September 2008 Issue

The Right Airplane?

As your mission changes, maybe your airplane should, too. But stay well aware of your new birdís training requirements and its limitations.

Two wings. Check. Horsepower up front (or maybe in the back). Check. Liquid money in the tanks. Check. Somewhere to go? Hell, yeah! Hang on a minute. As absurdly simple as it sounds, it is a fact that different aircraft serve different roles. Sometimes, the plane, pilot and mission donít match up any more. We know how it goes. You go through primary flight training in a tame little trainer, perhaps a short-legged Cessna 152 or 172, or maybe a Piper Warrior. Youíve become accustomed to the frequent fuel stops and finite loading capabilities, and know every avgas-fueled diner within 100 miles. But maybe youíve started a family, gained a baby or just want to get out of your own backyard without stopping for fuel quite as often. Maybe something faster, more comfortable, something that will get you over the terrain and out of that miserable chop. And if you need to cover half the country in a day, youíll definitely need a faster ride. Or not. If youíve passed the point in your flying or professional career where you no longer need that go-fast airplane, youíre a good candidate for a lower fuel burn and lower cockpit workload. Too, if your medical renewal isnít much of a gimme any more, perhaps the Sport Pilot and LSA world can open new doors to you as others close.

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