Aircraft instruments, IFR, IMC, safety Aviation Articles

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 

 

The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.

 

1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.

 

2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.

 

3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.

 

4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.

 

5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.

 

6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.

 

There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

10+ Gift Ideas for Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts

Pilots and aviators get to do what many of us can only dream of; fly. So what do you get the people who have the ability to soar above the clouds on a weekly basis? A gift for a pilot should be practical... but it must also maintain a level of sentimentality. 

Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of gift ideas that are aviator approved! 

 

Pilot Wings Hat - $15.95

If you've ever worn a baseball cap while flying, you'll immediately understand how much of a pain (literally) it can be to wear a headset and fight with the little button on top.  Not with this stylish hat! This company had the factory leave off the button that is traditionally found on the top of a baseball cap! Perfect for a sunny afternoon flying or spending the day with friends in the hangar.

 

Leather Pilot Log - $62

You've got to make every trip count. Track each flight with our pilot log, handmade from top-grain leather. This product includes either a standard (ASA-SP-30) or master (ASA-SP-6) pilot log. 

If the special pilot in your life prefers maintaining a digital logbook, send them to Globalair.com! Ours is free, easy to use, and is fully downloadable as a text file or CSV file. And the best part is the ability to add as many aircraft profiles as you need!

 

Flight Gear HP iPad Kneeboard - $34.95

The Flight Gear HP iPad Kneeboard holds the iPad right where you need it - secure on your leg but easily within reach. An integrated kickstand means you can tilt the iPad towards you, which helps to reduce glare. A simple hook-and-loop rotation mechanism allows for portrait or landscape viewing. 

 

Personalized Bobblehead in Flight Suit - $65

Personalize a bobblehead to look just like your favorite aviator. Simply send in images of the person you want the bobblehead to be crafted after and you will receive a custom look-alike. This bobblehead will come in an Air Force uniform. 

 

Set of 5 Aircraft Posters - $21.99

These patent art prints are printed on acid-free matte paper with high-quality archival inks. The prints are shipped in a durable shipping tube and rolled to ensure they don't crease. Perfect for wall decor in a home, bedroom, or college dorm. 

 

Aviator Engraved Whiskey Set - $69.95

This personalized gift for pilots is a unique way to thank the favorite aviator in your life. Each box is made from American Maplewood with sturdy metal hinges. Inside are two custom whiskey glasses and 9 whiskey stones. Includes personalization of the engraved box and glasses with the name and year for an unforgettable gift. The Maplewood box measures 11.25” x 5.5” x 4”. Each whiskey glass is 4” tall and can hold up to 10 ounces. (Liquor not included).

 

Airplane Propeller Replica 47" - $170+

This personalized wood airplane propeller wall hanging is custom designed with hand-engraved personalization and custom colors.  Wooden airplane propellers are the perfect gift for a retiring pilot, new pilot, or for travel themed weddings.

 

Airplane Keychain - $16.99

This key chain is an awesome gift for a pilot, airman, flight attendant, anyone in the air force or for anyone who loves to travel. It features a 1-inch 20 gauge stainless steel round disc stamped with "Have a safe flight I love you Love, (Name of your choice)” and a 1 3/4 inch x 2-inch antique silver-plated metal airplane charm on a 1-inch key ring. 

 

Red Canoe Cessna Stow Bag - $79.99

The Cessna Stow fits a headset, navigational tools and your pilot operating handbook as easily as your gym gear. It is the perfect gift for the pilot who spends more time on his plane than he does at home.

 

Vintage Instrument Coasters - $21.95

These vintage instrument coasters would look great on any pilot's coffee table. They are made with scratch resistant acrylic and have non-skid rubber feet. Designed to look like vintage aviation instruments and comes in a set of 6.

 

Pilot Humor Mug - $16.85

This is the perfect gift for your aviater pilot to use for pre-flight coffee. It will surely put a smile on their face as they try to remember the correct way to spell 'aviator'. 

 

Principles of Flight Tie - $28

Fly into your next business meeting or night on the town with this silk tie that sports the graphic principles of flight. This tie is the perfect accessory for an aviator, science teacher, or anyone with his head in the clouds. 100% silk; fully lined.

 

Spark Plug Plane Paperweight - $35

Recycled spark plugs, butter knives, and nuts and bolts are welded together into the shape of an airplane, giving this mini-sculpture the power to take off with the conversation as it taxis around your desk, workshop or tool shed. It can be used as a paperweight or a simple desk ornament.

 

Pilot Humor T-Shirt - $20

Show the world how much you love aircraft with this funny t-shirt. Available in multiple sizes and colors.

 

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much you spend on the gift. All that matters is celebrating the love you have for that person... and for aviation. Don't stress wondering if the gift is perfect. If it is coming from you, it surely will be!

Do you have a favorite aviation-themed gift that you’ve received or a gift that you were proud to have found for someone else? Let us know in the comments below!

All prices are current at the time of posting. 
 

Sometimes the experts are wrong

When you’re working toward earning your private pilot’s license, and you’re not sure you’re gonna have the time or the cash flow to make it happen, most of the self-proclaimed experts will give you one piece of advice.

Whether it’s a column in a flying magazine, a message thread on a Facebook aviation fan page or a couple of CFIs opining on your favorite podcast, they all chant the same mantra:

If you don’t have the money to fly regularly – at least once a week -- then stop.

Quit floundering in the wind.

Take a break from flying.

Save up your money. For weeks. Months. Years, even. However long it takes to build a cash mountain that will keep fuel flowing in the tanks on a continual basis. THEN start back up again.

If you can’t go weekly, don’t go at all.

At least that’s what they say.

Travis first flightMy first flight was on June 11, 1994. My parents had a rule:  Until I graduated high school, no motorcycles and no airplanes. Well, I was now a brand new high school grad – and I still remember my first flight that hot, humid, hazy Saturday morning with instructor Mark Loring. According to my logbook, we were up for 0.7 hours in a Piper Warrior (I’ll always love you N9886K), and we practiced climbs and descents, level turns and dutch rolls out of Bowman Field (KLOU) in Louisville, Kentucky. When it was over, I celebrated with deep-dish sausage pizza at the Bearno’s across the street from the airport.

I couldn’t believe I had my first entry in my Pilot Logbook.

I couldn’t believe I had a Pilot Logbook.

Eventually, my family got into the flight school business. I had easy access to aircraft and flight instructors. Looking back, I can’t believe how spoiled I was. I was allowed to work the desk at the flight school in exchange for flight time – and soon I was well on my way toward getting my PPL ticket. My first solo was on July 31, 1997. Then came my solo cross countries. My long solo-cross country.

But then, suddenly, things changed.

Our family got out of the flight school business. I moved out of the house. Graduated from college. Launched a new career. Gas prices went up – and my disposable income went down. In the meantime, a handful of evil, selfish people decided to fly airliners into buildings in New York. I changed careers again.

I didn’t get my PPL.

Instead, I took a break from flying. In fact, the very idea of spending money on flying airplanes was laughable. I would still look back on flying wistfully, but as far as I was concerned, it wasn’t in the cards. My medical expired, my sectionals and FAR/AIM s were WAY out of date, and my Jeppesen flight manual gathered dust on my bookshelf.

MY break lasted 16 years.

If you look at my logbook, you’ll see two entries right next to each other. They’re only centimeters apart, but the time they span is breathtaking: one reads Feb. 20, 1999. The next reads June 13, 2015.

I can’t really point to one single thing that brought me back to flying. I guess it started during a 6 a.m. Thursday morning men’s Bible study group at Southeast Christian Church. One week I was asked to summarize my life – from birth until the present day – and flying came up.  The guys at my table asked if I was still doing it. I wasn’t.

Then I read “Jungle Pilot” by Nathaniel Hitt, about the life of missionary pilot Nate Saint. I started volunteering for Mission Aviation Fellowship – an evangelical Christian organization that sends general aviation pilots to serve unreached people in isolated regions. I became friends with some of our missionary pilots – and helped some of them move overseas. I even got the opportunity to visit some of them out in the field.

Ultimately I realized that maybe the experts were wrong. Maybe I didn’t have to go once a week. Maybe I could just go once a month. Maybe once every six weeks. Even if I never got my license, at least I would be in an airplane again. At least I would be flying.

Do you want to fly?

Do you have cable TV? Take my advice:  cancel it.

That’s one flight lesson. One flight lesson a month right there!

The experts are wrong. Don’t do what I did and take 16 years off, thinking flying is out of your reach. If you love flying, and you can only afford to go once a month, then just go once a month. Or once every six months. Or once a year.

Here is a link with Flight Schools and Recurrent Training facilities all around the world, tell the experts to take a hike.

Yes, I know you won’t progress very far toward getting your certificate on a once-a-month regimen. Yes, I know students who go more frequently will get their PPL much faster. And yes, I know every expert says you’re wasting your time. But at least you won’t be giving up entirely.

And it’s not wasting your time if you simply love flying.

Travis PIC

As I write this, I’m looking at my shiny blue private pilot certificate. I passed my check ride – at Sporty’s no less! – on Sept. 1, 2018. Ultimately, I did have to increase the frequency of my flight lessons, but that wasn’t always an option. I’m glad I hung in there, even during the dry spells.

I’m working on my Instrument Rating now. My goal is to eventually get my commercial ticket, and my CFI. Then my flying will finance itself.

Maybe I’ll get there and maybe I won’t. What I do know is I hope to keep flying a part of my life some way – even if it’s only volunteering or reading a book about it – for many years to come.

Sixteen years is far too long.

TRAVIS K. KIRCHER is a private pilot – as well as a lifetime student – based in Louisville, Kentucky. His home airport is Bowman Field (KLOU). He is always ready and willing to tell you about Mission Aviation Fellowship – and you can find out more about it by visiting www.MAF.org

 

 

 

3 Ways to Dust Off Your Logbook

Spring is here!  It’s hard to believe I was just writing about winter weather flying and now spring has officially sprung (as of nine days ago).  For many of you, you might be tied to the weather during the winter when it comes to flying.  This could be due to the ratings you hold, the airport you hanger at, or even the equipment your aircraft is equipped with.  Whatever your reason may be, the arrival of spring means the return of better flying days!  So, today I will share a few ways to dust off your logbook.

#3: Get Current

I know, it’s probably the old standby for when we want to fly, but have no idea where to fly to.  Spring is the perfect time to sneak in an early morning flight to get day current.  So, that means that every 90 days, you need to get out there and do three take-offs and landings, full-stop, to carry passengers.  This could easily take up an hour of flying and it gets you back into the pattern at your home airport, or maybe a nearby airport.

Likewise, you should get night current while you are at it.  Although, darkness comes a lot later these days, so plan accordingly.  Another great way to get current, as an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rated pilot, is to get instrument current.  Every six calendar months, you will need to log at least six instrument approaches, holding procedures, including intercepting and tracking courses using a navigation system.

While you probably should not wait every 90 days to practice landings, or every six months to do instrument work, it does happen.  If it has been awhile, be sure to take up a current pilot with you as a safety pilot, or better yet: find an instructor!  Getting current is a great way to ease back into fair-weather flying.

#2: Do Your Flight Review

What once used to be called the Biennial Flight Review, now is just shortened to Flight Review (FR).  This requires a pilot holding any certificate to go through a review flight with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) every 24 calendar months.

I would describe the FR as an abbreviated check ride.  You go through many of the same topics in a checkride, but it is much shorter.  You might remember reading about my interview with Woody Minar, a seasoned Designated Pilot Examiner.  In that interview, he gives some good tips in preparing for your upcoming FR.  If you want some additional tips from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), check out this link to their FR guide.

Lastly, did you know that safety seminars through the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) can give you credit towards an FR?  Through attending seminars in various topics around or at your home airport and a little extra flying with an instructor, you can get credit for an FR.  I’ve done this once before and made it through the Basic Level – you get to learn a lot, fly a little, and get a cool pin to wear.  Furthermore, the goal of working through all the levels is a good way to push yourself to keep up with your weekend flying (or whenever you can work it in).

#1: Fly for Fun!

I realize that all of us can’t afford to rent an aircraft all the time.  Sometimes the harsh reality of the bank account is enough to keep even the most passionate pilot from flying on a sunny spring day.  For this reason, I encourage all you pilots to find a flying buddy.

Finding a fellow pilot to fly with is great for several reasons: you have someone to talk to, you can both brush up on your skills, and (most importantly) you can split the costs!  Not only do you need to find a fellow pilot to fly with, but you need to find somewhere fun to fly to – this could be a lake place, a golf course, a friend’s private airport, a museum, and more.  The possibilities are endless and they give you a purpose for flying. 

Enroute to fun destinations is a great time to practice slow flight, stalls, Commercial maneuvers, landings at other airports, dead reckoning, instrument approaches, going under the hood, or simply building cross-country time.  You really can’t go wrong when your fun flying has a learning purpose.

Happy Flying!

Hopefully you have some ideas now on how to take advantage of the better weather and dust off your logbook.  I’m hoping to get some flying in myself in a few weeks when I get back home for Easter – by the way, did you realize that is just around the corner too???

Happy Spring Flying!

Images courtesy of Google.com

Get In on ADS-B Out!

By Conrad Theisen – Director of Avionics Sales
Elliott Aviation

ADS-B, or Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast, is an upcoming mandate put in place by the FAA to make the skies safer for everyone. Using GPS technology, which is far more reliable than radar, ADS-B will allow air traffic control to safely reduce separation minimums. By January 1, 2020, all aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B to ground stations.

This mandate affects 30,000 turbine powered aircraft and 140,000 piston aircraft. Less than 10 percent of turbine aircraft have currently been modified, which is likely to lead to a highly congested rush the closer we get to the 2020 deadline. Make sure when you are looking to meet the ADS-B Out mandate that you consider taking advantage of ADS-B In.

For many airframes, there are either current solutions or solutions in work that will allow you to not only meet the mandate, but give you all of the benefits of ADS-B In. This will give you graphical traffic and weather through a Bluetooth connected mobile device.

We are currently working on standalone Garmin ADS-B solutions to include ADS-B In for Hawker, Premier and Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP. Remember, airframes and avionics can vary widely, so check with your service center to see what options are available for your aircraft.

Conrad Theisen has been with Elliott Aviation since 1996. He started his career as an Avionics Installer and was promoted to Avionics Manager in 2001. In 2009, he led the Customer Service and Project Management teams for all in-house aircraft. He joined the Avionics Sales team in 2012.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

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