Friday, March 26, 2010

VLJ Accident History

New wiki article: VLJ Accident History. Summary:

  • Eclipse incidents have been primarily due to manufacturing and design issues.
  • Mustang and Phenom incidents have been primarily due to operator error during landing, especially runway overruns.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review of "My Heart is Africa"

Just completed "My Heart is Africa - A Flying Adventure" by Scott Griffin. Griffin is a CEO who takes off two years to contribute to the Flying Doctors Service in Nairobi, Kenya. He flies his Cessna 180 from Toronto, around Africa and eventually back home.

The book is an enjoyable read, both as a flying journal and as insight into the unvarnished world of living and loving in Africa. The adventures, flying challenges and tangible contribution to the less fortunate are inspiring.

The risk taking he incurs while flying seems beyond reason to me. While he's lucky to be alive, his need for adventure and personal challenge seem excessive, almost pathological. Some of situations, like purposefully flying into a thunderstorm or landing 1000 lbs over gross, are engrossing like a bad horror movie, waiting for the blood to spurt. The descriptions of the landscape, the diversity of people and societal injustices are the strengths that hold the book together. Recommended, provided you don't mind watching multiple suicide attempts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Impressions of the Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) Course for the PW615F

Today, I completed the completed the Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) online PW615F General Familiarization Course, which is the engine exclusively used on the Mustang. There are equivalent courses for the PW610 (Eclipse) and PW617F (Embraer Phenom 100).

The Mustang Wiki has a review of the course. Bottom line: highly recommended for the Mustang Pilot 4/5.

Online courses have become inconvenient. In addition to this course, I recently took several other commercial online courses. In protecting the intellectual property of the courseware, the utility has decreased. As a software guy, I'm all for the protection of intellectual property. The course material is no longer conveniently available offline or in a portable way. Worse than that is the material times out completely in as little as three months in the case of some of the providers. At least in an instructor led course, the materials are yours to keep forever.

The moral equivalent is paying full boat for a perpetual software license but then the software shuts off after three months. Either charge less for monthly access, or let me have perpetual access.