12 Oct Learning to Fly – the Beech Bonanza F33/A or the Citation CJ3
Learning to Fly – Private Aircraft
Most people look at learning to fly and becoming a private pilot as an overly expensive and complicated process available only to an exclusive few. The reality is that most potential pilots give up either because they’re not sure they can commit their time and money to training or that they are even capable of doing it.
The best advice for someone who is considering learning to fly is to purchase a trial lesson (which cost anywhere from £ 70 – £ 150 depending on the duration), this is a very worthwhile investment in making your decision, you will be flying with a qualified instructor and in an aircraft similar to that in which you will complete your flight training should you wish to proceed.
You may well have heard of a ‘Private Pilot License’ often abbreviated as just PPL. This is the first license that prospective students train for and will enable you to operate aircraft for private recreational use. This encompasses anything from flying around your local area to flying internationally. This is also the first stage for those wishing to train as a professional pilot using the modular route.
On the subject of cost, in the UK an all-inclusive price of £ 6,000 is quite reasonable. This may sound like a lot of money to spend all at once, but remember that if you train part-time during your free time this would be spread over a year to two years. You can cut this cost by about 40% if you choose to train abroad, more information is given on the website mentioned below.
There are thousands of qualified private pilots in the UK, all from a range of different backgrounds. There is not only that satisfaction of being a qualified pilot but also the freedom to travel wherever in the world you want, so where you take it is only limited by what you want from it
As you can imagine the course for a Private Pilot License consists of training with a qualified instructor, studying for and passing theory exams and practical tests. It is a challenging, but extremely rewarding course. During this time you will go from knowing nothing (or very little), through to becoming fully qualified.
What It’s Like to Fly the Beech Bonanza F33/A
First lesson, November 2002; completed Private Pilot Certificate, July 2003; First Aircraft purchase, August 2003; type of aircraft, Beech Bonanza F33A, date of this article, huge smile on my face.
During the final stages of my lessons for the Private Pilot Certificate, I have to honestly say that I spent half of my study time researching airplanes to purchase. My research extended from Cessna 210’s, to Saratoga’s, to even the Aztec. My conditions were simple, yet hard to fill.
I wanted a true 4-5 placed aircraft with speed, range and comfort. After tons of research, I found a ’74 Beech Bonanza F33A. 4 adults, true airspeed of 176 kts, full fuel and still room for luggage. Added to this aircraft was the IO-550 for 300 hp, tip tanks for 30 more gallons, GNS 530 with KFC 200 autopilot for navigation and auto-control, WX-1000 for thunderstorm awareness, and gami-injectors for better performance and engine efficiency.
It’s quick, it’s solid, it’s stable and it’s amazing. After rotation and gear up, the plane jumps from field elevation to 3000 feet in less than 3 minutes. Once level, the airspeed indicator pushes over 175 knots. Crosswind landings are not much of a problem for the steady and sturdy Bonanza.
Landing the aircraft was the biggest adjustment from landing a Cessna. The attitude is more nose down, the airspeed is higher, you aim for the numbers and then pull back and keep it off the ground until the airspeed bleeds off. The trim is anywhere from 9-12 degrees nose up by the time you touch down.
The big difference between the F33A and the A36 Bonanza is the length. The F33A can have an aft cg issue if you aren’t careful with the weight and balance. It has a useful load of over 1100 lbs, but you have to keep the big people up front. In regards to comfort, the plane is roomy for my 6′ 2″, 215 lb. frame.
Though the seat is all the way back, it’s right where it would go even if I had another two inches to go back. Headroom is no problem either, but if I was 6′ 4″, I could see it being an issue. However, my passengers (including the front passenger) have no problem reclining all the way back for a catnap.
I was able to acquire an insurance policy with the conditions that I had to acquire my IFR and15 hours dual time with an instructor who had 25 hours in the F33A. The premium of the insurance policy was $6400/annual. OK, it’s up there, but it will go down once the policy is due again.
Next was the annual, which was due the same month of the purchase. I did an extensive “pre-buy” inspection with the intention that I was going to roll it into an annual. The annual was $4500. I did some non-mandatory maintenance so that I would feel that I was starting with a fresh, new plane. Another annual cost that should be less expensive next year.
Landing a Plane – 10 Tips to a Greasy Smooth Touchdown
It’s said that any pilot is only as good as his last landing. Landing a plane on a runway is a complex process of maneuvers and control inputs that tests every student pilot to the limit. Even after flight training ends, a pilot will always aspire to make great landings – it’s the one key part of flying where success can be definitively measured – either by a smooth, effortless touchdown… or by something entirely different.
When landing a plane, a multitude of things must be done all at once. And since your landing will depend upon outside factors (wind speed, direction, air temperature, etc…) as well, even the greatest pilot only has so much control over how the landing goes. No one makes a perfect landing each and every time, but with the following landing tips you can give yourself the best chance at impressing your passengers, yourself, and maybe even the tower operators too:
Make a Strong Approach – A great landing always starts with a great approach. On your downwind leg, already be at pattern altitude. Already be at the correct airspeed. Check your heading indicator, and make sure your plane is flying parallel to the runway heading. Doing these things in advance will free you up to really concentrate on your base and final legs – falling behind on these duties will have you playing ‘catch up’ with the entire landing process.
Concentrate – Flying with friends is always fun, but when it’s time to land a plane the pilot needs to focus 100% of his or her attention on the landing process. All too often a conversation will continue all the way down to the runway, and the landing will always suffer for it. After calling your downwind, politely silence your passengers so you can give all of your attention to your altitude, airspeed, and position without any other distractions.
Stay Center – Learning to fly on a wide runway, staying on the centerline might not seem as important to you. As you visit smaller fields however, you’ll learn that sometimes staying center of the runway is the only choice you have. After turning base to final, get lined up quickly. Concentrate on keeping the nose of the plane pointed down that center line, using small aileron and rudder movements to avoid drifting. When your touchdown comes, that’s one less axis (yaw) you’ll have to worry about, freeing you up to concentrate on the other two.
Use Flaps Correctly – Landing a plane correctly requires touching down in the right spot at the right airspeed. Getting to that position and speed is the hard part, but fortunately for you, you’ve got some friends to help you out: flaps. Make sure you’re using your flaps correctly though, and not just automatically flipping them down at a specific time or point during your landing sequence.
Learning to land requires drilling the pattern with constant repetition, and it’s all too easy to just file flaps away in the back of your mental checklist as something “to do” on your base and final legs.
The truth of it is, a pilot should use an aircraft’s flaps in different configurations during different scenarios depending upon wind speed, wind direction, altitude, airspeed, and the length of the runway you’re landing on. Setting your flaps too early will lead to a high approach, with you overcorrecting by dive-bombing the runway.
Setting them late might keep your airspeed undesirably high. Don’t feel you have to use all notches of flaps at all times either – in some situations it’s best to land with partial or even (in very windy conditions) no flaps at all.
Experience is the best teacher here, and it will take flying time in that particular aircraft for you to grow accustomed to optimum use of flaps. Understand that it’s not something that can be learned strictly from a textbook.
Use the Runway Numbers – When landing a plane the phrase ‘aim for the numbers’ is commonly heard, but seldom to pilots get to land on them. Most pilots are too busy watching airspeed and pitch to worry about where the numbers are, especially on longer runways with lots of room.
Still, you can use the runway numbers to help get to your desired touchdown point if you spend some time watching them during your final approach. As your touchdown draws near, you should have a good idea if you’re high, low, or right on target.
If high, aiming toward a spot someplace before the numbers can help you drop a little altitude. If low, look a little further past the numbers to get your nose up. Adjust throttle where necessary to make the nose do what you need it to. This may seem like an obvious little trick, but if used during landing it can greatly help with your touchdown position.
SideSlip – An often talked about maneuver in any student pilot’s textbook would be the sideslip. During landing, a sideslip can be used to bleed off unwanted altitude without increasing airspeed or having to divebomb the runway. By applying opposite rudder and aileron, the aircraft will slip vertical position without changing its direction of flight.
If you’re a student pilot, you’re going to want to practice this maneuver a lot. It actually sounds trickier than it really is. As you advance in your flight training, you’ll find yourself sideslipping during landings without even being conscious of doing it. Get comfortable with it though, because it’s a good trick to have in your bag when you need to use it during a high final approach.
Attitude, Airspeed, Altitude – As the runway approaches, your focus will move to your primary instruments. Airspeed is critical here, as you want to avoid stalling at all costs. Make certain you maintain safely above minimum stall speeds for your aircraft’s flap configuration, and also make sure you’re not going too fast.
Adjust the nose of the plane to keep the airspeed needle right where it should be, and use power to correct your height above the runway. If you monitored these three instruments during your base and final legs, you should be very close to your desired touchdown point when landing the aircraft.
Look Down the Runway – Looking down the runway when landing an airplane is another great tip to getting the timing of your flare right – it gives you a better reference to the true horizon than looking at the ground rushing up beneath you.
It takes some practice, but eventually you can balance keeping your eye on the horizon, while peripherally watching your height above the runway. As you do this, your hands will be making subconscious adjustments to the control wheel that should smooth out your glidepath.
Flare, Float, and Throttle – Knowing when to flare is half the battle. Knowing how much to flare is the other half. Get both of those control movements right, and your wheels will grease the runway. During your flare, make smooth controlled movements with the wheel or yoke. You’re very close to the ground now, and any large or jerky movements will be amplified with disastrous results.
Once you do flare, you should know immediately if you’re high or low. A low flare can be fixed by smoothly applying more back pressure to the control wheel. A high flare can be corrected by holding control pressure and applying slight power with the throttle.
Never drop your nose suddenly or dramatically when landing a plane… if you flare too high, it’s best to ride out the ‘float’ and apply power if needed to smooth out the touchdown. A good pilot always keeps one hand on the throttle during his landing.
It Ain’t Over Yet – The last mistake made by some pilots is thinking their landing is over the moment their wheels touch the runway surface. To avoid that classification, remember to control the entire length of your landing. The rudder is key, as it now controls just about everything.
Make your rudder adjustments small – especially just after touchdown when the aircraft is still rolling pretty fast. Also remember to turn your ailerons to adjust for wind direction, so as to avoid being buffeted around by crosswinds. Your landing isn’t over until you turn onto the taxiway.
Landing a plane isn’t easy… but landing an airplane smoothly and correctly is even harder. Just as you have good and bad days, you’ll always have good landings and bad landings. Still, arming yourself with the right knowledge and practices can go a long way toward making great touchdowns. Using the tips above, you won’t land perfectly every single time, but you should see yourself consistently make better landings.
The Citation CJ3
If you are looking at chartering a luxury jet, the Citation CJ3 may not be for you. It lacks all the bells and whistles that make the luxury jet market what it is, there isn’t a mega entertainment space or state of the art electronics or a fancy kitchen in which to create gourmet dishes. There isn’t even a bedroom or a luxury bathroom. No, the Citation CJ3 isn’t a luxury jet, but it is a mighty little charter jet that makes up for it in the ways that count.
The Citation CJ3 is the 6th generation of the popular Citation series of jets. It is redesign of its predecessor, the CJ2 which itself helped keep operating costs low while shooting for the stars in terms of performance. The CJ3 takes the CJ2 and makes it that much better by adding two feet to the cabin and widening the wingspan by three feet.
It has a better cruise speed and a reduced fuel burn and is incredibly fuel efficient. What’s more the CJ3 is equipped with a simple flight system known as the ProLine 21 Avionics Suite. This is one of the most advanced systems on the market today, and simplifies the cockpit to boot, it is also one of the best systems for things like situational awareness and information management.
Inside, the cabin measures 15.7 ‘long, 4.8’ high and 4.8 ‘wide. It seats six comfortably with an option for two extra seats to make the total eight. It has fourteen windows, multiple outlets and folding tables if the team need to get some work done on the way to that important out of town business meeting.
The Citation CJ3 also has one of the largest baggage compartments in its class and has a high speed of 415 knots. Furthermore it can land on runways as short as 2,411 feet and needs just 3,400 feet of runway to take off. It is best for flights of four hours or shorter and while it may not be the fanciest plane you’ll see, it is efficient and powerful while keeping costs down and saving fuel. What more could you ask for as a business professional?
Of course chartering any jet gets you closer to your destination by using smaller airports and disposes of the hassles of flying commercial. Getting you there on time, on your schedule and with your baggage, that’s what chartering gets you. With the CJ3 you also get a little powerhouse on your side!