Sunday, March 21, 2010

First family flight in Betty

Today we took the first family flight in "Betty".  I named the plane Betty after my late grandmother and in honor of my grandpa who flew a B-24 over The Hump during WW2, and whom I largely credit with sparking my initial interest in aviation by taking me for my first ride in a Cessna when I was 10 years old.  Anyway we now call the plane Betty,  and today we headed out to the airport to take her for a spin.  I wanted to keep the flight short and easy, and do something fun where we could land and walk somewhere cool... what better destination than Half Moon Bay?  We also invited our former nanny and her SO since she had shown an interest in going flying and it would also give me a chance to test out all six seats.

We took off out of CCR and headed right out over the bay.  Having two engines is nice for the warm fuzzy feelings when flying out over that cold bay where there are no good engine out landing options, especially now that I'll be regularly loading up about the most precious cargo imaginable.  We buzzed Alcatraz, flew through the uprights of the golden gate bridge and then headed down the VFR Ocean Beach corridor to KHAF... the kids did great.  After a nice lunch at the pub and walk on the beach, we headed back.  Two minutes into the return flight both kids were conked out...

Little Junius wasn't too keen on the headset, but I throttled it back and dialed back the rpm and it's actually pretty quiet in the cabin.  This sucker is slippery though, even dialed back to 18 inches and 2200 rpm we were doing nearly a 160 kts.

I've also been very pleasantly surprised with how much room there is in that back row. We fit six with no issue... loading is not as easy as the 58 with the huge doors and club seating, but with the big baggage door you can actually climb right through it to load up the back seats. Dina shot this quick video from the flight with all six of us, granted that two are small kids, but the normal sized adults had plenty of room too. The first part shows how if you get the large baggage door it's actually plenty big enough to climb right through. Forgive the watermark, I'm still evaluating this software...

Overall a good first flight for the family in Betty. For now I plan on keeping our trips under two hours, but the good news is that's a big range to cover in a plane that does 200 kts.

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