To be honest, a technical site such as this is referred to by decision makers, pilots and engineers. This site has everything for a strong enthusiast, but regrettably very little for those mildly interested in aviation.
Due to this, I do expect, and do notice a lower traffic than other sites, but I am running this site for the “plane" passion of aviation, avionics, and deep technical insights, where possible.
On 31st December, 2012, this site has accumulated 101,723 views from 199 countries, in just a span of over a year. This is, in my humble opinion, a remarkable achievement considering the nature of topics posted on this page. Most of the views are from my country, India, followed by the United States of America, with a whooping 16,000+ visitors, all mostly for one article: the Q400 vs the ATR 72.
To my beloved readers who do wonder why my posts are not too frequent: I involve myself in many activities, which give me the necessary foundation for some of the articles you enjoy. I now build flight simulators (for general aviation and aerospace engineering colleges), develop LED lights for aircraft, and airfields, spend a significant amount of time with pilots and those in operational aviation, while also taking significant time off to dive deep into the technicalities of an airplane. For example, when I was helping my university start the aircraft that I had helped them procure, I did spend a significant time into the procedures, precautions, and arrangements for the whole event. Details cost time, but that’s how I prefer things to be done.
2012 was a very happening and emotional year for me. I’ve found success, tripped on failures, been absolutely enthused by aviation, and heart broken by some in the industry. Professionally, socially, personally, and operationally, 2012 has been my best year, overall, in aviation, till date.
I quit Honeywell in early 2012, and freed myself from what one may see as being chained to the norm. Of course, I left behind good memories, great times, and good luxury, to fend for myself in a world that isn’t as sweet as we all sometimes think it to be.
The civil aviation exhibition, India Aviation 2012, was my best ever, as a now established freelancing journalist. I was treated well by Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer, giving me an opportunity to help get a deeper insight into their airplanes and systems which will be discussed in due course of time.
I built a fixed base flight simulator, and bagged a contract to repair a DGCA approved flight simulator at a flight school in India. Numerous air experiences helped better my understanding of systems and certain aspects of airplanes. And so much more that I’ll put half the world to sleep.
Most importantly, my professional pilot network has grown significantly. I am not stating this to boast off the numbers, but am stating this to highlight the richly experienced men and women whom I interact with, on a daily basis. Being an engineer by qualification, I do realise certain gaps in my understanding of the operational side of aviation, but these wonderful people, who cumulatively have, possibly in excess of half a million hours on a wide variety of airplanes, fill that up to make my understanding of the subject complete, with my technical insight.
The best was when a Spicejet captain spoke to me a couple of days earlier, “I was in Canada, to ferry a Q400 to India. I was approached by this pilot from Flight Safety International, asking me if I knew the Indian who had authored the wonderful and comprehensive article on the Q400 vs the ATR72. And I said with pride, “Yes""
Equally encouraging was when the editor at CAT magazine, Chris Lehman, thanked me for correcting and updating his database of full flight simulators in India, and when Smithsonian quoted me on the Green Lasers.
There are so many people I need to thank in aviation. Andy, who is so full of energy on Whatsapp and in his Boeing 757/767, transfers his dose of positive energy everyday; and we all pray for his good health. Mark Brouwer, who has been instrumental in the Q400 vs ATR 72 article, and whom I sadly missed seeing in India thanks to our unfriendly government policies towards tourists: We all pray for the future of Augsburg Airways. Siddharth, who was on the Q is now on the CRJs: we wish him a happy married life! And so many others from outside India who have made so much possible for me!
Back home, there are tonnes who have kept my passion in aviation burning. Men and women on so many airplanes providing so much information: You know who you are, and I love you all, and I respect your request for anonymity. You are the men and women who help make aviation safer, and I thank you all!
Thank you, mom, dad and girl, for bearing with me and my insatiable thirst for knowledge in aviation. You’re the pillars upon which I stand.
Happy New Year to you all, as we are on extremely short finals for 2013.
The TB20 from IGRUA that now rests at MIT, Manipal
A dead aircraft battery is replaced by a truck battery! Much higher capacity!
What was once registered with the Indian DGCA as VT-EME, this 1986-produced Socata TB 20 had served its days and provided a significant number of training flights to cadets at Indira Gandhi Rastriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), at Uttar Pradesh, India. (Read the article on the flight school here)
VT-EME is the last of a breed of high performance training
The Fuel tanks had a significant amount of water!
airplanes in the best flying training academy in the country, with only VT-EMA, EMB, EMC, EMF, EMH, IGA, IGB, IGD, IGF, and IGG remaining in the aircraft registry. Of these ten, only 5 are still flying today.
VT-EME, with msn 701, after losing its Certificate of Airworthiness, made its way to Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, to serve as an airplane that students may use to study airplane parts, systems and structure at the Aerospace department. After having sat under the sun and the rain for over a year, it was time to bring the TB 20 to life, albeit on the ground only.
Filling automotive gas into an “external fuel tank”
The biggest hurdle was procuring 100LL Avgas for the aircraft. The Chief Engineer at Chimes Aviation Academy, Mr. Santosh Abraham, suggested the use standard petrol in the engine as the airplane was never going to fly again. With AVGAS costing around INR 170 per litre, and the easily available standard petrol costing around INR 75 per litre, there was significant savings in time, effort and money.
After familiarizing and practising on chair the start and shutdown
The RPM’s alive! We took it upto 2000, but immediately thereafter had to shut down due to a safety concern.
procedures for this airplane, ensuring the safety of the whole operation (which included emergency procedures for engine fire on start), and around 4 failed starts, we brought the engine to life. The alternators kicked in, the lights (navigation, anti-collision, and landing lights) turned on, and we took the RPM to almost 2000 rpm, but due to certain issues, could not test the CSU (Constant Speed Unit).
None of the avionics (radios, GPS, RNAV unit, autopilot), unfortunately, could be turned on, as their were all INOP. But the joy of brining an airplane to life, is beyond compare!
The Flying Engineer is proud to have helped procure the TB-20, while also coordinating the engine start.
From inside, while the prop was spinning on the outside!
A Flight Instructor entering the Piper Seneca IV, a twin engine.
I am at Chimes Aviation Academy, (Dhana, Madhya Pradesh; ICAO: VA1J) and the weather, skies, airplanes and people have made possible some very beautiful photographs. Here are a few shots, for your enjoyment!
Chimes Aviation Academy boasts off the largest G1000 equipped Cessna 172R fleet in the country (Fleet: 7 Cessna 172R + 1 Piper Seneca IV), as well as having the distinction of being the flight school where aerospace-major Honeywell sends its engineers for flying training, for a Private Pilot’s License.
The hangar, all lit!
A student taxiing into the apron just before sunset.
The Garmin GNS 530 on board the Piper Seneca IV
The two bird types that make the Academy fly.
A second to touchdown? Not really. She ballooned.
A Cessna 172 backtracking Runway 35.
Leaving terra firma…
A student cuts his engine after a solo.
A Cessna 172 longing for the skies.
Open fields, nice weather, and a nice airplane make a brilliant setting!