Author doing research in need of pro advice

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by jadenapa, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. jadenapa

    jadenapa Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2020
    Messages:
    21
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jadenapa
    I am currently writing a fiction novel and doing some research. One of my characters is a commercial pilot based on the west coast. When he's not working, he is flying his small aircraft and often flies up to 300-400 miles. I was hoping to get some advice from professional pilots, specifically:

    - As a professional pilot, what type/manufacturer/model of a plane would you choose to own? Price does not matter, but it should say "I'm a pro pilot who loves flying" and not "I'm a show-off"
    - It should be an older model (can be "vintage") - the story is taking place in the 1980s
    - Ideally, it would seat 2 incl. the pilot
    - How far would this plane fly? Would he have to stop halfway and refuel or easily fly up to 400 miles on a full tank?

    Please keep in mind that I know absolutely nothing about planes or piloting one :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
    overdrive148 likes this.
  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,083
    Location:
    New Bern, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Reno
    Piper Twin Comanche (aka Twinkie) would be a solid pick. But Not too flashy.
     
    jadenapa likes this.
  3. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KennyW
    A 1979 A36TC Bonanza. The obvious choice for the time period, and the state of the art in the 1980s. Advertised range 774 mi, cruise speed 223 mph.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
    jadenapa and Brad Smith like this.
  4. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,661
    Location:
    DC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Charlie Yankee
    Agree on the bonanza, but real pilots talk in knots.

    Also does an airline pilot buy a plane that is a great cross country machine when he can fly free? Or does he buy something with a little more soul (aviation passion) and uniqueness? Does he build his own plane?

    Oh the options...
     
    SoCal RV Flyer likes this.
  5. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kristin (The Aviatrix)
    Commercial pilots have a tendency to favor twin-engine airplanes as that is what they are used to, so a Twin Comanche fits that bill. Bonanza a solid choice too. There is likely a lot more to concern yourself with for the story line than just the airplane. There are particular choices and particular domiciles that might be realistic. Some depends are whether you are using a fictional airline or one of the ones that existed back then.
     
    Morgan3820 likes this.
  6. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,596
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Russ
  7. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KennyW
    Not according to Plane&Pilot magazine, where I cobbed the pic.

    He could have a fully restored Stearman, .... nah! Been done already...

    If we're talking passion, he wangled a deal one of those WWII surplus birds, painted it purple and flies from airshow to airshow to promote is company..... ;-)
     
  8. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    3,280
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kayoh@190
    I don't own, but I've flown with plenty that do, and it seems to be a mix. Preaching to the choir on PoA, but you're generally not choosing GA over the airlines because of the cost! Sometimes it's an airplane that he/she grew up salivating over, and bought one because they now have the money. Cessna 310s for example aren't uncommon. Some fun stuff - taildraggers, aerobatic, warbirds, and one guy in my base even owns several WWI replicas. It really seems to be all over the map.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  9. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,303
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    For a different spin, how about a homebuilt that he assembled himself? Maybe something like a Long EZ.

    upload_2020-6-4_12-2-51.png

    upload_2020-6-4_12-3-19.png

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutan_Long-EZ

    You could add some interest to your character if he built his own plane. The Long EZ is a 2-seater with a range of a couple of thousand miles. It's a bit unique, with a pusher prop at the rear and moveable canards for pitch control. The plane was introduced in 1979.

    Might even be fun to give Burt Rutan (the designer) a cameo appearance in your story. He's an interesting character.
     
    Kent Wien likes this.
  10. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    12,235
    Location:
    DXO124009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Light and Sporty Guy
    Assuming said pilot's life revolves around aviation, Thorp T-18. Popular with airline pilots back in "the olden days".
     
    MarkH likes this.
  11. Kent Wien

    Kent Wien Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    New York
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kent
    So funny. My dad, an airline pilot, owned a Purple T-6. How did you know?
     
  12. Kent Wien

    Kent Wien Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    New York
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kent
    In the ‘80s? He’d look good in an RV-4. 170 mph cruise. Easily has the range. Time period appropriate. It’s a homebuilt, but he could have bought it used.

    https://www.vansaircraft.com/rv-4/
     
  13. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    9,528
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    Where are you located? Take a drive to a local, small airport, talk to folks there. If there's a flight school, pay for an introduction flight. Getting first-hand experience is always more credible than 2nd and 3rd hand info.
     
    PeterNSteinmetz and Brad Smith like this.
  14. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KennyW
    Oh, I've heard of your dad. I think just about every aviation buff has (You're not unknown yourself, sir!). But, I was referring to another PNW aviation legend...

    [​IMG]
     
    jadenapa and G-Man like this.
  15. cowman

    cowman En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,319
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    The most common aircraft for both that era and now would be the Cessna 172 and Piper Cherokee. They're 4-seaters(technically) and could make that 300-400mi trip on one tank of fuel in 3-4hrs given decent conditions. Such a trip would be a pretty typical private pilot flight too.

    Other similar aircraft options that might be more interesting but still common for that time- Cessna 177 Cardinal, Piper Commanche, Mooney M20, Beechcraft Bonanza. There are variants of all of the models I've mentioned so it might be worth looking deeper.

    You didn't mention if you were a pilot or not, just wondering if you know about how headwinds/tail winds affect travel times, that we figure fuel in terms of hours not miles, and things of that nature.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  16. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    16,410
    Location:
    kojc, kixd, k34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Matthew
    TCABM and jadenapa like this.
  17. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,246
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    :yeahthat:

    He hadn't flown it before but wasn't worried? Who flies a plane with no instruction or check out ride?
     
    jadenapa likes this.
  18. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,303
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast

    Well, off the top of my head, Orville Wright, James Bond, Dirk Pitt, Sky King, and possibly Harrison Ford.
     
    jadenapa, TCABM, G-Man and 1 other person like this.
  19. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,596
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Russ
    Especially a jet (presumably) capable of Mach .083 and 554 mph at 45000 or 50000 feet with paying passengers!

    EDIT:
    Interestingly, 554 mph TAS is about Mach 0.839 at 45000, so allowing for typo on .083, I feel like I have to give the author a little bit of credit there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  20. jimhorner

    jimhorner Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    618
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    Not this one. The vast majority of my time is in airplanes with the airspeed indicator displaying in miles per hour. 800+ hours in my Super Viking, initial instruction in the very first 172D with a rear window, quite a bit of time in Citabrias and Decathlons, and 10+ hours in a Great Lakes biplane. All with mph not knots on the airspeed indicator. The POHs for those planes call out the V speeds in mph also.

    [Edit] Forgot to add the 20+ hours in a Lake amphibian. Also in mph.

    In fact, I just checked my logbook. Only 138 hours in planes with airspeed indicators in knots. Over 1000 hours in the mph group.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  21. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    16,932
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Full Send Mode
    Don't forget Chuck Norris. Except he doesn't even actually have to fly it. It will fly itself out of fear.
     
    TCABM, Ghery and Half Fast like this.
  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    16,410
    Location:
    kojc, kixd, k34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Matthew
    Chuck Norris just jumps into the air and lets the earth rotate underneath him.
     
    Ghery likes this.
  23. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    16,932
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Full Send Mode
    Excellent application of the Coriolis effect.
     
  24. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    4,710
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PPC
    These two things are irreconcilable.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  25. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Messages:
    2,972
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad
    Definitely not an airline pilot but the wife knows quite a few from her days. One had a family 182. Two of them have built their own RV's (forget now which ones - but both are tail draggers). Another one we know via family just purchased a RV (also tail dragger). Heck, if you want one there's an RV4 sitting in my hangar right now in need of a buyer. If you are local to the Twin Cities you can come and sit in it and make airplane noises :) Its a 2 seater.

    RV4pic.jpg
     
    jadenapa and PeterNSteinmetz like this.
  26. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    528
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ernie
    1986 Waco Classic (YMF-5) a resurrected 1935 Waco biplane. Brand new, two passengers in front cockpit plus pilot in rear. 400 miles would require a fuel stop or a lonngggg flight.
     
    jadenapa likes this.
  27. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,347
    Location:
    Sierra Nevada
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Catmandu
    I would need to know something about the character to reply meaningfully. Clothes fit the (person). Or, as we say around here, what's the mission? A pilot just trying to get back to their aviation roots? LA based pilot travelling north to see the kids when the ex has full custody? Single person with a dog and a penchant for adventure in their time off, stumbling into romance along the way?

    BTW, if the final chapter includes a wedding under a gazebo, I refuse to offer advice. :vomit:
     
    jadenapa and kayoh190 like this.
  28. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    12,235
    Location:
    DXO124009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Light and Sporty Guy
    Tires holding air for 10 years?
    None the less, it should have pants on.
     
    Sinistar likes this.
  29. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    258
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JScarry
    Commercial pilots have a tendency to favor twin-engine airplanes

    I don’t think so. We have three airline pilots here on the central coast and two of them use their airplanes to commute to work. One has a Cessna 180 taildragger and a polished Globe Swift. The other has a Grumman AA5. The one who doesn’t commute in his plane has a Aviat biplane that he gives aerobatic instruction. All of those models would be appropriate for an 80s pilot.

    Another pilot who flies a Pilatus for work has a Cessna 180 and is building a 2/3 scale P51. And the fourth commercial pilot who used to fly King Airs and some kind of jet, flies a Great Lakes biplane.
     
  30. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    196
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    If people don't have to wear pants when they work from home, should airplanes have to wear pants when they are just sitting in the hanger? ;)
     
    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe likes this.
  31. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2019
    Messages:
    493
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BLW2
    I don't know about the pro airline pilot's perspective...but I would have thought for not "show-off", something more classic like a cessna 170, a Luscombe 8, Piper Cub, Aeronca Champ....
    I'm thinking it wouldn't be so much about going places as it would be about low and slow and fun.... or maybe getting off the beaten path with some bush flying.

    Now if you'd have said show off...then I'm thinking aerobatic, like a pitts special or an eagle...
     
    RJM62 likes this.
  32. Kent Wien

    Kent Wien Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    New York
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kent
    Ahh yes! Of course we can’t forget that airplane.
     
    wilkersk likes this.
  33. smv

    smv Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    1,072
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    smv
    Meh... Moving from one Make/Model to another in the same Category/Class with comperable performance specs should not take much more than a review of the POH.
     
    Juliet Hotel and jimhorner like this.
  34. kath

    kath Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,154
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katherine
    Ditto to this. Tell us more about his character, and we'll be able to be more helpful here. Is he...?

    The nostalgic type, yearning for the simple pleasures of flight without all the modern bells and whistles, and content to "putter along" on a sunny day?

    The type to want to do loops and rolls on a nice weekend?

    The type who wants the adventure of exploring new places a few states (or provinces) away?

    Someone with a usual particular flight mission, like to take the family up to the mountain resort, or take the buddies golfing?

    These would all lead to very different aircraft suggestions...
     
  35. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,355
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    Just gonna throw in the Milk-Stool. AKA a Piper Tri-Pacer.
     
  36. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,973
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Juliet Hotel
    ahem... [raises hand] Piper never made a 2 seat Pawnee. If you're going to fly one, you're going to be your own check pilot. I think I was maybe a month into my first banner towing gig when the Supercub had a mechanical issue and couldn't fly that day so the boss looked at me and said well I guess today's the day you teach yourself how to tow with the Pawnee.

    I think there was also a time later on when I was flying jumpers. The company acquired a ratty 206 when they bought out another jump operation. It showed up and sat in the grass for a few weeks. The first busy day when we had mechanical issue on one of the other planes, the boss looked at me and asked if I'd ever flown a 206. Nope. 'Here's the keys, don't screw it up.' That thing sure didn't like to climb as well as the turbo props we were flying.
     
  37. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,246
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    I firmly believe that if I said on this forum that a man cannot weld steel with his penis, someone would disagree.
     
    TCABM, Dana and Zeldman like this.
  38. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,973
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Juliet Hotel
    I wouldn't disagree, but if he could weld steel with it, I would recommend he see a urologist.
     
    Ghery and jadenapa like this.
  39. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    12,578
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    My first flight in a Pawnee was not on purpose. I just taxied out to do a maintenance run up when a freak strong gust of wind lifted the plane off the ground. I did one loop in the pattern and landed.

    My first time on skis was a solo flight as well. At least the plane owner told me what to expect, and what to expect was the fact that there were no brakes....

    Plus with several hundred square miles of flat tundra around it would not matter if I missed my landing point by a few miles....

    Then again these were small piston planes, not a large turbine.

    A dear old friend that has since passed told me about his first flight in a nose wheel plane, a P-39. The ''instructor'' sat on the wing and showed him where everything was in the cockpit, gave him a few power setting and speeds to work with, then sent him on his way. That was a cross country from somewhere in Georgia to Arizona. That route took him near Gallup, where his then fiance was living. Since it was on a Friday he asked if he could stop in Gallup for the weekend.

    No, continue on to Arizona.

    Well, as he told the story, just as he got near Gallup, the engine started running rough so he made a pre-cautionary landing in Gallup. He called maintenance and was told to stay put, we will send someone out on Monday to look at it.
     
    Ghery likes this.
  40. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    12,235
    Location:
    DXO124009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Light and Sporty Guy
    Got a buddy who burned a hole in his penis while welding - close enough?
     
    PaulS and catmandu like this.