People keep asking me: What is the deal with your Evolution, and would you get one again, and I should I get one etc etc etc.
SOOOOOOO, about 800 hours of operation into N844X, here we go:
I built up about 2,500 hours or so in Cessna 152, then 172, then Piper Archer, then Cirrus-SR-22, then Lancair Columbia 400.
They all did their job (though the Columbia 400 the clear winner, with smoothness and precision that was just impossible to beat, the best anyone could EVER hope for is just to MATCH a Columbia-400 for simple style, smoothness, and precision of flight and control. You can fly that thing so smooth that you could hardly tell the phase of flight you were in, and I got to the point I could pull the mixture on the runway roll-out and let the plane roll clear through the hi-speed turn-off and right up to my parking space with a stopped prop. Well, you were supposed to let the engine cool for 2 minutes at idle after flight, but I also go it it so I could do a long power-off descent without ever touching the throttle during the approach, so I was actually at idle for the last 10 minutes of the flight.)
So the planes were all great, especially the Columbia-400, but the Columbia had one critical issue: It wasn’t pressurized. And it had to fly at 18,000 to 24,000 ft to go fast (195 knots).
That means you had to wear an oxygen canula. Fine. But if the canula failed, and you did not KNOW it failed, then you died.
So, no-go on that.
Time to either fly at 12,500 ft (no oxygen needed) or fly in a pressurized plane (If it depressurizes, you KNOW!!! So you pop on your O2 mask and descend. Problem solved.)
There just aren’t many certified pressurized singles, though, and no way am I getting some giant old twin-engine gas-guzzler or some wrinkled old obsolete 1960s Cessna or any other sad, old, wrinkled plane like that that happens to by lying around left over from 1970 like a disco-suit dug out of someones attic. Hey, it’s what you can FIND lying around somewhere.
The FAA has destroyed our ability to certify NEW planes, in the name of SAFETY… so we’re stuck with the wrinkled old garbage left over from the disco-era at BEST. The FAA is actually killing people by blockading our ability to certify and buy new planes, which can obviously be more safe and efficient.
So the sad old wrinkled rattle-traps were out of the question, the clumsy, gas-guzzling twins were a no-go (BONUS: when the first engine quits, you still have another to carry you to the scene of the accident!) and really ANYTHING FAA-certified was either an antique relic or a fuel-hogging jet. The Cirrus SR-22 or Columbia-400 were strong attempts to buck that trend of the government ruining whatever it touched, but with their lack of pressurization, they were stuck at low altitude… and therefore low speed.
Jets go fast, but are horribly in-efficient at any speed that is not pretty close to, but still below, the speed of sound.
And you can’t go fast unless you have comparatively low frontal area.
And you can’t have that in a small plane, because even sitting down we are taller than we are deep, so the only way to get an airplane to have a small frontal area is to have a lot of people on board, each sitting BEHIND the other. Therefore, a small plane with only a few people can never have a small frontal area for its’ size. And a small frontal area is needed to go fast. Therefore, a small plane can never go fast, efficiently.
Lying down on your stomach to fly could in theory go a ways towards solving this, not kidding.
But I’m not doing that.
And I have to carry 4 people.
So my options were limited. Very very very very very very limited.
But I sure did love that Lancair Columbia. I looked at the Lancair-4s, but their safety and stall characteristics seemed pretty bad, and they had like NO room inside, and build quality was going to be really questionable.
So I tried out an Evolution: A new, experimental, non-certified, carbon-fiber single-engine Lancair turboprop packing a 750-hp Pratt and Whitney PT6 that run up to almost 300 knots. The test flight of their demo bird went OK, but I was sure aware that the STABILITY and PRECISION OF CONTROL was JUST NOT THERE compared to the Columbia-400! I just couldn’t be as precise in pitch, roll, or yaw control, and had to just keep baby-sitting the airplane on all 3 axis for the whole flight.
The answer is pretty simple: Horsepower.
The TAILFEATHERS of the airplane are like the FEATHERS of an ARROW. Normally, if the airplane pops its’ nose up, un-commanded, then the tailfeathers dip DOWN into the airstream, catch that air, and pop right back up again, lower the nose. That’s stability.
But what if there is a gigantic freaking prop up there, blasting propwash aft with 750 hp of impact? At that point, if the nose pops up un-commanded, then the tail-feathers will of course drop down… BUT THEY WON’T DROP INTO CLEAN AIR AND TRY TO PUSH BACK UP AGAIN AS MUCH! WHY? BECAUSE THE STREAM OF AIR THE TAILFEATHERS LIVE IS GETTING DRIVEN DOWN AS WILL BY THAT PROP! Put another way, that giant prop with all that propwash ROTATES THE AIRSTREAM WITH THE AIRPLANE to some degree, which negates the stabilizing effect of the tail to some degree. Think about it: The tailfeathers only stabilize the airplane if they are getting dumped into un-disturbed air: If the air-stream rotates with the airplane, then the tailfeathers have no away of knowing that the airplane ever rotated, so they surely won’t ever push the nose back to level! Now to be clear: The propwash only does this TO SOME DEGREE, but coming out a Columbia-400 and into an Evo, you really notice that the stability about all 3 axis is wanting, comparatively speaking.
AAANNNDDDDD it gets a little more demanding: Every time you touch the power, that:
-changes the spiral slipstream over the vertical stab, requiring change in RUDDER,
-changes the speed of the airplane, requiring change in ELEVATOR,
-changes the torque on the airplane, requiring change in AILERON.
So touching power requires reaction on all 3 axis. You have to pay attention kind of like you do in a helicopter.
So my test-flight in the plane had me noticing these things about handling to be… aware of.
The factory pilot also forgot to turn off the hydraulic bypass (a thing you need to do whenever you shut down, as I would later learn) so the landing gear would not retract until he brought the plane back for landing, discovered his error, and then we flew again. Forgetting to turn off the hydraulic bypass is no big deal, of course… but.. why would we need to bypass the hydraulic system to begin with??? THAT… is kind of a big deal.
Which takes me to the next part of this article: THE SYSTEMS.
The designer of this airplane wanted to save WEIGHT. This is a perfectly fine goal for an airplane, but he went so far with the weight-savings (and cost-savings? I don’t know?) that we got:
1: A landing gear that was so flimsy that you could see it flex when the airplane taxied.
2: A nosegear actuator that was so flimsy that the nosegear could collapse in encounterable circumstances.
3: A pitch-trim system whose gears were… PLASTIC. With a feeble little actuator arm for the elevator trim.
4: The door latches, to hold the door on, in flight, were made of aluminum. These flimsy aluminum latches were weak enough that if ONE of them failed, it was not at all clear that the others would be able to bear the pressurization load. A chain-reaction failure was feared that would see each latch fail in sequence as it took up an ever-increasing portion of the load until the door left the airplane. One would then expect the door to encounter the horizontal stabilizer on its’ way out of the area. At which point your cheap plastic elevator trim components become the least of your problems. Stainless STEEL door latches would save this fate.. at a weight cost of maybe 4 ounces.
5: The wing incidence was wrong WITHOUT QUESTION. The plane would cruise in a VERY NOSE-LOW attitude, that giant wing wanting to produce too much lift, and the nose pointing down in cruise just to hold the plane back from climbing. Dragging the fuselage through the air at this nose-down angles increases drag, and causes the prop to pull us DOWN, of course.
6: The windows are plexiglass, 1 layer only, people have had them, um, depart the airplane. In flight. The front windshields. You have to paint the airplane a LIGHT color on top to keep the resin temperatures DOWN around the windows bonds. It says it in the manual. A guy that lost his windshield had his plane painted jet black. (I guess he thought it LOOKED cool?)
7: The hydraulic system that beings the gear up and down is of course subjected to extreme temperatures in flight. It works just fine, but after landing, while parked overnight, all those temperatures would of course gradually equalize to ambient temperature. When the temperature changes, so does the pressure. And that pressure-change would start (wait for it) the gear-retraction cycle. On the ground. In the middle of the night. Or when getting towed. Yes, this happened to me. Right down onto the prop.
8: The avionics re G1000. This is Garmins first foray into full-panel, and it shows. The PT6 engine has a NUMBER of ITT (inlet to the turbine) temperature sensors (thy have to measure up to one THOUSAND degrees… CELSIUS) and if even ONE of them fails: The avionics become far too confused to continue and the entire airplane is bricked for weeks while the shop tries to re-install and re-configure the entire G1000 software stack. Yes, this happened to me.
So we got a pre-mature, un-finished, buggy design. But I could say the same thing about a TransAm, if comparing it to a Toyota Camry.
So now the good news: This is all fixable, and in my plane, fixed already or in the process of being fixed now.
You just have to accept that an annual with Aaron Brook at Advanced Aviation turns into a 6-month re-build and upgrade, and your plane comes out better than new, with all these issues addressed if they haven’t already been fixed. Let’s go through them. I’ll track the numbers above.
1: Lancair already switched to a way, way, way heavier-duty landing gear. It LOOKS like it belongs on a Canadair Regional Jet. (Too bad they got it from China, as I recall, and the welds turned out to be defective in some models, but that’s still fixable).
2: Aaron can now replace the nosegear actuator with a new design that is 2 strong struts (1 on either side, rather than the 1-side only flimsy actuator we have now). Aaron tells me that when he’s done, I’ll be able to hit a deer and keep my nosegear. I like animals more than machines, so I’ll be more worried about the deer, but OK.
3: I already got a stronger elevator servo in there with a titanium pushrod to the trim tab.
4: I already switched to stainless steel door latches. Now my 850-hp airplane weighs 4 ounces more. But the door will stay on in flight. Gee, I wonder if it was worth it.
(NOTE: I have the 850-hp PT6-42, not the factory-standard 750 hp PT6-135, so not a typo when I switched from 750 hp above to 850 hp here)
5: I already got my wing incidence lowered, so now I cruise… not nose down.. as MUCH. And I cruise 7 knots faster with zero change in fuel flow, and the plane feels a little faster on final since the nose isn’t pointed down quite so much. It’s a much nicer-feeling airplane now. I WANT the wing incidence lowered MORE, but it would not fit on the fuselage any more if we did that.
6: The windows that failed were not properly prepped before install (mine WERE prepped properly before install. I did it myself and this has been checked).
7: I’ve had some mods made to the hydraulic system to stop the retract-on-ground bug, but I STILL use the hydraulic bypass AND I put remove-before-flight locks on the landing gear when stopped, so in addition to the new hydraulic system that ATTEMPTS to fix this, I have TWO layers pf protection in place at all times against anon-ground gear-retract.
8: Aarons’ team is upgrading me to Garmin G3X now, which is a much more modernized Garmin system and is apparently much harder to brick with small failures. The interface buttons to the touch-screen are still embarassingly-cartoonish, though. They look like they were designed for Homer Simpson.
BONUS: I’m getting a new cowl that will apparently give more airflow and torque to the engine, and a new 5-blade prop with THINNER blade tips that will apparently let the prop tips get up closer to Mach-1 without building up drag-inducing shock-waves, which will let my cruise Mach number apparently creep up above the 0.50 or so that I do right now. We’ll find out.
NOTE: Evolutions are about to get built again in Eastern Europe as I understand it, and apparently many or perhaps even all of the shortcomings mentioned above ARE being addressed, which is great! Consult with your sales person on those details as desired.
OK, so my Evo is coming out of the shop shortly from its’ annual-turned-it-upgrade. And now, this plane is much closer to the way it SHOULD have been done the first time, in a perfect world (though to be fair, the G3X did NOT EXIST when the Evo was first designed!)
So now we got a pretty bad-ass airplane.
But the accident record of this airplane is… awful. There are about 85 of them in the world flying, and I can think of about 5 fatal accidents in them right now.
That’s a record of… oh, about a 6% chance of your airplane taking you in a fatal accident. Did you know that open-heart surgery has a fatal loss rate of about 3%?
So owning a Lancair Evolution is running a safety record about as good as having open-heart surgery. Twice.
But here’s the really fascinating thing: The absolutely terrible accident history does not, as far as I can tell, have a single thing to do with a single point I mentioned above!
Of the accidents I know of, every single one seems to me to be caused by gross, gross failures of maintenance or operation, not the design itself!
Let’s look at them:
Fatal accident: An Evo flew off over the ocean, pilot totally non-responsive. This was apparently a medical issue experienced by the pilot. The plane did not appear to be de-pressurized, and surely did have emergency oxygen, so this does appear to be a medical issue on the part of the pilot, as I understand it.
Fatal accident: An Evo flew into ice that kept building, and building, and building, and building until there was finally just no way the plane could fly. The pilot’s lack of attention to the ice-buildup is shocking to me. You could even tell it was building up ice from the deteriorating performance noted in the radar track! The speed deteriorated and the airfoil degraded from apparent ice accumulation until the inevitable stall, which apparently led to repeated recoveries and accelerated stalls at increasing g-load until at least one wing was finally pulled from the airplane. The radar track suddenly switched from on-course track to a track that perfectly matched the prevailing hi-altitude winds as the parts fell. The pilots’ last transmission was along the lines of “I don’t know what it’s doing”.
Fatal accident: A plane flips over on short final and crashes. As I understand it, there was no safety wire on the flap bolts. You know, the things that hold the flaps down. So the bolt inevitably worked loose and popped up a flap on short final, apparently. Safety wire is that thing that keeps bolts from working loose over time, and is surely part of the specified design for the flap system.
Fatal accident: A guy apparently kept forgetting to turn on his generator. This time, when the batteries inevitably died, he (and I swear I’m not making this up) flew down to below the stall speed at low altitude over a golf course while calling his mechanic on his cell-phone while flying. He was apparently still on the phone when the stalling plane hit the ground.
A guy that walked away: A guy was flying along the clouds, as I recall, building up ice on autopilot, as I understand it. Apparently not aware of the ice building up, over time, towards the inevitable. Eventually the ice dragged the speed down so low that the autopilot predictably dropped out and pilot was not able to maintain aircraft attitude in IMC. I replayed this flight from the flight data recorder that someone actually gave me, and this guy saw something like 6 Gs, up-side down, in the clouds, at something like 300 knots indicated airspeed, which is more than we see in red-line cruise in an airliner. The airplane held together. Once he got out of the clouds and recovered normal flight, the flight data recorder shows that one of the first things he did was (wait for it) turn the autopilot back on.
So we’ve seen the design was immature at launch, but IS FIXABLE and HAS BEEN or IS GETTING fixed now (my plane is in the shop with Aaron getting the final cowl, prop, avionics, and landing gear upgrades as I write this, thus completing ALL of the upgrades mentioned above, which address ALL of the weak-points in the airplane that I know of).
So we’ve seen that ALL of the serious or fatal accidents that I know of were apparently caused by what seems to me to be inconceivable complacency in construction, maintenance, or operation.
So…. Where does that leave us with the AIRPLANE?
It leaves us with the airplane here:
We understand that we have to build it properly the first time.
We understand that we have to, after that, upgrade it from its’ initial design to make it as good as it needs to be.
We understand that we have to be medically fit to fly, and that we have to fly it like our lives depend on it.
We understand that we have to pay attention to it every moment of the flight.
IF we do ALL of THESE things, then the statistics show that we are positioned to realize some really, really, really incredible flying, safely.
HOW does this plane do this really, really, really incredible flying, safely?
It all starts with the airframe. It’s all carbon-fiber, keeping the weight down, the repairability up, and acting as a nice sound-deadener: No oil-canning here in a light, stiff, strong, carbon-fiber body! This light weight is hugely valuable: It lets you carry plenty, accelerate and go quickly, and climb fast (about 4,000 fpm in mine on a good day).
The next step is the wing. This plane has a large, generous wing, nice and rounded and thick to give gentle, predictable stall characteristics (assuming you aren’t upside down in the clouds covered in ice at 300 knots indicated and 6Gs, of course). The nice big wing gets the stall speed down into 75-knot range, with stall characteristics that are very nice: A nice rumble, clear communication of the impending loss of lift, and a nice drop, strong enough to tell you what it’s doing, gentle enough to be recoverable by easing off the stick. Of course, you need to have the situational awareness to not let that wing get covered in ice, and attitude awareness to keep it wings-level as you ease off the stick to recover a flyable angle of attack, for these good stall characteristics to pay you dividends.
Then next big design element is the flaps. They are huge, and have a carefully-designed slot to let air shoot through the gap at high-speed, pulling a Bernoulli with hi-speed, low-pressure flow over the flaps, and plenty of energy from the slot keeping the flow attached even at large flap deflections. All this lift pays off big: Get those flaps down and the speed bleeds right off quickly from all that drag, and the nose pops right over from all that lift, and your visibility on final approach is simply EXCELLENT. The plane feels like it has all the lift in the world on final approach with those huge, perfectly-designed flaps on that big, carefully-designed wing. You can stall at about 60 knots at that point and the touchdown never feels too fast to me.
The next big design element is the engine. Be it a 750 or 850 hp Pratt, the power is more than plentiful, and the engine is so smooooooooooth! Starting those things is a thrill every time, as that turbine RPM comes up and the fuel and temperatures following that, and then the growl of the prop as that thing idles at what SOUNDS like more power than Cessna at FULL power! PT6’s feel like living, breathing things, much more so than a recip engine in my opinion. With a PT6, when you advance the throttle, FIRST the fuel flow comes up as more fuel is dumped into the compressor. Then the TEMPERATURE rises as that fuel burns. The engine doesn’t change PITCH yet, but it does get LOUDER from the additional combustion. As the compressor then starts to speed up, the PITCH of the compressor raises to match that increased VOLUME. Once that compressor has spun up, its’ screaming output makes its’ way forward to the turbine, which is on a completely DIFFERENT shaft, turning at a totally DIFFERENT rpm than the compressor. That output of one-thousand five-hundred degree faranheit air then hits the turbine, and THAT spins up, connected to the prop. NOW the prop starts to spin up, with it’s GROWL. About then you get pushed back in the seat, and the whole thing is SMOOTH. It’s all about all that air and spinning turbines and then prop. Oh and also it weighs about as much as a little aluminum tube with a few little pinwheels in it cuz that’s all it is.
The next big design element is the prop. In ANY air or space propulsion system ever, the WASTE, even if the engine is operating at its maximum theoretical efficiency, comes from kicking the air or fuel BACK to make yourself go FORWARDS. The faster you kick the air back, the more the waste. So how do you avoid all that waste? You don’t kick the air back too fast. So how do you get thrust without kicking the air back too fast? You just grab MORE OF IT. The more air you grab, the less quickly you have to push it back. The less quickly you have to push it back, the lower the waste. Now you know why high bypass jet engines have such huge fans that grab so much air. Now you know why it is so valuable for the Evolution to have a gigantic prop.
So we have a light-weight, stiff, smooth carbon-fiber body with a big, safe, nicely-behaved wing with huge, effective slotted flaps and a light-weight little aluminum engine dishing out huge amounts of power to a giant propeller that efficiently delivers that power to the airstream. The result is a plane that cruises almost as fast as some Cessna Citations, but approaches the runway at the same speed as a Cirrus SR-22. It’s just a carbon-fiber bubble driven by a little aluminum tube with fire in it, pulling its’ tail along in its’ own propwash, making you always watch what it’s doing. It climbs at maybe about 3,000 fpm at low altitude and modest weights, 4,000 fpm at low altitude and light weights on a cold day, cruises at 305 knots (300 knots before the wing incidence was lowered, so lowering that got it 5 knots) and idles at 20 gallons per hour on the ground, cruises at 40 gallons per hour, 305 knots.
So how do we QUANTIFY if this design really works?
It all starts with its’ figure of merit.
A figure of merit is a number that is some sort of output of a mathematical equation whose INPUTS are the characteristics of the machine or operation, and whose output is the figure of merit: How useful the thing is.
Figure of merit for an airplane might be:
MERIT = speed x range x payload x number of airports the airplane can access / fuel used
You see what I did there?
More speed? Better figure of merit!
More range? Better figure of merit!
More payload? Better figure of merit!
More airports it can access? Better figure of merit!
More fuel used? WORSE figure of merit! (we DIVIDE by the fuel used, not multiply!)
How does the Evolution stack up on a figure of merit?
We calculate the way we always calculate the figure of merit: Load in all the inputs!
Well, the speed is over 300 freaking knots on a single little propeller. SPEED? Mic-drop.
Range? One THOUSAND miles. Hey, the wings fill all the way up with gas, from one wing-tip to the other, and there’s only one engine drinking!
Payload? It has 750 to 850 horsepower and weighs way less than Geo Metro and has a huge amount of room for four. You can have 4 people and bags and still carry some pretty decent fuel. Payload is great. They are actually able increase the payload by strengthening the (can you guess it?) landing gear.
Airports it can access? The WING is LARGE. The FLAPS are HUGE. These things together get the approach speed down to 90 knots with PLENTY of safety margin. You can do 77 knots on short final and still have a 30% stall margin. Thats the same approach speed as a Cirrus SR-22 or Columbia-400. With low approach speeds like that, and 750 to 850 hp on a lightweight carbon-fiber airframe to get out of there again, this thing can access just about any paved runway, and plenty of grass ones, too. (though I would upgrade the landing gear first!) So it can approach a LOT of airports since it can even get to the SHORT runways. Put a big number in that slot of the equation.
Fuel used? You want this one to be small (we DIVIDE by it!) and, with one engine, yah, that fuel flow number is.. maybe not so terrible. Better than a jet.
A note, though: That figure of merit is ONLY good if you are FLYING AT 28,000 FEET!
The SPEED of the airplane comes WAY DOWN when you get into thicker air at lower altitudes, while the fuel flow only comes UP.
One way to look at it: You gotta balance each molecule of air with a certain amount of fuel, and you gotta shove each molecule of air aside to get where you’re going. If you want to minimize fuel flow and drag: Get away from the air so not so much of it is in the way.
Another way of looking at it: These turbines ONLY WORK RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE SPINNING AT FULL SPEED. If you slow that turbine down, the pressure ratios are no good any more! Visualize it this way: A recip engine can run as slow as it wants: That air is still going into that cylinder and getting sealed up in there. The compression ratio is that same at 500 rpm and 5,000 rpm. There’s no difference. The compression ratio is the same. That iair is trapped in there and ain’t going anywhere until you let it out with a valve. So that engine can turn as slow as you like and still make the same torque. But turbines can’t do that! THERE’S NO ENCLOSED SPACE! THE AIR CAN GO RIGHT THROUGH! When a turbine engine is not running, or not running fast, it’s not an engine! It’s a chain-link fence! The air just blows right through! My Evo idles at about 20 gallons per hour, taxiing at maybe 25 knots. It cruises at 40 gallons per hour, going 305 knots.
Double the fuel flow and you go from 25 knots to 305 knots.
That’s how good the engine is when it is running fast, and how bad it is when it is running slow.
So the turbine (all turbines) HAS to turn at 100% RPM to be efficient (keeping all those pressure up, which can only happen dynamically) and if you go to 100% RPM at low altitude in that thick air you will over-torque the engine and over-speed your airplane running into an aerodynamic brick wall and un-speakably awful efficiency. At low altitude in tick air you HAVE to slow the engine down. But then it becomes a chain-link fence, not an engine. You can’t win. Not at low altitude. The ONLY way that engine will work right is if it can spin 100% RPM, The ONLY way it can spin 100% RPM without over-torquing everything and running into a wall of air is to do it in THIN air. The only way to get to THIN air is to be at high altitude. Now you know why jets fly high. And you need to do the same thing with a turboprop.
So the figure of merit of the Evo is great, but ONLY if you (here we go again) operate the airplane properly. And for this plane, that means 28,000 feet.
So when would you want to USE one?
It all depends ON THE TRIP
ASSUMING YOU HAVE BETWEEN 1 AND FOUR PEOPLE POSSIBLY WITH PLENTY OF BAGS, I shall now enumerate my optimal mode of transport for each trip:
0-1 miles: WALK! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! GET THE FUCK OUTSIDE AND WALK!
1-25 miles: Tesla Model-3 performance (so good it’s ridiculous. fast, cheap, easy, drives great, no gas)
25-75 miles: Lucid AIR GT (way more luxurious and comfortable than the Tesla, far more impressive, better for long trips)
75-125 miles: Cessna 172 (no way is it worth the hassle of a faster plane for such a short trip)
125-250 miles: Cirrus SR-22 (SO well designed. So nice to fly)
250-400 miles: Columbia-300 (not the 400… the un-pressurized high-altitude seems too dangerous to me. The Columbia-300 fixes that)
400-1,000 miles: Lancair Evolution (time to drop the mic. time for performance, but you better be up to the job)
1,000-10,000 miles: Boeing 787 Dreamliner (soooo comfortable. you have to try it. it really is better)
10,000-Moon: Space-X Falcon 9.
Moon-Mars: Space-X Starship (still in development, they still blow up every time)
Mars-Beyond: Don’t know yet.
So those are the machines to take, in my opinion, where the Evolution is only suggested by me IF you are comfortable with the limitations and requirements mentioned above. (Personally, I AM comfortable with those limitations and requirements. Flying seems to be one of those few things left where we have unlimited freedom and discretion with complete accountability).