Friday, September 30, 2011

Demo Flights during Return Trip

Hello Race Fans,
We will depart STS on Oct 5 heading home to Melbourne FL (MLB). If you are in the hunt to buy a Phoenix and would like us to make a detour to visit, let me know at 352-250-5644 to arrange a visit.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Phoenix Team members left to right: Chris Arai, Tactical Officer and crew; Tim Ettridge, Back up copilot and crew, Jim Lee, team leader and pilot; Jeff Shingleton, copilot

Aircraft weigh in and crew weigh in. The Phoenix was weighed empty and then with measured 8 gallons of fuel onboard. Crew was weighed with all items on the table and then the items were put on the scale. We flew with vents closed for decreased drag, and Jeff and I both lost 2 pounds on each flight! Quite interesting. The fuel was weighed seperately so they know exactly how much was burned.

We took off with low rpm until the engine warmed up, and did a big pull up and turn towards the second turnpoint after crossing the end of the runway turnpoint.

Phoenix crossing the goal line at 110kts with the engine off at the conclusion of the speed run. Results will be published at the October 3 ceremony at Moffett Field.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hello Race Fans,
We are in Santa Rosa, CA undergoing economy and speed testing hosted by the CAFE Foundation and sponsored by NASA. We are flying our production Phoenix against some pretty specialized prototype electric aircraft to see how our gas burning Rotax does against the electric field.
For starters, we flew our plane from Melbourne, about 2200nm, while everyone else trailered theirs here, so we won that event (in our own minds). Then we got in 3 practice rounds, while only one other competitor managed one test flight on the course, so we won that one too.
The Phoenix easily passed the take off noise test and the climb over a 50' obstacle after 2000' (very easy with reduced power).
But then came the real event, 100mph over a 200mile course burning only 2 gallons. Well, there is no way we can do that, but we did pretty good. The final results are secret until the awards ceremony at Moffett Field on October 3.
Tomorrow (Sept 29) is the speed trial over the same 200 mile course. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, here are some photos taken by a NASA photographer:

NASA CAFE Green Flight Challange

We are in Santa Rosa, CA competing in the GFC. 13 entrants began the process over a year ago, and only 4 showed up with a flying plane. The Phoenix is the only production plane here with the other 3 being very specialized experimental aircraft. We are here to gather data as to the fuel efficiency and speed capability of the Phoenix, measured by NASA personnel.
Check out for photos of the event.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Last leg from Oshkosh

Almost every trip takes me through Panama City so I get another layover with my Mom!

After visiting my parents, I met Kathy and Rachel in Tallahassee to tour Florida State University. Rachel is a senior in high school, top of her class, Band Captain, second chair (clairnet), and with 16 hours of flight instruction from me, can make unassisted take offs and landings. She is applying to Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Boston U, and FSU and wants to major in neuroscience. Go Rachel!

Bad weather mad me glad to have the XM weather on the 496. I had to do a lot of detouring, finally landing at New Smyrna for a few hours for a window to open up. That happened after sunset, so the final push was at night with bolts of lightening over the Atlantic and the lights of Orlando to my right.

Home, safe and sound. Thanks Phoenix!

More Faces on the Oshkosh Return Flight






Crusin' Cockpit

Click on any photo to enlarge. This is a series of photos of my cockpit during long flights, this one while returning home from Oshkosh. The prop is pitched for cruise for better speed and economy. Altitude is 7700', indicated speed is 103kts and true airspeed is 121kts. Rpm is 4710 so I am burning just south of 4gph. Ground speed is 138kts. I am listening to the Guard frequency so it doen't interrupt Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones on the Ipod too often.

I have really grown fond of the Air Chart Systems VFR Sectional Atlas because it is small, all of the charts are in one place, and it reduces the amount of time I spend zooming in and out on the Garmin 496 screen to see what is coming up next. In other words, it helps me keep my eyes out the window better. The only downside is the $140 price for the two books covering the US. You get regular updates to keep it valid for a year. I can also highlight airports and make comments that won't be lost when I throw out an old chart.

Some of you will note my messy cockpit, sorry dude! Most items are in the blue bag beside me but I keep the beef jerky, snacks, water, and Gatorade in easy reach. I put everything in the blue bag and buckle it in for take offs and landings.

At 6'1" I am quite comfortable in the Phoenix with plenty of legroom. Many of my long flights have been with friends about the same size as me, and we have always been very comfortable.

Landing at Brennand Airport during Oshkosh

Click on photo to enlarge. Note the brilliance of the Aero LED lights even during the day. Photo by James Lawrence.

I had a really nice flight with a young lady beginning her flight career. She hooked up a video camera and I hope to have a copy of it soon.

Coming in for a landing at Brennand Airport (79C). The runway is 2450' by 20'. That's right, 20'! This is the narrowest paved strip I have ever landed on in 40 years as a pilot (according to my failing memory). The wind was often times 90 degree cross, so combined with the narrow runway, good technique was always required, along with the steerable tailwheel of the Phoenix. Photo by Dale.

When landing the Phoenix, use at least 50% spoilers before entering ground effect, and then don't change them until the landing. Every once in a while I will land with 50% spoilers, and then go to full spoiler on touch down. Normally though, I use full spoilers before entering ground effect and leave them there for the duration of the landing. Photo by Dale.

Photo taken a split second before touch down. Keep pulling on the stick until touch down, and it will automatically be a full stall landing in the 3 point position. The tailwheel will be on the ground, giving you complete control over direction, especially in a crosswind. As with most of the landings at Brennand, this was an engine off landing. Photo by Dale.