Useful Files and Links
(updated February 18, 2008 )
This page contains files I find useful and links to sites you may find of interest.
Checklist - I use a small clipboard that accomodates sheets 5.6 x 8.5 inch sheets (1/2 of a standard 81/2 x 11). This checklist covers all the phases of flights on two sheets (front and back). First sheet covers preflight and all steps up to clearance for takeoff, second sheet covers all phases of flight on one side and emergencies on the other. If you have recommended improvements, feel free to email me!
Weight and Balance Calculator - This Microsoft Excel file will automatically check your weight and balance and graphically depict where the plane (relative to the CG envelope) with both full and empty fuel for flight planning purposes). It is a heavily modified version of a file I found somewhere on the internet several years ago (can't remember where).
Electronic Logbook - This is a freeware electronic logbook I found on the internet years ago. Not perfect, but it does a good job of trackign expenses, engine hours and pilot currency (including IFR). A good backup for paper logs.
Fltplan.com aircraft profile - Fltplan.com now offers the opportunity to transfer aircraft profiles (these are the performance (climb/descent rate, true airspeed & fuel burn data for various altitudes) their software uses to calculate flight times and fuel burns for a flightplan. I have developed a very good profile for N99376 that closely matches my real-world results for my flights. Remember that this profile is for a GAMIjector-equipped airplane that is operated LOP. I normally run about 10-11 GPH and TAS varies between 165 and 180 KTS depending on altitude. Profile is rarely off by much (no more than 3-4 gallons for a 4-5 hour flight) and tends to run a bit conservative if anything (i.e., I have more fuel in the tanks on landing than the profile predicted). If you want to access it, login to fltplan.com and select the "customize a/c performance" link on the left side of the page. When given download options, enter "drklain" as donor id, and "N99376" as donor's tail number. If you use my profile and have comments/suggestions to improve it, please email me!
Airnav.com - A superb internet resource! Has good information on just about every airport (public and private) in the US. Even better is the fuel section. Literally thousands of pilots update the site daily with what the current cost of fuel was. System lets you search for fuel at a given airport and see how recent the fuel price report is. Even better, it displays current fuel prices at nearby airports as well and you can then find that "good fuel deal" as well as accessing a list of "best fuel prices in the state." I have saved serious money by shopping around for cheap fuel on this site...as much as a $1.50/gal difference in fuel costs at airports less than 20 miles from each other...
Fltplan.com - I use this for most of my flight planning. They really cater to bizjets, but the ability to see fuel burn and trip times at various altitudes helps you find the fastest or most efficient way to fly. Generally can't rely on the routes it recommends as it mainly lists Jet Routes, but insert the flight route you come up with (or get from duat) and you are off and running! I also use their flight plan submission option and FBO notification service...have never been let down.
Flight Aware.com - Free site that tracks IFR flights (including airline flights) in near real-time. You can search by N-Number or by airline flight number.
Air Chart Systems - Pilots either love them or hate them. I can't see how anyone flying in a small plane can't love the bound charts...so much easier than folding and refolding a big sectional or IFR enroute chart...and you get coverage of the whole US for a pittance compared to the cost of Jeppesen or NOS charts. Their updater service takes a bit of getting used to, but is easy and reliable. Have used them for years with no problems..
Mooney Junction - Home on the web for Mooney owners. Links to the superb Mooney mailing lists, archives, performance info, etc.
Mooney Events - A great source of info on Mooney fly-ins as well as information on various models.
Mooney Caravan - The annual flight of Mooneys to EAA Airventure at Oshkosh. I participated for the first time last year (you can read the report here). Definitely something every Mooney pilot should do at least once!
Angelflight Central - A charitable organization that helps transport people in need at no cost using the benefits of general aviation. I have volunteered with Angelflight Central (which covers the midwest) since shortly after I arrived in Chicago during the summer of 2005.
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