Archive for March, 2010

It’s an airplane

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

 Much to Jill Tallman’s delight, I am now officially checked out in AOPA’s Fun to Fly Remos GX. I joke about Jill because she was getting nervous that I’ve waited so long to fly the Remos in advance of our upcoming Road and Runway Rally to Sun ‘n Fun. So, what’s the Remos like? It’s an airplane.

 Saying something so obvious may seem silly, but the point is that the LSA haters out there dismiss the light machines as toys, fat ultralights, and unrealistic as traveling airplanes and trainers. I’d be surprised if most of them have flown an LSA, more specifically a Remos, because they are fine airplanes. They are very capable in cruise, climb, takeoff and landing, fuel burn, and pretty much any other measure you can think of. Take cruise speed, for example. The Remos pretty much matches a Piper Archer. Takeoff and climb? It’s better. Fuel burn? It’s lower. So the airplane is nothing to scoff at. It does a great job.

 There are of course, some nit picky-things about it I don’t like. I have a long torso and I found the visibility out the side windows to be pretty much down only. Looking straight out does you no good because you’re looking at the wing root. The front windshield posts are also in the way. 

The Rotax is a very capable engine, but it’s different than what most of us are used to. It’s self-leaning, it starts and stops (quickly) with the key, and you have to burp the oil prior to flight. But once you get over the little stuff, the airplane is loads of fun to fly. It’s agile, responsive, and feels pretty sporty. The stick helps all that.

 But how will it endure on a long trip down the coast? I think the interior will be plenty comfortable. It’s weird you have to remove the seat to access the baggage compartment, but whatever. Other airplanes require you to climb over seats, stick your head through a small passage, et cetera. My biggest concern is my, how do you say…bottom. Man, those seats are firm. Maybe I’ll look for a cushion prior to leaving for Lakeland.

Today’s guest blogger is Ian J. Twombly, a CFII who also happens to be deputy editor of Flight Training magazine. He and Alyssa J. Miller are flying the Remos in the upcoming Fun to Fly Road and Runway Rally.–Jill Tallman

Name game: Pick the names for AOPA’s Rally teams

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

We’ve picked the two teams, each with a pilot and a driver, that will dash from Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., to Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., in AOPA’s Road and Runway Rally. Now we need to name those teams, and we need your help!

AOPA Director of eMedia Alyssa J. Miller and Wired.com Correspondent Jason Paur will team up against Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly and Motor Week Associate Producer Steven Chupnick. One team will fly AOPA’s Fun to Fly Remos, and one will drive a sporty Mercedes-Benz SMART car—and the teams will switch midway.

But we can’t send them on their way April 10 until we have a name for each team. Tell us your ideas!

Are you ready to Rally? (Road and Runway Rally, that is!)

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Today’s entry is from guest blogger Alyssa J. Miller, a commercial- and instrument-rated pilot. Alyssa is an editor for AOPA’s electronic publications, and she’ll be one of two AOPA staff pilots who is flying the Fun to Fly Remos in our upcoming Road and Runway Rally.–Jill Tallman

Spring training: Baseball players head to the field; other athletes sweat it out in the gym; pilots take to the sky. Thankfully, I’m a pilot! To shape up for AOPA’s Road and Runway Rally, I’m looking to maximize my time in the Remos GX, which I’ll fly part of the way from Frederick, Md., to Lakeland, Fla., in April.

But all of my prep time won’t be in the air. I’m studying the Remos POH and EFIS-D100 Pilot’s User Guide so that I’ll know the aircraft like the back of my hand.

 Here are the handicaps I’ll be working to overcome over the next couple of weeks: I have two hours of flight time in the Remos, and it’s my first time flying an aircraft with a glass cockpit (yes, I’ve been reluctant to make the switch).

I’ve gone through the check out and soloed the aircraft (see “Levitating LSA”). Its stalls are very docile; it has great glide performance, and it’s fun to land at every flap setting (from zero to 40 degrees). Chandelles and lazy 8s are a blast.

 Up next in my spring training: crosswind practice and emergency procedures. What else would you include in my rally preparations?

Michael Combs has friends all over

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Pilots are, for the most part, friendly people who care about each other–even pilots they’ve never met. Case in point: Michael Combs (“The Longest Cross-Country,” April 2010 AOPA Pilot). Since I wrote about Michael’s plan to fly in or to all 50 states in a Remos GX light sport aircraft, Pilot readers have contacted me with some amazingly generous offers for Michael:

  • A brand-new instrument pilot has offered to pay for some weather planning sessions with an expert. “Nothing will improve his trip more than better weather info.”
  • EAA Chapter 38 at Warner Robins Airport in central Georgia would like to host Michael with a special event and hangar space for his Remos.
  • The Syracuse Flying Club is there for Michael when he gets to central New York.

I’ve forwarded every message I receive to Michael. In the meantime, don’t forget that you can follow his progress on Twitter, at the Flight for the Human Spirit Web site, and on Facebook. We’ll also be tracking Michael’s trek on AOPA Online when he launches in April.