I had some free time to enjoy my plane on Canada Day, July 1st, and so I practiced a few things. One thing was a “Slow Flight” landing. The normal approach speed for a landing begins by slowing the airspeed to 80. But I let the airspeed slow to 55 knots, which is the “stall” speed (where airflow over the wing surfaces becomes turbulent and the wings lose lift). But just before it stalls (which is a very gentle altitude drop in this plane), I pull the nose even higher and add power again. Thus entering “slow flight” mode with the nose very high, the stall warning sound continuously buzzing, the airspeed drops further, into the 45 to 50 Knots range. But the strong engine keeps the airplane flying without losing altitude. ( It’s like 2/3 airplane, 1/3 helicopter.) Turning gradually to base leg then final approach, I landed with no trouble whatsoever, at an airspeed of 44 knots over the runway.
One day recently in June 2012, flying from Camrose to Airdrie Alberta, I flew close to some wind generators. Here’s some pictures of them.
Here are pictures of 2 very nice pieces of equipment in my airplane. I’ll discuss them a bit in this post, and show some pictures of a flight I took towards Jasper, but had to turn back due to low clouds.
Here is a picture of Ram River falls. There is a well-maintained grass runway, (thanks Red Deer Flying club), that is classified as “abandoned” in the Canadian Flight Supplement (CFS) book. It’s not an automatic GPS destination in my aircraft’s avionics (G430s), so to find it, I’ve found that flying along the GPS line from Camrose to Salmon Arm, will be almost perfect to overfly the Ram River Falls airfield.
On Google Earth, you can find it at 52° 05′ 13.03″ N and 115° 51′ 21.81″ W. Google Earth says the altitude of the runway is 5353 feet above sea level. It is in the foothills, just east of the Rocky Mountains.
June 18, 2012 update. I had a gorgeous summer evening with free time, and no passengers, so I used the opportunity to practice hammerhead turns. (my original post below, describes how I stumbled into this.) It was super FUN, and inspiring more confidence in my plane.
This weekend flight from Camrose to Fairmont Hot Springs started in beautiful sunny weather with few clouds.
The Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains near Kananaskis and Canmore was getting a little more cloudy, with ceiling at 11,000 feet.
I did a solo flight over Edmonton and managed to get a few pictures of my house. And a few other points of interest.
I’ve made the flight from Camrose, Alberta to Hudson Island, British Columbia, a number of times now. Sometimes I file an official flight plan, and other times I use a relative as a flight itinerary contact. What I’ve learned is that changing cloud conditions can make flight plans go longer than planned, while the flight itinerary gives me much more flexibility, because I can send TXT messages from my cellphone whenever I fly over a town, to let my contact person know where I am.
To improve my own safety, I’ve made this webpage posting my route, and the choices I could make to avoid clouds. My ground contact person could then refer the search-and-rescue people to this webpage, to look for me along these routes, if I go missing. Plus, these Google Earth images tell a beautiful story, I think.
My flight begins by setting the GPS for a direct route from Camrose to Salmon Arm, BC.
Because I blog about my airplane, an Expedition E350 aircraft, from Found Aircraft Canada Inc, people who are considering buying one, often email me to ask if I’ve had any problems. I’ve had my plane less than 2 years, and it’s just past 150 hours airtime. There have been a few little problems, and below I’ll list them.
But to put this into context, one of the emails I received recently said:
“I was looking at the logs of some 206s and was suprised how so many smaller items needed to be fixed or replaced within a few years of delivery.”
My Expedition was #2 on the production line, serial number 302. My little problems have been:
I learned a few new things about “preparedness”, for things that can wrong, on this flying trip to Hudson Island, BC. This post has some video of take-offs, features dead batteries, getting stuck in the mud, diverting to alternate airports due to low-lying fog, etc. [Read more…]