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Harrier Pilots for a Day

GlassPilotFor Fun, Pilot Reports

One benefit of being in the general aviation aircraft sales business is it seems I have the job every one wants. Last fall I had the chance to bring my readers the experience of flying the KC135 tanker because I met the pilot and he wanted to learn more about what I do so he invited me along! It was an awesome experience that resulted in amazing pictures from the cockpit and refueling station.

Well folks, today we have another thrilling experience for you…a flight in a Marine Corp Harrier! It all started at Sun n Fun when a young Marine pilot offered a tour… I pulled out my calendar and booked it right then! Read the rest of this entry »


Coast-to-Coast with the G1000

GlassPilotDestinations, For Fun, Gallery, Pilot Reports

Here at GlassPilot.com we are blessed to call so many great folks our friends, customers and supporters. Our friends Joey Richie and Matt Webb of Newport News VA just return from a great coast-to-coast flying adventure in their Diamond DA40 XLS with its G1000 panel and fuel sipping performance. This story is a fabulous example of the capabilities of our new modern aircraft. I think you’ll see clearly from their descriptions and photos the value the technology brings to making a trip like this possible. Thanks for the inspiration guys… I’m ready to launch for Catalina!

The Great Western Adventure

My partner in our DA40, Matt Webb and I just returned from a fantastic spur of the moment adventure from the East Coast (Newport News/Williamsburg) out to the West Coast in a four day trip. Matt had business in Texas and Phoenix and was looking for a good excuse to fly the Diamond out west. He asked me knowing that I can’t refuse any semi-reasonable excuse to go flying and that I could back him up with IMC situations that might arise. We synched our schedules, checked the weather for the thousandth time, then set off on Wednesday 5/26/10 knowing that we could still have two days of the Memorial Day weekend with the families if we could make it back Read the rest of this entry »


US Navy Carrier Operation Video

GlassPilotFor Fun, Gallery, Pilot Reports

A friend of GlassPilot.com shared this excellent video with us. Remember, most of the technology used on these aircraft was introduced 10 – 20 years ago. If you are a pilot you’ll enjoy this video!


G1000 Approach to minimum video

GlassPilotGallery, Pilot Reports, Training

We found an interesting video on YouTube that our followers might find interesting. The aircraft is an older Diamond DA40 with the analog autopilot. They demonstrate an ILS approach in low conditions. The video we’d like to bring you next is the G1000 approach with WAAS and SVT…stay tuned. GP


Pilot Report: SVT to minimums with missed approach

GlassPilotPilot Reports

This just in as another update from Mark Brightman who is enjoying his new DA40 XLS with SVT.  The interesting thing about Mark’s reports is a retired Air Force Officer he didn’t think the SVT would be that big of help when he acquired his airplane. This second report pretty much confirms that he made a good choice getting the SVT on his new plane.

“I had the occasion to use the SVT to back up an approach to minimums and subsequent missed approach with a weather divert recently. I was going into Lake Placid. They have a GPS approach which takes you through some hills. Even though the approach minimums are around 1400 AGL, the approach course is interesting with the course taking you between hills/high terrain. I had the GFC700 coupled up for the approach and I was able to monitor the approach both with the MFD, the PFD course indicators for approach course compliance. But what made my approach “comfortable” was knowing I could “see” the terrain throughout the approach. The missed requires I climbing right turn out of the valley with terrain all around and the SVT provided a very high sense of confidence regarding terrain clearance. I ended up diverting into Glen Falls NY for the night. All of the avionics as well as the Nexrad were instrumental in the flight. And the 50 gallons gave me a very nice margin for divert decisions.”

Mark Brightman N970DS DA40 XLS


Pilot Report: Single Pilot IFR with SVT

GlassPilotPilot Reports

I just wanted to let you know how my SVT came in handy during my last trip to Mass two weeks ago.  I was scheduled for an Angel Flight from Norwood (OWD) to Philly (PNE).  But I had been parking the airplane at an airfield 10 miles away Mansfield (1B9) visiting family for a couple of days.   The plan was to hop over to OWD and pick up patient and then head to PNE. The weather was just at approach minimums to OWD when I launched.  So even though it was only 10 miles away, I had to file IFR.  As soon as I got airborne I was getting vectors left and right from Boston to line me up for the LOC 35 approach into OWD.  That all kept me busy enough but throughout it all, I was able to cage my brain just by looking at the Synthetic Vision with the superimposed runway.  It provided great Situational Awareness.  Given that it was right in front of me and I was flying single pilot IFR……, having the SVT in the same display as my flight instruments made it even more valuable than the moving map at times.  Anyway, not an exciting story but when flying single pilot IFR to mins in a congested airspace AND in a rushed flight sequence, I felt the SVT made a significant difference.

Mark R. Brightman
Owner of a 2008 Diamond DA40 XLS


Pilot Report: Why Fly a Garmin 1000 with SVT?

GlassPilotPilot Reports

Why Fly a Garmin 1000 with SVT?…I’ve now learned the answer to this question.
It’s like asking why write with a pen and paper when we have perfectly good stones and chisels!  All kidding aside, as a new glass cockpit operator, I can now begin to more accurately explain what the difference is all about and share my experience with other pilots interested in these “Glass Planes”.

I had the same questions in my mind when I began looking at the modern cockpit of a Diamond DA-40 XLS compared with my Cessna 172RG cockpit. I had just upgraded the Cessna with a G430 WAAS unit but that didn’t seem to keep my eyes from wandering to the new modern birds with their sleek lines and full glass cockpits. Once I learned about and understood the impact of the 2008 tax incentives  I purchased a new Diamond DA40 XLS with a partner and we have been in modern flying heaven every since.

Read the rest of this entry »


Airline Captain Enjoys DA40 XLS with SVT

GlassPilotPilot Reports

I love my job. I get to travel the country introducing people to the wonders of modern aircraft with their glass panels, Sythetic Vision and all the trimmings. I get to meet the best folks and hear lots of great stories.

Today I had the pleasure of giving an impromtu flight to Captain JJ Quin.  We just struck up a conversation at his home airport and I offered to give him a flight. At first he said, “No…I’ve got some paper work to do.” I looked at him and cock my head and said, “Are you really going to turn down a ride in a brand new SVT G1000 airplane?” All of a sudden he came to his senses and said, “Let’s go!”. I arrived home later to receive this email. I had no idea I was flying with a legend! Read the rest of this entry »


XM Radio is “Refreshing”

GlassPilotGallery, General, Pilot Reports

XM Radio Logo
One of the most amazing things about our new digital glass panels we lucky pilots get to enjoy is their connection to the satellites. We not only use the GPS satellites for easy advanced navigation but we also obtain our current weather radar, Metar, Sigmet, Airmet, TFRs, Freezing levels, winds and more via satellites.

This wonder of technology is made possible through the delivery of the data from the XM Radio (nasdaq: XMSR) satellite network. Yes, this is the same network that many of you use to entertain yourself in the cockpit of your Chevy or Lexus as the case may be.

We can also enjoy the many channels of audio while we fly too. Don’t underestimate the enhanced enjoyment this little addition brings. I’ve enjoyed many a sunset evening coming in to land with just the right tune playing in the background and a smile on my face…it is the perfect crowning touch to our new digital cockpits and it’s quite refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing… Read the rest of this entry »


Pilot Report: Simply Amazing!

GlassPilotGeneral, Pilot Reports

“Simply Amazing” is the first thought that came to mind when checking out the SVT on board my wife and I’s new DA40 XLS. Having just upgraded from a 2007 DA40 XL, we were excited to check out the new features provided by the G1000 – SafeTaxi, WAAS, HITS, Charts and SVT.

My wife and I own a graphic design studio called King-Searls Designs (www.ksdport.com) currently in Greenville, SC. Based at GMU, we operate at one of South Carolina’s busiest airports. GMU is home to flight schools, corporate flight departments, air taxi operators, and numerous transient aircraft, and as such, one must constantly “See and Avoid.” And let me tell you, this is done much easier with the SVT option on board. Traffic, terrain, obstacles, and even airports are much more visible from inside the aircraft on your PFD versus trying to see the same picture looking outside on a hot/hazy summer day.

The amount of information actually provided by the G1000 w/SVT is more than one can appreciate for some time. The 3-D representation depicted on the PFD of what is outside the aircraft provides a tremendous amount of additional awareness, efficiency, proficiency, and most importantly, safety to the pilot. Any good pilot will constantly be thinking of the “what if’s” while flying. Yes, listening to the XM radio on board your DA40 is also fun while in cruise flight, but what if that highly unlikely engine failure occurred? Could you make your nearest airport or off airport landing site? This question, along with many others, is answered instantly on the SVT equipped G1000 through the Flight Path Marker (FPM). Your FPM depicts the projected path of the aircraft accounting for wind and aircraft direction. So if you are at your glide speed and headed toward your landing site, and the FPM is on or beyond your intended landing spot, then you will make it to that site.Final Approach using SVT in the DA40 XLS

The substitution of “brown” below the PFD horizon to represent ground with an actual
3-D depiction of terrain is another obvious enhancement in safety and awareness provided by the G1000 w/SVT. You will be alerted both visually and audibly of any dangerous proximities to terrain, obstacles, or traffic (better if TAS equipped). This added awareness became obvious on a recent flight into Asheville, NC. With mountainous terrain below, in and out of clouds, a 1,000ft ceiling, and on a heading to intercept the LOC for the ILS34, my mind was completely at ease as I saw the 3-D terrain on the PFD move safely below. The flight path marker showed my descent would clear all terrain and obstacles, and the “highway in the sky” (HITS) boxes presented a picture of my future flight path descending on the ILS (all of which cleared terrain and obstacles) all the way down to the runway (which I could see on the PFD as well!). However, looking outside the canopy, I could only see portions of terrain, limited visibility due to haze, no runway, and occasional IMC. Can you now see the added safety?

Display of terrain in 3-D with SVTHaving flown a wide range of aircraft from small single-engine props to corporate jets to the 50 passenger ERJ145, I can honestly say the avionics provided by the G1000 w/SVT blows them all out of the water. No matter how fancy the glass cockpits in today’s airliners look, they do not provide the kind of information available in your Diamond – simply amazing!

From the weekend flyer, to the flight instructor, and right up into the corporate pilot/airline pilot skill level, the SVT has applications beneficial to all. Can you remember first learning to fly using an NDB as your navigation source? Whether it was intercepting a bearing, flying an NDB approach, or holding over an NDB, it first took a few drawings on the back of your flight log to get that “mental picture.” And while you flew that NDB approach, your focus may have been solely on “pushing the head”, or “pulling the tail,” and nothing else. Dependent on levels of experience, our mental capacities are only so big. The G1000 w/SVT relieves the pilot of any tendencies to fixate, allowing that pilot to have the full picture during any task – normal or abnormal. Since you now have the HITS easily showing you where to point the airplane during that NDB/GPS approach, your mind is free to monitor other items as well. Not to mention, in an abnormal or emergency scenario, having these added features will reduce a pilot’s workload, increase your awareness, and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

These are only a few of the many examples of how technology, SVT in particular, has significantly increased a pilot’s level of awareness, and thus has also increased the safety of our industry.

Another important aspect of owning any aircraft is properly maintaining and caring for your investment. Our DA40XLS is currently managed and maintained by Special Services Corporation out of Greenville, SC (www.specialservicescorp.com). They have a professional team of mechanics and pilots that are trained on the Diamond aircraft and attend to the various needs of our aircraft so we can keep our focus on the fun part – flying! So if you plan on purchasing a new or used Diamond aircraft, take the time to familiarize yourself with the nearest Diamond service facility.

We have also received outstanding customer support from the team at Premier Aircraft Sales from day one. From the purchase of our DA40XL in 2006 and right through our newest purchase of the DA40XLS a month ago, Premier’s dedication to meeting our needs, answering our questions and dedication to keeping us happy has kept this customer smiling. We would like to give a special thanks to John Armstrong for always taking our numerous phone calls, for his professionalism, for his fun spirit and great customer service. Thanks for an outstanding product.

Safe Flying,
Brad Searls

ATP, CE500

King-Searls Designs, LLC

Greenville, SC


GlassPilot Video: SVT

GlassPilotGallery, General, News, Pilot Reports

SVT Video

SVT First Look Video

Thanks to our friends at AOPA
you can watch the
Synthetic Vision First Look Video.