Posts Tagged ‘Al Marsh’

Garmin G500 keeps it simple

Monday, August 17th, 2009

While in Canada at the Diamond Aircraft factory I got a short flight in a two-seater DA20 equippd with the Garmin G500 glass cockpit. The G500 is a stripped down PFD/MFD (meaning $16,000 retail or $10,000 as Diamond has it set up) but you can load it up with options including synthetic vision and traffic advisories. Yes, it does weather. Garmin kept it simple.

The G500’s simplicity is most noticeable on the lower left corner of the primary flight display. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Located there is the familiar inner and outer knob combination used on so many Garmin displays, but above it are five buttons. Push one of them, and that determines the function of the knobs. If you push the BARO key, then the knobs will only set altimeter settings. There are soft keys along the bottom, but mercifully most of them are blank. Move over to the multifunction display and start wandering through “chapters” of information. Again it’s simplified; most of the chapters have two pages, three at the most.

You’ll find the G500 only on smaller certified aircraft, light sport aircraft, and even Experimental aircraft. The DA20 cockpit is much more comfortable now that the instrument panel has been inclined forward, and the stick has been moved forward as well. The new seats are amazing. You can be 30 pounds overweight like me and still keep your dignity.

For $185,000 you can get a DA20 with the G500 plus, for a limited time only, a free upgrade to the Garmin 430 (an upgrade from the GNS 420 that provides data to the G500 display) and free synthetic vision. Not going with glass? A straight analog ready-to-go DA20 is $175,000. You can also get one with an Aspen primary flight display. Learn more about the G500 and other new systems here.And here is a short video I made at Oshkosh on the G500/600.

An ode to Ardy and Ed’s, kinda

Friday, July 31st, 2009

I blog today in praise of the ice cream and hamburger joint in Oshkosh known as Ardy and Ed’s. It is to the body’s circulatory system what concrete is to the builder, yet it is an essential risk. A root beer float shoveled between the lips near Lake Winnebago is the same as cabernet savignon sipped in Napa Valley. I take pills to fight what Ardy and Ed serve, and yet I return again and again. Drivers passing by get high cholesterol just from breathing the air, even when speeding. Fry my burger in a river of grease, Ardy. Pour me a bucket of root beer, Ed. Roto-Rooter will clear my veins.

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE (Photo by Alton K. Marsh)

Ride with the Blue Angels

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

You can ride for several minutes above Annapolis, Maryland, with the Navy’s Blue Angels thanks to a link in the last FlightAware bulletin.

Nature photographer looks at Reno

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Practice sessions for the September National Championship Air Races and Airshow at Reno just ended, and Moose Peterson, famous wildlife photographer, demonstrated that all those years of chasing critters pays off when chasing airplanes. See his blog and click “little slide show” in the fourth paragraph. He’s especially good at catching warbirds at sunrise and sunset, as you’ll see.

Pedestrians share Gibraltar runway

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Even when the new tunnel under the Gibraltar runway is completed, pedestrians and emergency vehicles will continue to stop air traffic and use Winston Churchill Avenue above ground to cross it. In the past it could take 10 minutes to clear people and traffic off the runway so an aircraft could land. The tunnel will be an improvement. This shot was taken by world traveler Robert Gannon after landing in his Cessna 182, and those tiny dots on the runway are traffic and people. The Gibraltar Airport is 1,600 feet from the city, the shortest commute of any major airport in the world. CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

African beasts captured in hangar

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I completed a video on an unusual hangar just in time to compete with the summer Hollywood blockbusters–although most are longer than this one-minute feature. You can see it here. If it does not open, try here. A Hagerstown, Md., pilot visited a licensed commercial hunting farm in Africa and you’ll see the result. The farms, found in 13 African countries, practice wildlife conservation to stay in business, and most herds are growing as a result. It’s another in a list of unusual hangars I covered in AOPA Pilot

An LSA experiment to watch

Friday, May 1st, 2009

The light sport aircraft community, admittedly off to a slow start these past four years, ought to watch an experiment by the flight department at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, Fla. Director of Flight Training Nick Frisch has purchased two Remos light sport aircraft to join his fleet of 41 trainers. He is challenging a “significant unknown,” in his words, and that unknown is the public’s general acceptance of light sport aircraft.

Frisch is betting that among the school’s 7,000 non-aeronautical students there are a number of pilot candidates who will jump at the chance for a $5,000 sport pilot certificate. To improve chances for success, he will offer the Remos aircraft to the Melbourne community as well in a flying club. Some of the 41 trainers are ready for retirement. Will serious FIT pilot candidates accept the Remos because of its lower rental cost?

He is starting with two aircraft, but additional Remos aircraft will be purchased if the experiment works. So watch FIT’s flight department at the end of this year. That is when Frisch’s “significant unknown” will be known, and when a new order is, or is not, made.

Want your annual done in Cyprus?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

It’s common knowledge that flying costs more in Europe. That’s why I asked around-the-world trekker Robert Gannon the price of his last annual inspection. It was completed by an American mechanic in Cyprus, recommended by pilots in Lebanon, who once flew in Africa and has an American license. Gannon said the airplane had nothing wrong, except it needed a new beacon lamp. (He made sure it was in tiptop condition before leaving the United States.) The cost of the annual was $2,333.62–a lot more than he is used to at home. Of that, labor was $1,365, an oil filter was $39.37, and 12 quarts of oil was $141.75, or $11.81 per quart. (I just checked the price at an FBO near AOPA headquarters where oil is less than $6 a quart before taxes.) Gannon is headed back to Cyprus May 1 to pick up his airplane and continue to Israel, Crete, Malta, Tunisia, Morocco, the Madeira Islands, back to Morocco, then up into western Europe. Follow him on his Web site.

A real cliff-hanger of a landing

Friday, April 24th, 2009

A 1941 Taylorcraft slid off a mountain near Talkeetna, Alaska, April 17, catching on a rock just below the top and leaving the occupants dangling over a 1,500-foot drop. The two on board were not injured and the aircraft, recovered by a helicopter, suffered little damage but needs a new wing bow. The 21-year-old pilot and his passenger were looking for a place to go snowboarding, the pilot’s mother said. Crusted snow caused the skiplane to slide faster than expected, making the landing a few inches too long.  Details are in the “Anchorage Daily News.”

Click photo to enlarge. (Photo courtesy Alaska National Guard)

Just your run-of-the-mill flight

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Best if viewed large. Click on photo. (Photo courtesy Don De Voe)

For pilots near Seward, Alaska, this is just another typical flight–incredible scenery and ho-hum, what’s new about that? Don De Voe took this shot of his friend, Jim, while flying a “mission” in late April to view a rock slide and see how his cabin survived the winter. Here is his description from an e-mail of some wildlife he saw. Notice how it starts out as an afterthought.

Oh. We saw lots of wild game: an otter just off the beach at Little Johnstone–it would immediately dive whenever I pulled my camera out of the bag–lots of goats on all the lower mountainsides above the ocean–sea lions on their rookery–a coyote on the beach at Big Johnstone–a black bear on the beach at Whidbey Bay–and many, many bald eagles.”

Those outside Alaska see that on pretty much every flight, right? Mountain goats here, a bear there, just routine flights.