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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2005, TDPI

Fly? Fly what?

[IMAGE] I've had my 1980 Cessna P210 since December 2004. Since then, my brother and aircraft mechanic Ken Brown of TBO Aviation in Minden, Nevada has installed several upgrades and improvements in this 25 year-old bird to make it safer and give it more instrument flying redundancy.

The P210 is designed for long-range cruising in instrument conditions. It is pressurized and can maintain a comfortable cabin altitude (meaning the pilot doesn't have to wear an oxygen mask) up to 23,000 feet, although the typical max altitude I fly is 17,000 to 19,000 feet. With its auxiliary fuel tank, it can fly three persons and a week's worth of luggage about 800 miles in less than 5 hours with an hour's reserve fuel.

It has extensive de-ice equipment such as a heated propeller, wing boots (inflatable rubber tubules on the leading edges of the wings and stabilizers to shed ice), and a hot plate on the windshield (not to heat up lunch but to melt ice that builds up on the windshield), but flying in icing conditions is no place for any airplane, especially a single-engine plane, so I stay away from it. The de-icing equipment on the P210 is there to help you get out of unexpected icing conditions, not venture into it.

I try to fly at least two hours every week and attend formal simulator and classroom instruction every year. Instrument flying proficiency is very important to me, and I include at least one practice instrument approach in every flight, even if the weather is "clear and a million."

With fuel prices almost double what they were last year, I take fewer fun flights (the infamous "$100 hamburger" trips), and proficiency flights are crammed with as many training and practice maneuvers as possible. A typical proficiency flight might include:

  • 1)Filing an instrument flight plan (even for a local-area flight)
  • 2)Instrument departure procedures
  • 3)Working with air traffic control
  • 4)Climb and cruise to altitude (to check out the pressurization system and get the engine nice and warm)
  • 5)Flying and intercepting courses
  • 6)Holding patterns
  • 7)Instrument arrival procedures
  • 8)Instrument approach (usually one precision and one non-precision)
  • 9)Missed approach
  • 10)Practice area if the weather is good: steep turns, takeoff/missed approach stall, instrument approach (power-off) stall, accelerated stall
  • 11)Touch-and-go landings
  • All this good stuff takes about two hours, and it gives me and the airplane a good workout.

    Click here for more on Act Of War

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    Act Of War (June 2005)

    ACT OF WAR introduces a whole new hero and a new conflict to techno-thriller fans around the world.

    A series of deadly terrorist attacks in the United States and South America--including a nuclear attack near Houston, Texas--has the entire world on red alert. The attacks appear to be targeting an American energy company, but the terror group that calls itself GAMMA seems to be more than the anti-globalization, pro-environmental activists it claims to be.

    Enter U.S. Army Major Jason Richter and his partner, Dr. Ariadna Vega of the Army Research Lab's Infantry Transformational BattleLab. These two young engineers have designed and built a land combat system designed to replace an entire motorized infantry squad: CID, or Cybernetic Infantry Device, a piloted robot with the speed and firepower of a weaponized Humvee, the strength of a bulldozer, and the agility of a special ops commando.

    The hard-charging National Security Adviser, Robert Chamberlain, pairs Richter and Vega up with an FBI intelligence expert, Special Agent Kelsey DeLaine, and a veteran special ops expert, Command Sergeant Major Ray Jefferson, to form Task Force TALON, the first joint military-FBI unit charged with hunting down and stopping terrorists anywhere in the world. With CID's speed, power, weaponry, and amazing capabilities, combined with the talents of the U.S. Army and the investigative skills of the world's greatest detective agency, TALON is designed to put terrorists on the run around the globe.

    But putting conflicting and single-minded personalities like Richter and DeLaine together is like mixing oxygen and gasoline: do it right and it produces horsepower--do it wrong, and it creates an explosion. Even the National Security Adviser can't seem to control his team. Can Task Force TALON survive long enough to hunt down GAMMA and its secret puppetmaster, the shadowy Consortium, before the next deadly attack?

    "The novels of Dale Brown brim with violent action, detailed descriptions of sophisticated weaponry and political intrigue... His ability to bring technical weaponry to life is amazing."
    --San Francisco Chronicle

    Contact Information:

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    Trident Media Group
    (212) 262-4810

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