Around the Pattern

Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Tag: Inc.

Not Your Average Cessna

I recently had the opportunity to fly with my next-door hangar neighbor. Cessna C-182Q with Peterson's Performance Plus SE260/STOL modification. George has passed the age of 70 and although (or probably because) he has an extensive aviation background, he asked me to evaluate his flying performance and to set up a twice-yearly program to continue the evaluations.

George used to fly a Cessna 340, pressurized light twin, but the insurance costs and training requirements got to be too much of a burden. The insurance company was requiring a formal recurrent training course at Flight Safety twice per year. As a result, he sold his twin and bought a C-182Q. However he didn’t buy just any C-182, he bought a C-182 with a Peterson’s Performance Plus 260SE/STOL  conversion.  The modification includes the installation of a 260 HP Continental IO-470 engine and the addition of a canard just behind the propeller. The canard is not just a fixed surface, either. The aft third of the canard is a movable surface whose position is tied in to the elevator movement.

During the flight I had asked George how the aircraft handled and he recited a stall speed down around 35 knots and a cruise speed of 145 knots burning 15 gph. Cessna C-182Q instrument panelWe didn’t explore the cruise speed  during the flight, but we did work down into the slow speed range and the numbers were accurate. After the flight he gave me a copy of Peterson’s brochure on the modification and a reprint of a 2001 Plane and Pilot Magazine article on the 260SE/STOL conversion. Both articles quote a flaps-down stall speed of 35 knots (flaps-up at 42 kts). Cruise speed at 6500 ft with 65% power is listed as 145 knots and both the take-off and landing distances are shown to be 390 ft. Very impressive performance.

The aircraft control movements felt almost the same as a normal C-182. It has been a while since I have flown one, but the elevator control seemed a little stiff. That made sense to me since the yolk  is operating a second set of control surfaces on the canard. George flew it well and “by the numbers.” He knew what power settings would result in which airspeeds at the different flap settings that we explored. He had no problems with simulated engine-out landings. He said that he chose this type aircraft specifically for it’s slow-speed flight characteristics. Up here in the Sierras we are surrounded by mountains and forests. If an engine quits you are, quite often, presented with few options for a landing that will not result in substantial aircraft damage. The slower that you meet the immovable object the better are your chances for coming out of the event with the ability to fly again another day.

For more information on the 260SE/STOL and Peterson’s other modifications you can visit their website at http://www.katmai-260se.com.

Trip Notes

I’ve been on an airline trip forever. Well, not really, but it sure seems like it. There hasn’t been very much to report about the trip. The second leg started in the rain, but the rest of that leg was glass smooth. We have had a little turbulence on some legs, but our outstanding meteorology department has recommended altitudes which have kept us out of the really nasty bumps.  No whitecaps in the coffee cup so far.

Enroute we’ll often talk to each other about what we do in our time off. In one of those conversations I found out that one of the other copilots was going to go pick up a new airplane after his trip was completed.  Several years ago he had trained for and received  his ASES rating and had recently renewed his currency in preparation for buying an airplane. He lives in northern Illinois, near several lakes and decided to buy an  LSA capable of landing on the water. He chose a Sport Hornet equipped with amphibious floats.Sport Hornet Light Sport Aircraft I had no idea what it looked like so he pulled out a photo that he had printed from the company web site. You can find it in their photo gallery from the Sport Hornet link above. He said that he will have it at Oshkosh this year parked in the manufacturer’s display area. It looks like a pretty nice machine.

The only other small airplane conversation that I have had so far was with the current captain on my crew. He and his family were at a social event recently and a family friend asked the captain’s son what he planned to do after he graduated from college (he is just finishing up his junior year). He said that he thought he would go into aviation like his dad. That was a complete shock to his parents since their son is majoring in a field totally unrelated to aviation. Before he entered college he had been taking flying lessons and had progressed through his solo flight, but the academic load in college was too great for him to efficiently divide his time, so he stopped taking the flying lessons and concentrated on his education. The captain has had no recent light plane experience so he asked me if I could help out with any information that he might be able to use.

I sent out a message on Twitter and received a reply with some information about flight schools in the captain’s home area and then provided additional information that his son could access through the internet during his senior year to reacquaint himself with the aviation.  There is a tremendous amount of information available online now, even when compared to what it was 3-4 years ago when he was taking his lessons. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I mention multiple crew members on these trips because we are not paired as a ‘hard’ crew throughout an entire trip. This particular trip lasts 14 days and includes 9 individual flight legs. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like much flying in 14 days, but the shortest flight leg is seven and a half hours. By the time the trip is completed I will have worked with 5 different captains and 6 other copilots. Our training and standard operating procedures allow us to do this without a loss of safety or drop in efficiency. We know what is going to happen each step of the way during normal operations and know what to expect of each other if an abnormal situation occurs. It’s really nice to be able to operate this way and adds a bit of stability to what lately has been an unstable profession.

A friend I flew with recently sent me a link to the Publisher’s Letter in the June 2009 issue of AircraftOwner magazine. Greg Herrick is the publisher of the magazine. He is an aircraft collector, museum operator and president of the Aviation Foundation of America. He is a strong promoter of our aviation heritage, especially the Golden Age of Aviation and wrote the Publisher’s Letter about the way that the latest airline merger is progressing. It’s a very interesting read.

I ran across an item during my internet ramblings this week that some of you might find interesting. I found it on the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog. Bruce Clay, Inc. is an internet marketing firm. Periodic Table of Condiments This is directed at those of you readers who fall into the ‘Geek with cooking tendencies’ category. It is referred to as the Table of Condiments that Periodically go Bad. It may explain why some of those things in the back of your refrigerator are getting a little fuzzy and/or changing color.

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