Where Was I Going Again?
By Hank Gibson, CFI, CFII, MEI
For you pilots out there, think back to your student pilot days. Think to that point between the first solo and the check ride. That point where you knew how to land safely (sort of), but you still had some more to learn. This is known as the cross country phase.
During the cross country phase, every student pilot has to sit down and do a ground block with his instructor to learn how to create a cross country flight plan. It seemed quite complex at the time, what with drawing a course line and handling this overly complicated slide rule known as an E6B. Then there was the navigation log complete with ground speed and fuel calculations. It all seemed a little overwhelming, and that was before your instructor informed you that you had to figure all that out while flying!
Well, the G1000 is here to help. Before I go into how handy the G1000 is though, I do encourage all pilots to become proficient in creating a hand made, non-digital flight plan and to continue doing fuel calculations on that navigation log. The G1000 should always be used as a backup.
Flight Plan Basics
The G1000 flight plan function is usable to both VFR and IFR pilots. For VFR pilots, you are able to create user defined waypoints over anything on the moving map, then load those into the flight plan. Here’s how to proceed. Press the range knob to bring up the cursor on the MFD. Then, using the range knob, maneuver the cursor to where the checkpoint is supposed to be, then press enter. A small box will come up with two options. Using the large FMS knob, scroll down to the second option (“Create User Defined Waypoint”) and press enter. Now, just create a name for the waypoint, press enter, and the waypoint is saved into the G1000.
Finally, press the flight plan button and just insert the user defined waypoint into the flight plan using the FMS knob.
For IFR, it’s a bit simpler. For example, lets use a flight from Dallas Love (KDAL) to Austin Bergstrom (KAUS) as an example. The pilot is planning on flying the Joe Pool 4 Departure to the WINDU transition, then the Blewe 2 Arrival into Austin, also via the Windu transition.
To load this into the flight plan just takes a few knob turns and a few key presses. First, press the flight plan button on the MFD. Then, press the FMS knob to bring the cursor up and scroll to the first blank line underneath your departure airport. Press the procedure key, then use the FMS knob, scroll to the “Select Departure” button. Press enter and this will bring up the departures for Dallas Love. Using the big FMS knob, scroll to the Joe Pool 4 departure and press enter. Then, the G1000 automatically cycles to the transitions. Again, using the big FMS knob, scroll to the Windu transition and press enter. At the bottom, highlight “Load” and press enter. You have just entered a departure into your flight plan.
Now, to enter the arrival, you basically do the same thing. Press the procedure key again and scroll to “Select Arrival.” In this case, you’ll have to change the airport at the top to the Austin airport. Remember to press enter once the airport is selected! Then, just simply follow the same procedure to load the arrival as the departure.
Flight Plan Tips and Tricks
It is extremely frustrating to go through and load the whole flight plan during the preflight then shut off the master switch, only to realize the G1000 doesn’t automatically save the flight plan. Never fear, for there is a way to solve this common problem! After inputting the whole flight plan, simply press the menu button, highlight “Store Flight Plan,” and press enter. This saves the flight plan.
To load the flight plan back into the G1000 is also easy. Press the flight plan button on the MFD, then, using the small FMS knob, go to the second page. This is where the stored flight plans are kept. Simply highlight the flight, press “active” soft key, and voila! The stored flight plan is now made active!
One last tip with flight plans is how to add a waypoint. The key here is to highlight the proper point. Using the FMS knob to bring up the cursor, scroll to the waypoint you want replaced (eg. if you’re flying from Marcs to the SAT VOR and you want to fly over Braun, you’d highlight the SAT VOR since that is the once being replaced), and turn the small FMS knob. This will bring up the screen to allow you to input the waypoint.
G1000 flight plans make GPS navigation much easier. In my next article, I will discuss the direct-to function and when to use it as opposed to the flight plan function.
How it Started
One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.
It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.
The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.
First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).
At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.
Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.
Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.
In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.
More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/
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