru J170-SP

Jabiru J170-SP

Jeff Cork was the first to go on his lesson. He had spent a fair amount of time with flight simulation games so he was the experienced student in our experiment. He took the controls from the very beginning and had a great takeoff. He then was able to climb, descend, and turn within the standards that the FAA requires for Private Pilots. His skills for a first lesson were in the top 10 percentile of what I see for initial flights.

The next lesson was with Meagan VanBurkleo. Meagan did not have the flight simulator experience that Jeff possessed. She had a great takeoff though and was able to fly the aircraft the entire flight. I had Meagan perform the same maneuvers that Jeff did. She did a great job, but was not as sharp at scanning the pilots flight display and making corrections as Jeff was.

After the flight Hummingbird Aviation instructor Jimmy Young went to  Gameinformer’s office to try out some of their simulation games. Check out the link below to see what Gameinformer editor’s Meagan and Jeff thought of their experience.

Gameinformer blog and video

Category : Activities | Blog