Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Bone is home

It was a long wait but I finally picked up my new plane.  The Twin Bonanza is home at last!

Beauty.  It's hard to put into perspective how big the thing is when you look at a photo, it fills up the entire 50 ft wide hangar.  That nose strut is the same as on a King Air.  It's a tight fit so I'm going to need to be more careful when putting her away.

The ride is sweet.  I'm 6'4" and I can stretch my legs out straight in the pilot seat with no bending whenever I want to.   There is 2 feet of width between me and the copilot passenger.  Passengers can get up and change seats.  I can stand under the outer wing, and it's a LOW wing!  The geared props turn on about a 2/3 reduction so they turn slow and therefore it's fairly quiet for a big rumbling twin.  The engines are smooth as butter and the sound coming from the augmenter tubes give it a deep throaty roar.  I'm still getting used to the avionics and autopilot but slowly getting the groove of the knob twisting on the 530's again.  It will be a few more flights at least before I take her into IFR.

The fuel system is also a bit more complicated than my stone simple Baron.  Now I've got mains and aux tanks to deal with but it's pretty simple once you know how it works.  If you don't understand how it works it's pretty easy to screw it up too.  The D50E is well designed and the return lines return the fuel to whatever tank is selected, which simplifies things somewhat.  Speaking of fuel I'm pleasantly surprised at the burns and the speeds.  I'm about 15-20 kts slower than the Baron on only a few more GPH.  In cruise we were truing out at 160 kts and burning 26 gph after some extra leaning. The pressure carbs do a pretty good job on their own so you don't really need to touch the mixtures, but I found I only lost a few kts to save about 6 gallons an hour.

The plane was in Griffin Georgia and so it was about 16 hrs of flying getting her home.  On the way home the line guy at Santa Monica thought it was a turboprop so I'm going to need to be careful when fueling.  I've resolved to only fill it myself or at least be there whenever it's fueled.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Honda Jet

I got my first 1.0 hrs of dual in the Honda Jet!  Wow, what an airplane.  It's super high tech and totally automated.  I also spent an hour on the ground getting up to speed on the G3000 system which came pretty naturally because, well it's just Garmin.  Think of a G1000 mated up to a GTN 750.  Totally intuitive if you've got Garmin time.

Our flight was only an hour, Reno and back.  The really thrilling thing was the acceleration off the block.  Engines come up with feet on the brakes, the throttles go to the TO position which is full throttle, brakes come off and you launch forward with roller coaster like acceleration.  You're pressed to the back of your seat and before you know it you're through V1 about 109 kts and climbing at 4,000 fpm.  It's also by far, the quietest airplane I've ever been in.  You can barely hear the engines when you power them on.  Headsets are not even close to being necessary for passengers.  At cruise it's just as quiet as can be.

I thought it rode the bumps fairly well.  We had weather up to 13k ft and bouncing along for maybe 2 or 3 minutes before we were on top in smooth air humming along at 380 kts at 24,000 ft.  Up high it goes faster and burns even less fuel, but this was such a short hop we didn't bother to go any higher.  Amazingly, we burned within 20 pounds of what the C90 used to burn for the same trip.  Good fun. The plan is to get 75 to 100 hrs in the thing before going for the type rating and combining that with my ATP ride.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Columbia 400

Today I got my first time and a few landings in the Columbia 400.  To say I really loved this airplane would be an understatement.  The pushrod controls are smooth as heck and the thing smooth and fast like a rocket.   It had been awhile since I've flown the G1000 but it came back quickly.  Awesome airplane with great avionics and autopilot but still fun as heck to fly.  Why are these not as popular as the Cirrus?  With the twin turbo we were getting 170 kts over the ground at 15 gph.  Really cool airplane.