Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Flying the KingAir

My friend is a corporate pilot and flies a C90 KingAir Blackhawk.  He asked me to join him on an all day mission to make a couple runs to Idaho, since he could use the help of a second pilot.  Umm... twist my arm!  We woke up at o-dark-thirty and made a pre-dawn departure out of CCR in the plane.  On each leg we alternated between being the pilot flying with the other pilot handling the radio calls.  It was really cool to work in a two pilot crew, and the flight ended up being really educational.  The KingAir is an incredibly powerful and stout airframe and it flies best in the mid-twenties which is right where most of the weather seems to rear it's ugly head.  In my Baron I'm typically underneath most weather such as thunderstorms and navigating around underneath primarily by reference to the "big picture" on the Nexrad display.  Even though I have an old weather radar system I've been thinking of getting rid of it because I almost never use it, and it's heavy.  In the KingAir you're flying around and between cells and tactical weather radar becomes a really key piece of equipment.

This C90 has an old CRT EFIS, a WX500 and a KLN-90B gps.  Pretty simple actually in comparison to the equipment I have in my Baron, but entirely capable.  The WX500 turned out to be super useful since we encountered dozens of thunderstorms on our route.

We were about to enter this sucker when I saw a huge bolt of lightening out the front.  Umm... time to make some deviations!  We ended up threading our way through using the weather radar.

Boots worked well and shed most of the ice.

And a beautiful clear day on the other side.  The KA C90 is an incredible plane.  We burned about 75 GPH of jetA, but were cruising at 270 kts true in pressurized comfort above the bumps.  I really could get used to flying the KingAir!

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