Illinois Ultralight / Light Plane Seminar Debriefing
About 150 light aviation enthusiasts, most of them pilots, attended the Illinois Ultralight / Light Plane Safety Seminar held February 26 in Springfield, Illinois. The event included static aircraft displays and vendors of a variety of light aviation goods and services. A pair of newly introduced 100-hp Magni Orion gyroplanes were the top attraction. The four seminar topics of the day were personal survival, working with flight service, understanding glass panels, and an introduction to the Jabiru engine.
Jeff Goin was excellent as the new announcer and master of ceremonies for the seminar. Even though he lacked the booming gravelly tones of ultralight pioneer Frank Beagle who retired from the position after 30 years of voluntary service, he made up for it with his energy and with stories of his experiences flying powered paragliders, trikes, helicopters, and Boeing jetliners. The vendor displays in the lobby included familiar names such as Wicks Aircraft Supply, Leading Edge Air Foils, Airborne trikes, the Midwest LSA Expo, the FAA Safety Team, and many others. The prime organizer who makes it all happen is Roy Beisswenger, chairman of the Illinois Ultralight Advisory Council, technical editor of Powered Sport Flying magazine, and host of the online radio show of the same name.
J.R. Brown of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) gave the presentation on the items needed for a personal survival kit for pilots. CAMI is a wing of the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine and offers free survival and ditching training for pilots at its facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The list of seven needed things included the obvious such as shelter, clothing, tools, firecraft, signal equipment, food, andwater. Food isn’t that important as a person can easily go three days without it, and you shouldn’t eat food unless you have water. He strongly recommends a 406 megahertz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) or personal locator beacon (PLB) because it narrows the search from a 12-mile radius to one mile or less. Pilots should make emergency radio calls promptly and not wait until you’re at low altitude trying to execute an emergency landing. Don’t change course from your flight plan, and don’t leave the airplane and try to walk out.
Scott Carmen, Lockheed Martin operations supervisor at the Fort Worth Hub, Texas, gave the next presentation on working with flight service. Not much has changed when you phone 1-800-WX-BRIEF to get a briefing or file a flight plan except that now all calls go to a few central hubs. If the voice recognition system fails to connect you to the briefer for the region you prefer, simply ask to be transferred or learn the two-digit dialing code for your area. Scott reviewed the basic types of briefings, services they provide, and the information needed when you call that every pilot should have learned as part of his training. All pilots should know about Flight Watch or the En Route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) which is available everywhere. Use radio call sign “Flight Watch” on 122.0 megahertz to get up-to-date weather information or to provide pilot weather reports (PIREPs). For all other services such as closing a flight or checking for a temporary flight restriction en route, you should use the call sign “Radio” on the designated frequency for the flight service station in your area as indicated on sectional charts. For more help, visit www.AFSS.com.
After lunch,Kirk Kleinholz sales manager at Dynon Avionics, somewhat nervously passed around a self-contained electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) D6 running off its internal backup battery that can keep it going for a minimum of two hours after an electrical failure. It packs all your basic flight instruments including gyro-stabilized compass and turn coordinator into a single compact instrument that saves weight, cost, and space. At a price of $1,600, the display responded to every turn and tilt as it was passed from person to person. Kirk noted he could see and hear any doors opening in the back of the room. It’s all possible due to the magic of solid-state accelerometers and solid-state rate sensors that can sense angular velocity. The advantages of solid-state electronics are many including the ability to produce additional derived data such as flight path, g-meter, and data logging. Potential drawbacks are information overload and the pilot spending too much time looking at the display when he should be looking outside the airplane. Dynon has about 11,000 EFIS displays installed in experimental and light-sport aircraft. Learn more at www.DynonAvionics.com.
The day ended with Pete Kroje, head of Jabiru USA, talking about installation and maintenance of the four-cylinder and six-cylinder Jabiru aircraft engines from Australia. The first engine was shown at EAA Oshkosh in 1994, and in 1998 the six-cylinder 128-hp engine appeared there in a Titan Tornado. A total of 6,000 engines have been sold worldwide. Jabiru USA develops and manufactures firewall-forward kits for the engines. The Rans S-19 kit was completed in 2009, and Jabiru USA just completed its eighth kit which is for a Vans RV-12. Look for it at the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. Good airflow over the cylinders is vital on the Jabiru engine because of its lightweight, low-mass design. The cowl outlet must be below the bottom of the fuselage; a flush outlet won’t work. An oil cooler is required, and the airflow must be smooth going into the carburetor. An electric boost pump is required, but the maximum pressure should be 4 pounds per square inch. Manuals are available at www.Jabiru.net.au.