Getting to know the Remos Archive

No-clamping zone

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Sennheiser headset 003A good headset is a real plus in the cockpit. It protects your hearing and cuts down on the fatigue factor during any flight. On long trips, a comfortable, effective headset is a must. I muscled through my primary training with a cheap one that was probably just a little better than stuffing cotton in my ears. On my first trip to EAA AirVenture in the back of Editor in Chief Tom Haines’ Bonanza, I realized that the cheapo wasn’t going to do the job any longer. During my free time at Oshkosh, I went shopping and happily wore my new purchase back to Maryland. The cheapo was relegated to the closet; you never know when a passenger will need a headset, and it’s fine in a pinch. 

The winner of the 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes Remos GX won’t have that problem. Sennheiser USA has contributed two HMEC 460 noise-cancelling headsets that will go to the winner of the airplane in November.

When the box arrived from Sennheiser last week, it felt like Christmas all over again (I had to open them up and check them for you folks, didn’t I?). Each headset is sleek and lightweight in design, weighing just 13.4 ounces. The 460 has NoiseGard active noise reduction technology powered by two double-A batteries. What, you didn’t bring batteries and yours just died? No problem. The Remos has a XLR-3 connector located along with the conventional headset mic/audio plug behind each seat, so you can plug and play. The 460 also has audio cables that allow you to plug in compatible cellular telephones and portable audio devices.

Read a lot more about the 460 here, and then imagine the pleasure of traveling in comfort with one of these. And just think, you won’t have to subject your passenger to the infamous El Cheapo headset!

Snug as a bug

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger (left) inspects the installation of the new preheater with Senior Editor Dave Hirschman.

Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger (left) inspects the installation of the new preheater with Senior Editor Dave Hirschman.

 

Just before we launched for Sebring, Florida, and 80-degree temperatures last month, the 2010 Fun to Fly Remos was outfitted with a new engine preheating system, courtesy Tanis Aircraft Products. (See “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” February 2010 AOPA Pilot.) When the temps drop, you simply plug in the preheater (the plug can be reached through the oil access door) and put the blankets on the cowling.

No sooner did we get our heater than we took the airplane to Florida for the U.S Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring. But that was a good thing, because Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger had come down from Minnesota for the show, and during one of his few breaks he walked over and inspected the installation. Talk about service!

Now the Fun to Fly Remos is back in its hangar; there’s fresh snow on the ground and more to come; but we’re ready for the cold.

Sebring bound (On the road again, part III)

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

On a loooong cross-country like the one we flew from Maryland this week, it’s great to have a right-seater (particularly if he or she is also a pilot, and can share the flying with you). Our trip was enhanced with the addition of another airplane–another LSA, in fact.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, we met up with Mitch Lock flying a Van’s RV12 at Hickory, N.C. We were a flight of two for the remaining two legs, from Hickory to Waycross, Georgia, and then to Sebring. We kept tabs on each other via the multicom frequency. From time to time we’d check in and compare notes on the TAS numbers we were seeing (the RV12 also has a Dynon display). Mitch alerted us to traffic (airplanes and a bird), and also pointed out an unusual U-shaped contrail in the skies over Georgia. We theorized that it might belong to an aerial tanker.

From Waycross we headed to Ocala to avoid a final bit of restricted airspace, and landed in Sebring at just about 2300Z. Three legs, about nine or so hours of flying time, and we were ready to show off the 2010 Fun to Fly Remos at the US Sport Expo. The trip back to Maryland promises to be as much fun, if not more.

On the road again, part 2

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Sebring 012It wasn’t a hardship to put Maryland’s cold temperatures behind us for Florida’s warmth this week. Flying no higher than 4,500 feet for most of our route, we noticed that the snow which had blanketed the Northeast in December was still hanging on in many areas, even in southwestern Virginia.

But by the time we landed at our second fuel stop–Waycross, Georgia (AYS)–the snow was definitely behind us. Our friendly lineman laughed as we began to shed outer layers. “Go ahead,” he said. “You’re in the South!”

At HKY, Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and I met up with Mitch Lock, the East Coast demo pilot for Van’s Aircraft. Mitch was bringing a Van’s Rv12 to Sebring. The RV12 happened to be the same one that Mitch had brought to Frederick last year for AOPA’s editors to investigate. The RV12′s right seat was packed with Mitch’s gear.

The leg from Waycross to Sebring took us over the Okefenokee swamp. Try figuring out where to make an emergency landing in that seemingly endless stretch of nothing but trees and water! Florida and Georgia pilots, what’s your strategy? Let me know in the comments section.

On the road again, part 1

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was flying up the East Coast in your 2010 Fun To Fly Sweepstakes Remos, bringing it to Frederick (KFDK) from Tampa, Fla. And this week I again found myself in the left seat flying from Maryland to Florida to show off the airplane at the US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring.

A trip of this length, with two pilots (Senior Editor Dave Hirschman is my right-seater for this trip), in an LSA, requires a little bit of strategic planning. I shipped my clothing and laptop to Sebring so that Dave could bring his in the airplane. Dave’s knapsack and laptop, plus tiedowns, oil, cleaning cloths, and airplane cleaner, fit handily in the baggage compartment behind the seat. There was plenty of room in the cabin for Gatorade and snacks.

We left FDK on Jan. 19 at 1230Z, leaving behind 32 degrees F. We had a choice of flying down the coast, which didn’t look promising weather-wise and would mean dealing with a lot of restricted airspace, or flying inland, with better weather. Our first fuel stop was Hickory, N.C. (HKY).

The first leg was our longest, at three and one-half hours. Headwinds aggravated our progress, and so we plodded along at groundspeeds ranging from 75 to 85 knots. But the airplane’s range easily handled the leg, and we landed with an hour of fuel in the tank. Gotta love an airplane that burns 4.5 gallons per hour on a trip like this!

Levitating LSA

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Today’s entry is from guest blogger Alyssa J. Miller, an instrument-rated private pilot currently working on the commercial rating. Alyssa is an editor for AOPA’s electronic publications.–Jill Tallman

Any aircraft with a max gross weight of 1,320 pounds and a 100-horsepower engine is going to jump off the ground, but the handling characteristics of and sight picture from the Remos make you feel almost as if you are levitating on takeoff.

Imagine riding upward on a Ferris wheel (sans the carnival music) or lifting off in a helicopter. Now, combine the two for a sense of takeoff in a Remos.

I recently had the opportunity to fly AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Fun to Fly Remos with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh and go through a standard checkout—takeoff, slow flight, stalls, steep turns, no-flap landing, and full-flap landing.

The aircraft’s smaller cowling and large windows in the door provide excellent forward and downward visibility, allowing the pilot to see much more runway on takeoff than in a Cessna 172. And with a rotation speed of just 30 to 40 mph (yes, mph, not knots) and a climb rate of 1,000 fpm, it seems as if it’s just floating off the ground.

Slow flight, stalls, and steep turns are seemingly effortless in the aircraft—you really don’t need to use trim at all (this from a weakling who uses trim a lot). The Remos is much more sensitive to control inputs than a Cessna 172, requiring a light grip on the control stick and small, gentle inputs.

The Remos is equipped with 40 degrees of flaps, so its final approach path is steep with full flaps. It’s not much different than the approach angle for a Cessna 170 or 172 with 40 degrees of flaps, but, again, the smaller cowling lets you see a lot more ground than you would in a larger aircraft.

Touchdown. Well, it’s not like the conclusion of a Ferris wheel ride or landing in a helicopter. It’s smoother. The aircraft is light, and it wants to fly, so touchdown is very graceful—even when you bounce. The wind, although blowing straight down the runway, had started to pick up by the end of my flight. On the last landing, I bounced a little. But, it felt as if I had touched down just enough for the wheels to kiss the runway, then briefly lift off again before returning to the ground. An onlooker later told me that the bounce looked very benign (I wasn’t too pleased with the landing). I’ve had my share of bounced landings in plenty of aircraft, and none of them felt as smooth as this one. So, in this case, I’d chalk the gracefulness up to the airplane, not the pilot.

After logging 1.4 hours in the aircraft, I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with AOPA Pilot Associate Editor Jill Tallman, this year’s sweepstakes manager—this Remos certainly lives up to its “Fun to Fly” theme.

Baby, it’s cold up there

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’m not cool, but my colleagues sure are. On Wednesday, Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and Photographer Chris Rose took their coolness factor to a whole new level, and they had the numb hands and feet to prove it.

Senior Editor Alton Marsh and I flew a photo mission in the 2010 Fun To Fly Remos, and Hirschman and Rose were in the platform airplane–a Decathlon. The doors were removed to give Rose an unobstructed view for stills and video. He and Hirschman dressed for the mission in ski suits and thermal long johns. On further reflection, they might have needed a couple more layers. Marsh and I were snug and warm inside the Remos, whose cabin heater was working perfectly.

We circled a ski resort (where snow machines were busily chugging away) and a nearby reservoir so that Rose could get the perfect shots. By the time we headed for home base, he and Hirschman were more than ready to shake hands with a cup of hot cocoa. You’ll see the photos and video footage when the February issue of AOPA Pilot arrives in your mailbox.

Checkout done!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Winter in the mid-Atlantic doesn’t usually set in until January. Case in point: Friday’s 1.4 in the Remos was conducted in 50-degree temperatures under 5,000-foot ceilings that looked like they might have snow in them, and at the time I thought it wouldn’t amount to much.*

The POH recommends using carb heat on approach. Having spent most of my time behind Lycoming engines, I find myself having to check and double check that I’ve completed that step. Perhaps it’s time to implement a GUMPS+checklist strategy.

*Oh yes…we did get snow on Saturday, and a little more on Tuesday night. Which just goes to show you, some of us should leave the weather prognoticating to the experts, like my colleague Tom Horne.

Checkout: Lightly loaded

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

When transitioning from a 172 or a Cherokee to an LSA, you’ll soon learn that what works to plant your heavier aircraft will need some tweaking. This is what I’m finding out with the Remos. Proper rudder usage is important–well, yes, that’s true of any aircraft–as is making sure you hit your approach speed (65 knots)  and keep it there. Senior Editor Alton Marsh has noticed that the analog airspeed indicator on the right side (or co-pilot side) is a handy way to check your airspeed if you are new to glass panel displays, and there’s even a yellow diamond on the AI to remind you.

Like the Tecnam Eaglet I flew earlier this year, the Remos has two throttles–one on the left side, one on the central quadrant. I’m finding that I use the right (or central?) throttle when applying power for takeoffs, because that seems natural and it’s what I’m used to. In cruise flight, I may use the left one to adjust power. Remos pilots, feel free to jump in and tell me your tips for these kinds of ops.

Cowling ON! (Update: Cowling OFF!)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Good news from Remos about my belief that the cowling had to come off for every preflight to inspect carburetor and exhaust springs. They absorb the vibration of engine startup and shutdown. We can leave the cowling on during preflight! The springs will be inspected during regular maintenance. (But now we know how to do it.)

A lot of you have commented on our oil and now we have the official word from Remos. Use Aeroshell Sport Plus 4, and so we shall.

UPDATE: Now that I’ve done a mea culpa for saying preflights require a cowling removal, I’ve reread the checklist. There are things on there that can only be done by removing the cowling. We’re back to becoming cowling removal experts.