My flying adventures.

Chrisl

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made you a better pilot in general,

I think that twin made him better at praying!!! Just reading about his adventures in that plane had me sweating in my chair in the office!!;)
:LOL:
 

Tampan

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@roxenz
As mentioned before, flying a twin requires quite a bit more and thorough planning, especially if you do everything by the book. Basic things, like fuel required, weights, temperature and DA, runway lengths, etc. can be and are much more relevant and at times critical, for a twin. Twins are way more complex and everything happens much quicker in a twin, so your reactions and forward planning needs to be sharp.
So it's much less of a get-in-and-go show, compared to a single.

Twin training requires a much better understanding of the aerodynamics of the aircraft and in particular the effects encountered when one engine is lost and the effects it will have on the aircraft and its capabilities.

I'm never 100% relaxed in any aircraft and every time I'm going flying, the butterflies are very present, regardless of the aircraft type. I am, however, much more relaxed and at ease in a single than I was in the twin - not really sure why.
Probably because I have more than 10x flying time in various singles and I have had my share of "Oh [email protected]!" moments in them.

Did the twin training make me a better pilot? Definitely yes.
I've acquired additional flying skills and theoretical knowledge. Over time, it's quite normal for one to get somewhat complacent with aircraft, especially less complex aircraft and this can be very dangerous.
After my twin excursion, I seem to be back to where I was, just after I got my license. I once again realized the importance of very thorough planning and preparation for any flight. Rehearsing emergency procedures and basically just trying to be as proficient and safe as possible.
 

roxenz

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Thanks Tampan - what you say makes sense.

What made me ponder the topic is, after reading how "difficult" the training and the eventual flying was in the twin, and then trying to reconcile it with the American pilots of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning in WWII. By all accounts the P-38 was not easy to fly, yet the training often did not include too many hours. And indeed, a staggering number of pilots were killed while flying, not in combat. To me it seems like the final "test" of competency was basically "if you survive, you're competent". The other thing which bugs my scientific mind is that a lot of experienced pilots in the P-38, even some of the Aces, died in non-combat crashes.

The only way I can make sense of it, is to admit these guys were:
1. crazy, and
2. braver then I can imagine.

Anyway, love planes, wish I learned flying while younger (but I did learn a lot of other things), and really enjoy your posts!
 

Tampan

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It still happens, quite often, where high time and highly experienced pilots come short, boggling the minds of us wanna bees.
I think that as one gain experience and get away with taking small risks here and there, some keep on pushing the limits and then they get bitten.
 

Chrisl

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Tampan both your dirt runways must be nail biting in the beginning and always a wee bit butterflies?!!
 

Tampan

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Not really Chris.
My runways are 1 km/1.2 km long and 10 m/15 m wide, respectively. I keep them well maintained and there aren't any significant obstacles on either ends.
Taking off towards the river in Colesberg will make an emergency landing very difficult, do to very few available options, but otherwise both runways are good and safe to operate from.
With the twin, the Kalahari runway was a worry to me, in the event of an engine failure on take off. The runway is not long enough to comply to the required accelerate/stop distance for the twin, but there was enough overrun available. Although this is normal veld, you would definitely walk away from an overrun unscathed, but the airplane will be damaged.
 

TrailBlazer

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It still happens, quite often, where high time and highly experienced pilots come short, boggling the minds of us wanna bees.
I think that as one gain experience and get away with taking small risks here and there, some keep on pushing the limits and then they get bitten.
Familiarity breeds contempt... not only in aviation, but anything that is inherently dangerous will turn and bite. I got "mak" with a circular saw, twice. Split a finger nail first time, and the second almost cost me a joint on my bioscope finger :oops: :p.

Even high-time, very experienced airline pilots use checklists, on every sector, to ensure that they don't fall into the familiarity trap. Even if they do it 3 or 4 times a day, they'll refer to the checklist.
 

Tampan

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True.
I know all my normal checklists off by heart, but at times, it happens that I don't fly for as long as two months. In the past, I've found that this is really an eye opener as to one's tendency to forget even the most simple things.
After one of these non-flying spells, I once took off in my Mooney, going through all my checks, as I normally do. After flying for almost 10 minutes, I realized that something was up. The Mooney just couldn't get past 120 kts IAS. Only then did I find that I never retracted the flaps. I've also flown long distances, only to realize during my pre-landing checks, that I never switched the landing light off after take-off.

Had I used my paper checklist to confirm each item on it, this would not have been missed. The above are minor and not much of an issue. The problem is that one day, a more critical item might be missed and when something goes wrong then, you're playing catch-up.
 

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Company policy at the last (best) airline I worked for was that if a pilot had not flown for more than 30 days, but less than 42, he / she would have to do a flight with a check captain. More than 42 days needed a sim session before being released back to the line.
 

Tampan

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So, yesterday morning, I quick flight to Tempe came up, totally unexpected.

I knew my Comanche didn't have enough fuel for the flight, but I was sure that my drums might have just enough fuel in them to get me to Tempe.
When I got to the hangar, I found that all my drums were in fact empty. I had 17 gallons of fuel in the main tanks, which was actually enough to get to Tempe, but it would be cutting things extremely fine and landing with less than a 30 minute reserve is illegal.

So, I hopped over to Gariep Dam to refuel, before continuing to Tempe. Conditions were perfect and the flight was as smooth as they come. Despite a slight head wind, I landed at Tempe after only 40 minutes.

As much as I like Tempe, it's still a sad situation with the flight school being closed down. Something like a ghost town. A very welcoming sight, however, is the lovely restaurant at the sky diving operation. It's open daily and was actually busy, with quite a few customers at the tables and kids playing around.

Business taken care of, I took off again and landed back at the farm just after 3 and was back at the office at 15:40. The flight was once again perfect, cruising at 156 kts at FL085.
The Comanche is still running fine and all temps and pressures are looking very good.
Something I found, probably as a result of not flying often enough, is that I ended up high and fast, at both Gariep Dam and the farm, on my return.
Not much of a problem, but because the Comanche is so much heavier than my M20F Mooney, it does not do well when you try to loose altitude and speed at the same time. I'm so comfortable an at ease in the Comanche that I tend to forget how slippery it actually is and it does not want to slow down quickly. I also tend to cut my circuits a little too close.
I do have a tendency to fly my circuits in such a way that I should reach the runway from anywhere in the circuit, in case of losing the engine. IAW, I fly a tighter than normal circuit, I tend to stay a bit higher and keep the airframe clean, until I reach final approach. So, I only lower the gear on down wind and don't use flaps until I turn onto final approach.
This means that I need to carry a bit more speed.

A mental note was made to get the power settings and landing configuration sorted out to avoid ending up on short final with too much speed.
The landings were all fine, but the Comanche did float a bit and on a short runway, this might pose problematic.

Anyhow, the next flight will be to the Kalahari, next week Tuesday, returning again on Friday and looking forward to it. With the engine now pretty much sorted after the new spark plugs and cleaned injectors, AND with the current price of Avgas, I think I'm going to do the Kalahari flight at LOP, instead. Just to get the real world figures regarding time versus fuel burned.
 

Chrisl

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, I hopped over to Gariep Dam to refuel,

Where do you fill up there Tampan? Runway, airfield, surely not the local Total garage?;)
 

Tampan

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Chris, the guy that owns the Shell garage in Gariep Dam also keeps and sells Avgas at the airfield. His price is similar to Tempe, so as of late, I also fill my drums at Gariep Dam.
When flying there for fuel, I normally call him just before I take off from the farm. It's probably only a 5 minute flight, so they're normally already there, waiting for me when I land.

I think he ferries fuel in from the Bloemfontein airport, in a 2,000 liter bowser. At the airfield, he uses a 500 liter bowser with a 12 volt pump and meter, which they tow behind a bakkie to the aircraft.
 

Carnivore

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Chris, the guy that owns the Shell garage in Gariep Dam also keeps and sells Avgas at the airfield. His price is similar to Tempe, so as of late, I also fill my drums at Gariep Dam.
When flying there for fuel, I normally call him just before I take off from the farm. It's probably only a 5 minute flight, so they're normally already there, waiting for me when I land.

I think he ferries fuel in from the Bloemfontein airport, in a 2,000 liter bowser. At the airfield, he uses a 500 liter bowser with a 12 volt pump and meter, which they tow behind a bakkie to the aircraft.
That oke seems to be a customer-sensitive guy. Good service. Is that the norm in the industry?
 

Tampan

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Hi Carnivore,
I've known him for a long time, so I guess he does make an exception in my case, because I buy quite a lot of fuel from him.

Normally, he will only come out to the airfield after you've landed and called him, or if possible, you can either overfly the garage or send him a message when you're 10 minutes out, for instance. I guess some pilots have given him an ETA, just to arrive way late, keeping him waiting, or some might not have pitched at all.
The reason for there not being a proper fuel installation at Gariep Dam is probably because he doesn't have any interest in the airfield itself, so no use for him to spend any money on fuel pumps and storage tanks. The demand for fuel at Gariep most likely also does not justify the costs of such an installation.

At other airfields with fuel installations, there is normally an attendant on duty at the pumps during working hours. Those who do sell fuel after hours charge a call out fee for that service.

In general, Jaco at Gariep Dam provides good service and his Avgas price is not out of line. For light aircraft traveling between Gauteng and the coast, Gariep is just about half way, so it's a perfect stop for fuel and to stretch the legs.
It's not in controlled airspace and it's unmanned, so no flight plan is needed and landing there is no extra admin.
 

Carnivore

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So, his service to you is a bit above the norm, because you have proven to be a reliable customer. Those in the service industry (and that's everything that constitutes a buy-and-sell situation) do appreciator a customer who does not mess them around.
In similar situations, and not necessarily fuel - it might be accessories or consumables - there are many half-hearted suppliers who will merely shrug and say, "Sorry, can't help you..."
 

Tampan

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O, I forgot. What is a flight in a "new" aircraft, without some minor issue...

Since I bought the single Comanche, I've had some issues with the left hand auxiliary tank fuel cap. Apart from being way past its time, it's not the correct fuel cap for the Comanche. It's actually a Cherokee fuel cap, which someone put on, somewhere in the past.
I've found it leaking at times, although very slightly. I've fiddled with it quite a bit, trying to adjust it to seat better.

So, taking off from Gariep Dam on Monday and looking out the left window, I saw, to my horror, a substantial stream of Avgas exiting the tank over the wing, through the fuel cap. I must mention that this was during climb out, at a high angle of attack. At that angle, the wing produces close to maximum lift, so the low pressure above the wing is quite substantial and it has a significant sucking action.

I had a deadline in Bloemfontein, so there was no time to land back at Gariep Dam to try and fix the problem. While looking at my R35/liter Avgas blowing away into the free air, I got quite annoyed and decided, f... you.
I switched over to that tank and decided to suck as much Avgas as possible, from the other side, to the engine.

As I leveled out at FL075, the leak slowed down to be almost invisible and after another few minutes, it stopped. I can't say how much Avgas leaked overboard, but at that speed and pressure, I'm sure it will be much more than what the eye perceives.

Before taking off from Tempe, I once again adjusted the fuel cap. It is actually already adjusted to its maximum, but I managed to squeeze a little more out if it. On the return flight, no leak was visible.

Knowing that it will only last for a short while before it raises its ugly head again, I proceeded to buy two new aux tank fuel caps. So, now awaiting them to arrive from the US and I suppose that this is the start of my journey to get this airplane in the condition I want it to be, eventually.
 

Tampan

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My vliegtuig is in 'n Trust geregistreer Chris. Die Trust dryf handel en is vir BTW geregistreer, so ek kan die BTW op die vliegtuig se aankooprys terugeis, asook op alle onderhoud en brandstof fakture.
Die vliegtuig word immers 95% van die tyd vir besigheid gebruik. As ek die slag vir plesier of persoonlike redes vlieg, betaal ek net self vir die brandstof.
 

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