Rotation Speed (Aviation Blog)

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Lost Communications While Flying VFR

A very informative post from my friend and co-host, Carl Valeri who is THE Expert Aviator.

I received the following question concerning lost communications in Class B or C airspace while VFR.


I do not see any guidance in the AIM pertaining to radio failure procedures while VFR within Class B or Class C airspace. The AIM does cover Class D VFR radio failure procedures. Any insight you have is greatly appreciated."


Cessna 172SP Pattern - Multicam

Another in a series of trips around the pattern at Norwood.  This time it's Runway 35.  There is nothing very unusual about this particular trip and video except for the way I chose to display the cameras.  Keeping them all in view the entire time gives you a "live" perspective on the flight, something closer to the situational awareness you need to have when you fly.  As usual there are three cameras and ATC audio on this video.  I'd love to know what people think of this editing approach.  Enjoy!

Cessna 172SP Pattern at OWD 2-5-12

This video is another trip around the pattern at Norwood in the Cessna 172SP N13151.  This is a pretty large category on my channel, so if you're interested in pattern work, you can check out my other similar videos.  151 is a plane I've flown a lot and really like.  I had flown with a CFI a week or so before this flight to work on my pattern approaches.  This trip around was part of a series of landings I did to practice what I'd learned.  The winds were light slight crosswinds and we were using the main runway at KOWD, Runway 35 this day.  The flight was later in the day and the late afternoon sun makes for some beautiful video.  I especially love the shadows of the plane that I was able to incorporate into the take-off and landing portions of the video.  In this video I tried to say out loud the airspeeds I was aiming for during each part of the pattern.  I did this for a couple of reasons, first because I find that I am often coming in too hot and I really wanted to get those speeds under control.  Secondly I did this as a way to give you a sense of what I'm doing with the plane as I fly the pattern.  One little note: near the touchdown point, you can hear the tower call to a Cirrus and he almost says the familiar 168SR but then catches himself.  168SR is the Cirrus you can see in many of my videos and it flies a lot at Norwood.  There are three HD cameras in this video along with ATC audio.  Enjoy.

ICON Aircraft Spin Resistance

Recently published on YouTube, this video explains ICON Aircraft's spin resistant design elements. Their press release announced that their A5 will be the first production aircraft in history to be designed to and completely meet the Federal Aviation Administration's full-envelope Part 23 spin-resistance standards once production starts (although it is not a Part 23 certified aircraft). They comment that this is a tremendous safety advancement that can significantly reduce the number of loss-of-control accidents resulting from stall/spin scenarios, which are the most significant cause of fatal General Aviation accidents. Thanks to Sam DeBartolo for bringing this to my attention.

Air France 447

Here is a fascinating aticle from the Telegraph in England about what really happened on the flight deck of Air France 447.

In the early hours of June 1 2009, Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went missing, along with 216 passengers and 12 crew. The Airbus A330-200 disappeared mid-ocean, beyond radar coverage and in darkness. It took a shocked and bewildered Air France six hours to concede its loss and for several agonising days there was no trace. It was an utter mystery. No other airliner had vanished so completely in modern times. Even when wreckage was discovered the tragedy was no less perplexing. The aircraft had flown through a thunderstorm, but there was no distress signal, and the jet was state-of-the-art, a type that had never before been involved in a fatal accident. What had caused it to fall out of the sky? (More)

The Transition - Driven to Fly

The Transition® Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality.  The production prototype of the Transition® Street-Legal Airplane completed its successful first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY on March 23, 2012.  The same vehicle has also successfully conducted initial drive and conversion testing, demonstrating the Transition’s capability to provide unmatched freedom, flexibility and fun in personal aviation.  Developed by Terrafugia, Inc., the Transition® is a two seat personal aircraft capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single car garage, and flying with unleaded automotive fuel.

Approach and Landing at Keen, NH

This is a video of my approach and landing at Keen, NH. I had flown to Keen (EEN) a few times in training but had never videotaped the landing before. It was part of my long cross-country in fact, going from Norwood (OWD) to Keene (EEN) to Groton (GON) and home again. On this day it was just a good destination based on conditions and the desire to get a little more cross-country time. This video opens as I'm still a little far away from Keene and the flight following controller is letting me know that there is another plane, a Decathelon, heading into Keene from the south west. You'll see and hear the decision making process as I ultimately decide to do a 360 to put some distance between myself and the Decathelon. As the controller suggested however, based on their speed and mine, there was never any real concern about separation. By the time I get to Keene, the other pilot was parked and having lunch no doubt! This video has a good variety of ATC communication and is worth watching if only for that. Not a bad approach, although my turn to final seemed a little late, but it was a pretty sweet landing at Keene nevertheless. There are three HD cameras and ATC audio on this video. Enjoy.

Robot that Flies Like a Bird

I love watching Teb Talks and especially from people successfully solving interesting puzzles.  Building something that can fly like a bird is one of those challenges and this is a pretty cool demo of a big success.  Wonder where this will lead? 

"The Downwind 360" - Cessna 172

This is a video that documents a slightly unusual pattern during practice at Norwood (KOWD).  I decided to include part of the run-up in this video and it starts after I had gone through some of the checklist.  There were some faster planes departing Norwood at the time and so I offered to begin my run-up on a connecting taxiway while the jets passed me on their way to the active runway.  So when this video begins, I had done some of the run-up in the Cessna 172SP but you'll hear me given instruction by ground to proceed to the runway to finish things before takeoff.  Once out there I finish the run-up checklist and it's important to note that after I call the tower for takeoff, he mistakenly starts to call be a Cherokee, and then catches himself.  This becomes relevant a little while later.  So I'm cleared for the pattern and I head out.  It's a right pattern for 35 at Norwood, and on the downwind as I'm getting things stable, just before making my mid-field call, there is a call from the tower to Cherokee 2081-Sierra.  As you will see, I don't answer.  I remember wondering how I had missed that call, but now it's clear that I automatically ignored it because it began with Cherokee.  A few seconds later he calls me back with call sign only and we get things straightened away.  Because of traffic, the tower asked me to do a 360 in the patter for spacing.  Not sure I'd ever done this before, but it made sense and as a bonus, it now gives you a better view of Boston in the distance and Norwood Airport as I come around.  The other interesting thing about this pattern is that the wind had come up after I took off and the tower let me know that they would be switching runways after my landing from 35 to 28.  One plane after me requests 35, but I know that I'll be moving to 28.  As you will see, once on the ground after a pretty nice landing, I exited the runway to the left as I normally would, which is appropriate.  But it becomes clear that the tower had been planning for me to roll out further and exit to the right to head over to the departure end of 28.  Of course, he never told me that, so I ended up going the long way, which was fine.  So in this video, there are a couple of interesting moments where communication is a little less than precise.  It ends with me asking for a squawk code for a flight to Keen, NH.  That will be by next video, so stay tuned!  In summary, there are 3 HD cameras, ATC audio and some interesting pattern work on this video.  Thanks for watching.

Cessna 172SP Pattern Practice at Norwood (Sept 2011)

A short video, one trip around the field at Norwood.  I was getting the feel of the plane and conditions that day.  All it all it was a successful practice and I learned or re-learned a lot.  This video has no ATC or Coms on it because I neglected to plug in the cord. So what you get is a basic pattern at Norwood in the Cessna 172SP as if you were a passenger not wearing a headset. The only thing you missed in the audio here is an experimental plane behind me asking whether I was going to be a full stop or not. The controller told him I was cleared for the option, and I keyed the mic and volunteered that I was planning a full stop. This was because the winds that day were fairly gusty and I was trying to get comfortable with them. I then heard a thank you from the controller and a mic click from the experimental. After this pattern both the experimental and I taxied back to parking to fly another day. Three HD cameras on this video but only ambient audio.

Flight from Norwood to Plymouth in the Cessna 172SP

This is a full flight video from Norwood, MA (OWD) to Plymouth, MA (PYM).  This trip was for a morning meet-up with Andrew Blanchard ( who flies out of Marshfield (GHG).  While this trip could be made a bit faster, I decided to enjoy the ride and so you'll hear me reference cruise speeds under 100.  There isn't much to point out during the trip really.  There is a lot of cross-talk chatter on the PYM frequency as I begin to approach the airport.  This is because there are a number of other airports in the region that use the frequency 123.0.  For example you'll hear a lot of calls from planes at Block Island, which is 58nm away!  And the only other thing worth noting is the wind.  As I got the ASOS you will hear that the wind is light but from 310.  And yet you'll also hear the planes using runway 06 at PYM.  The wind was shifting all over the place and so what had probably started out as a light wind more from the east that morning, was now moving toward the west.  But people were still using the east facing runway.  So in this approach, that would end up giving me a high percentage of cross wind and some small percentage of tailwind...but no headwind.  So in hindsight this meant my ground speed was probably higher than I was used to.  More experienced pilots would probably have an easy time with that, but you'll notice that in slowing the plane on the rollout I get pretty far right of the centerline.  It was an interesting learning experience because even though I heard where the winds were, I went with the crowd on the chosen active runway, making my landing less than I wanted it to be.  The wind was so changeable that day that by the time I had the plane parked and shut down, they were in the process of switching the runways 180 degrees!  And by the time I left, I departed from the crossing north runway!  Lesson learned.  This is a 3 camera HD video with ATC audio.  You'll notice that I decided to use one of the cameras for a more direct forward-facing view instead of pointing it at me.  Looks pretty cool on the landing but I would love to know what you think.  Enjoy the video.

Landing the SR20 at Portsmouth

This is the landing portion of the longer OWD to PSM flight video here - I edited it down to use the last few minutes of flight as I entered the pattern for landing. It was also such a pretty afternoon that I re-edited this one to remove the shots of me and replaced them with longer looks out the windows. So this video should give you a better idea of what it's like to make that approach. Enjoy.

My First Civilian Passenger

Just two weeks after completing my first BFR (biennial flight review - see previous post) I was able to accomplish another major milestone.  For the first time in my short flying career I completed a flight with a non-CFI sitting in the right seat.

This trip started as another planned meet-up of fans of both the Uncontrolled Airspace Podcast and our new podcast the Stuck Mic AvCast at Boire Field in Nashua, NH.  Several members of both shows were planning to attend as well as several loyal listeners and as the weather was looking great, I booked a plane to head up there alone.  The trip from Norwood to Nashua is about 20-25 minutes tops and sometimes I drive when the weather is iffy or worse.

But for this weekend, the weather looked great with clear skies and calm winds and no threat of rain.  Even the summer heat was holding off.  This would be a great day to get some more experience in the Cessna 172 on a short hop flight I had done several times before.

 Then, because of her schedule, the oportunity to fly with my wife came up for the same weekend.  For one reason or another we had never flown together.  She loves flying so that was never an issue, but mostly I wanted to get more comfortable being a pilot.  I wanted to have a lot of the aviation stuff so ingrained that I could enjoy the flight and tend to my passenger without too much distraction.

We got to Norwood early and I began preflighting the Cessna while she did some phone calling and picture taking.  (Most of the pictures you see in this post were taken by her using my iPhone4 with a wide-angle adaptor.)

 This Cessna is pretty much exactly like the one I have more than 60 hours in, but there were some small differences I had to aquaint myself with.  We had a little trouble getting my squelch where I wanted it, but settled for what I could dial in.

Eventually all was set and we took off with a normal departure on runway 35 to the north.  I asked and got flight-following and turned to the northwest to give us some clearance from the Hanscom Class Delta.  I like to make that move heading north which does two things, points me toward the edge of the Class Bravo which gives me altitude options and sets me up for avoiding Hanscom's busy airspace should I not get cleared through.  

Eventually I turned due north toward Nashua and kept the plane right at 3,000 ft.  Flight-following was almost unnecessary as we spotted several planes in the distance on our own and maintained clearance from them.  Once handed off to the Nashua tower I was asked to keep my speed up for separation no doubt.  I didn't really want to keep my speed up, but I did as requested.  



This threw off my landing rhythm so I came in a little high and long, but was able to keep the speeds where they should be.  However, because I was thrown a bit, I rounded a little too high and then flared.  With a firm plop I landed on the centerline.

Fortunately my wife has a lot of experience flying as a kid with her dad and was familiar with the occasional firm landing.  It wasn't what I wanted for our first experience, but she seemed pleased with the flight and told me at the end of the day that she would fly with me again.


We parked the plane and then met-up with the various other pilots/aviation podcast fans, having a nice meeting over breakfast at the Midfield Cafe.  In the picture to the left is Jack Hodgson of the Uncontrolled Airspace Podcast with Robert Cigliano of the New Pilot's Pod Blog.  Robert flew his Piper Sport in from Long Island!  As is the custom, we ended things by heading out to the ramp to look over the planes.  


 Mine was the most pedestrian of the bunch, with a Cub and Robert's Piper Sport flanking me.  The full set of pictures from the day can be found by clicking on the link in the upper left of this page called Aviation Photography.

The trip back to Norwood was a little more bumpy as the heat of the day created thermal areas, but not bad.  We were cleard direct through Hanscom at or above 2,500 ft but below the Bravo which starts at 3000 ft.  Threading the needle I like to call it and my altitude control was solid.


The roughest part of the whole day was what I thought would be the easiest, my landing back at Norwood.  I basically came in too hot, probably with the Cirrus' airspeeds in mind.  I let the plane float to bleed off the speed, but didn't bleed enough and again flared too high.  So I landed firmly, but this time going a bit too fast.  Breaking caused the plane to pull a bit to the side, but I eased off and as the speed settled, everything smoothed out.  Again, not what I had planned for my first passenger flight but I learned a lot from the experience.


Fortunately, my wife said she'd fly with me again and we'll be looking for that opportunity soon.

I'm probably being a little hard on myself, but for me, it's back to pattern practice to smooth out those landings!

Happy flying!


Below is a video of the landing at Nashua, with two camera views and ATC transmissions.