4.8 hrs this weekend :)

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by bigred177, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    My friend and I were planning a trip down to Port Aransas this past weekend for the end of his spring break. We were originally going to drive but when I was telling him about the great deal I got on the Cherokee I'm flying now, it sparked a bit of interest in going by air. It would be me, him, his girlfriend, and on of her friends. I took a look at it that night and the numbers actually all came together. I started looking at the cost of it all and talking with him about it. It actually didn't take much convincing at all to get him to bump the plane trip up to plan A. So after relentlessly watching the weather and goign over calculations, we met up at Georgetown (GTU).

    The first leg would be just us heading to Houston to pick up the girls. A nice .8 hr flight thanks to some nice tailwinds and we arrived at Sugarland (SGR). The city run FBO there is a great facility with friendly staff. While we were waiting for the girls to arrive, I had to go back out to the plane to grab some stuff. While the line guy was driving me back out to the plane I asked him if we could play a bit of a joke on the ladies and stop by a G4 sitting on the ramp acting like that's what we were going on. He liked the idea and said he would drive us there first.

    Once the girls arrived and I checked the W&B and weather one more time, we were headed out to the ramp. The plan from before could not have gone more perfectly. The G4 we were going to was getting ready to depart as well and had the APU running and stairs down as we pulled up. The line man had talked to the pilot while we were waiting who also enjoyed the idea. I don't think i have ever seen so much of a look of sheer amazement. Before we could get fully stopped and out of the golf cart both girls were about halfway up the stairs bags in hand :rofl::rofl::rofl:. After a bit of explaining we were able to talk them down and back on to the cart to head over to my equally comparable 1968 Cherokee 180 :D. Loaded everything/everybody up, gassed up, and took off for Ingleside (TFP).

    While airborne I discovered that my wonderful 10 year old database in the GPS did not have my airport in it with the new or old identifier. So I plugged in Rockport (RKP) which is about 8 miles north of Ingleside and directly on my course. Looking back I realize I should have checked while on the ground but it all worked out. After a 1.4 hr flight we were about 4nm north of the airport and I couldn't get the lights to come on. After confirming the frequency with Corpus Approach and messing with them some more they finally come on. An uneventful trip in the pattern and decent landing and we had arrived. I later learned that this was the girlfriend's friend's first time in a light plane and she was amazed at the "wonderful" landing I made :aureola:. Our friends met us there and we headed to the hotel.

    Sunday it was time to head home so we went back to the airport and started the art of loading everyone's luggage/body again. After a quick trip up the beach we were on course back to Sugarland. I should have logged this leg as solo time since I was the only one awake after a weekend of fun. Had a decent crosswind on the approach but still got the plane down relatively smoothly and back to the FBO to get unloaded and take fuel.

    The trip from Sugarland to Georgetown was pretty uneventful, just cruising along talkign with my friend about the amazing world of general aviation and answering any questions about the plane he had. Then, before we got back, we went over to one of the practice areas and did some stalls and steep turns since he wanted to see what they were like. He was amazed at how uneventful stalls were, he had the idea that there was a bit more falling out of the sky involved. We go back and secured the plane and he is now looking at every possible even we might be able to load the plane up and go to now.

    So, while they probably won't pick up flying lessons, we have a few new folks welcomed into our world and they all loved it.

    This was my first trip filling the plane up to gross weight and she sure handles differently than just me and half fuel. It turned out to be a great trip with great weather the whole way.
     
  2. rchamble

    rchamble Pre-Flight

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    SWEEETTT :yesnod:
     
  3. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Sounds like a lot of fun! Glad that you were able to put the plane to use and that everyone had a good time. Keep at it!
     
  4. Snaggletooth

    Snaggletooth Line Up and Wait

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    Great story.
     
  5. erichardwick

    erichardwick Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for sharing the story. Enjoyed reading it.
     
  6. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    A few things I realized:
    I need my instrument, I was sweating the weather Sunday a bit because it forecasted clouds.
    I need a true six seater, 4 is just not enough. :D How are the 260 Maules as a true six seater?

    A photo of our flying posse
     

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  7. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    It usually doesn't take people long to realize they need their instrument ratings. :)

    No idea on the Maule 260 as a six seater, but it's pretty hard to find a "true" single engine 6-seater without a turbine, at least in terms of having something with any sort of ability to carry 6 people and luggage. Although if you're just looking at weekend trips, it might not be an issue. Plus it looks like the two people in the middle of your picture are easy on weight and balance.

    Most singles (even planes in general) are best as 4-seaters, but some hold luggage better than others (note Chris, Tony, Rachel, and Leah in the 182RG at 6Y9). A practical 4-seater is generally fine. I have 6 seats and I've never had cause to make use of all 6 at once, and only occasionally had 5 people. The only reason I keep all 6 seats is because the plane came with them. A 182 or Dakota would likely do the job for you just fine, but a 182 would have more room to it. A Cherokee Six might also be a good option to look at, it would be a good 4-seater that would let you seat 6 when needed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  8. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    helps to have skinny friends too. neat trip looks like fun!
     
  9. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've been looking at the Six, I like them, good looking plane. I think a Seneca II or III would be a fun one too but more maintenance. I need more hours to qualify for anything with six seats though. :mad2:
     
  10. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I seem to recall you being relatively low time, no? If so, I'd say keep flying the Cherokee for a while as you get an idea of what your typical missions really are and learn more about what you might want. In my case what I wanted originally didn't change much from what I bought or need, but I ended up putting myself in a position where the plane I wanted was the plane I needed.
     
  11. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, I am a very low time pilot. But, it sure is fun thinking I need a six seat plane :). So yes, for now, I am sticking with the Cherokee and maybe I can upgrade in a few years and have a good friend with a six seat plane that lets me borrow it. I think the flight school at GTU has a six seat Bo that they rent once I get the proper times to rent it. Do they work okay for the occasional six seat, 5 day journey with one pretty big guy and some skinny friends?
     
  12. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not too good seeing how they don't make one. :D

     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  13. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Really? I thought there was a 235 and then a 260. Well how bout that.

    So, how's the 235 at being a six seater?
     
  14. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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  15. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    What I REALLY need, is a C-195 :yesnod:
     
  16. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've had to take partial fuel on a Seneca II just to take THREE people. Granted, all three of us were above average, but it is NOT a true six-place airplane for average folks. Works great for Dr. Bruce since his four-person family is only about 3 FAA people, but I'm 1.7 FAA people all by myself. ;)
     
  17. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Interesting, I'm about 1.4 FAA people myself. But it seems the majority of my friends that would be riding with me are at or below the FAA "person". Especially if we're loading up to go on a trip, about the only people I have been able to talk into flying with me on a trip are the same ones that enabled me to make a 1968 Cherokee a "4 seater":D.

    So I guess the Aztec is really the only piston twin that is a true 6 seat, and fuel kind of plane, in the class I'm looking at. But at the expense of speed.

    I just need to get a PC-12 or TBM-850 and not worry about it anymore. Haha.
     
  18. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I don't find 155 KTAS to be that bad, especially when I can get tailwinds to boost that up to 170-180. But when I'm going 130, it makes me said. When I'm going 90, it makes me cry.

    Well, maybe not cry. ;)
     
  19. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    155 kts isn't bad. But for anything more than a few hundred miles it might get a little painful. How is the cabin on the Aztec? Is it comfortable even for the folks all the way in the back? Also, do they have a second door for loading back passengers? The only door I've seen on them is the one over the wing. I also hear they're a bit of a handful to fly, even for a twin, what say you?
     
  20. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Well, seeing as I've flown my from LA to NY in a day, 155 kts will get you about anywhere you need to go. Yes, crossing the country in a day in it is painful but still doable. I can't recommend doing that to most people.

    A fairly typical weekend trip for me is South Carolina to New Hampshire and home. It ends up being about 1450 nm (including reroutes and detours) in 10 hours of flying (figure reroutes, approaches, and headwinds) with 3 hours or so the first day (down to SC) and the balance the second day. I find it to be quite tolerable. The only time I start to get annoyed with the speed is when I'm trying to travel more than 1000 nm in one day.

    I've never sat in the back of my plane (I'm always flying it). The cabin has the annoying feature of getting narrower as it gets further back, but in the back you're still no more cramped than in the front seat of a Cherokee or 172. Two big guys wouldn't be too happy back there (I did stuff two big guys in back once - it was pretty funny), if you actually have 6 people you can probably load appropriately. I doubt that you'd normally have 6 big guys. There is no second door to aid in loading, but I'm not sure how that's much different from most other small twins other than the Seneca. My friend's Travel Air allows for loading from the rear door for the #5 seat, but that is best done by a kid as there's definitely some crawling required.

    I find as a rule that twins require more concentration to fly than singles. However the Aztec is about as easy to fly of a twin as it gets. It's got an oversized Piper Cub wing that is extremely forgiving. Stall characteristics mimic a Cherokee. Single engine operations are easy. It will actually climb on one engine, but as with most twins it won't climb well. Vmc demos are non-events. The twins I've flown from takeoff to landing have been Aztec, 55 Baron, Travel Air, and 421. The Aztec I've found to be the easiest, with the Beechcraft examples to be close seconds and probably about the same once I got used to them. The 421 was definitely more work.

    If you really want to seat 6 people and luggage on something halfway economical, I'm not sure what else you want out of a twin. The Senecas and 58 Barons have 6 seats and club seating, but not nearly as good useful load, and I would guess less space overall. The 310s are probably wider up front (and a 310R is definitely wider for the 2nd row), but if you have the 3rd row in you definitely won't have as much room for luggage, you still run into the useful load issue. We won't even go into the Seminole, Duchess, etc. Until you get into something in the range of a cabin class twin, tthe Aztec is about as big and practical as you can get, and you'll be uninsurable in one until you hit at least 500 hours, but it seems like 650-700 is a more practical minimum. The Aztec is particularly well suited for what I do with it because I stuff it full of dogs almost every time I fly it. A Baron or 310 would still do the job (and do it a bit faster), but wouldn't do it as efficiently overall. Not sure how the economics would come out, probably reasonably closely.

    The speed is my only complaint with the Aztec, and even then I only truly complain on long trips. Really, I wish the plane had more power. That would help takeoff (which is already good), climb (which is tolerable), and cruise speed (provided I went to higher altitudes). Turbos would handle most of my concerns, and they did make a turbo Aztec, I just didn't happen to buy one.

    I should also note - I fly the plane at economy cruise and I get 155 kts @ 20 gph combined. You can fly it at 165 kts @ 28 gph combined or 175 kts @ 36 gph combined. So if you're really impatient you can go faster, it'll just cost you.
     
  21. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Man, awesome post. Thanks for that reply.

    Do your travels ever bring you down the Texas/Oklahoma way? I might split some gas with you to check it out if you were down for that.

    I'm guessing you need your COMM to do the animal rescue thing, since you're not paying to fly. That seems like a pretty good way to get good use out of the airplane, and still be able to be an owner.
     
  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I've landed in Texas and Oklahoma, but only once each so far. However my airplane and I follow the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. You know they'll be anywhere if you wait long enough. I may be back in TX/OK again, or you could come to Gaston's and check out the bunch of planes that show up.

    The animal rescue is a lot of fun and very rewarding, but the way I do it it's a full time job that doesn't pay me other than in flying hours and good feelings. I do it because I think it's the right thing to do. I've had a lot of people ask me about wanting to participate, and the reality is that my setup only works if you're willing to devote a ton of time and resources to the cause. Yes, I do have my commercial and second class medical, those are requirements.

    If you just want to fly now and then and get a tax write-off, then ARF, PnP, and AngelFlight are all great ways to do it without a requirement for a commercial rating. My plane is first a puppy hauler, and second something for my personal use, and I only use it for personal flying about once every month or two because most of my weekends are spent hauling puppies. Plus the plane is expensive enough to operate that it's not practical to use just to go buzzing around. If I didn't do the animal flights, I'd more likely have a Lancair 360 and use it for personal flying every weekend and/or be working on some experimental twin that would do everything I want it to, but be a bit smaller and less expensive to operate.

    I think for the time being, it would be good for you to spend as much time as you can flying, building up experience (pushing for as much complex time as you can), and start to define what your mission really is. When I bought the Aztec I was pretty much looking at the Aztec or a Lancair 360, and the decision point was whether or not I wanted to invest a lot of time into doing charitable flights with the Aztec. Well, we all know what decision I made. I would make it again in a heartbeat, but I also know that a lot of other people would not. It's not for everyone.
     
  23. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    Assuming you want to keep the purchase price under $100K, Cherokee 6 or Commanche 260, are your single engine choices in the real world...
    Aztec is about the only choice in a twin that is within reason...
    Ya, ya, ya, there are other twins out there that can be had under a hundred K, but the maintenance and the fuel burn and the insurance will eat you...

    cheers,
    denny-o
    and Fat Albert, PA23-150