Garmin GTX 345 ICAO Surveillance Code

I couldn’t find this online so I contacted Garmin support. Their reply:

Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

The ICAO code for the GTX 345 is EB2.

If you have any other questions please let us know.

Best Regards,

Garmin Aviation Support

Hope this helps you with your ICAO flight plans!

How I Record My Flights

I’ve started making videos of my flights, like this one:

To those who are interested in what I use to record, here’s the rundown:

Camera: GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition (Silver Edition might be a better choice for economy and options for lower storage per minute of video.) 32GB or 64GB micro SD card.

Filter: PolarPro Neutral Density (prevents prop from appearing in the video, by slowing shutter speed).

Audio: Sony ICD-PX440 Digital Audio Recorder and splitter cable to record headset audio. Ambient audio / engine noise recorded by the GoPro. My video camera rental repair tech drilled some holes in the waterproof GoPro case that the filter mounts on so audio could get in.

Camera Power: He also made a hole in the case so I could connect the USB power cable to the camera from this backup battery pack. GoPro batteries only last about 45 minutes otherwise.

Camera Mount: Currently a suction mount on the overhead dome light lens. This one is a little wobbly, so I am going to try a shorter profile mount next. Will advise.

Editing: iMovie on my Macbook Pro. Maybe I’ll upgrade to Final Cut Pro if I add another camera, as iMovie doesn’t support multi-track video.

View all my flying videos on YouTube.

X-Plane Cessna 172SP Ghost / Shadow Images After Instruments Moved

I wanted to edit the default Cessna 172SP airplane in X-Plane 10 to include an HSI, and a DME. I used Plane Maker to delete the standard DG, and insert a general aviation HSI linked to NAV1. It didn’t really fit in between the other instruments, so I moved them a little too.

I delete the standard CDA NAV1 head, moved NAV2 up to NAV1, and moved the ADF up to the NAV2 position. This gave me pretty much the same panel configuration as the Frasca 141 simulator I have been taking some flight lessons in.

I did a “Save As” to save the plane as a different name (for safety). When I loaded up the plane in X-Plane to fly it, I saw strange shadows / ghosts where the moved and deleted instruments previously were. This led me on a search for the answer to this mystery.

It turns out the makers of the original Cessna 172SP plane in X-Plane cleverly added an overlay of “glow” to the original set of instruments. The “instrument” in the plane maker Hierarchy list is called “gen_rotaryPANEL_LIT” and it uses the image cockpit/generic/panelnight-1_LIT.png to overlay the “glow” based on how much the panel lights are turned up. It’s most visible in X-Plane with night lighting.

The glows in that PNG file were positioned where my instruments were before. I editing it in GIMP to have the right glows in the right places, and I removed the extras I didn’t need. (Before I did that I made a copy of the entire Cessna172Sp aircraft sub-folder in case I messed something up.)

A simpler solution would be to remove the panelnight-1_LIT.png image from your cockpit/generic folder. You’d lose all the glows, but save a bunch of editing trouble.

Hope this info saves you some time and frustration.

Here’s the final result in all it’s glory.

Cessna 172SP ghost shadow instrument fix

Piper Archer Rudder Pedal Boot Re-Glue

The rubber boots on the rudder pedals of the 1979 Piper Archer II I share ownership of were falling off. They were originally glued to the metal pedals.

My first attempt at repair involved contact cement from the hardware store. I scraped the rubber and the metal surfaces as best I could, applied the contact cement, and pressed them together. After a few minutes it was clear they weren’t sticking.

I made some upgrades for attempt #2. I ordered some 3M 1300 neoprene contact cement. I bought Methyl Ethyl Ketone solvent from Home Depot for cleaning the surfaces, and I brought heat.

I washed the rubber boot in hot water because I knew it had been exposed to brake fluid last year. I warmed the metal pedal and the rubber boot with a hair dryer. (It was 56 degrees F in the hanger. 3M recommends 65+ degrees for the 1300 cement. I probably warmed them to 85 degrees.) I wiped down the boot and the pedal with the MEK solvent. I applied the 1300 cement, let it dry for a couple of minutes, and pressed the pieces together.

The bond was instant and as of a couple of weeks later it’s still holding fast. I gave the same treatment to two other loose rudder pedal boots, and they are now solid as well. Hope this info helps someone with the same problem.

Unexpected ILS Approach to Minimums on My 3rd Instrument Flight Lesson

My 3rd instrument lesson turned adventurous today. After practicing my first ever ILS approach at KBMI Bloomington, IL I flew the missed approach and practiced a VOR/DME hold for a while. TAF was good for the area but a cloud layer formed underneath us. We decided to head back to our base KCMI Champaign IFR.

No problem, I tracked a VOR radial back to Champaign and we setup for the VOR/DME 14L approach. We heard American Airlines (Envoy) ahead of us go missed on the GPS 14L approach (not a good sign), then Champaign approach informed us the ceiling had gone too low (300 AGL) for that approach and only the 32R ILS was being used. So they flew us all the way across the airspace and we got vectored for the ILS.

During that time my instructor leaned up the mixture to conserve fuel and I knew from that he was concerned about how far we’d have to go to find the ground if we had to go missed.

Here’s our view from above the fog, about 3,000 AGL, before we descended on our vector to pickup the localizer.


I descended into actual cloud layer for the first time. Got some spatial disorientation (it’s different than the hood) and kept it pretty stable. We joined the localizer and intercepted the glideslope, looking good. We had a tailwind and our fast groundspeed required a faster descent rate than I’m used to. I got a couple of dots high a couple of times, but overall kept the needles near center.

About 100 feet above our minimum altitude of 200 AGL, we still saw nothing but white. My needles were getting wobbly, so my instructor took the controls. Just then he said “I see it!” and within seconds we had landed.

We taxied back and he told me he’s never flown an ILS down to actual IMC minimums before. He’s got a ton of experience, but I guess that’s not something you set yourself up to do on purpose. He complimented me on my flying on my second-ever ILS, and I thanked him for his quick decision making in the last few seconds of our flight.

We were the last plane that made it in. I took this picture from the ramp after I got out of the plane.


I am excited that I got to have that experience. At the time I was stoked. I love instrument flying so far. Seven hours later I am a little freaked about the situation we could have found ourselves in if we had to go missed on the ILS, or if I have made mistakes on that approach. At the same time I can’t wait to go back up for my next instrument lesson.

Microsoft Word’s Focus Mode is Awesome

I don’t usually give compliments to Microsoft Products. It hurts a little to admit it actually, but I gotta give one.

The Focus mode in Microsoft Word is a beautiful thing. I’ve been working a lot lately on my investing book, and I find writing to be a demanding task. The Focus mode takes away all the menus, all the everything, leaving just you and the words on the page. It’s a little bit of zen. I love it.

In the menu click View, then Focus. That’s it.

Need a business or product idea?

I came across Google’s product taxonomy today while updating a product feed. It’s an excel sheet that lists 6216 different categories of product. They use it to organize their Google Shopping service. You could use it to find an idea for something to produce. Watercraft steering wheels, ice climbing tools, seismometers, or darkroom timers perhaps. Sometimes multiple choice is easier than brainstorming.