Eagle-Eye Video Pod Captures Commander View of the World
Commander 980 owner and pilot David Tenenbaum has been developing a belly-mounted pod that holds up to four small digital cameras (GoPros) for shooting virtually unobstructed high-definition video from aloft. He has obtained FAA supplemental type certification for the pod, which he calls the Eagle360 (see http://www.airbornesensor.com).
Larry Bantle, who owns and flies a Commander, bought an Eagle360, and is getting spectacular results. Here Bantle talks about the Eagle360:
“I learned about David’s product at Twin Commander University and was very intrigued by the idea as I shoot a lot of video underwater (my hobby) and this seemed like a very interesting counter perspective. We now live near Calgary, Alberta, and my airplane, C-GSUJ, is based at CYYC. I had the Eagle360 system mounted as per the STC on my Twin Commander 690A by my maintenance provider Air Spray Aviation Services (which has a fleet of more than eight Twin Commanders) at their facility at CYQF near Red Deer, Alberta.
“I have been collecting quite a few hours of video from the Eagle360 system on many interesting flights, including over the Caribbean to Grand Turk Island, and recently to San Jose del Cabo, BCS Mexico. I have been integrating some of the airborne video into the scuba/travel movies that I do.
“The Eagle360 system I have has four GoPro 3s with 64Gb memory cards and BacPac batteries. I collect the video in HD 1080 @ 30 fps and do a pre-edit with the GoPro Studio software (Cineform) to select and ‘tune up’ the raw video, then convert the files to the more standard AVI format, which then goes to editing in my Grass Valley Edius application on my video editing/production workstation.
“My 690A is S/N 11138 with Dash 10Ts, under-wings tanks, and almost all of the Custom Kits from Twin Commander Aircraft. I recently upgraded the avionics with G600s on left and right sides and GTN 750/650, STEC 2100, GTX 33, GWX 70, and GDL69a.”
To see a luscious four-minute Grand-Turk-to-Provo video that Larry shot using the Eagle360 system, click on goo.gl/faOUoC
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Latest Flight Levels Online Available for Viewing
Charles West has been in business for 49 years, and flying for 54. In West’s case, the two belong together. Almost all of his flying is for Wells & West, his general construction, development, and financial services company founded and still based in Murphy, North Carolina. He’s owned 28 airplanes and two helicopters, and currently has five including a beautiful Commander 500A. Talk to him for two or three minutes and you’ll know what his favorite airplane has been over the years –– a Twin Commander.
West is the subject of the operator profile in the new issue of Twin Commander’s Flight Levels magazine. The online edition, as well as previous editions, is available for viewing at www.flightlevelsonline.com
The issue also features an installment of Barry Collman’s “Looking Back” series on the lineage of Twin Commander models. In this issue he discusses the “Bathtub” Model 560E.
Air Journey’s Thierry Pouille takes an adventure travel story to beautiful Antigua in the British Virgin islands, and Twin Commander Aircraft President Matt Isley relates a personal experience that taught him something important about following manufacturer’s recommendations and directions.
There’s lots more in this issue of Flight Levels including news about the latest Grand Renaissance Twin Commander, imminent certification of the Garmin G950 Commander, and tips on making sure your pressurization system is working efficiently. You can read the entire issue at www.flightlevelsonline.com.
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Garmin Tips and Tricks: Crossing Airways
Another in our continuing series on how to get the most from your Garmin GPS systems, authored by Keith Thomassen, PhD, CFII.
Many airways now have waypoints at crossings in the event your clearance is to follow one of them and then transition to the other. You can simply program the crossing waypoint into your GPS flight plan and the autopilot will make the transition. But if there is no defined crossing waypoint, how do you do this? You may not think this is much of a practical problem because you never get such clearances, but if you do, or you want to see how many ways you can do this, read on.
For this example let’s say you’re in central California heading SE on V107 from AVE towards FIM. This airway is the 310° radial from FIM (130° To). But as the weather deteriorates you decide to file for V107 to V12 (yup, you’re going to do it to yourself), then east on V12 to PMD, direct Apple Valley (KAPV). V12 is the 251° radial from PMD. (See these airways in Figure 1.)
There are lots of options for making this transition, but for starters you might display low airways on your GPS or MFD for assistance. Now, while you can select headings (manual or autopilot) to fly the airplane and observe your progress along V107 and turn onto V12 when you get there, is this legal? No, since these maps are not your primary navigation information. Your legal navigation information is your flight plan course displayed on a CDI/HSI. That means you either have to be tracking a VOR or GPS course along your cleared route. So, selecting headings to track these map lines (autopilot or not) isn’t legal.
One obvious way to do this is to track V107 using your VOR (track the 130° to FIM). With a 2nd VOR, tune in PMD and select the 071° course to PMD and prepare to switch to that VOR as you approach the crossing. With these courses displayed on your CDI/HSI, whether flying by hand or using the autopilot, you’re now legal.
Suppose you want to do this with GPS tracking instead. First you need to decide how to make the flight plan. Assume your plan starts at AVE and has PMD then KAPV at the end. What intermediate waypoints do you insert between AVE and PMD? The last waypoint on V107 before reaching V12 is REYES and just beyond V12 is PIRUE. Between the crossing and PMD there are no waypoints, but west on V12 is EMUXY, 76 nm from the crossing.
If you simply insert REYES, your next leg (when you get there) is direct to PMD, not on the airway. But if you put in PIRUE, then you can go D-> PMD at the crossing. If you do this too early you’ll have a course line that does not correspond to your clearance. Alternatively, as you approach the crossing, you can fly to PMD using the OBS mode – select the 071° GPS course to PMD. Don’t forget to restore sequencing after you go into the OBS mode.
A slightly more devious solution (but easy to execute) is to put in PIRUE AND EMUXY. Your flight plan now crosses V12, and then goes backwards to EMUXY to get to V12. However, there is now a leg in your flight plan from EMUXY to PMD, which is on V12. So just before you cross V12 (on the way to PIRUE) you could use Activate Leg to make a proper course to PMD. In GPSS mode the autopilot will smoothly make that transition.
Let me digress now and point out that you can search for that crossing on an iPad with ForeFlight. Put FIM310/PMD251 into the search box, as in Figure 1, then hit SEARCH on the keyboard. Touch the crossing point and the lat/lon of that crossing is displayed.
Now, you could make a User Waypoint at that lat/lon and insert it into the flight plan. With it inserted your flight plan is your exact clearance, whereas the other techniques require you to fly the plan differently than it is programmed (using Direct or Activate Leg at the appropriate time).
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Sound Off: Where in the World is the Twin Commander University?
In the last Twin Commander Newsletter we asked which region of the country you would like to see host the next Twin Commander University –– the Midwest, Southeast, or West? (Our apologies to you Commander owners who are fans of the Southwest or North, but those two regions did not survive the first-round knockout competition to decide the 2015 University locale.)
So we have a winner: the Southeastern U.S. garnered 46.7 percent of the vote, with the Midwest trailing at 30.6 percent, and the West at a distant 22.5 percent. Congratulations, y’all.
Now we need to zero in on specific destinations in the beautiful Southeast, and we’ve prepared a list of candidates. Each was selected on the basis of such factors as weather –– the University likely will take place in the early spring –– its reputation as a great destination, proximity of a good airport, and the quality of available hotels.
No matter which city wins this exciting “Pick the Host City for the 2015 University!” competition (soon to be a hit television reality show starring Twin Commander President and celebrity impersonator Matt Isley), no one really loses. It will be a great venue to have a great time.
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