Renaming an aircraft

If you ever wondered what is involved to rename an aircraft…

  • Follow the process as described by the FAA
    • Tip: When you check for available N-numbers, you may also want to check the number(s) you like against the NTSB or ASN database…
  • Once you’re ready to make the change, get your new decals from a service specialized on aircraft decals, e.g. Aerographics is the one we used several times and are very happy
  • Applying the new decals and obtaining both new airworthiness and registration certificates from the FAA is one thing, but don’t forget about your avionics: ADS-B / XPDR and ELT will have to be reconfigured – don’t underestimate effort, time and costs to get those tasks taken care of by your favorite avionics shop
  • Eventually you also need to update the logbooks, make sure ADS-B trackers like e.g. FlightAware and FlightRadar24 are updated, be sure the NOAA is aware of the ELT change, and don’t forget to inform the CBP in case you have a border-crossing decal on your plane

Happy flying!

N972RD is now N16ES

This change has taken effect July 1, 2024.

The new N-# will be phonetically noticeably shorter, making it easier and faster to communicate.

Note that the stripes will also change, from blue and yellow to just blue – something to be present to when it comes to filing flight plans.

For your electronic logbooks we recommend creating a renamed copy of the aircraft, and use that one for W&B and logging time.

3WF Avionics updated

The Garmin avionics in N513WF as well as the corresponding POH > AFMS and Product Guides links to newer version of the manuals have been updated to the latest versions (tip: hovering with the mouse over those links will show the latest revision number or letter which can speed up checking for the latest versions).

Make sure you have the latest manuals on your EFB.

N919ES flown to India!

If you ever flew Twin Star 9ES and wonder about its whereabouts… after the sale earlier this year it was handed over to the buyer in Tracy, CA (KTCY), and after a number of registration-related hurdles were taken the plane has been flown to India.

The most direct way would go NW-bound through Russia, which is obviously not a good idea anymore for a number of reasons.
Instead, with an extra 10%, the resulting ~65 hour/~10,000 nm flight took a much safer route from California via Goose Bay, South Greenland, Iceland, Belgium, Italy, Crete, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia and Oman to India (click on the map to see a larger version).

We salute 9ES and hope she will help mint many multi-engine pilots going forward!

Hey… remember Va..?

Va – aka design maneuvering speed: the maximum speed at which full or abrupt control movements may be used without overstressing the airframe is becoming more important again now that warmer air will inevitably lead to more turbulence.

The moment things get more than just a little bumpy, make sure you slow down to or below Va for the weight of your flight – which is likely less than max gross weight, meaning that the Va you should not exceed is also less the one on the panel:

  • C172 Va : in case of doubt reduce power and slow down to <= 90!
    • 2,250 lbs: 105 KIAS
    • 2,200 lbs: 98 KIAS
    • 1,900 lbs: 90 KIAS
  • DA42 Va : in case of doubt reduce power and slow down to <= 120!
    • Above 3,400 lbs: 126 KIAS
    • Below 3,400 lbs: 120 KIAS

Here is what happened to an aircraft that crossed a front, and suddenly hit turbulence well above Va:

Easy on the brakes, please..!

We’ve had yet another tire blowout in a DA42 on a runway after landing… and because the other main tire (a pretty new one) also ended up with a flat spot, both main tires had to be replaced – don’t be that guy!

This is a gentle reminder that the DA42 brakes are very effective, and need to be applied gently.

After touchdown, apply aerodynamic breaking first (once the nose wheel is on the ground, hold the stick back) while gently breaking until you’re at or below 50 KTS – only then should the brakes be applied with a little bit more force.

Max breaking upon short field landing practice should generally be simulated (you announce it, but brake normally), unless of course it actually is a short field (though it’s generally not recommended to land on runways less than 3,000′ in the Twin Stars).

If TWR assigns you a certain exit that you cannot comfortably make with three wheels on the ground then just say that it will be the next one.

Please be advised that costs caused by unnecessary tire abuse will have to be billed back to the PIC – two new tires + work ain’t cheap..!

DA42 Fuel & Oil

As a gentle reminder,

  • Fuel: If an FBO asks you if you want Jet-A Negative or – the slightly more expensive – Positive, you should always ask for Jet-A Negative.
    • Positive means that anti-freeze is added to to the fuel, which is unnecessary in a light twin unless you fly at -40°C or even colder flight levels – which is extremely unlikely, even in the deepest winter
    • At some FBOs only pre-mixed positive is available – in those situations, if you do need fuel then of course that is what you can order
  • Oil: When you measure oil, before the necessary second oil dip for the reading you must screw the oil dip all the way back in (and of course wipe the dip stick!)
    • Yes, it’ll cost you valuable milliseconds – but you will get a correct reading. Not screwing it back in will show too low an oil level, which typically results in subsequently overfilling the oil tank, which is not economical and can easily lead to unnecessary MX to figure out where oil drippings are coming from
    • If you end up adding oil from a bottle you found in the nose compartment, please note that that bottle is already paid for, and don’t log it again as ‘Oil used’ in the post-flight form (as that will assume you grabbed a bottle from the oil room).

Thank you very much for your continued business!

Twin Star gearbox oil level inspection

The gearbox oil level of the CD-135 engines of our Twin Stars is inspected through a small round glass at the prop end of the engine.
We have newer gearboxes on both DA42s: the oil level does not need to be at the top of the glass, but the level is correct when the oil covers (at least) half of the inspection window:

So if you see it at just about half, you’re good to fly!

OIL TEMP on departure

All engine instruments need to be in the green prior to departure. On cooler days – or on the first flight of a day – in can take several minutes all the way into the runup phase before the oil temperature is in the green.

With the Twin Star, insufficient oil temperature can also lead to the ECU TEST buttons having no effect during runup.

Please be patient, and wait that extra minute or so before proceeding with the runup so that you have a safe flight – treat any aircraft engine like your life depends on it!


3WF is equipped with Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection safety system which is activated by default every time you turn on the avionics.

For any and all training flights with the intention to practice flight maneuvers please make sure to deactivate ESP (see the Pre-/Postflight section at the top of the Before You Fly 3WF… page) so as to avoid ending up in a fight with the Autopilot.
The feature will turn itself back on for the next flight, so don’t worry if you forget to re-activate it.

If you intend to fly X/C without maneuver practice there is no action item; ESP will simply be automatically ready to assist should the need arise.

For more information about ESP see chapter 8.10 in the G3X Touch Pilot’s Guide.