March is here, and the days are noticeably longer. We have had a mild winter with little snow and hopefully we will see it warm up in March. It is time to dust off the cobwebs from your license and get into the air. A&M Aviation is pleased to be able to offer a wide range of aircraft for both training and rental. Our fleet surpasses most FBO’s and whether your passion rests with state of the art aircraft, the old tube-and-fabric classics, high performance single, or retractable high performance twins we can satisfy that desire to fly. We added a new Beech Bonanza to the fleet. It is a great aircraft that can carry four adults with full fuel and cruise at 174 knots. The Bonanza has a Garmin 530W, stormscope, and a Garmin 396 for weather. It has a nice autopilot, and is available at a club price of $190.00 per tach hour wet. Be sure to check it out the next time you are at the airport. We also offer a diverse helicopter program in which we use the R-44 for initial and advanced training. As always remember to check the TFRs before you take off.
This month I want to highlight the great fleet of aircraft and the maintenance that keeps those planes flying. As technology progresses we find ourselves with more capability in our cell phones than we had in a desktop computer five years ago. This also holds true with aircraft. The G-1000 aircraft offer exceptional situational awareness on their two large screens. But as with many older pilots the steam gauges offer a sense of familiarity and a comfort that is hard to give up. A&M has made an effort to bridge the gap by offering GPS in all our aircraft, so that the benefits of the current technology can be available to our students and renters. Autopilots are also a great assist whether you are flying local or on a long cross country flight. They take away some of the work load so that you can review your map, look out the window for traffic, or take a break before your approach and landing. All our aircraft except for the two seaters, have autopilots. Maintenance is something we take for granted until there is a problem. The A&M fleet is very well maintained and we have very little if any down time which is the result of unscheduled maintenance. There is nothing worse than going on a trip and getting stranded because of a maintenance problem. This is why we need every pilot to check the VORs, radios, navs, GPS, engine gauges and lights so that any issues can be squawked and addressed in a timely manner. Good maintenance makes for enjoyable flights.
SEE and AVOID, as the flying season starts to pick up we need to be more vigilant for other aircraft. Since most of the departures from Clow go to the southwest and a large number of the arrivals come from the southwest we need to be looking for traffic as we approach the airport. The radio and GPS allow you to call out your specific locations from the airport, use it frequently. If the traffic is using 18 to land, do not descend into the traffic pattern south of the airport in line with the departures; fly over the top at 2000 feet and then enter the traffic pattern. We all need to be vigilant when near an airport or a VOR. This is especially true of students with instructors. It is easy to focus your attention inside the aircraft, but you must make an effort to look outside and scan for traffic. Fly safe.
The first A&M Dinner flyout is scheduled for April 21st and we are planning to go to Bloomington (BMI). We will depart around 4:00PM and meet at the restaurant that is located off taxiway D at the Bloomington Airport. For those of you who have gone with us on dinner flyouts last year you know the good times we have. If this is your first flyout you will enjoy the group and we always have a good time. Check the web site for other flyouts and summer trips. As our trips are VFR we will be looking for good weather that Saturday.
As spring approaches we will start having more days when the wind is light and variable. We all need to pay special attention under these circumstances because the active runway may shift during the day. Monitor 122.9 well before you enter the traffic pattern to determine the active runway and listen for traffic. You can always check the wind at Lewis on 118.525 to get an idea as to what is happening at Clow. As the weather warms up the grass will be getting soft and any excursions off the runway or taxiways could cause a plane to sink down and get stuck. If you happen to get caught in the soft grass or mud call the office on 123.5 for assistance. Do not use the engine to power out of the mud, it will cause damage to the wheel fairings and possibly ding the prop.
We also offer accelerated Instrument, Private, and Multi-engine courses along with accelerated CFI courses. These are designed to get your rating in a time frame that matches your goals. Our instructors are flexible and can work with you to complete your next rating. Why go to Florida or Arizona to do what you can do in your own back yard? Stop in and see me to discuss your needs and my staff and I will make it happen.
Daylight Savings Time starts March 11th and the Office will be open from 8AM to 7PM everyday. This extra hour of daylight gives everyone a little more time and hopefully you can plan to fly after work.The 4-6PM and even the 6-8PM slots are good times to fly with the extended daylight hours. It is easy to get a plane and instructor during the weekdays, take advantage of the extended daylight.
With the approach of Spring the flying season is getting into full swing. Students need to schedule early so that they can get the times they want. The weekend fills up quickly and I recommend that all students schedule their next lesson a week in advance. Remember nobody likes to do ground when the weather is nice, so for the next few months if your lesson looks like it will be weathered out get that ground work completed so that you will be ready to fly when those days are nice. Also, get your written completed. The instructors are ready to help.
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