All posts tagged 'sr20'

Flying Glass Cockpit vs The Six Pack

This is probably one of the most popular topics in aviation that I hear about and have to teach about ALL of the time. 

Six pack is the old school way, aka the steam gauges that bring you back and make you feel like you're learning to fly in the '50s. Or at least this is one of the jokes I hear from fellow aviators and students. 

But it's true! This is the "old school way" if that's what you want to call it. But, don't discount it. The steam gauges create really good flying skills that can carry into the rest of your career and set a good foundation.

On the other hand, the glass cockpit is the newer style of things and we have to learn to adapt. 

This G1000 features Avidyne Avionics from a Cirrus SR20 and below the screens a Garmin 430. On the left side is a PFD (primary flight display), which makes sense because it shows your primary flight instruments. Everything from the six pack (which we'll come back to) is now featured on this screen, including your rudder coordination which is the black and white triangle at the top. Keep the white part of the triangle centered with the black (keep the snow on top of the mountain) and you're coordinated!

All of this is powered by a separate computer. You still have a pitot tube and static ports, and this air is sent in lines to flight management systems to display the information. The advantage of this is the controls have fewer mechanical components to break down and avoid false readings. One major advantage of a glass cockpit is that the automation systems are more accurate and the information is more precise.

Some of the features look different, but if you can read the older style gauges, you can read this. Some added tools include the heading and altitude bugs that you can't always set on the six pack as a reminder of when to level off. Now if you have advanced avionics like this and added autopilot, consider your plane a technically advanced aircraft! This is a plus of having a glass cockpit. 

However, there is one con I find of training with this. When learning to read these, if you go straight into the digitalized cockpit without doing any training in a traditional style, then your instrument scan is negatively affected.

As you can see, all of the readings are displayed on one screen and it can be easy to monitor all the readings at once. 

With these instruments, now they're all separate from each other. You have to move your eyes across all of them at a good pace and thus create a good instrument scan while flying the plane at the same time. This creates a solid foundation for good flying skills, especially when you have to take those skills into flying IFR without autopilot. 

As mentioned earlier, all of these instruments have mechanical linkages behind them which can break and render the entire instrument unusable with little to no sign beforehand. This is the con of flying the steam gauges, and you usually have to replace the entire instrument to fix it. They also can be slightly inaccurate when incorporating some principles like gyroscopic procession with your gyro-powered instruments. The altimeter, even when set to the right altimeter setting, can read inaccurate and within time has to be fixed too. 

Both traditional flying and digitalized flying have their own benefits and are each respected throughout the aviation community, it's all about what you fly best. Find planes with the best cockpit for you on Globalair.com

Stay tuned for more articles and happy landings!

What To Do If You Have a Bird Strike

Last month I gave some tips on how to conquer summertime flying. It's hot outside, performance is decreased, the weather isn't always the best, etc. 

Well, there's one topic we didn't really discuss, and that's...

BIRDS.

Cue the dramatic music. Because they're EVERYWHERE.

Since the last post, within the past two weeks, I've had two bird strikes while instructing. Neither were catastrophic, but each one cut our flight short (so more just inconvenient).

Here's what happened each time:

Pictured above is from the first bird strike incident. A student and I were doing some laps in the pattern and were all too familiar with dodging birds from earlier lessons. So when we saw a small bird coming at us we didn't panic, just tried to curve to the side and avoid it. 

At first, it seemed we were in the clear until we heard a "ding" sound from the left side. We looked at each other then looked back at the strut and gear to see where it hit but couldn't see anything. BUT, we heard it, and even though we weren't 100% sure where it hit we decided to just make a full stop. 

After shutting down on the ramp we saw where it hit the strut. Mechanics verified our inspection and no damage was done!

Now bird strike number 2: this one was a little more dramatic (and kind of funny if you have terrible humor like me). 

Instead of a Cessna, a different student and I were in our SR20 who we named "Sherman." Don't judge, it's a great plane and therefore needed a great name! Anywho, Sherman, myself, and the student were just cleared for takeoff and started bringing the power in. As the engine instruments and airspeed were being checked we saw a black shadow hit our windshield and roll off. So, power was brought back and as we kept positive control of the plane we notified tower we had a possible bird strike and needed to taxi off to shutdown. Once approved we taxied off and shutdown as soon as possible. That's where we found some blood on the cowling...it didn't just hit the windshield.

So, I called tower back and said we'd need a tow back to the hangars. While we waited we obviously had to document the incident with a selfie! I knew this would be going on the blog too after the second time, so I wanted to capture the proof. After we got our tow back mechanics checked the engine and verified yet again no structural damage, and Sherman was back on the flight line. 

So, I know one thing you might be thinking: why did they shutdown for a bird strike? 

In both incidents, I wasn't 100% sure where the bird hit. And even then, I can't see just from the cockpit what possible damage the hit caused. Bird strikes can be kind of funny like in our selfie moment, but they can also be as serious as the famous Sully on the Hudson River case. I know another instructor who had a bird strike and kept flying because "it was fine" and later landed to find a huge dent in the flap. Even in terms of structural damage, what if it strikes the wing and ruptures a fuel tank? It's okay to be too safe and cautious in these cases. 

In the case of a bird strike, here's what to do:

  • - Try to pinpoint where the bird hit so you can estimate what kind of structural damage may have been caused, and have a game plan set to counteract any problems that could have come from it.
  • - Land as soon as possible. You can't see everything from the cockpit and there may be damage unseen to you. 
  • - Be cautious, but never panic. I can't stress this enough, don't stress!! This is when your flying will be negatively affected. 
  • - Report the bird strike. You won't get in trouble, birds can be impossible to avoid in many cases so it's likely not your fault. Report it to a controller if you're in controlled airspace or other pilots if you're at an uncontrolled field. 
  • - Do a thorough inspection after landing and shutdown, but also have a mechanic verify it before releasing it back to fly. 
  • - After landing, report it to the FAA on the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. This is used for collecting statistics and understanding how we can mitigate further incidents. 

Bird strikes usually have a minuscule impact on the flight, but imagine other cases where they come through the windshield and have even hit the pilot(s). That's a scary thought, but at the end of the day, you just have to FLY THE PLANE. Never panic, maintain control, and fly like you were taught too.

In other news, don't forget about the annual Globalair.com Scholarship! Applications close this month on August 15th. We'll be picking two recipients to help further their flight training towards a professional pilot career. 

Questions or comments to add to this article? Post below!

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