Sunday, December 7, 2014

Final Leg - Cartagena to Bogota

Link to the flight route:,-84.5535278261045&chart=301&zoom=11&plan=A.K7.KMLB:A.K7.KFXE:G.25.844228515347765,-80.7669067879949:G.25.338895925596013,-80.27252202233869:A.K7.KEYW:G.23.411166697610053,-82.6162720224866:F.MU.VINKA:G.21.072967473258433,-86.50497435943076:A.MZ.MZBZ:G.11.549908736756471,-85.62149051456579:A.MR.MRPV:G.8.834323230812897,-81.34964038936336:A.SK.SKCG:G.6.940604627925039,-73.8686371621789:G.6.009277047390798,-73.55255154230703:A.SK.SKGY

 Panel shot with Garmin Aera being used for navigation after losing the Jeppesen database in the Skyview.  It turns out that when you pay for and load the Jeppesen database, the US Dynon database must also be purchased and used or the Jeppesen data does not work.  So as we began this leg, we lost all of the mapping functions and data.  I threw my Garmin in my gear bag at the last minute - glad I did!  After landing in Bogota, I got this straightened out and the data is back.

 Dos Amigos

 Mountains to the left

 Mountains to the right

Entering Bogota 

Lovely Diana arranged a champagne reception for us.  It doesn't get any better than that! 

Open shed style hangars are all that are available.  Andres must wax and cover his plane to keep it looking nice.  Everyone who saw the plane wanted one.  Maybe I will get to enjoy this flight again someday.  Or maybe I will just fly my plane to Columbia, Peru, and Argentina.  Machu Pichu is on my bucket list.  Maybe we could get a flight of Phoenix together for this one?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Belize to Cartagena

 Sunrise in Belize City

 Complete cloud cover entering Honduras

 Mountains of Honduras

 Dynon Skyview with Jeppesen map database.  Leaving Honduras about to enter Nicaragua.

 The Isla de Ometepe

 Andres said "OK, that's close enough!"

 Customs at Bolanos airport in San Jose, Costa Rica

 Departure from San Jose on the second day attempt.  The first try was aborted due to clouds too high to go over and too low to go under.

 Caribbean side of the Panama Canal

 Landing in Cartagena

The walled "old town" of Cartagena

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Key West to Belize City

I flew from Melbourne to pick up Andres in Ft. Lauderdale, and then we flew over the Everglades on the way to the Key West.  Andres mounted a GoPro camera on the wingtip for the whole flight, and controlled if from his iPhone.

Florida Keys

 Florida Keys

 Key West ready for 8am departure

 Jim and Andres looking forward to the flight!

Leaving Key West

 Somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico

 Andres had to shut off the engine over Cancun and play a little
We were fine until Cancun approach said "122AF What.....Are....You....Doing?

Cancun wingover

 Base leg into Belize City

 The airport authorities have upgraded the facilities since my last visit.  They now offer cinderblock tie downs instead of us having to scrounge our own boulders.

Dive boat waiting for morning departure to dive sites 50 miles offshore.  People live and dive from the boat for a week at a time for $2500.  The boat has a hot tub.

Trip stats: 600nm flown.  5 hours total flight time including engine off gliding from 12,500 to 8,500 over Cancun.  20.9 gallons fuel burned.  7 gallons remaining in Belize.

Friday, September 26, 2014

John Soars Morning Glory in Australia in his Phoenix

 Hi Jim I am right now riding the morning glory when I have a chance will send photos. 
 John Sent from my iPhone

 Hi Jim 
I just got back from my second morning glory flight. On this flight we soared for 140 nm along the wave before turning back and soaring an additional 40 nm. It started to dissipate so jumped from the primary and soared the secondary as well as the 3rd and 4th waves following. We averaged speeds of between 60 and 90 knots. The wave itself had a base of around 1000 feet agl topping out at around 3500 feet agl. We launched at first light as the secondary passed over the runway. 10 nm later we connected with the primary wave. Fantastic flying. 



Australia is known around the world for its surf breaks, but few people realize those waves aren't only in the water. The Morning Glory is the world's most spectacular and predictable 'roll cloud', a 621-mile long cloud formation that often moves at speeds of 37 miles per hour, sometimes as a single cloud, and sometimes in sets of up to eight clouds.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Phoenix Factory Tour, September 2014

 Usti nad Orlici, Czech Republic.  Home of Phoenix Air

 Martin Stepanek, Nikola Chudozilov, and Josef Straka in the final assembly shop.

 English interpreter Misha, Martin, Nikola, and Josef

 Nikola asking Martin why final production is so slow.

 More shiny wings.

 This is how to work on the tailwheel: put the plane on it's nose!

 Peter fits the cowlings, don't know what Lubos is doing in the rear.

 Josef Rydel joins Peter, Radek, and Martin

Owner of Schempp Hirth CZ, Pavel Tomana meets with Martin.  They share the lamination facility (not pictured).

Usti Central Square (Centrum)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brake Pad Replacement and Adjustment Video

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Great Ideas From Phoenix Owners

 This one is absolutely the best one.  Jeff Shingleton reported that he saw significant performance gains from the addition of top surface gap seal to the elevator.  As you probably know, air below airfoils in high pressure areas tries to sneak around the ends (vortex) or up through gaps, to get to the lower pressure area.  So I ordered some 35mm x 33m mylar gap seal tape from Wings and Wheels.  To hold it to the surface, transfer tape is used, 16mm x 33m.  And then to make sure it does not come loose, 25mm PVC tape is used along the leading edge of the mylar.  There are also application instructions on the W&W website.
Ok, so what are the performance changes?  To find out, I took my clean and polished plane up for some pre-gap seal numbers.  Minimal stuff in the baggage area, 5 gallons of fuel total and 190lb me flying solo:  At 0 degree flap, stall buffet is 42kts, stall is 40kts.  With 10 degrees of flap, buffet is at 41kts and stall is 38kts.
After the gap seal was applied the next day, I flew again.  0 degrees flap, buffet is 40kts, stall is 39kts.  At 10 degrees flap, buffet is 39kts and stall is 36kts.  So a 2kt improvement after the gap seal!  I was able to thermal at a constant 40kts without buffet, using 10 degrees of flap.  I'm telling you, it was almost like flying a different glider!  Just amazing.  Thanks Jeff!!!
I will also apply the gap seals to the undersurface of the elevator and both sides of the rudder for drag reduction.  I also bought some 60 degree zig-zag turbulator tape and will apply it to the wing undersurface once I figure out where to put it.

Next up, O rings on the pitot tube.  The Boulder Phoenix Syndicate had very low airspeed readings on both Dynon and mechanical ASI's.  They found a missing O ring (the 3mm ring) and the others were cracked.  They have replaced all of the O rings and everything is good now.  Their probe had been stored on the front panel in the sun so maybe the O rings dried out and rotted earlier than usual.  I keep my probe on the back shelf and apply Carmex regularly.  The photo above is my probe and O rings and they all checked out good.  O rings can be obtained from  They are Buna-N 70 O rings, 1mm x 3mm, 1mm x 6mm, and 1mm x 8mm and cost 14, 16, and 18 cents apiece.  The Boulder boys plan to replace the rings yearly.  
Oh yes, Eric Greenwell came up with the great idea of wrapping the black probe with yellow tape to make it more visible.  We do that to all of the new planes now.

 The O Ring Store also sells this lube specifically for the O rings, so I bought a tube and will use that from now on instead of the Carmex.

 Another pilot who will remain nameless took off one to many times without the probe installed.  I admit I have done this as well.  (If this happens to you, will you immediately think to use the GPS speed to get back on the ground?).  So his idea is to hang the keys from the probe plug.  Great idea, so I am doing this now too.  Also, the bungee loop on my keys is to hang the keys on the prop feather lever when the prop is feathered so I don't try to start the engine with the prop feathered.  (Someone broke their prop doing this!).
Keep those great tips coming, folks!