We turned the corner and crossed the hold short line to the blast off section of Runway 17 in this new Skyhawk we were flying, N688CS. It was my usual haunt, San Marcos, Texas, and the November air was still too warm for late fall, though the stability of the air, luckily, could have been worse.
As I advanced the power lever—it’s really not a throttle, more of a way to let the system know I wanted more power—I took in the whirr. It was really quiet, the kind of quiet that takes some getting used to, that is, if you’re not current in a diesel-powered airplane, which I wasn’t. I was expecting the lack of gas-piston noise, so that wasn’t the part that made me take notice. No, the unexpected thing was that we were climbing, I mean, actually climbing, as in a very strongly positive rate of climb on the VSI. Like there was a real motor up front there. I said to myself simply, “Now we’re talking,” as I thrilled in the kind of climb performance I’m used to getting in a good old-fashioned 172, which is to say, not spectacular but pretty darned good.