We are nearing the end of 2017. It hardly seems possible that it has been 17 years since the world was supposed to come to a halt because of Y2K. We are still making things happen. However, it brings to mind how we have gotten so dependent on technology. When I was in Independence, Ks, one of the young men that did deliveries was supposed to be delivering a plane to Lakeland, FL. The plane he was to take a C172 only had one nav/com and a transponder. The airplane was new and certified for IFR but was not equipped with much. This young man was trying to find a handheld GPS because he just did not feel that he could fly to Florida without a GPS, and then on top of that the next day it was IFR. I had done some flying for the company, and they asked me if I could fly it, it down for them since the young man felt he could not. I filed the VOR’s and airways, and made a successful flight. When I trained and received, my Instrument Rating a GPS had not heard been of. Challenge yourself occasionally, to fly with the map, and maybe a VOR, etc. When I used to fly my Sonerai II, I only had a handheld com and flew all over the country, with just the charts.
A few years ago, I was training a pilot to fly, and he insisted on using his Anywhere Control Vision that connected to his IPAQ handheld. I refused to let him use it on his cross-country, saying that there never is a power failure with Sectionals. Shortly after he got his private, he called me and said he was glad I trained him the way I did because he had lost all his electrical system. While I enjoy the GPS, I have no hesitation of getting into a minimally equipped airplane and heading cross-country.
A couple of years after Cessna put the Garmin 1000 in their single engine planes; a pilot ran out of fuel and crashed. The letters in the Aviation Magazines could not hardly believe that one would run out of fuel in a Technically Advanced Aircraft. (TAA). The pilot had to enter the amount of fuel on board before flight, for the computer to calculate fuel burn, if it is entered wrong, will you know what happens. I remember reading where someone asked Richard Collins if he thought the GPS, etc. would make his flying safer. His reply was “It only tells me where I am at and I already know that.”
I also know of a pilot that had a GPS in the panel, one on his yoke, and a handheld in his bag. A pilot friend of mine, who had done some flying with him, said I do not think he could fly the airplane if he lost his electronics. Is it easier to fly with the technology? Yes, However know how to fly without it.
So as the New Year approaches, challenge yourself to review basic flight procedures and navigation. Land with a cross wind rather than trying to pick a runway so you can land into the wind every time. Challenge makes flying fun. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
John E. Davolt, Newsletter editor.