I completed my Jeppesen G1000 Avionics course and my second flight in the Diamond DA40 aircraft. This is called a check-out procedure where a certified flight instructor goes over the airplane with you in order to familiarize you with the aircraft’s individual flight characteristics and avionics package. Normally 3 to 5 hours of instruction in the aircraft is required to make sure you are competent to safely operate the aircraft at some minimal level. More instruction would be required if you are unfamiliar with it’s characteristics; in some cases the regulation would require you to have complex or high-performance training and a log book endorsement. Coming from a Cessna Skyhawk 172S to the Diamond DA40 I was able to adapt with minimal instructions since the basic flight characteristics are similar.
I trained for my pilot certificate in a traditional airplane with what they call steam gauges; named so because the round gauges resemble the gauges found on boilers within the era when the aircraft were developed. They are still commonly in use in general aviation aircraft today and as back up gauges to the most modern aircraft that have advanced avionics or glass cockpits. In the above picture the round gauges on top are the back-up steam gauges, the large screens below are the glass cockpit advanced avionics.
I’m Still much more comfortable in the traditional cockpit but will undoubtedly gain confidence in the Diamond DA40. It will take some time flying to train my eyes where to go to read the necessary information and get used to controlling the aircraft with a single stick instead of the Yoke in the Cessna 172S.
Getting checked-out in the Diamond DA40 is an important step in continuing my training because I will most likely do my instrument training in this aircraft. Prior to diving into the inflight portion of instrument training I need to gain some experience and confidence in flying the DA40 so that I can concentrate on the instrument flying instead of aircraft control.
I will likely fly both aircraft for some time using the DA40 when winds will likely be light and the runways wider and the 172S for windy conditions and short/narrow runways. The more experience I gain in the DA40 the more I’ll use it. Laura and I were discussing it last night when I mentioned I now had 85 hours in my Pilot Log Book: 11 months ago I had zero aviation experience and was just beginning my flight lessons!