Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – October 2020

News

With temperatures still picking up here and there and hot weather still ahead, at least for a couple of days, please keep in mind the CHT and oil temperature limitations.

I myself follow this procedure in hot weather conditions to get the best balance between climb performance and engine cooling:

  • taking off with 50% flaps and climbing at Vx (85kts) to CAPS altitude (500AGL)
  • retracting flaps and pitching for Vy (95kts) to pattern altitude
  • pitching for 105kts for further (step) climbs and leveling off to ensure operation below 420F on the hottest cylinder

Also, keep an eye on the oil temperature. Extended operation on the ground may result in high oil temps.


New operating base (KMYF)

After completing the annual inspection, the aircraft will be moving to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, CA. It will be located on the Gibbs Flying Service ramp and parked in tie-down spot #162.

If you have an existing schedule, it will remain valid on ScheduleMaster, but the location of the plane will now be KMYF. If you don’t plan on flying out of the new location, please cancel your schedules to make the plane available to other pilots and avoid the no-show penalties.

There are no special badge access requirements for the ramp in KMYF.


Maintenance update

We had a bit of a rough stretch again. It’s not clear if a single pilot or a group of them are to blame for the requirement of nose landing gear (NLG) replacement. We found severe structural landing gear damage that required replacement of the entire NLG strut assembly. So that’s a repair neither I or the IDP program were planning (or keeping a budget) for. I don’t know what else to say other than:

  • Please own your mistakes
  • Please conduct thorough pre-/post-flight inspections and either open a squawk or notify me with discrepancies
  • There is no penalty for finding damage that you didn’t cause
  • The hourly rate is not provisioned for any repairs resulting from hard landings or other operation outside of the OEM’s limitations

The MFD has gone ‘garbled’ on some recent flights. It has been removed and will undergo shop inspection and repair. I expect it back in the first half of November. The MFD is not required for VFR/IFR day/night flights and all other avionics are performing well.


Here is your reminder to always book a standby schedule, even if your plans are not firm yet and may change. Lots of schedules get cancelled or rebooked. The odds are always in your favor.

Book your schedule today! Thanks for flying N173CD!

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – September 2020

News

With temperatures picking up and hot weather ahead for the next month, please keep in mind the CHT and oil temperature limitations. Keep CHTs below 400F by considering climbs at 100-105IAS and/or step climbs. Also, keep an eye on the oil temperature. Extended operation on the ground may result in high oil temps.

Trip reports

With this edition of the newsletter, I am also starting a new section with trip reports. You are welcome to share your pictures, stories, FBO recommendations etc. from trips that you have done in N173CD. I’m also happy to publish them, even if they are already a few weeks/months ago. Just send the material to info@n173cd.com.

KCRQ – KSTS

We took N173CD up north for a week of wine tasting in Sonoma County. Parked at Sonoma Jet Center in KSTS. They took very good care of us and only charged $10/night for parking. Rental car and ice cold water was ready for us when we arrived. We stayed at the Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg, CA. It’s a small B&B that is in walking distance of the town square, where you find restaurants and bars.

VFR routing: KCRQ-OCN-FERMY-LAX-GMN-AVE-PXN-MOVDD-RBLEW-SGD-KSTS (Timelapse)

Maintenance update

Left magneto has been replaced with a SureFly electronic magneto. The engine runs a lot smoother on the ground and in flight. If you notice a short interruption during the mag check when switching from RIGHT to BOTH, this is perfectly normal.

A RAM mount has been installed below the instrument panel on the pilot side. You can mount your iPad using a (few) extension arms and iPad holder.


Here is your reminder to always book a standby schedule, even if your plans are not firm yet and may change. Lots of schedules get cancelled or rebooked. The odds are always in your favor.

Book your schedule today!

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – August 2020

News

The plane has been busy (good thing)! It performed some really great cross-country trips last month. Hat-tip to one father-son pilot team that flew it all the way to Coeur D’Alene (KCOE) and set a new endurance record of more than 4 hours on a single leg.

Maintenance update

Over the last weeks, we didn’t have to do much other than adding fuel and some oil here and there.

One cylinder showed a temperature anomaly that was traced back to a partially clogged injector, leading to a lean condition. The injector was cleaned and the cylinder temperature is back to normal and within tolerances.

The oil cap gasket was replaced to ensure a tight fit and good seal of cap and filler tube.

We adjusted the fuel system to the upper end of manufacturers spec to provide for better cooling of the engine, especially for the hot weather operation in SoCal summer days. Please continue to manage CHT temps to stay below 400F in any phase of your flight. Consider step climbs if you can’t stay below that threshold.

We installed new strobe/nav lights this week. See below:


Here is your reminder to always book a standby schedule, even if your plans are not firm yet and may change. Lots of schedules get cancelled or rebooked. The odds are always in your favor.

Book your schedule today!

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

N173CD is back online!

Maintenance update

The Cirrus Service Center called this morning and reported completion of the CAPS repack and advised that the aircraft is ready for pickup. I picked the plane up this afternoon, took it for a test flight (no findings) and put it back on the schedule.

Here is a quick summary of the work that was performed during this shop visit:

  • CAPS repack including upgrade to electronic ignition
  • Installation of additional oil temperature probe and RPM sensor, both connected to JPI EDM-711
  • Dynamic propeller balancing (found within limits)
  • Oil change and heat exchange muffler inspection (no findings)

PremiumPlus membership extension

Current PremiumPlus members will receive an automatic extension of two months, added to their current expiration date of the membership, to account for the lower dispatch availability due to the extended downtime for the CAPS repack.

New memberships are available. The terms are unchanged:

  • $2,000 annual pre-payment (365 days) for $80/hour discount off the regular rate (no caps)

Checkout/Currency promotion

Since most of the recipients of this newsletter probably have lapsed their currency requirement to solo in SR20, I am offering an incentive for CFI-checkouts/currency flights for a limited time.

Any new checkout or currency checkout performed with an approved PlusOne Cirrus instructor before 7/31/20 will be eligible for a $100.00 discount.

Since ScheduleMaster doesn’t allow for promotions and discounts, you will have to pay your rental in full at the regular amount and I will reimburse you via check or PayPal within 10 business days following the end of the month of your flight (batch processing to keep the accounting work reasonable).


5-hour promotion

For those of you who are current – or become current again through the above promotion – I am offering an offer to reward your commitment for a limited time.

I will reimburse you $100.00 for every 5 hours you have flown the aircraft in a rolling 30 day window, starting on 7/1/20 ending 9/30/20.

Since ScheduleMaster doesn’t allow for promotions and discounts, you will have to pay your rental in full at the regular amount and I will reimburse you via check or PayPal within 10 business days following the end of the month in which you completed the ‘5-in-30’ (batch processing to keep the accounting work reasonable).


Scheduling

Book your schedule today!

When in doubt, put in a standby schedule.

I will monitor the demand for the aircraft based on scheduling. If you want to keep her in the club, show me when you would have flown it – even if it didn’t happen because someone else had it.

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – June 2020

Maintenance update

The plane is currently with a Cirrus Service Center for the mandatory repack of the CAPS system. The pandemic has disrupted the supply chain and parts are very hard to obtain. Cirrus is no longer making predictions for shipping dates and the last I heard from them was “you’ll get the parts when you get them”. Not very encouraging, but really not a situation that offers any alternatives. I trust that the Service Center staff has prepared the plane as far as they can, meaning that everything has been removed and prepared. So as soon as the parts show up, the installation should complete in a matter of days and the plane should be returned to service.

We are using the downtime to also do a couple of other maintenance actions. A 50-hour oil change with oil analysis has been ordered and we are evaluating the feasibility to add two additional sensors to the JPI EDM-711. The oil temperature sensor would monitor (and log) oil temperature and give a more granular indication compared to the original analog instrument. This may be helpful especially in hot weather operation, especially when on the ground. We are also planning to add the RPM sensor. That will allow for better monitoring of cruise power settings throughout the flights. We have also ordered a dynamic propeller balancing to minimize vibration at certain power settings.


Rental rate

As of June 2020, the rental rate will increase to $235.00 per hour (hobbs). This increase is to account for the increased operating cost, primarily insurance premiums.

The rate discount plan will remain valid for all current members.

Unfortunately, this step is necessary to ensure the viability of N173CD as a club airplane. The rental revenue over the last 3 months has decreased by 70%. At the same time, we have invested closer to $60,000 into the aircraft over the last 12 months. By my estimate, most SR20 pilots have lapsed make/model currency. We need to adjust our forecast for the rest of 2020 and make the necessary adjustments. The intention is for this rate increase to be temporary and to lower the rate as soon as the financials allow for it.


Outlook

We are currently working on deploying a customized cleaning/sanitization kit that will include products and chemicals that do the job without harming the surfaces and displays. The kit will be stored in the baggage compartment. Always let us know if you run out of supplies – and please don’t use your own chemicals.

With completing the CAPS repack, we are also wrapping up a fairly extensive upgrade/restoration cycle. Over the last two years, we have also installed new avionics (TAA), cockpit connectivity, ADS-B in/out, GPSS steering and much more. Outside of annual inspections, there shouldn’t be any extensive downtime for the next 3-5 years.

Looking ahead, I am pretty confident that N173CD will have high dispatch availability and be a reliable and economical option for you and your families. I think it’s a great option for everyone who doesn’t want to drive 9 hours to Lake Tahoe but isn’t ready to get on a commercial plane yet either.

Book your schedule today!

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – May 2020

I hope that all of you, your families and friends are safe, healthy and not directly affected by the pandemic and the resulting layoffs, furloughs or other economic headwinds.

I really have not much to report for this month’s edition of the newsletter. Bookings were non-existent (0.0 hours on the hobbs) in April. The only upside of that was the low fuel bill. All other costs are coming in as usual, including the (expensive) PlusOne insurance and other expenses for tie-down, etc.

April was also the month in which the current CAPS rocket / parachute celebrated their 10-year anniversary. So it was time to bring the plane to a carefully selected Cirrus Service Center for replacing all components. Unfortunately, the parts are mostly coming out of China and the lockdown disrupted the supply chain which has resulted in parts shortages at Cirrus. It’s not clear when the parts will be available, and it’s possible that the plane will be down for the entire month of May. I will keep ScheduleMaster updated to the best of my knowledge.

I hope that once the plane is back, the worst of the pandemic is over and we can transition into a new normal. I am looking forward to seeing your names on the schedule to help keeping this plane in the club.

Happy Landings!
Phillip


Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – April 2020

What should I tell you?!

Many of you have asked questions like “can I go fly 3CD? Is it legal? Is buzzing around town considered an essential activity?”
Look, I’m no lawyer and I don’t give legal advice. The fact is that the pattern in KCRQ looks busy as usual. If anything, VFR flying has become a little easier, since corporate jets are not flying much. SoCal approach has been very friendly and accommodating from what I hear from others when it comes to practice approaches, local transitions through Bravo airspace and flight following. Who knows, maybe this is the time for the long awaited approach into KSAN or KLAX? “But what if ATC shuts down and they close the tower?!”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I fly to many non-towered airports all the time. So tune in that CTAF and ASOS frequency, pick the right pattern for your runway and communicate. Shouldn’t be much of a change for the typical VFR mission (which is what 3CD is being used for 99% of the time). Watch out for ATC-zero TFRs popping out of nowhere though!

I think you guys need to make your own decision and not ask me for advice what to do. The one thing I can tell you is that I won’t be able to hold the plane in the club at those sky-high insurance premiums for months to come with nobody (or significantly less people) flying the plane. I will be much better off on a individual insurance policy in that case.

So, support your local small business, your favorite restaurant, leave hefty tips for people that are at risk of loosing their jobs. And if you have a few $ to spare for your flying hobby, well, do what you think is right.

Happy Landings!
Phillip

PS: I want to shout out a few names here of people who have already supported 3CD in these difficult times, but at the same time, I don’t want to publicly call them out for going flying where others might think that’s not ok. So how about this: Thank you! (you know who you are!)


Oil

The engine is happy between 6 and 7 qts. We are using Phillips 66 XC 20W50 only. Since we dialed up the oil pressure a few psi, the temps have come down a bit and if you keep flying it at Vx (85kts) for initial climb to a safe altitude, Vy (95kts) for climbs into pattern altitude and 100-105kts for cruise climbs, you should see CHTs below 400F and not trigger the engine monitor alarms. Blackstone reports show no metal wear or other reasons for concern.


Rate discount plan

The rate discount plan is available again for 2020. The plan has been simplified and the economics have been adjusted to a sustainable level. 

For the pre-payment of $2,000, each enrolled member will receive $80 per hours (hobbs) discount for any hour flown in the 365 days following the enrollment. There is no cap on the refunds. Other terms & conditions apply. Please inquire via info@n173cd.com if you are interested.

Categories
Newsletter

Back on line!

Fellow pilots! N173CD is back from the avionics shop. All issues have been taken care of and I completed a successful test flight today.

The Garmin G5 pilot guide can be found here.

You can enable GPSS through the G5 (push the rotary knob, turn right until you select GPSS and click again to enable/disable).

Here is a little cheat sheet for the different combinations of modes between G5 and autopilot and what you should expect.

With GPSS enabled, you can fly the lateral portion of a GPS/LPV approach if the approach has been loaded and activated. In this case, when going ‘missed’, the autopilot would also fly the published hold. Make sure you train this with your CFI if you haven’t done this before.

This is a really sweet cross-country setup. Can’t wait to see the schedule fill up, now that the plane is back!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Phillip

Categories
Newsletter

The Frequent Flyer – March 2020

Back from the shop!

We are extremely happy to report that the plane is back from the shop and back on the line. Dispatch availability for February was rough, due to the (massive!) run-over of the shop visit. It turned out to be a lot more complex than originally anticipated and the shop also had capacity issues that lead to a delay of two weeks. Everything had to come out: the entire radio stack, most of the plastic covers and lots of wires and harnesses. But I would say that it was worth the wait. Look at that panel!

The useful load increased by appx. 8 lbs and the C.G. moved back by fractions of an inch. The revised weight and balance can be downloaded here:


Insurance rate increase

2020 started off with some less exciting news. PlusOne, just as any other general aviation insurance customer, has been hit with the recent premium increases. For 3CD, this means an increase in operating expenses that need to be offset by one of two options I can choose from: Rate adjustment (by about $10/hour) or you guys need to fly it more. I decided to pay for the additional insurance cost out of my own pocket until the end of March and will gauge if a rate increase can be avoided due to more flying by you and the other members.

Book your next schedule today and help keeping the rate low.


Maintenance update

The nosewheel is beyond economical repair and needs to be replaced with a new part. They cost will be $1,200 plus paint and installation and I will file a claim with PlusOne’s IDP program to cover this damage. 


Please don’t….

  • park the plane with mixture rich
  • apply your blue ink on the leather seat covers

Thank you.


Oil

The engine is happy between 6 and 7 qts. We are using Phillips 66 XC 20W50 only. Since we dialed up the oil pressure a few psi, the temps have come down a bit and if you keep flying it at Vx (85kts) for initial climb to a safe altitude, Vy (95kts) for climbs into pattern altitude and 100-105kts for cruise climbs, you should see CHTs below 400F and not trigger the engine monitor alarms. Blackstone reports show no metal wear or other reasons for concern.


Rate discount plan

The rate discount plan is available again for 2020. The plan has been simplified and the economics have been adjusted to a sustainable level. 

For the pre-payment of $2,000, each enrolled member will receive $80 per hours (hobbs) discount for any hour flown in the 365 days following the enrollment. There is no cap on the refunds. Other terms & conditions apply. Please inquire via info@n173cd.com if you are interested.