Beacon & Strobes switches

On Cessnas we leave the beacon on at all times for two reasons:

  • When the engine is running, there’s at least one warning light for people outside the plane
  • When the engine is no longer running and [you think] you’re done wrapping up your flight it’s a sign that at least the BAT Master switch is still on when you see the Beacon still flashing (which will hopefully be a good reminder to use the checklist at the end of the flight as well!)

On the Twin Stars we use the strobes for the same purpose as there is no beacon light.
Just a couple of days ago someone managed to leave the electric master switch on upon leaving, draining the battery and causing the plane to be temporarily inoperative for everyone else – MX needed to jump in and fix the problem for the next pilot, causing both hassle and costs.
Had the strobes been left on it would have been very hard to overlook the issue (although that is still no excuse for not using the Shutdown checklist).

So please – use the checklist properly at all times, and follow the beacon / strobes policy.

3WF: New GTN Safety-Enhancing Features

The GTN units in our Cessna now feature new capabilities, including a blue Glide Range Ring and a Best Glide Airport Indicator (blue chevrons) on the moving map as well as a Glide ✔ checkmark on appropriate airports in the NRST Airports list view.

Other new features include the ability to remotely control the radios of the GTN 650 and quicker page navigation with the addition of customizable* dual concentric knob functions – by pushing the inner knob you can now toggle between COMNAVPage; when in Page mode you see a little page menu in the lower right area (similar to the page group menu on e.g. GNS 430 or a G1000, except on the GTNs it’s only pages); the inner knob will zoom on a page and have no immediate effect on non-map pages like FPL or NRST.

* Please do not change the default order of the new knob page shortcuts

Click here to learn more about these new GTN features on 3WF

The links to the updated GTN software documentation (Pilot’s Guide and AFMS) have also been updated.

Twin Star avionics – March update

  • 9ES: Adding Sirius XM for WX data link map / NEXRAD display on the MFD and satellite radio stations for relaxing tunes (that get automatically interrupted for all things ATC) is now scheduled to be completed by mid June (8US already has these features)
  • Both twins: Upgrading the G1000’s GPS units to WAAS in order to enable RNAV(GPS) approaches that require WAAS (like LPV, LNAV/VNAVLNAV+V, LP) was predicted for Q1 of 2021
    • This upgrade will need to wait as Diamond says it’s likely not ready before Q3 or even Q4 due to Covid-related approval process delays and availability of the needed hardware
    • 9ES is higher on that wait list than 8US

We will keep you updated on all of the above.

AOPA Pilot Passport

You are encouraged to participate in AOPA’s recurring Pilot Passport program – have fun, expand your experience, and earn badges by exploring the airports in WA and beyond!

However, please do not take unnecessary risks by flying into airports with potentially insufficient runway length (a runway may be long enough to land, but takeoff distances usually require more runway), especially in combination with obstacles like trees or sharp rising terrain near the airport.

As for the surface, this is also a gentle reminder of Renter/Student Ops Manual regulation 5.6 – Runway Requirements – and 5.6E in particular: “Operations into any field other than paved surfaces (soft, gravel, sand, grass, etc.) are prohibited unless prior approval is obtained from the Director of Operations, Chief or Assistant Chief Flight Instructor.

Soft fields can hide a number of hazards like

  • potholes or rocks in the grass,
  • gravel causing very expensive prop damage
  • mud is the last thing you want to get stuck in during landing or trying to get out of on takeoff.

    These are all unnecessary problems, and therefore all soft-field exercises should be simulated on paved taxiways and runways .

Soft-field landing in our Twin Stars are not allowed at all; it’s not part of multi-engine training anyway.

Thank you for your understanding and helping keep our planes in the condition you wish to find them when you want to go fly!

Drinks in the cockpit

Two inflight engine shut downs in early 2020 have prompted Airbus and EASA to order changes to how liquids are consumed (or not) on the flight deck. A drink spilled on the center console of a Delta flight required a diversion, and an Asiana flight diverted after a similar spill. 

Hydration is important, especially on X/C flights – but needless to say, spilled drinks into or onto any cockpit components can lead to both inflight issues, major clean-up/MX costs, and aircraft downtimes.

Please be mindful only bring travel mugs or other containers that can be fully closed, and make sure passengers of yours do the same.

Non-carbonated water is still the best way stay hydrated on any flight.

C172S Tachometer: Normal operating limit

This is a reminder that the normal engine speed operating limit (top of green arc, representing ~75% BHP) changes with altitude.

See also POH:

  • Section 4: ENROUTE CLIMB and CRUISE
  • Section 5: CRUISE PERFORMANCE / RANGE / ENDURANCE
Top of normal operating RPM range (standard-day conditions):
2,500 RPM between sea level and 5,000′
– 2,600 RPM from 5,000′ – 10,000′
– 2,700 RPM above 10,000′