No, I wasn’t, as it happens. You see, I’d been invited to an executive luncheon to discuss some partnership opportunities best left undetailed. It was a great meeting, but the meal itself was jarring. It started with a fruit salad – a bit of pineapple hollowed out with a couple of spoonfuls of sweet rice, some strawberries, and some sliced mangoes. The word at my table, including that of some new friends from a company that makes Very Light Jets (friends, but not great friends – no stick time was offered at any point in the meal) was that the presentation was sans pareil. As it turned out, the meal was also sans main course, since the next thing to arrive was dessert. I was a bit nonplussed (not to mention nonfull), but I shrugged it off and focused on the meeting itself, which was considerably more substantial.
Later that night, I ran into a couple of people who’d also attended, and tentatively broached the subject of lunch with "Now, was it just me-" only to be met with an immediate "Oh my god, no! We couldn’t believe it!" Vindication was satisfying, though a ham sandwich would have been more so.
The most notable customer at the booth that day was a guy who was kind of enough to point out that he was a real pilot with literally hundreds of hours who was just about to give up on our little video game. He went on to explain that, in some of our aircraft, our gauges just "go nuts." I had him show me the problem on one of our demo stations. We started at Denver in the Beech Baron, and he took off and started pointing out problems as he climbed out. First, as he moved the yoke all the way fore and aft to try to maintain a particular pitch attitude, he pointed to the Vertical Speed Indicator, which was indicating momentary climbs and descents … as the airplane climbed and descended. Then he showed that the altimeter was moving as well, as if the altitude was changing … which, conveniently, it was. I pointed out that everything was happening exactly as it should with a diplomacy that was, well, sans pareil.
Then he went on to point out that the airspeed indicator was broken, because he was only making 90 knots at full power. At 10,000 feet, with mixture set to full rich. I suggested that he either lean the mixture or just turn on the Automixture feature in FSX, and he said "Why on earth would I want to lean the mixture?!?!"
"Because of your altitude…? It’s common practice to lean a piston engine above 3,000 feet, otherwise it will continue to lose power as you climb," I replied.
"Well, I’ve never heard of such of thing. I never touch the mixture when I fly, and I’ve flown for years!"
What was there to say to that?
We’ll leave that in the rhetorical category, and close with a few pictures: