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Breathing New Life into a Timeless Airframe
By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation
At NBAA this year, spectators had the opportunity to see the Garmin G5000 first-hand in the Beechjet. This is exciting news for Beechjet/Hawker 400XP owners and operators alike as it further affirms the longevity for this aircraft. Because avionics parts obsolescence is becoming a prevalent issue in older airframes, the G5000 retrofit rids any obsolescence issues and further enhances the capabilities of this magnificent airframe.
Garmin recognized the importance of the G5000 program, as over 700 Beechjet/Hawker 400XPs/Jayhawk T-1A are currently flying, with many of them older and rapidly facing avionics parts obsolescence issues. However, this viable airframe is still a leader in the light jet segment. The aircraft features 450 Knot speeds with a 1,300+ NM range. Additionally, this airframe is based on a squared oval design with a flat floor, allowing a superior cabin cross-section for ultimate head and shoulder room.
Paired with the G5000, the useful load increases by 150 lbs or more. The G5000 is not just a partial avionics upgrade leaving much of the 1980’s technology but a complete replacement of the entire avionics suite including a new Garmin autopilot system. The G5000 instrument panel consist of three 12” LCD displays that provide the pilot and copilot with all the latest technologies including Synthetic Vision, Electronic Charts, XM Weather, WAAS/LPV, ADS-B, Engine Indication, MFD Range Rings including Reserve Rings, and more.
The 2nd half of this decade will see the Beechjet series aircraft facing CRT Display obsolescence, AHRS obsolesce, WAAS/LPV upgrades, ADS-B out upgrades and a rising cost per hour for avionics repairs. The G5000 will take care of all of these issues in one short downtime, making it a true upgrade that will keep this aircraft flying for many years to come.
With the G5000 officially flying in the experiential stage, customers are looking at this retrofit beginning late 2015. At Elliott Aviation, we are looking forward to installing the Garmin G5000 in Beechjet/Hawker 400XP’s from all over the world. We will be striving to achieve the same milestones that make our Garmin G1000 King Air retrofits such a success like a 15-day downtime, all new wiring, and industry-leading checkout instruction.
About the Author
Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.
3. November 2014 17:12
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An instrument rating provides both options and opportunities that are not available to a VFR pilot. But in order for an instrument rated pilot to legally exercise the privileges of the instrument rating, he or she must be current. 14 C.F.R. § 61.57(c) lists the tasks that must be accomplished within the six calendar months preceding the month of the IFR flight, and logged under 14 C.F.R. § 61.51 in order for the pilot to be instrument legal for that flight.
But what happens if you are a pilot who lives in an area of the country where the weather, along with personal scheduling issues (since we few of us have the luxury of flying whenever we want, even though we wish we could) make it difficult to complete these tasks? Or maybe you are looking for a way to lower the cost of flying. Is it possible to safely stay instrument current while saving some money?
Well, one way to meet instrument currency requirements is to use a flight simulator, flight training device or aviation training device ("simulator"). In addition to the lower costs and safety benefits a simulator provides to a pilot, one of the specific advantages is that a pilot may use time in a simulator for instrument currency experience.
However, use of a simulator for logging instrument flight time isn't without conditions. First, the simulator must be "approved" by the FAA (a topic for another day, but if you are curious you can review the FAA's Advisory Circular AC 61-136 for more information). Second, and equally important, in order for a pilot to log simulator time and have it count towards instrument currency, 14 C.F.R. § 61.5l(g)(4) requires that "an authorized instructor is present to observe that time and signs the person's logbook or training record to verify the time and the content of the training session."
As all instrument rated pilots should already be aware, this second condition is different than simply performing the necessary instrument approaches and procedures in an actual aircraft. In the aircraft, an instructor's presence is not required. And, unfortunately, some instructors and flight schools believe that if an instructor is not required to be present when a pilot is performing the necessary approaches etc. in an aircraft, then an instructor should not be required to be present when the pilot is performing the same tasks in a simulator. However, that is not the case.
Additionally, keep in mind 14 C.F.R. § 61.57(c)(3) requires that a pilot who accomplishes instrument experience exclusively in a simulator must have performed the instrument tasks and maneuvers listed in that section within two calendar months before the month of the flight.
If you are going to use a simulator for instrument currency, make sure you are familiar with the requirements that apply to your training. When in doubt, review the regulations and associated FAA guidance. If you still have questions, contact your CFI or a knowledgeable aviation attorney.
1. November 2014 16:11
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Photo: N. Tackaberry/Flickr-CC BY-ND 2.0
Getting an instrument rating means you’ll be able to fly in the clouds and you won’t be stuck on the ground as much because of bad weather. But an IFR rating also comes with a few other advantages. Here’s why getting an instrument rating will make you a better pilot:
- You’ll become more accurate.
There’s no doubt that accuracy improves with instrument flight. In order to remain safe while in the clouds, you have to stay on your altitude and heading. Deviations become much more of a safety hazard when you can’t see the ground below you or other aircraft flying around you. During your IFR training, you learn to fly more precisely, staying on your assigned altitude, heading and airspeed, or making exact pitch and power changes for, say, a precise 500 foot-per-minute climb. These skills will transfer over to your VFR flying, too.
- Your preflight planning will be better.
Preflight planning is always important, but when you introduce low ceilings and fog into the equation, planning is done with a whole new outlook. IFR flight presents new challenges like icing hazards, holding procedures and traffic delays, and it’s more important than ever to be prepared for fuel stops, flight plan deviations and alternates.
- You’ll learn more about your airplane’s instruments and technology in general.
In-depth familiarization with your aircraft’s instruments is one of the challenges of the IFR rating. You’ll not only need to know how these instruments work, but you’ll become familiar with what to do in case of instrument failure. The extra knowledge of autopilot systems and GPS technology will come in handy for flying in different environments, both VFR and IFR.
- You’ll always be ‘two steps ahead’.
Any instrument student knows that part of IFR training is transforming your mindset from real-time flying to being at least two steps ahead of the airplane. Being ahead of the airplane is necessary for instrument flight, as there are numerous things going on and you’ll need to react quickly. Planning for the next two or three steps will become second-nature to you, and before you know it, you’ll be using this mental trick all the time – even for non-aviation tasks!
- You’ll be more prepared for inadvertent flight into IMC.
Flying in the clouds is safe when it’s predictable, and when on an IFR flight plan. But there are times when you might find yourself in less-than-VFR conditions without intending to be, like at night, when the clouds roll in sooner than predicted, or if it’s tough to see the horizon in rain or hazy conditions. An instrument rating will greatly increase your chances of remaining in control of the aircraft should you encounter an inadvertent flight into IMC condition.
- You’ll be better at finding traffic in the area.
As a VFR pilot unfamiliar with IFR operations, it’s difficult to know where exactly another aircraft is when the pilot reports “localizer inbound” or “on the 7 mile arc.” With an instrument rating, you’ll finally be aware of the exact locations of all of these other aircraft in the local area, improving your situational awareness and collision avoidance capabilities.
- You’ll become more skilled at noticing and predicting the weather.
IFR training gives pilots a really thorough look at weather theory and weather reports. As you gain experience flying in IFR conditions, you’ll get much better at recognizing hazardous weather like icing, thunderstorm activity and frontal passages. This proves to be valuable knowledge to have during any flight, of course, and as a bonus you might also become the go-to guy for weather reports and forecasts among your family and friends.