UPDATE: The software fix Garmin finally published has been applied, and the AP is available again. Yay!
If you’ve flown 3WF lately you will without a doubt have noticed that the AP is currently disabled. The reason is a service bulletin issued by Garmin that suggests disabling the pitch trim servo until a GFC500 software update has been released that addresses observed runaway trim conditions (not in 3WF, but we will will have to comply with the SB).
The main reason the entire AP has been disabled and not just the trim servo is that the resulting partial AP functionality could be more confusing than helpful.
Note that ESP is currently unavailable until the fix is in because that feature depends on the AP.
Garmin announced that they intend to fix the issue before the end of 2022, which has not happened – we’re still waiting, and will make the AP available again as soon as the fix is available.
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.
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.
You are encouraged to participate in AOPA’s recurring Pilot Passportprogram – 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 rocksin 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 simulatedon 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!
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 wateris still the best way stay hydrated on any flight.