Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

September 2013 Factory Visit

Dennis Yeomans and I traveled to Prague and then on to Usti nad Orlici to visit the Phoenix Air factory.  Dennis keeps his Phoenix in Hawaii and also has an ASH-26E in Tehachapi, CA.  He flew from Cal to JFK where we met and hopped our Delta ride across the pond to Prague.

 Jetlagged but wanting to stay up until dark to reset our internal clocks, we boarded the subway from the Alpin Hotel into the old town section of Prague.
 Staromesjske Nameste (Old Town Square)
 Vltava River view from the Charles Bridge
 After our rest day and night in Prague, Dennis and I made the 2 hour drive to Usti to see Martin and the boys at the Phoenix shop.  First stop, the relatively new final assembly building which I had not seen before.  In an effort to speed up production, they moved into this building to provide more room and a clean uncluttered area to assemble the planes and mount instruments and engines.  This building is across the street from the airport.

 However, Dennis and I did an admirable job of completely stopping production by asking hundreds of questions.  I also had my list of minor changes I would like to see instituted.  Here, Martin explains to Radek and Peter one of my ideas.  Radek doesn't look too happy to have me upsetting his apple cart.  But really, they are very willing to hear about our special needs in the US and do everything they can to help us out as long as it does not slow production!

 Then it was off across town to visit the "old" shop, where the laminations take place.  Phoenix Air and Schempp Hirth jointly rent the huge building, and share much of the floor space, such as the paint room, ovens, wet sanding room, machine shop, and more.  And then each company has it's own dedicated floor space and employees.  This is a shot of a wing lamination which is almost complete.  The wing has not been removed from the upper half of the wing mold yet, which it sits in.

 Another shot of the wing sitting in the mold
 The finish wet sanding for both companies is in the same room.  This Phoenix fuselage (30/U15) gets the masking and wet sanding treatment, while a Duo Discus fuselage gets the same treatment nearby.

 Fuselage 31/U15 has the initial lamination done, next step are bulkheads, fittings, and the joining of the two halves.
 31/U15 inside the fuselage mold.  Martin, Dennis, and I would have a meal, a meeting, and then go to one or the other of the shops to look as specific items about the planes and have more discussions.  Then off to another cafĂ©, and more meetings with an internet connection available.  We spent a week with this routine, and Martin was very gracious and never acted like he couldn't wait until we left!
 Then we drove back to Prague, and ran into our host, Nikola Chudozilov about to depart his Alpin Hotel for some helicopter training.  He invited Dennis and I to go on a tour of Prague and the surrounding area in his Cirrus SR22 afterwards.  He drove this BMW motocycle to the southern tip of South America, and has flown his Zenith 701 (which I certified in the US for him) from Florida to Oshkosh to San Diego and back to Florida.  Quite the adventurer!

 Dennis, Nikola, Suzanna, and I had a nice hour flight, landing at dusk, and then out to dinner.  So ended our great trip.  Dennis and I caught our flight home the next day.
 Ok, so I got home, and received an email from Nikola.  He took a business trip in his Cirrus to Switzerland, Germany, and Italy after our visit.  He was on an IFR flight plan when his alternator gave up, leaving him without any power.  Since he suddenly disappeared from the radar screens in various countries, the Swiss and Germans sent up their air forces to find out what was going on.  Here is the German Typhoon taking the first looksee off of Nikola's wingtip!  Look at that angle of attack while he flies at 150kts to match the Cirrus!  I think the Typhoon's stall speed is around 110kts with leading edge slats deployed.

 Not to be outdone, the Swiss Gryphon pilot moves in for a look too!
Well, that upped the ante, and it was the German's "kill", so he moved back in Real Close! just so everyone knew who's boss!
(It all ended well).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Russ Owens over Lake Tahoe

All photos by Andy Robinson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Russ Has Top Scoring Flight in the World

Jim -
I had a very satisfying soaring flight in my Phoenix last week 7-30-13. Out of Ely, NV. The day after you and Kathy left Ely, I flew a 495 km.(267 NM) online contest flight including a 460 km FAI triangle. This flight was the highest scoring OLC flight in the WORLD for that day, putting the Phoenix at the top of the world OLC results list. This should help point out that the Phoenix is a capable cross-country soaring machine among its many other attributes.
I took off with full fuel then found a good thermal right after takeoff. Total engine run inflight was about two minutes. I landed back at Ely about seven hours later with over 25 gallons of fuel still onboard! Let's see any other LSA top that! 

Without refueling, the next day Lynn and I flew home via a route that took us over a spectacular viewing of the Grand Canyon. We'll fly the Phoenix to Idaho in about 10 days for the King Mountain "All birds are welcome" event. Such a capable and fun plane!
Best wishes.
 Russ and Lynn
 Sunset flying with Russ in Florida
 Jim and Kathy fly over dry lakebed near Ely
OLC scoresheet for all flights in the world on 7-30-13.  OLC stands for On Line Contest.  It is easy to sign up, and then make a flight and record it on a datalogger.  Then you submit the data file to the OLC website and they score your flight.  The loggers have a noise sensor that can tell when the engine is running.
Congratulations Russ!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Phoenix Gets a New Look

Pretty snazzy don't you think?
 We can now offer custom graphics for the Phoenix.  We can ship the graphics to existing Phoenix owners, or we can have them installed on new planes before it gets picked up.

 After the new graphics were installed, I took the plane up to see if it flew better.  Boy did it ever!  Well, I thought it did.  Here we are over Orlando International.
 Then the storms moved into Melbourne and I had to land at Merritt Island and wait for it to come after me there.  Then a quick hop out over the ocean and in the back door at Melbourne as the storm moved to the NE.
 This is what the Dynon Skyview ADSB weather looks like.  It is very bright with great contrast; I love it!  Also with the new 6.0 software update, the autopilot is now fully functional with flight director and vertical nav functions.  You can't see any traffic displayed on the screen because I was the only one stupid enough to be up in that weather.

And here is the Garmin Aera 560.  You can see that the weather image is not nearly as good as the Skyview's.  My Aera will now be relegated to XM music.  I don't need the weather subscription any longer.  Cool, another $38/month towards the beer kitty instead!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Russ Owens flew 517kilometers in the Phoenix!

Jim -
Yesterday I flew a 517 Km flight in the Phoenix here at Parowan. It's posted on the OLC for 6-27-13. Last I checked it was the 5th highest scoring flight in the world for the day.
My flight earned me 1000 points here at the ASA motorglider fly-in and a pefect score for the day for the Stevenson trophy competition, formerly given for the motorglider national championships.
She's a sweet little plane, but I miss my 45/1 glide at 80 knots in the 26E!!! Still, lots of fun, and a good cross country touring machine for two also. The Phoenix CAN fly a XC soaring flight!
Best Wishes.


Friday, May 10, 2013

John Sepulveda

 John has been working with Phoenix Air for the last 2 months.  He has been a huge help so far on ground ops, and we are working with him on his commercial and CFIG glider ratings.
John's attention to detail, and his work experience on the Shuttle program have been evident from the start.  For instance, when he asked how long to stir a batch of epoxy resin, I answered "twice as long as you think you need to".  John replied, "Well at NASA, we had to mix the epoxy on the heat tiles for 3 minutes", to which I replied, "OK with me to do it the NASA way!". 
I'll let John introduce himself to you:

I went to Florida Institute of Technology (now Florida Tech) and graduated with an A.S. in Flight Technology where I also earned my Commerical, Instrument, and Multi-Engine ratings. After graduating, I was picked up by Lockheed Space Operations to work as a TPS technician on the Space Shuttle heat tiles and blankets, then as an electrical technician on the orbiter's payload bay, a lead technician overseeing a crew of 15 techs, and finally as a Space Craft Operator where I worked on the flight decks of Altantis, Discovery, and Endeavour controlling and monitoring the orbiter's systems during testing, launch, and landing operations. I've crawled through just about every compartment of the orbiters doing mods, repair work, and testing.

 While earning a B.A. in Organizational Management, I ended my 22 year career at KSC in 2010 where I went to work for Lockheed Martin as an aerostat field engineer in Afghanistan supporting our troops in the field by providing overwatch for them.

 I currently work as an operations engineer for LM on the PTDS program and jumped at the chance to be around airplanes again when Jim called me earlier this year to work with him.

The Phoenix is a great airplane and I look forward to being a part of this organization and meeting all our customers in the near future.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Phoenix Wins Best LSA at Sun n Fun!

The Sun n Fun judges re-confirmed what I have been telling people for a couple of years; the Phoenix is the best light sport aircraft flying!  In 2011, the Sun n Fun judges awarded the Phoenix "The Outstanding Fixed-Wing Light Sport Aircraft" (as differentiated from Flexible Wing such as fabric and rib ultralights).  This year the award says "Best Commercial Light Sport Aircraft" which is another way to say that the Phoenix is the best production built LSA!  We did not attend Sun n Fun in 2012 due to the arrival of a new Phoenix to unload and certifiy, or maybe the Phoenix would have won that year too.

 Our booth in Paradise City next to the runway allowed us to fly 18 demo flights during the show.

 New employee John Sepulveda holds the long wingtip while Kathy shows the fitting of the short wingtip.  We'll have a report on John soon.

 We tied the Phoenix to 3' long circus tent stakes during the night, with thoughts of the 2011 tornado destruction still in our minds.

 Swapping wingtips was always a crowd pleaser, and everyone wanted to see just how Phoenix Air accomplishes this magic.

 We had shade and cold drinks available for our visitors while they talked planes and flying.