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Night, Decoding FARS

Categories: Training
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Night Flying and Decoding the FAR’s

Let’s take a look at the varied regulations on what is considered night, civil twilight, sunset, sunrise and the different certificate limitations. Probably should start with the FAA’s definition of night.

Far Part 1.1   General definitions.
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.

We now see that night is a time constantly changing and you will need to have an Air Almanac or some method to determine legal civil twilight. The Almanac for 2013 is available on CD from the government bookstore for $28.00 or for free online at the U.S. Naval Observatory website: – For a quick planning approximate, you can use 30 minutes after sunset or before sunrise. It will always be a bit less, so you are safe with that approximation.

When we determine civil twilight times we also have the sunrise and sunset times. Why is this important? Navigation lights are required to be on from sunset to sunrise. So, according to the FAA, your nav lights on at sunset but night doesn’t begin until evening civil twilight.

Now let’s look at the different pilot certificates and night regulations.

Private Pilot
For night solo as a private pilot student in training, you will need to have your FAA Medical Certificate, specific flight training at night and an authorized instructor’s endorsement in your logbook.

 Far Part §61.85   Application
 (o) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight at night. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight at night unless that student pilot has received:
(1) Flight training at night on night flying procedures that includes takeoffs, approaches, landings, and go-arounds at night at the airport where the solo flight will be conducted;
(2) Navigation training at night in the vicinity of the airport where the solo flight will be conducted; and
(3) An endorsement in the student’s logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown for night solo flight by an authorized instructor who gave the training within the 90-day period preceding the date of the flight.

If you are a Certificated Private Pilot, we have the “recency of experience” period regulation for carrying passengers which is defined by the FAA as being from 1hr after sunset to 1hr before sunrise.

Far Part §61.57   Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.
…no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise…

Wait a minute. Isn’t that different from sunset/sunrise and civil twilight? Yup… So, if you are not night current, you can fly with passengers until 1hr after sunset. You could then plan a rest stop for your passengers, have them relax at a nice FBO for about a half hour while you do your 3 take-offs and landings, then gather them up for the rest of the flight…

Recreational Pilot
There is no night training requirement for the student Recreational pilot and would not be eligible for night solo. As a certificated Recreational pilot, you are not allowed flight between sunset and sunrise.

Far Part § 61.101  Recreational pilot privileges and limitations.
(e) Except as provided in paragraphs (d) and (i) of this section, a recreational pilot may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft—
(6) Between sunset and sunrise;

Sport Pilot
There is no night training requirement for the student Sport pilot and would not be eligible for night solo. As a certificated Sport pilot, you are not allowed flight at night.

 Far Part § 61.89(c  General limitations.
(c) A student pilot seeking a sport pilot certificate must comply with the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and may not act as pilot in command—
 (2) At night;
Far Part § 61.315   What are the privileges and limits of my sport pilot certificate?
(c) You may not act as pilot in command of a light-sport aircraft:
(5) At night.

It is also interesting to note that while the Sport Pilot cannot fly at “night” (civil twilight), the Recreational Pilot cannot fly from sunset to sunrise. Not sure why the difference…

To sum all this up:

Sunset to Sunrise

  • Navigation lights ON
  • Recreational Pilot cannot fly

Night (evening /morning civil twilight)

  • Sport Pilot cannot fly
  • Time between evening /morning civil twilight (@ 1/2hr after sunset and before sunrise)

1hr after sunset / 1hr before sunrise

  • Private pilot with passengers must be night current
  • Designated period for the Private Pilot to get ”recency” experience for night currency

Confusing? Not really…

Faa Night

Garmin Pilot Android Review

Everyone talks about the iPad and iPad mini for the aviation apps for navigation and I decided to see what would be comparable on the android platform. I purchased a Nexus 7 tablet and decided that the best app for android to compete with the WingX Pro or Foreflight apps for iPads would be the Garmin Pilot. I have tested and used the WingX for android, but it really is mostly a weather app with some airport charts and a couple aviation functions that is nothing like the maps, etc for the iPad platform. To compare the iPad mini and Nexus 7, here is some basic information:

Ipad Mini 32Gb Wifi+Cellular $559.00 – Google Nexus 7 32Gb Wifi+Cellular $299.00
The Google Nexus 7 offers the 1.2GHz quad core processor, while the A5 dual-core processor of the iPad Mini is the one from the iPad 2. Geekbench tests put the Google Nexus 7 in front of the iPad Mini with twice the speed. You should get great battery life with either of the tablets. The Google Nexus 7 comes with around 8.5 hours, while with the iPad Mini you may be able to get 10 hours.

Ok, so some difference, but both very capable. Anyway, here is what I was quickly able to do with the Nexus 7 and the Garmin Pilot…

The main menu screen shows Map, Active Flight Plan, Trip Planning, Airport Info, Charts (like Approach Plates, STARS, SIDS), Downloads for maps etc, and settings.


Choosing the map screen from the Home/main menu, we can then select which basemap we want displayed.

Click Maps then Basemap
Icon Selection Choices


Here are the VFR Sectionals and IFR Low (or High) Altitude Charts for Basemaps. These can/should be downloaded so they are available when you have no wifi or cellular connections.

VFR Sectional
Vfr Sectional
Ifr Low


On top of the basemaps, we can overlay several other important pieces of information such as Radar, Airport weather, TFR’s, Winds Aloft, Fuel Price and others.

Click Overlay Icon
Vfr Sectional
Overlays Selection
Ifr Low


Here are some overlay screens:

Radar Overlay
Upper Winds 6000ft

Airport Weather Overlay
Fuel Prices Overlay


Clicking on an Airport on the basemap, brings up another menu where you can select it as a Direct to, Airport Information, Navaids, Flight Plan or sets a Waypoint.

Airport Info Menu
Runway Info


Selecting Airport Info or Charts on the Home Screen Menu:


For Flight Planning, you can select Direct To, The Active Flight Plan icon on Home/Menu or do them directly on the screen with tap and rubberbanding a course. You can now also select the new Track UP feature for the Moving Map from the Main Menu -> Settings.

Home Menu
Direct To

Active Flight Plan
Rubber Banding


With Garmin Pilot, users can easily enter a flight plan. Pre-loaded forms make it quick to save and reuse data for frequently flown routes. And when the flight plan is ready, Garmin Pilot makes it simple to file, cancel or close the flight plan via DTC DUAT or CSC DUATS

Split Moving Map & ApproachPlate
Split Moving Map & NavPanel


Some other features include:
Optional geo-reference Garmin FliteCharts® and Garmin SafeTaxi® show aircraft position on approach charts and taxiways.

Add the Garmin GDL 39 receive-only data link radio with on-board GPS, 978 MHz (Universal Access Transceiver frequency band), and 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090 ES) receivers. It is designed to receive, process, and output traffic (ADS-B air-to-air, and TIS-B traffic information), and weather (Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B)) information to Garmin Pilot through Bluetooth.

All in all, I am very pleased with the new features and how well it performs on my Nexus 7 tablet. The 7 inch size works quite well in the cockpit either on a Ram Mount or kneeboard. There are a couple features some of the other tablet apps provide such as terrain maps/avoidance and synthetic vision, but not sure all that is really necessary. Plus you can only fit so much on a 7 inch tablet. I have to admit that having flown many years with the Garmin 430’s/530’s, I am a Garmin fan. There is not much else to need or want for general vfr or ifr flying and a reasonable price. For one year of Garmin updates I paid $74.99 + the $299.00 for the Nexus7.


Facebook Page

Categories: Site News
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I hear many of you are on Facebook and would like to have the blog posts and comments available there as well as the website. I have to admit that I not very adept with Facebook and haven’t used it much, but now have a page available with blog posts and links that can be connected to via : …

FCC and 121.5 ELT

Categories: Aircraft, Newsworthy
Comments: No

FCC again trying to ban the 121.5 Mhz ELTs…

Here is an excerpt of the proposed rule:

ELTs that operate only on frequency 121.5 MHz will no longer be certified. The manufacture, importation, and sale of ELTs that operate only on frequency 121.5 MHz is prohibited beginning [ONE YEAR AFTER EFFECTIVE DATE]. Existing ELTs that operate only on frequency 121.5 MHz must be operated as certified.

Link to the complete FCC Proposed Rule

The FCC is requesting comment on whether the manufacturers, importers, sellers, and, in particular, users of 121.5 MHz ELTs are small entities, and the extent to which a total or partial prohibition of 121.5 MHz ELTs might impose burdens on them. It is estimated that there are 200,000 aircraft currently equipped with the 121.5 MHz units and replacement for owners would approach $300 million dollars.

Most aviation associations request that at a minimum, the FCC permit aircraft owners to continue using the 121.5 MHz ELTs currently installed in their aircraft. It can also be noted that the lower frequency is still monitored by the Civil Air Patrol and others involved in search and rescue.

You may submit your comments, identified by WT Docket No. 01-289, FCC 13-2, by any of the following methods:

So why is the FCC bypassing the FAA when it comes to issues related to aviation safety? Beats me…



A Dangerous Turn to Downwind?

Recently there has been a bit of conversation in the aviation community about a NTSB Report wherein the NTSB states, the airplane a progressively increasing downwind condition during the turn as a probable cause of the accident.

Here is the report:
 NTSB Identification: CEN12LA324
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Perry, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2012
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T-6G, registration: N3753G
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that the run-up and takeoff were normal. After takeoff to the south, he was planning to overfly the runway for a “photo pass.” He reported that he executed a slight right turn, followed by a left turn. He noted that the engine was running normally. However, he did not recall any subsequent events regarding the accident sequence. A witness reported that once airborne, the airplane turned right and then started a left turn above the trees. He noted that during the left turn, the airplane bank angle steepened and the descent rate increased. The engine sounded normal until impact with a barn. A postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact malfunction or failure. The pilot reported the wind was from the southwest, gusting to 20 knots with light turbulence, at the time of the accident. Based on the reported prevailing wind, a left turn after takeoff resulted in the airplane encountering a progressively increasing downwind condition during the turn.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain control while maneuvering at low altitude after takeoff, resulting in a collision with a barn.

So is it true that if you turn downwind quickly your airplane will stall and fall from the sky? Possibly, if your airspeed is slow enough that a stall will occur because of a steep turn. But certainly not as a result of a prevailing wind and an “increasing downwind condition during the turn”.

What’s really going on? If you are standing on the ground, there definitely is a direction for an upwind condition blowing in your face or a downwind blowing at your back, but remember the wind is really a result of an air mass moving in a particular direction over the earth. Sort of like a large container or box of air moving at say 20 Kts. Once you are flying, you are part of that big container and moving within it.

Let’s think about flying a rectangular course:Rectangular Course
As we fly in the air mass box at a constant airspeed, the obvious external reference is the ground. If we are flying in the same direction in the air mass box that it is moving, our ground speed would be the sum of air mass speed and our true airspeed within and so on.
Rectangular Course
Wind (or movement of air mass)  20 Kts

True Airspeed (in air mass) 100 Kts
Ground Speed Downwind 100+20= 120 Kts
Ground Speed Upwind 100-20= 80Kts
Ground Speed Crosswind 100-10= 90 Kts
(assuming a ±30° correction angle)


A good way I have heard it described:
You’re in a bus that is going 55 MPH. If you stand up, you don’t shoot out the back of the bus at 55 MPH. If walk forward at 1 MPH, your speed relative to the ground outside is 56 MPH, but still 1 MPH relative to the bus floor. So, the bus is like the air mass in which your airplane travels, the ground is the earth that you fly your airplane over. No matter how fast you turn when you reach the front of the bus and begin walking back, you will still be moving at 1 MPH. The same is true with you and your airplane in that downwind turn.

So, how might an accident occur on a downwind turn?Extended Crosswind
If you were to become distracted and see that your
normal downwind position relative to the runway is
passing by, one might overbank their turn to compensate.
A steeper bank causes a stall speed increase and if it
exceeds the true airspeed, a stall can occur close to the
ground and be difficult to recover.

Certainly there are other factors in an air mass such
as small and random wind accelerations inside the
the air mass. Turbulence from thermals, trees
buildings etc. Maintaining a proper airspeed for
the conditions and good situational awareness are
always a necessity for positive outcomes in the
airport pattern. Bottom line, any steep turn flying
low at slow air speeds is risky unless you are an
aerobatic pilot with a powerful aircraft.

Ready to Buy an Airplane?
Over the years I have bought a few airplanes and here are some thoughts and information that should be helpful for those who have not had the experience yet.

What Do I Want and How Much?
Assuming you already have some type of aircraft in mind, you should begin your research by going to the main for-sale sites. Barnstormers, Trade-a-Plane and the Controller would be good sites to start with. Look carefully at the listings for the type you are interested in and pay close attention to not only the features listed but the implications of things that are not mentioned.

Here’s some common classified abbreviations:
0SFRM – Zero time since factory remanufacture
0SMOH – Zero time since major engine overhaul
COMP – Compression : CSPD – Constant speed propeller
FWF – Firewall forward : DH – Major damage history
NDH – No damage history : SCMOH – Since chromed cylinder major overhaul
SFRM – Since factory remanufacture : SMOH – Since major engine overhaul
SOH – Since engine overhaul : SPOH – Since prop overhaul
STOH – Since top overhaul (cylinders, pistons & valves)
TBO – Time between engine overhauls : TT – Total time
TTA – Total time airframe : TTAE – Total time airframe and engine
TTE – Total time, engine : TTSN – Total time since new

If it’s an older classic type airplane and there is no mention of fabric age/condition or corrosion, you might want to be asking questions in those areas. Expect to see included in the ad Information total times on airframe, engine and prop. any damage history, listing of all the avionics, any autopilot and interior/exterior condition. Other items included could be new battery or tires and recent annual or pitot/static xponder certification dates.

Now you can begin to compare prices for a plane equipped as you would like and see what falls into your price range. Aircraft are not selling very quickly as of late and motivated sellers prices can be a bargain. Not sure how long the bargain prices will remain, but beware if an unusually low price is listed. I recall going to look at a “super bargain” once. The pictures looked good, low time engine, you name it and when I traveled to see the airplane with my trusted A&P, he would not even let it fly with a ferry permit. If I wanted to buy it, the plane would need to be disassembled and put on a flatbed truck for transport. Yeah, I passed on that one…

To help get a better handle on pricing, go to the AOPA website and do a VREF (Aircraft Value Reference) to see what the specific plane is estimated to be worth. You need to be an AOPA member to use the VREF, but being an AOPA member is definitely worthwhile for pilots considering all the membership benefits. VREF prices will probably be lower than the listed price, but then everyone always thinks their stuff is worth more than the market. A seller will usually have a price in mind lower than the listed price so don’t be afraid to ask if that is the best price. I have gone to complete a purchase with a percentage of the price in a cashiers check and the balance in cash. Sometimes there are problems not discovered from the conversations, photos, and specs and it turns out to be worth less when you are there looking at the aircraft.

When figuring out your total purchase costs, you will need to know what state sales or use tax might apply to your purchase. There often is a state registration fee as well. All are likely found on your State Department of Revenue and Department of Transportation / Aeronautics websites.

Things To Ask
When you call or email the owner, see how they respond to why are they selling the plane? A big pause might tell you something. Other good questions are how long have they owned it, are they the first owner, any liens on the aircraft, how many other owners, what were their locations, what is the useful load, empty weight, fuel capacity, typical fuel burn, typical airspeed at normal cruise altitude and 75% power, cylinder compression, date of last annual, any damage history, and do they have digital copies of the log books or the last annual…

If you are seriously considering a particular aircraft it is wise to get an aircraft title search done. Current cost of the service is $160.00 with a discount for AOPA members. You can find out about any liens on the aircraft as well as previous owners, complete aircraft records and any accident/incident reports. These services are available through Aircraft Title and Escrow Service. Bottom line is that it’s money well spent to avoid problems on tens of thousands being spent.

Plan on talking with an aviation insurance agent about cost, pilot requirements and how you can quickly bind a policy for the particular aircraft you are interested in purchasing. Depending on your hours and time in type, you may not be able to fly the aircraft home without some sort of check ride or additional flight time in type. I have taken an instructor friend along to not only help me evaluate the aircraft pre-purchase, but to also do any necessary check outs/dual flight time required by insurance. Make certain the instructor will be covered by your insurance and has proper time in type. It is not unusual these days that the sellers insurance policy will not allow you to actually fly the aircraft. Possibly not even with the sellers CFI unless his policy specifically includes instruction in the plane. It is common that only named pilots and instructors are covered by a policy. If you have not flown the type before, you may want to find an FBO that has the type on the line and get an instructor to take you flying. At least you will know the characteristics of the type…

Pre-Purchase Inspection
Most of us are not aviation mechanics, so my first recommendation would be to either bring a trusted mechanic with you or arrange for a local mechanic to meet you at the aircraft location and do a thorough mechanical inspection. You could also arrange for a mechanic to inspect the aircraft prior to making the journey and send you a written report. I would also be inclined to choose a mechanic other than the one regularly doing the annuals.

A simple walk around will tell you quickly how the owner has cared for the aircraft. Was the aircraft something special or simply something to fly as cheaply as possible? Scratches, hangar rash, fuel stains, torn/dirty upholstery, all for future bargaining and a clue to overall care. It can be amazing how much better an airplane can look in the ad pictures.

The aircraft engine, airframe and propeller logbooks should be studied in-depth for inspections, major repairs, AD compliance and status of manufacturer service bulletins. Check for missing pages or entries. Do your ARROW check for the airworthiness certificate, registration, radio station license (not req. in U.S.), pilot operating handbook and the current weight and balance. Missing items can cause some real problems for you.

Finally, take a test flight/ride. See that all avionics, autopilot and systems work properly. Study the manuals a bit beforehand if some of them are unfamiliar to you. Then just look, listen and sense for an overall impression.

The Paperwork
Okay, now time to make it happen. The price is agreed to and you should have some sort of written agreement. The agreement does not need to be complicated but is a good idea to involve an attorney and make certain that it is enforceable. Here is a link for a sample agreement. Sample Agreement

An FAA Bill of Sale AC Form 8050-2 is needed with original signatures on both copies. (both copies go to buyer) Seller name should be EXACTLY as it is on the current registration. The actual moment of aircraft transfer occurs when the Bill of Sale is signed.

The purchaser then needs to fill in the Aircraft Registration Form AC Form 8050-1 and the name should match the purchaser information exactly from the Bill of Sale. This form is NOT available online, cannot be a copy and must be obtained from the Aircraft Registration Branch or your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Purchaser(s) must also print or type name in addition to signature(s). Don’t count on the seller to automatically have these forms unless they are a dealer and say they will supply all the necessary forms. If you are unsure, go and get a couple of the forms from the FSDO yourself to make certain the transaction can be completed.

You the purchaser submits the Aircraft Registration Application, FAA Form 8050-1, along with the Bill of Sale AC Form 8050-2 and recording fee, to the FAA. Be sure to send any state registration forms and fees to your appropriate state offices.

Seller removes the original aircraft registration certificate, from the aircraft, completes the sale information on the back side of that certificate and mails it back to the FAA registry in Oklahoma City.

The pink copy of the Registration Application is placed in the aircraft as the temporary registration certificate and valid for flight within the United States for 90 days.

Final thoughts
Well, the plane has been purchased and the money spent. Always exciting, and now begins your new adventure with the perfect airplane. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to email me.

And oh, by-the-way, if you would like to put up a FREE For-Sale or Wanted ad in the MyFlyingStuff Classifieds, pictures and all, Who knows, you might just have a buyer/seller lurking here.

Air Density & Humidity

I can remember the early days of my flight instruction and the written test materials all talking about the 3 H’s, Hot, High & Humid, relating to air density. We all know that as air heats up it expands and becomes less dense. Sort of the can’t catch my breath feeling on the really hot days. We also have been told and learned that as we climb in our airplanes gaining altitude, the air also becomes less dense and the carbureted engine needs to be leaned to accommodate. Makes sense. If you stand atop Pikes Peak at 14,110ft, the air is pretty thin and people will even develop altitude sickness.

Now we come to humidity. I think that I may have just accepted the fact that air density decreased with humidity and never really spent much time thinking about why. Sure, I would calculate Density Altitude to determine takeoff and landing performance on those hot humid days and it was obvious that the data showed decreased performance. I could parrot the necessary answers to pass a written regarding humidity, but once in a while I would ponder on how humid air could be less dense when water weighs a lot more than air? Maybe if I had taken chemistry in school it would been more clear.

One day a student put the question point blank to me and I found it difficult to say that I didn’t really know the exact reason, but for now, just know that it was true and I would find the complete answer. So here goes:

In the early 1800s Italian physicist Amadeo Avogadro discovered that a fixed volume of gas, at the same temperature and pressure, would always have the same number of molecules no matter what gas is in the container. If we take fixed amount of perfectly dry air, it has around 78% of nitrogen molecules,  21% oxygen molecules and 1% of inert gases.  Nitrogen has a molecular weight (u) of 28 u comprised of 2 atoms 14 u each. Oxygen has a molecular weight of 32 u or 2 atoms 16 u each.

Now remember that Avogadro said that a fixed volume of gas has the same number of molecules no matter what the gas. So, lets take some water vapor molecules (H2O). Two hydrogen atoms with an atomic weight of 1 u each and one oxygen atom at 16 u for a total molecular weight of 18 u. Now replace some of the nitrogen and oxygen molecules weighing 28 u and 32 u respectively. Since each water vapor molecule is lighter, the density decreases.

Still say water is heavier than air? Yes, liquid water is, but we are talking water vapor when it comes to humidity!

Okay, maybe more than you wanted to know…

Why NORAD Tracks Santa Track Santa
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa.Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born. Also track Santa via internet.

Track Santa on your Mobile Phone!
Download the official NORAD Tracks Santa mobile apps…
WinPhone – Google Play – App Store

Was thinking about my early training days and reflected on the airplane I was trained in. Actually several, but all were low wing Pipers. In my many years of flying, I had been in clubs with both high/low wing and have owned both. Some of my favorite airplanes are high wing like the Cessna Cardinal, the 210 Centurion or the fun little Citabria, but then I also liked the Piper Archer, Lance and the A36 Bonanza. Even still, there is still a special place that has a preference for the low wing, the type that I was originally trained in. I would suppose that most pilots have that innate preference for their first flying experiences including the high/low wing preference. So are there any significant differences other than simply preference. Well, let’s make a list:

Low WingHigh Wing
Upward visibility – Excellent visibility in landing patternDownward visibility – Better ground view
Greater ground effect – takeoff on a soft fieldLesser ground effect
Fuel boost pump(s)Gravity fed fuel
Easy to refuelLadder to refuel
Wider spaced main gear & struts vertical for grater shock absorptionGreater wing clearance for objects – better on unimproved fields, runway lights etc.
Entry/exit by climbing on wing usually single doorEasy entry/exit usually doors on either side

You know, bottom line is that I simply enjoy flying most any airplane regardless of high or low wing, BUT if you are in a low wing watch out for what’s below and the high wing needs to be looking above…!


Please add a comment if you have other benefits for the low or high wing configurations!

New FlyQ

Categories: Apps, New Products
Comments: No

AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association)  has just introduced the new FlyQ Pocket for your Apple or Android smartphone. It’s a free app for AOPA members (if you aren’t a member and you fly, you really should look into all their member benefits) and can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play. I have put it on my Razr Maxx and find that it has a lot of good information when you don’t have your tablet handy. A very nice member benefit.
Some of the key features of FlyQ are:

  • Uses Geo-Location to Display Nearest Airports and Weather FlyQ Pocket
  • AOPA Airports Directory Provides Essential Airport Information at a Glance
  • Runway Diagrams and Satellite Images
  • Aviation Wx includes METARs, TAFs, Radar and Satellite Charts and more
  • Flight Planning with Smart Auto-Routing Capability

AOPA has developed this app in conjunction with Seattle Avionics  who provide ChartData(tm) geo-referenced aviation data for all major iPad apps, certified panel-mounted systems, and handheld GPS units.

Learn more about the FlyQ Pocket

Members also have a free FlyQ flight planner for your computer. Planner Link

And, there is the FlyQ EFB for your iPad that incorporates 3D Mapping and Synthetic Vision, Charts and Approach plates. Requires a subscription much like the other major EFB products, but has a Free 30 Day Trial period. FlyQ EFB

Adverse Condition AlertingFS

The new alert service from Lockheed Martin Flight Services proactively notifies a pilot when a new adverse condition that affects a flight plan arises after the flight plan was briefed or simply filed. The ACAS was created because pilots may be unaware of new adverse conditions that arise between telephone interactions or radio contacts with Flight Services, in some cases resulting in a safety issue for the pilot. The alert messages are short. They identify the type of adverse condition and the flight plan to which it applies. Initially, the alerts will be sent to the pilot using (SMS) text messaging.

The ACAS generates flight plan-specific alerts for:

  • TFRs
  • NOTAMs for Airports or Runways being Closed or Unsafe (applies to origination, destination and alternate airports)
  • Convective SIGMETs
  • Center Weather Advisories (CWAs)
  • Severe Weather Watches and Warnings
  • Urgent PIREPs or AIREPs

An adverse condition must intersect or be within a standard 25 nm briefing corridor of the flight plan route in order for an alert to be generated.

For more complete information, visit the website by clicking here…

You can sign up for the alerts by visiting the Flight Services Web Portal by clicking here…


Categories: New Products
Comments: No

Every time you look at anything flying, you are seeing ads for the ADS-B receivers for your tablets and/or phones.

Just what is all this ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) stuff anyway?

This is an informational video aimed at providing GA pilots information about the benefits of ADS-B Broadcast Services.

Here is a comparison of some of the main receivers trying to list some of the differences:

ADS-B TRAFFIC 978 UAT & 1090 ES 978 UAT & 1090 ES 978 UAT 978 UAT
COMPATIBLE DEVICES Garmin Pilot App – Apple & Android, G3X, Aera 500, Aera 795/96, GPSMAP 695/96, (396/495-96 Traffic only) WingX Pro7, EFB, i1000 Flight System, Digital Sectional WingX Pro7, PC Avionics / Mountain Scope, i1000 Flight System, Global Nav Source / iPad EFB, SkyVision Extreme / Xtreme Vision 3D Apple – ForeFlight
LISTED BATTERY DURATION Opt. L-ion 4hrs. Built-in 5hrs. Built-in 9hrs. Built-in 8hrs.
SPECIAL FEATURES Plots Traffic Trend – Traffic Voice Alerts Works with most GPS driven apps AHRS Synthetic Vision & 1090ES Traffic  in upper models Internal Antenna
SIZE 3.5″ x 1.9″ x 6.0″ 4¼” x ¾” x 2 ⅝” 2.5” x 2.5” x 1.24″ 4.25” x 1″ x 5.75”
WEIGHT 7.68 oz 5.3 oz 5.0 oz 11.4 oz
BASE PRICE $  799.00 $  799.00 SALE $699-$1117.00 $  799.00


GE Flight Simulator

Categories: Apps, Training
Comments: 2

** It appears that the “un-official version” of this simulator is no longer available for download. If someone knows where it’s to be found, let me know. In the mean time, the official version is still available and included with the Google Earth Download… **

While browsing some online flight sims, I came across GEFS-Online (Google Earth Flight Simulator) which is sort of an unofficial version done by Xavier Tassin in Amsterdam. There is an official Google version in Google Earth, but appears to be only a couple aircraft and much less in the way of features. I spent a little time trying the GEFS-Sim and soon found that using a keyboard for control was very scary. Kept forgetting which key did what when things got a bit out of control and soon totally upended. You can also use joystick control, so borrowed one and proceeded to try with that. Much more friendly and a lot closer to the real thing. The sim has plugins for Windows and Mac as well as joystick control. Excellent Sim and very fun! Check out the video…

GEFS is a free, online flight simulator based on Google Earth. Whether you are a licensed pilot practicing VFR, an aviation enthusiast or just looking for some fun flying a plane in beautiful sceneries, you can enjoy GEFS quickly, directly from your web browser.

  • -built on Google Earth: worldwide photo-realistic sceneries
    -simulate fixed wing aircraft, helicopter, paraglider and hot air balloon
    -supports joystick control
    -realistic flight model (lifting-line theory)
    -real-time weather, dynamic wind lift
    -multiplayer: fly and chat with other pilots across the globe
    -over 30,000 runways and global airspace map

Aircraft Choices…
Sopwith Camel F.1  /  Piper J-3 Cub  /  Evektor Sportstar  /  Dassault-Dornier  Alpha Jet  /  Douglas DC-3
Hughes 269a/TH-55 Osage  /  Major Tom (hot air balloon)  /  McDonnell Douglas MD-11  /  SU-35
Airbus A380 / Concorde  /  Zlin Z-50  /  Cessna 152  /  Goat Airchair  / Paraglider  /  szd-48-3 Jantar

Here are a couple screen shots after taking off from KMSP in a 152 headed towards downtown Minneapolis. One is in following view and the other in cockpit view. There is also a map that can be inserted on the screen with position information and can set a flight path.


ADS-B New kid on the Block…

Clarity Ads-B Receivers by Sagetech will begin shipping end of March 2013. These tiny receivers (2.5×2.5×1.24″/5oz) include WAAS GPS, WiFi and Free Inflight NEXRAD Radar, Weather and NOTAM’s etc. (FIS-B) and some ADS-B Out Traffic. Depending on particular unit you can also get full ADS-B Out Traffic and  Synthetic Vision AHRS to enable your 3D Synthetic Vision app. The units are compatible with WingX Pro7, PC Avionics / Mountain Scope, i1000 Flight System, Global Nav Source / iPad EFB, SkyVision Extreme / Xtreme Vision 3D. Sale pricing starting at $699.99

I know there are a number of pilots out there using the WingX app and is always nice to have alternatives available. Should also mention that I am not endorsing any particular products, but sure am enthusiastic about some of the sweet new technology coming out for GA and just passing them on.

ADS-B Stratus

Categories: Apps, New Products
Comments: No


I have a good flying friend that recently purchased the $799.00 Stratus portable ADS-B weather receiver for ForeFlight Mobile. Since he uses his iPad regularly, he naturally figured the Stratus would be an excellent addition and could soon pay for itself by discontinuing some other subscription services. On a first trial flight, IFR from Minneapolis area to Kansas City, the Stratus lost signal from the ground stations a number of times.(*Turns out that the particular unit appears to have a defect as a different unit had no issues on a similar flight.)
So, with a bit of research, there were a few possibilities. First is the Coverage Areas. Not all the U.S. is covered with the ADS-B system and the route appears to have some gaps in coverage.


Second, there could be an issue with the antenna/aircraft as well. In the PR for the product I noted the following:

“Most pilots will not require an external antenna and can thus operate completely “wire-free”. Stratus includes a specially tuned, high-performance internal antenna that will get good reception in many aircraft. Some aircraft, however, may require an external antenna due to signal attenuation caused by the aircraft.”

Third, there could be a problem with the particular unit. As it turns out, a different unit was tried and had no problems. The faulty unit was replaced promptly and all is well.

Would be wise to plan on taking a new unit out on a few mini test flights to make certain all works well and proper operation is understood.  Then check your route against the current ADS-B tower locations so there are no surprises should any coverage areas be limited. The test flights will also help assess the possible need for an external antenna. Finally, consider the Stratus as an excellent backup source that confirms graphically all the detailed information you received in your complete standard briefing from Flight Service and your detailed planning prior to flight.

The PR on the product:  Stratus, a new high-performance, battery powered, portable, wire-free ADS-B weather receiver designed to work hand in glove with ForeFlight Mobile. Stratus is the result of a collaboration between Appareo Systems, ForeFlight, and Sporty’s. Stratus receives and transmits to ForeFlight Mobile CONUS NEXRAD, regional high-resolution NEXRAD, METARs, TAFs, TFRs, AIRMETs, SIGMETs, NOTAMs, pilot reports, and winds/temperature aloft. Each product is nicely integrated with ForeFlight Mobile’s Airports and Maps features. Looks pretty good to me…

Flying Cars

Categories: Aircraft
Comments: No



Found some fun Flying Car photos and history.

Check out the Gallery….



Why a flying car might be difficult to create:

Made for Driving Made for Flying
 auto  plane
Auto engines are designed
to have varying rpm for
constant speed changes in
 Airplane engines run at a near
constant rpm at @1/2 an auto’s
 Auto wheels are on the
outer perimeter & away from CG
to provide stability.
 Landing gear is near the CG for
easier rotation during takeoff &
 Car design and spoilers disrupt
airflow/lift to ensure car grips
road during acceleration.
 Aircraft and wings are shaped to
generate more lift as speed

Selling An Airplane

Categories: Aircraft
Comments: No

Recently I put up an airplane for sale and although I have sold three planes before, each time seems to be a different experience. So here is what went on and what one needs to think about.

How Much?
Currently aircraft are not selling all that well, so prices are depressed. The first thing I did was go to the AOPA website and do a VREF (Aircraft Value Reference) to see what the plane is estimated to be worth. You need to be an AOPA member to use the VREF, but being an AOPA member is definitely worthwhile for pilots with all the membership benefits. Well, a bit of a surprise on the value, but then everyone always thinks their stuff is worth more than the market. I also looked at the various for-sale sites to see what the asking prices were. I chose a price a bit higher so I had room to negotiate.

I needed to take several photos of the plane in and out. Made sure I picked a spot that has a nice background setting and good lighting. A sunny day, and blue sky with puffy cumulus will work well. Lot’s of clutter, dark or out-of-focus images and old hangars definitely detract from the prospective buyer’s impression.

Ad Information
Decide on all the details that should be included in the ad. Total times on airframe, engine and prop. any damage history, list all the avionics, autopilot and interior/exterior condition. Include anything new like battery or tires and recent annual or pitot / xponder certification dates. Should all be simple right? We’ll see.

Placing the Ad
I placed the plane information on a few of the main for-sale sites. Barnstormers, the Controller and Trade-a-Plane. Barnstormers allows a 100 character ad with no pics for free and on Controller, you can post a free one-time ad. Truth is, you really don’t do an ad justice, with the small free ads. When you look at those minimal ads on the sites, they just don’t capture your attention adequately. Better to spend twenty to thirty dollars to get a good ad with all your info and pictures. The for-sale sites allow emails to you without listing your email directly in the ad. Saves on the spammers. I put in a phone number and although there were some talkers and a couple brokers, really didn’t have a problem calls.

What They Asked
Now is the wait for the buyers to come swarming in… or not. A couple days went by and finally a call/email. Not sure which one was first. Anyway, the first question and almost everybody’s first question was “why are you selling the plane”? I actually had not thought about that question or the answer, so there was the grand pause. I finally answered that I had bought into another plane and didn’t need two. After that, I was asked things like how long have I owned it, are you the first owner, how many owners, what were their locations, what is the useful load, empty weight, fuel capacity, what kind of fuel burn, true airspeed, normal cruise altitude, how about true airspeed at cruise altitude and 75% power, cylinder compression, and please send copies of the log books… Maybe I would send a copy of the last annual pages. Then there were the flying stories and some conversations going on longer than I would have liked, but hey, you never know who the buyer might be.

Talked with my insurance person and was shocked to find that I could take a prospective buyer for a flight, but unless they were checked out in type and named on my policy, they could not touch the flight controls. I then asked, “what if I had my normal CFI take a buyer out and let them fly?” Again the answer was no. The plane is not insured for instruction. Things are certainly getting more difficult these days insurance wise. About the only thing a buyer can do, that has not flown the type before, is to go find an FBO that has that has one on the line, and then get an instructor to take them flying. At least they would know the characteristics of the type…

Pre-Purchase Inspection
This will take a while. First the walk around and no matter how perfect the aircraft is, there will be flaws pointed out. Scratches, a bit of hangar rash here and there, a small fuel stain, and maybe pulled seam in the upholstery. All for future bargaining no doubt.
There will also be the in-depth study of the log books and maybe a local mechanic hired to do a quick inspection. Might even meet at the mechanics location for a more detailed annual type look-over. Actually a good idea if I was buying.

The Paperwork
Okay, all said and done. The price is agreed to and it’s a good idea to either get certified funds or a direct bank transfer to your account. The paperwork is reasonably simple but not all easy to come by.

An FAA Bill of Sale AC Form 8050-2 is needed with original signatures on both copies. (both copies go to buyer) Seller name should be EXACTLY as it is on the current registration. The actual moment of aircraft transfer occurs when the Bill of Sale is signed. Get your money…

Seller removes the original aircraft registration certificate, from the aircraft, completes the sale information on the back side of that certificate and mails it back to the FAA registry in Oklahoma City.

The purchaser needs to fill in the Aircraft Registration Form AC Form 8050-1 and the name should match the purchaser information from the Bill of Sale. This form is NOT available online and must be obtained from the Aircraft Registration Branch or your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

Don’t count on the buyer to automatically bring these forms. It’s best if you go and get a couple of the forms from the FSDO yourself to make certain the transaction can be completed.

Final thoughts

Well the plane was sold and the money deposited, but you just never know until it’s all over. The sweat that forms each time there is a concern. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to email me. And oh, by-the-way, if you would like to put up a FREE For-Sale or Wanted ad in the MyFlyingStuff Classifieds, pictures and all, Who knows, you might just have a buyer/seller lurking here.

Website & BLOG

Categories: Site News
Comments: No

MyFlyingStuff is an organized(?) accumulation of the many resources and information that I have found on the web and use on a regular basis for my flying passion. If you have suggestions for topics, links or whatever that will help others, please let me know by emailing to:
As you can see, I have now set up a Blog on the website and will try to provide interesting and useful topics. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts by clicking “comments” located at the top of each article!


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