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Flying with the Aspen system

The next morning I got up early to take advantage of the calm conditions and went out to Double Eagle. It was pretty exciting to be able to climb into my own airplane and fire up the Aspen system. I took off and headed out to the practice area just northwest of Double Eagle. I performed steep turns, maneuvers around a point, and a couple of stalls to get the hang of the system. I found that I quickly adjusted to the use of speed and altitude tapes and was no longer “chasing” the altitude and speeds. I was quite proud of my flying after landing. I committed to going up the next day as well.

The next day I went up and flew again. I found in yesterday’s flights that I was having difficulty in using the VSI and turn coordinator on the EFD, again chasing as I did with the speed and altitude tapes in my first flight. I decided that today’s flight I would concentrate on the use of those displays. After a few maneuvers, descents and climbs I found myself pretty comfortable with the use of these displays. It did take some more practice than the speed and altitude tapes, but nevertheless I was really starting to get it. I promised myself that I would continue to practice over the next several flights.

During both flights I was really impressed with the amount of information available to me on the three displays. I had traffic, the all important terrain and obstacles, topography and ground references.  This provided me incredible situational awareness with a glance at my displays. I had been a bit concerned that I would spend too much time “staring” at the instruments and not looking out the window. However, with the clean and crisp displays, I found this to not be an issue at all.  I could easily glance at both MFD’s and quickly assimilate the data and correlate to what I saw out the window. It was really remarkable.

When I initially decided to update the airplane with the Aspen system I seriously considered only a two tube display. However after flying with three tubes and realizing the power of the flexible displays I am very happy that I went ahead and put in three. This will become even more a big deal when I update the system with NACO charts. I will be able to have the approach chart on the third display while using the other MFD to display all of the NAV information. This is something no other retrofit display system can do and I anticipate to be a very big deal. I am looking forward to this release in April.

Next up I am taking the airplane back to Santa Fe Aero to clean up the last squawks.

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