Real Pilot Stories: Snake in the Airplane

Spotted Python by Stewart MacdonaldThe March 2008 issue of Flying (p39) had a story which caught my eye. It was an article by Jay Hopkins, who was describing the resources available to pilots to do home based study when life gets in the way of getting in the cockpit.

While Mr. Hopkins was describing resources the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has made available to pilots, he mentioned an entry in the section called “Real Pilot Stories” about a pilot who discovered he had a snake in the cockpit. The idea made my skin crawl — I hate snakes almost more than the idea of FAA User Fees — so I had to take go take a look.

In this two minute video recap, pilot Monty Coles talks about what went though his head as a small head peared at him though a hole in his instrument panel during an routine instrument scan; yes he was airborne. Yikes!

Real Pilot Stories, Snake in the Airplane

Boeing 777 accident; FADEC friend or foe?

Boeing LogoLast Thursday, a Boeing 777 crashed while on final approach at London’s Heathrow Airport. The initial report from the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), indicates the plane did not respond after the pilots pushed the throttles forward for more power. The aircraft landed about 1000 feet short of Runway 27L. 152 people were on board and 13 people were injured.

How is it that a US$200 million airplane does not respond when the throttles are pushed forward? This plane, and many others like it, — including some newer GA piston powered aircraft — utilize computer software to control all aspects of engine operation. This system is called Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). Read more about FADEC after the jump…

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Thanksgiving in the DA40XL

VFR On Top - SunsetThe family and I took a trip up to Omaha on Thanksgiving Day in the Diamond DA40XL. Weather was forecasted to be good, however, there was some warmer air aloft and I had some concerns of visibility due to the recent snow fall to our north (colder ground temperatures). The issue was that the Blair airport had no published instrument approaches. We decided to proceed with the flight as visibility was good (10+ miles), there were no icing concerns, and if we could not get VFR into Blaire, we’d go to Omaha International as our alternate. We’d also watch the XM Weather close on the flight up to see if the weather closed in on us en-route.

Read all the details after the jump.
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DA40XL Cross Country Flight Summary

This past weekend I had the chance to use my shiny new VFR/IFR checkout in the new Diamond DA40XL on an overnight cross country flight to Iowa with my family (minus the dogs). Get the details of the flight including lessons learned after the jump.

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First Flight — Diamond DA40XL

N793US - KCAC DA40XL rental ready for pick-up at the Diamond FactoryToday I had my first flight and VFR portion of my checkout in N793US, a 2007 Diamond DA40 XL. I plan to post an in-depth review of the airplane after I complete my IFR checkout and do a XC flight back to Iowa next weekend. In advance of a more detailed write-up, I want to say that this was the most enjoyable flight in an airplane I have ever experienced!!! I’ve got time in various Cessna models, Piper models as well as a few others and this airplane was awesome to fly! It is a very light weight and fast airplane that would be a good transition to some of the faster, and more complex singles out there — however, you won’t find better fuel efficiency!

I hope KCAC has more of these planes on order because these composite airplane manufactures are on to something with their light weight, fuel efficient and technically advanced aircraft!

More to come…

Composite Aircraft Return to KC Rental Market

N793US - KCAC DA40XL RentalWas so excited yesterday when I was looking around on the Diamond Aircraft site and discovered a local FBO (KCAC) had recently been selected as a Diamond distributor — Okay, so I was only moderately intrigued at this point; give me a second I’ll get to the good part…the rest of the story after the jump.

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