Tuesday, September 18, 2012
From Dream to reality: Moving Up from a single Engine to a twin story
Temple introduced us to TAS Aviation (www.tas-aviation.com) in Ohio, one of the finest twin Cessna shops in the country, and N400HC had been maintained by them for more than 20 of its years in existence. Temple had sold the airplane to a businessman in Iceland, and when that owner traded up to a turbine, Temple sold the plane to a pilot in Virginia who was retiring last fall and was flying the heck out of the plane to run out the engines. The timing worked out well: We made an offer and I flew out to Virginia between jobs to inspect the plane. When it was time for the pre-buy, there was no doubt we were taking it to TAS.
The first step was to get the plane from Virginia to TAS in Ohio for the pre-buy. Pancake had arranged for Phil Kennedy to fly commercial to meet me and fly the plane to Defiance. He's a retired Northwest captain and has flown twin Cessnas around the world for TAS for 20 years. He walked me through the preflight, and we were off in unseasonably warm and clear weather. The 1,900-hour RAM VIs were past TBO, but the plane screamed off the runway and climbed to altitude very quickly. The pressurization checked out, as did the autopilot and avionics. I remained a passenger on this flight, but there was a lot to take in.
I dreamed about owning a twin since I learned to fly, looking up to the pilots who had them as if they were the real deal.
Now it was time to get started on the insurance training requirements. I had passed my multi checkride only weeks before with Joe Justice at my home airport in Santa Monica and hadn't logged a minute in a 340. It was intimidating, and I was told more than once that turbocharged piston twins are among the most complicated airplanes to fly. Pancake organized another trusted associate from her deep arsenal, James Duval, to begin my 340-specific training. He spent several hours with me on the ground during the pre-buy, and once the sale was completed, we started flying. Duval is a very easygoing Midwestern soul who made the experience comfortable, and he instinctively knew how to coach me through the process. I was thrilled beyond words in the left seat for the first time. I had already purchased the airplane without having flown it once, and while I was relatively certain I was going to love it, it was nice to have my expectations exceeded. With those two fat fuel tanks on the wingtips and 6,000 pounds of gross weight, my first impression was that this is big and very stable. You set the power and point it where you want to go.
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Labels: Features, Pilot Skills, Turbine Twins, Ownership, Aircraft, Aircraft Upgrades, Aircraft Ownership