Friday, August 14, 2015

N181DF (1.7) DA40 Bay Tour with Rodrigo

This was 1.7 of time when I did much/most of the flying, but not loggable since I was not PIC (and cannot be, since I'm a Sport Pilot).

I went up with Rodrigo in Advantage Aviation's Diamond DA40. The plan was to learn about transitioning the SFO Bravo and try out a new airplane.

After takeoff, Rodrigo taught me how to adjust the propeller, throttle and mixture. This was my first experience with a constant-speed prop aircraft.

We were not approved for a Bravo transition, so instead we turned West and flew up the coast. I have so far been really scared of this route, since I imagined there would be masses of traffic all trying to squeeze into the "slot" between the surface Bravo and the ocean (not wanting to go too far out to sea). Well, it turns out there was some traffic, but not a whole bunch. Quite manageable and easy to see. We were talking to Norcal, so getting traffic alerts helped.

What was more interesting as we flew up past San Francisco is that we were directly in the path of KSFO Rwy 28 departures, and in at least one case, they asked us to hold our position because one such departure was not climbing. I was flying at the time, and I put us into an immediate left turn. The thought of a midair with a B777 or whatever was not pleasant! :) In any case, when I do this next time, I'm definitely going to be talking to Norcal.

We flew over the Golden Gate Bridge and towards Alcatraz, diverting a bit North to avoid a stadium TFR over San Francisco. Norcal asked our intentions, and Rodrigo said we wanted to fly over the Oakland Coliseum. That got us over to KOAK tower, who directed us to go to the Coliseum then overfly the Rwy 30 numbers, then proceed to mid-span of the San Mateo Bridge.

Rodrigo asked if I wanted to do some air work and I said yes. So, at that point, he asked to terminate flight following.

We then flew towards Sunol and, mindful of the SFO Bravo above us, climbed to 5500' over the Livermore valley area. He demonstrated a gradual stall, which was amazing -- the plane just mushed down and buffeted, but nothing even remotely similar to traditional stall was present. He then demonstrated a steep turn, and had me do some of my own. Definitely takes some getting used to -- there is really not much need for back pressure in the turns, even when pretty steep.

We flew back to KPAO via Sunol, with me doing the radio and Rodrigo flying, and demonstrating the use of the autopilot.

I was awe-struck by the Diamond. After the Flycatcher, it feels so roomy! The back seat on that thing is huge! We were cruising -- oh -- 110 kias, meaning about 125 mph more or less, at 9gph. That's 14 mpg, which is not great, but I guess it's not horrible either.

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure flying with you :)

    One small correction - we didn't get any traffic alerts (just traffic advisories) - if you ever hear "traffic alert" on the radio, it means someone is very, very close and you should take immediate action.