Saturday, February 17, 2024

Not Flying But Did Some Driving And Approaches Anyways

So today was the day we would finally fly the Archer and Dakota down to Adrian, leave the Archer to get the new autopilot installed and all fly back in the Dakota.

Weather forecast last night was favorable and I would fly the Archer, E. in the Dakota, and he was bringing as buddy along as well. 

Should be simple, about a 55 nautical mile flight, and we would finally have the Archer getting thew work done after waiting over a year since we ordered the autopilot.

Easy, right?

It was not to be.

So we got up early, and the weather basically sucked.

IFR conditions with light snow and icing over Pontiac airport, with another large cell in between Adrian and Pontiac, and Adrian also going IFR at times.

We went to the airport anyways, hoping for a break in the weather and there never really was one where Pontiac, Adrian, and the space between were all not IFR.

That kinda sucked. So we all got a chance to drive E.'s Chevy EV Equinox and drove to get some breakfast. 

E. works for GM and he has a pre-release of the 2025 Electric Equinox RS to test drive and it is rather interesting to drive.

Overall, it's a nice-looking EV SUV, and nicely trimmed out.

It does have very weird flush door handles that come out of the doors when you approach, but open towards the rear of the car.  While it looks aerodynamic, the feel when using them is that your hand is going to slip off the handle as you open the door. They really should have had them facing the other way.  Also, if you leave your car outdoors in freezing rain, these flush fit handles may give you issues.

Features on the Equinox EV include an interesting one-pedal mode, where if you're not applying force to the accelerator it begins to slow down and even stop the vehicle - that's quite a weird feeling. It is an option you can switch on and off while driving.

Handling was absolutely superb even in snow, and the traction control was really spot on in preventing slipping on snow-covered roads and made driving in the snow very easy even on turns. Acceleration is effortless,  the vehicle is rather nice and responsive and road noise is minimal. 

However, driving it is not completely intuitive. The shifter is on a stalk on the right side of the steering wheel and is really not intuitive to use at all. Wiper controls are rotating dials on the left stalk and again not exactly intuitive to find.

It has a great and large touchscreen but lacks tactile buttons for most selections, and, for whatever reason, the icons are small and close together which makes selections more complicated while driving, requiring you to take your eyes off the road to find the selection you want.  Most cars with touchscreens are like this and the loss of tactile buttons where you don't need to move your eyes from outside the car but can find your options by feel is a personal pet peeve.

Downside on the Equinox is the claimed 300 mile range on the battery isn't, especially in winter conditions.

If you're not doing road trips and just using it for an in-city trips and you can regularly charge it, it would make a lot of sense.  Taking long trips may turn your voyage to Chicago into a 14-hour trip rather than the 5 in a normal car.

If they made this model as a hybrid, I believe it would sell like hotcakes as that would solve the range problem by having a generator on board to recharge the batteries, but hybrids aren't, for whatever reason, the fashionable vehicle these days with the current crop of auto execs and politicians pushing EVs over everything.  

After driving the EV, we then used the simulator at DCT as it was available and  E. is a part-time instructor, so  each of the three of us logged two ILS approaches at "Flint" down to minimums in the sim.  The sim is as sensitive as I remember it, and flying an approach in it is indeed harder than in an actual airplane.  E.  made the scenario a bit challenging with some crosswinds, cumulus clouds to bounce one around,  and cloud cover opening right at minimums.

Good practice, and now I need 4 more approaches to get current, which I need to do, and soon.

The weather never lifted so we called it off and we will see if we get a break tomorrow.

1 comment:

B said...

I have never understood why the simulators are so terribly sensitive. I believe that it is simply that they are not set up correctly, and the default is "too sensitive".

I used to build simulators, and ours has sensitivity adjustments in the software for "feel" in both roll, pitch and yaw that could make them both feel and "fly" like the real thing.