August 29, 2008

Big Bird, Part Two

Sometime a week or two ago I managed to get my high performance endorsement (and log a bit of actual IFR, a couple of approaches, and an ad hoc hold) from John in the club's G1000-equipped Cessna 182 that I've flown a couple of times now (thanks John!).

I think the only thing that struck me as unfamiliar was the use of flaps 10 (degrees) at the beginning of a cruise or approach descent, i.e. miles from anywhere, and at a relatively high speed and altitude. In all the planes I've flown so far (well, those that had flaps, anyway), flaps typically didn't get used until well into the final approach or even only once you'd joined the pattern — mostly, in the case of the older planes, because the flaps could only be used at relatively low airspeeds (from memory, the Arrow allowed you to lower flaps at a fairly high airspeed, but I seem to remember lowering gear first before the flaps in that plane). The cowl flaps were also novel, but hardly complex or conceptually difficult; and the increased attention to leaning was predictable and fairly easily done with the G1000's engine analyzer display.

Landing was initially a little odd — the plane felt predictably nose-heavy — but it didn't take more than a handful of landings to get a feeling for the stabilized final approach and the various sight lines and to round out and flare at the right altitude for some nice smooth landings.

In any case, the club's 182 is a joy to fly: very stable, very predictable, and the engine has that same smooth powerful operation I remember from the Cirrus SR22; the G1000 and associated autopilot also make things more manageable. But hell it's expensive to rent and refuel, and it's difficult to believe it'll stay on-line at the club much longer unless more members see it as a way to do longer trips fairly economically with passengers. I'm unlikely to fly it much if at all myself unless it's to Santa Monica or Corvalis or somewhere like distant like that, with The Artists or someone who's willing to help defray the costs.

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Oh, and I know I mentioned this in a comment elsewhere, but sometime safety pilot and instrument student Evan H. got his instrument rating first try with Rich Batchelder, DPE. Congratulations to Evan (and of course John, his instructor).

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