Dave Piehler

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About Dave Piehler

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  1. I was going through some items that got bunched into a "miscellaneous" box from a home move last fall, and found a CD with 1998-quality video of the 1998 (inaugural) Mooney Caravan taxi and takeoff from Madison. It's 23 minutes long, Probably only for diehards. There is, however, a bonus at the end to reward the long-suffering viewer. It's up on YouTube. Search for Inaugural Mooney Caravan. Dave
  2. N201XG flew in the first Mooney Caravan in 1998. During the flight to OSH (not returning -- it didn't get there that year) it suffered failure of the vacuum pump and, I believe, 2 cylinders. Henry Hochberg (Doc Hoch, from the Seattle area) was the pilot. He could tell you more. It was later owned by Jim Murphy in New Hampshire, who flew it in the Caravan, so it finally completed it's journey. I was Mooney Tail when the engine problem occurred in 1998 and relayed info to MSN approach about the return. They rolled the equipment, and we had video of Henry getting an escort from the runway to the ramp by the fire crew. Dave Piehler N4583H
  3. PLB is fine, but doesn't have the automatic activation on impact. I'm not sharp enough to be confident I'd remember to activate my PLB in the heat of battle. The fewer things I have to remember as I'm going down the better. The Artex 345 has been very popular and is priced well. Of course, installation is extra, but if you already have it torn apart you reduce that cost. YMMV. To each his own. I wouldn't dream of telling anyone what to think. Merely sharing my experience, FWIW. Dave
  4. One suggestion from my recent experience: The coax for your antennae is quite old. Replace it. It made a significant quality difference for me. Also consider what's not in the panel. How about a 406 MHz ELT while you've got everything torn apart? Dave Piehler N4583H
  5. An additional data point: I did another Flitecharts update recently. I had a rather prolonged ground time, as I was accompanying a friend who was bringing his Mooney back home from an annual and, of course, he was very thorough in his taxi out and runup. The Flitecharts uploaded to the GTN 750 on the ramp, in the usual minute or so. Once we got airborne I kept track of the Data Synch from the 750 to the G500 via the Aux 3 page on the G500. It took right around 45 minutes of flight time for the synch to complete. So it seems that you can expect it to take that long (if two trials constitute a sufficient data set from which to draw that conclusion). Dave
  6. ....nd of course now Don adds the nuance I didn't realize about the G500 not synching the new Flitecharts until they old ones expire. Sigh. DAP
  7. John B: You can definitely update prior to the expiration of the current plates. The GTN 750 gets the update right away. The G500 has to have the data synch across. Or you can do as Don Kaye does and manually upload via SD card downloaded from your computer. If you fly often, and fly for more than an hour a leg, then you should have no problems. However, you'd think Garmin could make it go faster. After all, the Wifi upload to the GTN 750 doesn't take all that long even for the large Flitecharts data base. Dave Piehler
  8. I'm still learning the process of using Data Base Concierge and the Flightstream 510 to update the GTN 750 and G500. I know that the Flightcharts data base takes quite a while to synch from the GTN 750 to the G500. Today being a beautiful day to fly (they're all great days to fly, this was even better) I figured it would be a crime not to gather some helpful information. The Flitecharts update was 868 MB. It took a few minutes to upload to the GTN 750 via wifi (didn't time it, but subjectively not overly long). I then flew around the area, periodically checking the progress of the synch on the data base page of the G500. Bottom line: It took about 45 minutes of flight time for the synch to complete. Of course, once it's completed the G500 needs to be restarted to finish the process. So unless you're VfR and feel like flying for few minutes on your backup instruments and Nav this needs to wait until the next flight. Here are my questions: Is 868MB a typical size for a Flitecharts update? Is 45 minutes about what others are seeing for the time for the synch process to complete? Dave Piehler
  9. Jim, you illustrate the point of the caravan being “a progressive autonomous collective”. One characteristic that seems to occur frequently in Mooney owners is a strong independent streak. All we need to agree on is the common goal of formation flight. the rest is adiaphora. Come to the dark side -- give it a try! It's contagious. Dave Piehler
  10. Jim, Bill Kight is a great guy, and I consider him a friend. I've had many conversations with him on this topic (and others). His comments and encouragement were not limited to his article in Aviation Safety. That was an extension of past dialogue. The article elicited rebuttals from within our group. Bill's thesis could be read a couple ways. One was that the gaggle form is inherently unsafe. I don't agree, though we've had pilots try to prove his point. The gaggle suffers from problems. First, procedures tend to be less rigorous (not as bad as "hold my beer and follow me" formation flying on hamburger runs, though). Therefore when things don't go to plan people may not react in the best way. Second, pilots tend to be less experienced, exacerbating #1. Third, stationkeeping is harder from a distance. Bill's thesis could also be read as arguing that formation flight is inherently safer and easier than a gaggle. With this I agree, with the proviso that it must be done with properly trained pilots with recent experience (memory and piloting skills being perishable) following the same procedures. Even with that we are aware of Stupid Pilot Tricks occurring in formation mass arrival flights. So it's not cut and dried. Formation pilots have continued to try to prove that thesis wrong. What we have definitely found is that formation flight is a whole lot more FUN than the gaggle. There's a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that come with a properly executed formation sortie. And proper execution and mndset are key. It takes pilots who are on the same page, and thus have had the same training on procedures. It takes a careful briefing prior to flight, and a careful and thorough "no egos allowed" debriefing afterward. That's how we continue to improved. And that answers the question of why we want caravan pilots to have had recent experience. Just like flying IFR, the perceptive and reactive manual and intellectual skills involved in formation flight are much sharper when you have recency on your side, and the opportunity to review and practice procedures, both standard and abnormal lends to safety of flight. Dave Piehler
  11. Mike, old friend, your statement “I asked Karl Ludolph (the real Jester) to speak with David Phieler about doing tight ship formations at the MAPA tent the next day. The rest is history.” reminds me of the adage “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” In the first place, you give me too much credit. I'm not so influential that a word in my ear could result in what has developed over the last 7 years. In the second place, lots of people talked about transitioning from the gaggle to formation elements (including our strong journalistic critic, Bill Kight). These discussions started long before 2009. Karl's encouragement was but one comment among many. It wasn't a matter of the wisdom of going to a formation model, but how to do it. The problems that seemed intractable were how to develop the expertise to train pilots in formation flight and also how to develop procedures for formation flight. It was not simple thing, by any means. To say “the rest is history” shortchanges numerous hard-working volunteers who have dedicated countless hours to develop the organizational culture, administrative structure and training and procedures that now define out success. Since you've been watching from afar now that you're down in FL, and haven't been with us in the new era (I've missed you!), I can understand how you might think things just happened, because in many ways we've made it look easy. It's anything but. A brief history lesson would likely be helpful to understand what the Mooney Caravan is (and isn't) and how its structure both promotes its success and determines how growth occurs. 2009: We flew the gaggle. We muddled through as we had since 1998 (with better results than some earlier years such as 2000, when the size of the group presented significant organizational challenges). The conversations about transitioning to a formation model that occurred that year were really just a continuation of conversations that had been going on for many years. 2010: Sloshkosh. Caravan canceled due to field conditions that prevented North 40 camping. We had formation-qualified pilots who had been to Bonanza clinics and practiced with others who were ready to trial a partial formation flight, but that had to wait. Three intrepid pilots named Oliphant, Shopperly, and Brennan waited a few days in MSN and flew a three ship formation on the Fisk arrival. Shopperly landed, as he had a hard surface parking reservation. The other two had to make a low pass and depart. Treating this as proof of concept, the group decided to do a hybrid flight in 2011: three formation elements of three ships each in front, with the gaggle following behind. 2011: A few more pilots participated in Bonanza formation clinics to learn the basics. At Madison it was decided to take the biggest dunderhead who could be found and put him in a training flight with an experienced formation pilot in the right seat as a safety pilot. The theory was that if this guy could be trained anyone could learn to do it. The lead ship in the flight had a highly experienced airline captain in the left seat with an experienced formation pilot as safety pilot. The third ship in the flight was flown by Maj. Dave Marten, a USAF test pilot. The training went well, as did the flight to Madison, a mix of formation elements and gaggle. At the debrief the consensus was to “go for it” in 2012 and transition to all formation. 2012: Thanks in large part to attendance at Bonanza training clinics as well as ad hoc training opportunities, the group managed to qualify a sufficient number of pilots for formation flight to make a relatively small (compared to past years) yet credible formation flight to OSH. The enthusiasm generated by that flight confirmed the decision to make the change. 2013 – 2017: Thanks to a compendious and comprehensive procedures manual developed by Dave Marten and refined with comments from the group, and also to grass roots development of home-grown formation clinics, the group has grown to this year's caravan with 56 registered, qualified and paid up pilots. The model that has evolved is for local pilots to organize clinics with support from the caravan's Operations Group. The limiting factor for a clinic is having a leader who can present the ground school, and adequate safety pilots to fly with the newbies and show them the basics of formation flight, including caravan procedures. We've had yeoman help from Bonanza formation groups, Redstar Pilot's Association safety pilots and military pilots with formation training who've learned how to apply their knowledge to Mooney performance and caravan procedures. We've also had volunteer safety pilots fly thousand mile trips to clinics on their own dime. The essence of the clinics is a procedures structure from the caravan around which a clinic can be organized by volunteers. It's a decentralized process in the sense of local organization, with centralized standardization in the form of the procedures being communicated. We're becoming more sophisticated in our execution, and have become a 501(c)(3) charity to foster our mission. We follow a continuous improvement model that would make any Japanese auto manufacturer envious. One wag described the Mooney Caravan as “a progressive autonomous collective” of pilots who want to learn and practice formation flight with the annual goal of flying together to AirVenture and with the subsidiary goals of fellowship, training and practice throughout the year. The group has a corporate structure that is very “flat” (little hierarchical management, little red tape) along with a rich organizational structure for providing formation flight opportunities. It has grown solely by dint of volunteers stepping forward to take on responsibilities that fill the group's needs. In that way we have a Safety Director, an Operations Group, a Communications function, an Executive Committee to manage day to day corporate responsibilities, and a robust cadre of regional groups that handle the nuts and bolts of putting on clinics (to name a few functions that volunteers have taken on – by no means an exclusive list). Because of this structure, the group is dependent on local volunteers to organize clinics. It can't descend on a location and “bring” a clinic from headquarters. It can provide support in terms of consultation on clinic organization, procedures, and, to a limited extent, encourage safety pilots to attend. That's about it. So where does this all lead? The culture of the group is focused on having a great time flying formation with the ultimate goal of flying and fellowship at AirVenture. It has evolved into a year-round organization, with gatherings of varying levels of formality from practice sessions involving a few pilots (which aren't really caravan activities in any formal or legal sense), to occasional demonstrations such as that planned for this year's Mooney Summit, to clinics, to the big show each July. Growth of the group, and extension into presently under-served geographic regions, depends on volunteers stepping up to take on the challenge of local organization, not as a one-shot deal, but as a continuing endeavor to grow year to year. The organization lacks the resources to provide a “top down”' centralized solution to “plant” a clinic in a new region. If you want a clinic, you can partner with caravan members who have the experience or travel to a clinic in another region to get the experience yourself, then start the ball rolling and ask the group for help in implementing a clinic. Sorry for the long post. Pardon the pedantry. Hope I've shed a little light on history and the structure of the Mooney Caravan to Oshkosh Educational and Safety Foundation, Ltd. And its continuing evolution to make next year's flight to OSH the Best Caravan Ever. Dave Piehler (aka "Raptor", aka "DYL)
  12. With all due respect to the geographical jingoism which has gone before, I'd suggest that the best "coast" of all is that of Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh. Dave
  13. After doing this for 8 years I have it down pat. The risk of denial is de minimis. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. I had my regular visit to my MD today, part of the yearly process of gathering documentation for my Special Issuance (cardiac). As long as I was at it, I had him complete the BasicMed form. Then I took the on line course tonight. Done! Because I have everything in line to get my Class III reissued for another year under my special issuance I'm going to proceed with it one last time for old time's sake, but after that I have three more years until I need to do the dance again. Dave Piehler N4583H
  15. I did an IPC this week with a much younger, much smarter pilot than am I. He taught me something awesome about the G500 that isn't exactly well explained (or explained at all) in the Garmin G500 Pilot's Guide (through Rev H, in 2015). In all the busy-ness of the PFD HSI display there's this magenta diamond that hangs round the top of the HSI, more of less. It's the Current Track Indicator, according to Garmin's terminology (pp. 2-19 and 2-21 of the Pilot's Guide are the only places it is referenced). Okay, so it shows your current track. What a powerful bit of info to have on that HSI, It allows you to immediately understand wind corrections and course intercepts. If the diamond is dead nuts on the desired course and stays there, then your wind correction is perfect and you're right on the beam. If it's off to one side or the other you have a direct indication of your intercept angle if you're approaching the course, or your deviation angle if you're going away from it. Want to set up an intercept? Choose a heading and see where the Current Track indicator stabilizes and you know exactly what your intercept angle is. Integrating this little tidbit of information into your scan makes checking your work oh so easy. Maybe I'm the last guy in the planet to understand this, or maybe not. For those of you who were clueless as I was, this is a useful indicator. Dave Piehler