New Program to be
Unveiled at Fly-In This Weekend
"Customers, potential customers, admirers -- it's a customer
appreciation event," explained the effervescent Jody, at Lancair,
as she was working with the team to get things ready for this
weekend's company fly-in.
One of the most-beneficial innovations to be introduced to
the enthusiastic Lancair 'family' this year is a thorough,
professionally-done, intense, tiered training program.
Lancair President Joe
Bartels told us about training ace Peter Zaccagnino: he flies a GIV
for a living, is an aeronautical engineer who has taught
aerodynamics; and Pete and his wife owned a flight school in
Trenton (NJ). In his spare time, he flies a Champ, a glider, a
Pitts -- and he's in line for a Lancair.
Good all around:
Pete's an evangelist for training. "I believe in training,
always have," he told us. "I fly a thousand hours a year, and I
still go for recuurrent training every six months." Acutely aware
of the reputation some pilots have given the speedy Lancair inside
the insurance industry, he added, "Besides being better pilots, it
will make us more insurable."
He's setting up new ops manuals, a new checklist, and a new
training syllabus, as his own Lancair gets closer to finished.
"It's a tiered program, somewhat modeled after a military
style," he told us. He explained: "Tiered -- cover a topic,
practice, test -- then go to the next tier."
He's ready to help
pilots at this weekend's Lancair Fly-In in Oregon with, "a seminar
-- a day-long ground school, good for every pilot: weather,
handling -- then we'll go into specifics -- planning for descents,
high-altitude world, emergencies, etc." Lancairs are
high-performance airplanes, and a lot of GA pilots who move into
them need to understand the differences from what they're used to"
"It's different, say, having a fire at 20,000 feet than at 4,000
feet," Pete said.
It's fun, too: "We'll do some flying as well," Pete promised.
"...Get people learning that training isn't a burden; it's an
'opportunity to make myself a better pilot.'"
The syllabus is broken into eight lessons, plus some
"sub-lessons.' The students will know they've covered the material
for the first lesson, for instance, when they can, "Demonstrate
fundamental understanding of aircraft operation, systems,
description and operation of variable pitch propeller, engine
cooling, weight and balance, limitations and performance." By the
time Lesson 2 is signed off, "...the student will be able to
perform the listed ground operations with a minimum of Instructor
assistance. The student will demonstrate the knowledge of
attitudes, power settings, and configurations necessary to perform
the listed maneuvers and procedures by maintaining altitude within
the 200 feet, heading within 15 degrees, and airspeed within 10
It gets progressively
more-demanding, as tasks increase, complexity increases,
multi-tasking is demonstrated, and flight parameters tighten. By
the end of the eighth lesson, for instance, complicated maneuvers,
emergency procedures, and an occasional pressure-cooker atmosphere
will not stop the student from demonstrating that, "Altitude should
be maintained within 100 feet, airspeed within 5 knots, and heading
within 5 degrees," and demonstrating maneuvers that are covered by
this sampling from Lesson 8 of the syllabus:
- Stalls power on/off
- Maneuvering during slow flight/MCA
- Changing airspeed in level flight
- VFR emergency landing
- Advanced Avionics integration
- Normal Take off into IMC
- Recovery from unusual Attitudes
- Emergency procedures and landings including but not
- Cabin fires
- Cowl fires
- Landing Gear problems
- Oil pressure/temp out of limits
- Propeller governor
- Engine failures, partial and full
Sure, it's fun. Sure, it's interesting; but it may also save
Lancair pilots' lives, and their passengers' lives. Joe Bartels and
Pete Zaccagnino want their pilots, their friends, their 'family,'
to be safe up there -- and they're doing something very positive
about it. See the start of it this weekend, and the results...
from then on.
[Thanks to Lancair for the photos --ed.]