Tuesday, March 12, 2013

N183CP - The New Excitement

Capt Lutz Heinrich, CAP
Mission Observer
Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188
California Wing

N183CP at the Cessna factory
As reported earlier, Group 2 got a new airplane, a C-182 G1000. However, after having the pleasure of flying it as an Mission Observer I have to say, it's not just a new plane, it is a real beauty of an airplane.

On March 10 our squadron commander, Captain Noel Luneau, gave Lt Bob Adams and me the chance to evaluate this beauty with him on a proficiency flight. The shiny new bird was sitting proudly in our new hangar which was recently painted and extensively renovated inside by industrious enthusiastic members of our squadron. After a thorough preflight check and flight release we wanted to push the plane the traditional way out of the hangar. But - no standard hand pushing any more - since Captain Luneau brought a motorized tow bar. Obeying the standard safety rules we then rolled it from its dedicated place in the front and center of this huge hangar. Now we could admire this glory in the sunshine. It even smelled new inside.

Capt Heinrich cleaning the windshield
Our task was to practice local flying and checking out the advanced avionics provided with the airplane. I have to say, the sophisticated dual display of the G1000 can be also very confusing when you are not intensively trained for its optimum usage. However, I even discovered a few traditional round gouges as back ups secretly mounted below the big primary and multifunction displays right in front of the pilot and observer. Taxiing from the new hangar area to Runway 27R is took a bit longer than from our squadron building tie down. Plenty of time to practice disciplined Sterile Cockpit. After run up we were cleared for a right downwind departure and aimed for Livermore airport. I was impressed when Captain Luneau engaged the autopilot soon after take off and let it follow the programmed electronic flight plan.

Capt Heinrich and Lt Adams at the Squadron's hangar
All the equipment worked fine, radio communication was clear, and we could even contact Yosemite 55 on the local repeater via the COM3 radio. While supported by ATC with radar service we also saw air traffic around us depicted on the MFD which is a great safety addition, because sometimes it is tough to see small airplanes right away. After a few smooth touch and goes on runway 07L at Livermore airport we practiced further proficiency flying near the San Pablo Bay and eventually turned to a visual approach via the Mormon Temple for our home runway of 27R.  After another perfect smooth landing, taxi, and fuel refill we had the pleasure to clean and polish the leading edges of the wings and struts.

Now N183CP, the beauty of sky, is waiting to fly more and to participate in training and real missions and is looking for more G1000 certified pilots to use it.

Pictures of the Aircraft are located here.
Pictures of the Hangar are located here.

Photo's courtesy of Capt Lutz Heinrich

CAWG New Aircraft Day Four

Lt Col Brett Dolnick, CAP
Commander of Diablo Squadron  44
California Wing

The following diary was written by Lt Col Brett Dolnick chronicling his adventures transporting a brand new C-182 G1000 from the Cessna Factory in Wichita Kansas to Concord CA. Lt Col Dolnick was accompanied by Capt Jeff Ironfield.

Day four

This is my next to last post and I thank all those interested enough in my ramblings to still be following. I think everyone knows our route from today. We went from Independence and had filed a number of VORs but ATC gave us direct routing to BGD. It became apparent around the time we passed BGD that we would need "services" prior to Double Eagle (AEG). That extra 1.5 hours just didn't sound comfortable, so a detour to Tucumcari (TCC) was in order.

I shot the GPS 21 approach (finally under the hood). After a quick turn, we were back off to AEG. I shot the ILS and circled to 17 since a Blackhawk was doing hover tests on 22. Unfortunately when we got there, the self-service fuel island was broken and the restaurant had just closed. So, they rolled the fuel truck and we borrowed the crew car for a drive to town to grab Subway.
Then we were off to Prescott. No, we didn't see Meteor Crater, couldn't find it on the map. But we did take a look at the airport (KINW) and discussed singing the song (Take it easy) but were afraid of the distribution should it have gotten out.

Got some great shots of the mountains and plains as we crossed the country and the red rocks as we flew over Sedona. I'll put a few in here and will post all pictures this weekend. We wrapped the day with Jeff shooting a very nice GPS 21L at night into PRC.

Anyone who thinks there's overcrowding and not enough room in our great country need only fly across it. There's an amazing amount of nothingness.

We met up with my dad who got me into CAP. He had been a Cadet for a short period in 1950 and he's a private pilot. I showed off the amazing G1000 and our new plane and then we went to dinner.

Tomorrow will be from here to KWJF and then on to KCCR. It'll be about 5 enroute and we should be on the ground around 3:00. If you're interested, please come on out to see the new plane.

CAWG New Aircraft Day Three

Lt Col Brett Dolnick, CAP
Commander of Diablo Squadron  44
California Wing

The following diary was written by Lt Col Brett Dolnick chronicling his adventures transporting a brand new C-182 G1000 from the Cessna Factory in Wichita Kansas to Concord CA. Lt Col Dolnick was accompanied by Capt Jeff Ironfield.

Day Three

Our time at Cessna is just about up and today was a wonderful way to wrap things. We started the day the way it should be done, with a nice flight with lots of failures (simulated, of course). There was no ground school today, so when we got to the factory, we jumped right into our briefings with our instructors. For me, we were going to simulate an MFD, PFD, and ADC/AHRS failure and since I'm a REAL glutton for punishment, I asked if we could do a DME Arc. Sure, we can do that! And hand-fly it too!

It was then off to the Delivery building for our preflight. Once we got our tow out, we were off starting with a short-field landing. For those following along on your flight simulators, KIDP to KCNU for the GPS 36 with a low approach. During this approach we simulated an MFD failure.

We were then off to KCFV for the VOR/DME-A. Once the autopilot had guided us onto the arc, oops, the PFD failed. Unfortunately, with that comes a loss of the autopilot (along with a few other things). So, it was a nice hand flown arc and then approach with a circle to land for a short field landing. After a soft field takeoff, we flew to Bartlesville where I shot the KBVO GPS 17 with a failed ADC/AHRS. Fun stuff!

KICT to KCFV  Photo Lt Col Dolnick

Jeff dropped our new plane, 183CP off for an oil change, so he flew back to Independence with me and my instructor. Then we went to lunch with the Administrative Assistant for the Flight Training department. After lunch she gave us an amazing factory tour. She knows so much about how everything works she could easily the running the place!

Capt Ironfield piloting the new CAP plane. Photo Lt Col Dolnick


The Corvalis line is just starting at this factory and we got to see the first few on the line. They look significantly different from everything else on the floor since it's composite and everything else is metal. The fuselage and wings are brought in as whole pieces and the fuselage is placed right on top of the wing, which is one single piece. The first new Corvalis is about ready to roll out to the paint shop and may even be there by Monday.


We got to see everything from the wing skins being formed onto the spars, the insides of the wing being sealed, to the cockpits being built from just a bulkhead, the wiring, cables, fuel lines, etc being added, to the controls being installed. We got to see the interior shop where they were hand making seats (they were doing a back bench for a 182) when we were there, sewing leather, stretching leather onto a new yoke, and making plastic panels for doors and other interior parts. Boy, I wish I could have snuck out some new stuff for my plane!

Then we got to see them mate wings to fuselages. While there, they put the right wing on a 172. It took 5 people to lift the wing and hold it in place while another lined it up and another got all the tubes, cables, and wires into the right holes. They got a stand under the wing to hold it while they then riveted it into place.
Flight building

We then went to see the planes when they just come out of paint and having the engine hung. They have Mustangs and many high-wing planes. Did you know that red spinners denote planes still undergoing flight testing? And they don't install most of the interior (carpet, nice seats, etc) until they're ready to deliver the plane.


Then we went back to the factory floor where we got to see them make Mustangs. It was similar to the high-wing build. Except bigger!  They build the wins and then mate them with each other to form a single piece wing. They build the tailcone, empennage, and nose separately and then mate the three pieces. When we got there Monday, the first Mustang 2 was in three pieces and ready to be mated. Today, it was all together and in he next step, ready to be joined with the wing.
Needless to say, seeing the first new Corvalis and first new Mustang 2 being built was pretty cool. And it's amazing the amount of handmade work that goes into the planes. The pride they have here is amazing!

After this, Jeff and I made a nice cross country flight to Wichita. I flew there under the hood and shot the KICT GPS 1R. We went to Yingling Aviation to the gift shop. The airport is pretty busy, being Cessna's home and the Citation factory, Lear Jet factory, and an air carrier airport. After getting some gear, Jeff flew the leg back under the hood and shot the KIDP GPS 17.

Then back to the B&B for flight planning. Tomorrow morning we will take final delivery of our new plane and head back. The plan is for a stop in Dalhart, TX and then an overnight stop in Prescott, AZ. More to come tomorrow night!