FALLBROOK — Fallbrook Squadron 87 sponsored a search and rescue exercise on August 16 and 17 at Fallbrook Airpark that was attended by squadrons from Fullerton, Long Beach, Torrance, San Diego and Camp Pendleton.
Four airplanes were used in the exercise that gave all the units valuable training that will be needed in the future.
The Torrance Squadron brought their state-of-the-art glass cockpit Cessna 182, which was crewed by Maj. Charles Russell and 2nd Lt. Robert North. Russell is a Mission Pilot who has accumulated many hours over the years when he was the blimp pilot for the Goodyear Corporation.
Participants said their experience with the glass cockpit left them “shaking their head in amazement” as Maj. Russell moved his hands across the various buttons and knobs producing the astonishing displays.
The Torrance airplane was equipped with the Garmin G-1000, which provides new navigational, traffic and terrain awareness capability. It was designed to be flown almost exclusively with the autopilot, requiring automation competency – the ability of the pilot to understand and operate the systems.
Generally, only landings and takeoffs were hand-flown. But hand-flying instrument approaches using the primary flight (PFD) was a joy for Maj. Russell. The more accurate color presentations of pitch and power gave the pilot the opportunity for better performance control.
Even though the instrument scan of the PFD was somewhat different, the attitude indicator (AI) display spanned the PFD, so while checking speed or altitude, the AI was still in the scan field. All pitch information was on a horizontal line that connected the displays of the airspeed, AI, altimeter and vertical speed indicator.
Directional data was on a vertical line, with the horizontal situation indicator providing heading and course guidance, aided by bearing pointers and information windows – a multitude of navigational data.
The search and rescue exercise was a great opportunity for all the squadrons to experience this new technology firsthand during their sorties over the two-day training event.