Top 5 Gifts For Your Pilot

Pilots are unique, and your pilot is even more special! This list of the Top 5 Gifts For Your Pilot includes the things they need, and the things that will make any pilot smile. These gifts will allow them to enjoy the sensation of being a pilot both in the air, and on the ground.

 

  1. Garmin D2 Pilot Watch-

This watch was specifically designed for Pilots! Featuring Garmin’s signature direct-to and nearest navigation functions, as well as a built-in altimeter with adjustable baro setting, altitude alerting capabilities, display of both local and Zulu/UTC time, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with the Garmin Pilot app, VIRB action camera, and more. This is the perfect gift for your pilot, with a stylish look!

2. Remove Before Flight T-Shirt

These T-Shirts are a fun way for your Pilot to show their enthusiasm for flying, even when they’re not at the airport. Enjoy a good laugh with your Pilot over this awesome shirt! Also available in tanktops, boxers, sweatpants, ect.

3. Bose A20 Aviation Headset-

The A20 headset gives your Pilot 30% greater noise reduction than conventional aviation headsets, so they’ll enjoy a peaceful flight from short stops to long hauls. It weighs just 12 ounces, with sheepskin cushions and minimal clamping force, so it’s one of the lightest and most comfortable aviation headsets you’ll find. All designed to let your pilot focus on what matters, flying.

4. Cockpit Coasters-

This aviation coaster set is made to simulate, as closely as possible, a primary flight instrument. Each coaster features the actual shape of an aircraft instrument, and a dial that closely represents that of the standard flight instrument. This is a fun gift that every pilot will enjoy!

5. Pilots Lighted Kneeboard-

This deluxe kneeboard features a unique lighting system that incorporates a rheostat for adjusting brightness, and is perfect for both late night flights and the flights during the brightest hours of the day. Kneeboards were first adopted by the Air Force and Navy because of their proven reliability, high quality, and lightweight construction. They make flights smoother and more organized, meaning safer flying! This is a pilot must have!

 

Valentines Day, and every day, is the day to remind your pilot how much they mean to you, and that you are thinking of them. Find all of the items above and much more by clicking on the websites below:

https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop

https://www.pilotmall.com/category/gifts-toys-artwork

https://www.mypilotstore.com

 

Bonanza And Baron Pilot Recurrency Training

We are excited to partner for a second year with the Bonanza & Baron Pilot Training program! This clinic gives pilots an opportunity to work side by side with experienced CFIs to increase their knowledge and skill level, using their own aircraft. We specifically LOVE the Non Pilot Companion Clinic that offers some basic flight skills and knowledge for spouses or family members, making them safer and more informed passengers.

The BPT weekend clinics also give participants a chance to swap stories and learn from fellow Beechcraft pilots in a fun, relaxed setting. It’s a perfect blend of continuing education and weekend getaway fun!

To find out more information regarding the BPT follow the link to their website provided below.

Bonanza & Baron Pilot Training (BPT)

The Bonanza & Baron Pilot Training (BPT) offers weekend clinics of model and type specific training. The clinic offers Recurrent training, Biannual flight reviews(BFR), and Instrument Proficiency Checks(IPC) all done with their CFIs, using your own aircraft. You can choose from one of the following clinics:

The Type Specific Clinic discusses emergency procedures, aircraft systems, and the latest technologies and devices used today.

The Recurrent Clinic takes a look at fresh material and reviews the practical application of forced landings, icing, and engine management.

The Non Pilot Companion Clinic is designed specifically for non-pilot companions, including spouses, other family members or friends. It provides a greater understanding of the details encountered on every flight helping to increase the comfort level and increase the enjoyment of the flight.

According to their website, “When you participate in a weekend clinic, you’ll come away with much more than exceptional flight training. For 2 ½ days, you are with fellow aviators who share their experiences, their perspectives and their insights. The camaraderie of learning and socializing with other Beechcraft owners during the weekend is invaluable. In addition, attending a weekend clinic each year can have a positive impact on your insurance rates.”

To learn more about the program or to sign up for an upcoming clinic, visit their website at:

Bonanza & Baron Pilot Training Program

Another option Beechcraft owners have for recurrent training or just elective continuing education is the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP). Not to be confused with the BPT weekend program, the BPPP is primarily based online with an option to fly after course completion with an ABS designated flight instructor.

This online course is offered free of charge to all American Bonanza Society members. In addition to increasing your skills and knowledge, completing the course may also earn you a significant insurance discount.

Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP)

The BPPP offers two course options, The Beechcraft Systems, Procedures and Techniques Course (“BPPP Initial”), and the The Beechcraft Pilot Skills Enhancement Course (“BPPP Recurrent”). Both courses are designed to help you better understand your aircraft by studying the systems, learning emergency procedure techniques and discussing critical decision.

The Beechcraft Systems, Procedures and Techniques Course (“BPPP Initial”) goes through your aircraft’s system, discusses how to better use them in normal, abnormal, and emergency situations.

The Beechcraft Pilot Skills Enhancement Course (“BPPP Recurrent”) teaches advanced techniques for emergency procedures, stalls and angel of attack, and reviews special use airspace.

According to the website, “BPPP instruction consists of online learning done at your own pace, followed by approximately four hours of flight instruction in your Beechcraft conducted by an expert, BPPP-standardized flight instructor, you schedule at your convenience near your home or desired training location.”

More information about the BPPP programs can be found on their website at:

Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program

 

A36 Bonanza D’Shannon Exhaust Install

If you’ve been around Beechcraft airplanes for any length of times you’ve probably heard of D’Shannon Aviation. Double M Aviation recently had the opportunity to install one of their Genesis Free Flow Exhaust systems on a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. There was a rather long lead time on the exhaust since the owner had ordered them before production had even started, but once we received the call that parts were on their way, they arrived within the week.

Next step…bring the airplane in for an upgrade!

The install went smoothly. Instructions were clear and direct, and install was clean and straight forward. Surprisingly, even the paperwork portion of the install was relatively effortless. In my experience there’s no such thing as an easy field approval, but D’Shannon pulled it off. They took care of the providing me with all the documentation, including the signed 8110-3 we needed to approve the install.

With exhaust installed and the airplane paperwork legal, it was time for the true test of the exhaust system. D’Shannon lists the features of their exhaust system as:

  • Equal length primary header tubes and proprietary merge collectors.
  • Smooth radius bends.
  • Elimination of welding and weld points to allow more efficient evacuation flow of exhaust gases, yielding more horsepower.
  • Largest diameter tubes feasible.
  • Collectors and tailpipes designed to scavenge exhaust pressure.
  • Material chosen for maximum durability and ease of installation.
  • Exterior ceramic coating to protect engine and compartment from additional heat transfer, causing the heat to accelerate through the pipes.

It was time to see if their fancy new design actually made any difference. The result? The owner loved it! He felt the time and money were certainly worth the investment into his aircraft.

Interested in upgrading your Bonanza or Baron? Or just looking to do routine maintenance and inspections? Double M Aviation always welcomes to opportunity to provide an estimate and discuss how we can provide quality aircraft maintenance with as little down time as possible. With the added bonus of being an ABS Repair Station, you can be confident that your aircraft will be serviced to the highest standards of care and maintenance.

Piper Cheyenne Service and Repair

Piper aircraft maintenance central florida 001

Piper Cheyenne Service Center in Central Florida – Just like their owners, airplanes are as varied and unique as one could imagine. Piper Cheyenne 95DR is a perfect example.

While many Piper Cheyenne’s in use today can be found transporting business executives from one location to another, 95DR has a unique job. This plane is flown as a Medical Air Transport. However, just like all other aircraft, this Cheyenne has required inspections which are just as important as the critical cargo it  holds.

During it’s most recent Event 1 & 2 inspection (the Cheyenne equivalent of an annual inspection) at Double M Aviation, Aviation Interiors, Inc. installed a non-skid, easy to clean, (but of course, still FAR Part 135 approved) flooring. This new flooring replaces the standard carpet you would find in most jets, allowing for a more sanitary environment for crew and passengers.

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Of course, just because this Cheyenne is a work horse, doesn’t mean she can’t work in style. The upgraded avionics system and clean and shiny exterior are all part of the package, allowing this aircraft to be utilized to it’s full capabilities.

piper aircraft maintenance central florida

Looking for a Piper Cheyenne Service Center in Central Florida? Learn more about Double M Aviation’s extensive list of capabilities on the Services page of our website.

Tips & Tricks to a Low-Cost Annual Inspection

An annual inspection does not have to be a high cost, high frustration event. By including preventative maintenance, communication, and continuity into your maintenance practice, your inspection cost could be reduced. Below are six tips and tricks we recommend to keep your cost low.

 

1. Practice Preventative Maintenance

-If you do proper maintenance throughout the year, you won’t end up with a TON of extra, little items that have to be completed at the annual inspection. For example if you have an oil leak or a small avionics issue on your Bonanza, bring it in and get the squawks fixed.

2. Have a Times Sheet

-Know when costly items are due. This will give you a realistic expectation of what to expect at your next annual. For example, the 72 month landing gear inspection on a Beechcraft King Air is a high dollar inspection. However, it is scheduled maintenance and can be prepared for by looking ahead on your times sheet.

3. Space out costly items

-When dealing with timed items on your aircraft, it may not always pay to wait until the 11th hour to have them complied with. If you have a 10 year prop overhaul due on your Beechcraft Baron, the same time as the 500 hr mag inspection, and the 10 year fuel & oil hoses are due, make a plan to space them out over the course of several inspections to spread out the cost. Inversely, you may choose to do them all during one annual inspection, and consolidate your expenses. You’ll have one expensive event, but the others will be much lower in cost. Planning ahead and figuring out the right option for you is key.

4. Talk to your mechanic

-Discuss what your objectives for the annual are. Do you need this to be a slim annual year, or do you want everything fixed to perfection.  Airworthiness items have to be complied with regardless; However, non safety concerns such as cosmetic items can be pushed back. Make a game plan so you are both on the same page.

5. Go Fly!

-This is by far the most enjoyable tip on the list, but it doesn’t make it any less important. It is well documented that the more you fly an airplane, the better condition the engine is going to stay in. So get out there and punch some holes in the clouds.

6. Have continuity in your maintenance

-By using the same mechanic shop a relationship is built, you get to know and trust your mechanic. Often the argument to this is the benefit gained by having a “fresh set of eyes.” While this is of some value, it could be argued that the benefit of developing trust with your mechanic and allowing them to build a relationship with both you and the aircraft far outweighs the alternative.

Of course, we know time is money. Some owner’s opt to keep their airplane flying as much as possible during the year, and come to terms with the idea of one big maintenance event every 12 months. The bottom line is, figure out what works for you and your budget, then communicate with your mechanic so you’re both on the same page.

 

Restoration of a Cessna 414A Chancellor

Check out this Cessna 414A Chancellor’s before and after photos! Restored right here at our local airports, Lakeland and Bartow. Owned by Christophe Jouany.

Recently the Flying Magazine published an article about Christophe Jouany, and his purchase and restoration of a Twin Cessna 414A Chancellor. The whole process took  six months to complete.  The Cessna 414A was restored right here at our local airports, Lakeland and Bartow, where it was completely gutted and restored to include both modern avionics and classic interior and paint design.

Christopher Jouany a resident of Tampa, Florida first brought his aircraft to Custom Avionics at the Bartow airport. The team transformed the cockpit into a state-of-the-art glass cockpit. Which includes an impressive combination of synthetic vision, traffic awareness, weather, radar, instrument lighting, and auto pilot features all housed in a custom panel designed by Jouany.

Next, Jouany brought the Cessna 414A to Duncan Interiors, located at our home base, the Lakeland airport, where they renovated the gutted interior into a classic professional interior. With amenities including suede seats, cabinetry and carpeting, and details such as the Cessna Chancellor logo stamped into the leather seats and yokes.

The final stop for the aircraft was at Foster’s Aircraft Refinishing, also located at the Lakeland airport. Jouany decided on the paint scheme, white with blue and silver accents, and the team at Foster’s went to work creating a unique modern design.

The restoration of the Chancellor was completed in Septemeber 2014. Since then Jouany has taken many flights to Key West and to the islands he grew up in. Double M Aviation has had the privilege of working with Jouany since the restoration to ensure the aircraft continues to be maintained to his high standards. Jouany summed up his experience of going through the long process of restoration, to the Flying Magazine by saying, “I think that I now have the best Cessna 414 in the world.”

Check out the Flying Magazine’s Article on the Cessna 414A Chancellor Restoration and to see the complete photo gallery of the before and afters.

Flying Magazine Article and Photo Gallery

 

The Overlooked Key to a Safe Aircraft

A couple years ago I had a King Air in maintenance at a brand facility. My experience with larger, chain maintenance facilities was limited to having a few friends that worked at some of these facilities as mechanics. I had heard them lament the excessive amounts of paperwork and procedures that inevitably seem to plague any shop of a larger size, but I didn’t really understand the problem until I experienced it myself.

The aircraft was dropped off at the shop for maintenance early in the week, and being used to working with a smaller shops and not wanting to be considered a nag, I waited patiently for a phone call with the results of a preliminary inspection so I’d know what we would be expecting for this maintenance event. I waited, and waited, and then waited a bit more, becoming slight concerned and then agitated as the first week, then the second week rolled past. Finally, worried that perhaps they did not have my phone number, I tried to call and get an update. After being handed off several times to various people who could not answer my general questions, I was informed that the person I needed to talk to was on vacation, but would be back at the end of the week. I agreed to leave a voice mail and wait.

Over the next week I tried multiple times to get someone on the phone that could give me an actual update on the aircraft. Every time it seemed someone was out sick, out to lunch, or just out of the office for the moment, and I was assured I’d be called back. Never happened.

Finally, I decided the only way to ensure my airplane was actually undergoing some kind of maintenance inspection, was to show up, unannounced at the maintenance facility. Donning my fatigues and black face paint in preparation for my guerrilla warfare style sneak attack, I made my way to the shop early in the morning, hoping to catch someone unawares between their morning coffee break and early afternoon lunch. By this time my mental picture of the work going on in this shop tended more towards donut breaks and long drawn out board meetings, than any actual wrench turning. So when I arrived and found 20 plus mechanics dutifully working on airplanes, I honestly was a bit surprised.

After a brief wait for the front desk to bring someone to guide me through the expansive shop, we found my aircraft, with no one working on it at the moment. It was obvious that some work had been done, but none of the mechanics were present for me to be able to talk to or question about the progress. The lead for the project was busy elsewhere as well, so I had to satisfy myself with the evidence that at least portions of the aircraft had been taken apart and were, hopefully, in the middle of inspection.

Over the next couple of months, it was a constant dance with the shop, sometimes getting a phone call back days after I left a voicemail, and occasionally getting to talk to someone that at one point had put a wrench on the airplane, but the majority of the time was spent in frustrated silence wondering about the progress on my airplane. Eventually the inspection was finished and the aircraft put back into service. The maintenance was quality work, albeit much more lengthy than I felt it should have been, and of course more expensive than I was used to, but it was finished.

I spent the next couple months wondering why this maintenance event had left such a bad taste in my mouth. Was it expensive? Yes, but I knew that going in to it. Had it seemed to take an exorbitant amount of time to complete the inspection? Also yes, but once again, not the main cause of my frustration and disappointment. After a conversation with a friend lamenting our experiences at these brand name shops, I felt I was finally able to put my finger on the issue.

No one there cared about me. That may seem a bit self-absorbed, but it was the truth. I got into aviation, not just because I love airplanes, but also because aviation (especially general aviation) is a close knit little family where everyone shares a similar passion. I love spending time out at the airport talking shop or arguing over a favorite airplane’s pros and cons. You create a rapport with the people at your airport and at your maintenance shop. At this shop however, there was no desire to create a relationship with me or my aircraft.
As we started Double M Aviation, we discussed what things were important to us, and due to our various experiences we all felt that one of the things we wanted to do was create a relationship with the owners and their airplanes. Airplanes are great, we all love them or we wouldn’t be doing the jobs we do now, but people are more important. Hearing what they have to say and really listening, both to the pilot and the airplane. Creating an atmosphere where learning is encouraged, questions can be asked and answered, and people feel welcome is a crucial step in providing quality maintenance. Creating trust between a pilot and mechanic is invaluable, but the only way to truly develop that trust is through creating a genuine relationship over time.

We want every pilot or owner to have the ability to show up at the shop anytime and talk to the mechanic who is working on his aircraft. To be able to see the steps in the process and have them explained to him. We encourage every owner to be as involved or as uninvolved in the maintenance process as they see fit.
As a smaller shop, we have the luxury of getting to know our customers on a personal basis. Mike Naab, the owner of Double M Aviation, inspects every aircraft before personally taking it on a post maintenance test flight. He is creating a relationship, not just with the owner, but with the aircraft. Learning its quirks so that the next time it is in for maintenance we not only know the aircraft better, but can use that knowledge to more quickly and efficiently determine the issue, and get the airplane back in the air.

For us, relationship isn’t just a cool idea, it’s a critical part of providing safe, quality maintenance for the aircraft and its owner.

Contact us for the service of your aircraft…