Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mustang Teaching Machine?


Flying the airplane is easy. Mastering the systems is the challenge.


Three questions I'm asked most often in conjunction with flying new airplanes are: 1. How much can it carry; 2. How far can it travel on a single tank; and 3. How fast can it fly?

Kirby showed me the weight and balance on the experimental test airplane, and the empty weight checked in at 2,660 pounds. That leaves a useful load of 940 pounds, not so bad until you consider that full fuel is 102 gallons. That's 612 pounds of petrol, and the result on our test airplane was a full fuel cabin load of 328 pounds.

In fact, if the TTx has an Achilles wing, it's probably payload (though the test airplane could have been slightly heavier than a production model). Even Cessna claims only 388 paying pounds on a standard Corvalis with full fuel. Remember, however, that includes air conditioning, and on the day we flew in Wichita, that was a godsend. The environmental control system did a respectable job of maintaining a reasonably comfortable cabin.

Check pilot Ortega commented that Cessna is fine-tuning the system to offer a little more AC power for really hot conditions. A buyer has the option of deleting air conditioning for a price concession and 70 pounds more payload. Personally, I'd happily leave behind 70 pounds of fuel rather than forego air-conditioning.

(Non-pilots are always nonplussed when I take them flying in my Mooney on a warm day and there's no air-conditioning, a feature that's usually standard equipment on even the least expensive small car.)
The modern Corvalis IS a significant departure for Cessna Aircraft, a company that had never marketed a low-wing single or an all-composite machine before the model 240 Corvalis.
A 388-pound payload suggests you could carry two folks plus some baggage in a fully fueled standard-equipped airplane. That's not the disadvantage it seems, even if you do need to haul four folks. Business-jet operators understand that it makes little sense to tanker fuel if you can buy more at each stop. Every extra pound of fuel you carry demands more fuel to lift, so most business airplanes pump aboard only what petrol they need for each leg.




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