Features

September 2009 Issue

First Flight Home

Flying home a new airplane can pose special challenges, especially for VFR-only pilots. How two new owners put their heads in the game and lived to tell the tale.

Insurance companies have pilot checkout provisions for a reason—the first hours in a new aircraft are higher-risk than routine operations. The week I made an offer on my very first airplane, a pilot crashed and died on his way home in his newly purchased Piper Comanche. I obviously wanted a different outcome for my trip to pick up a new plane. The next week, my co-owner Roger and I would be bringing our newly purchased 1960 Cessna 182—N225M—home to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Unfortunately, our new plane was located in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Picking it up would require a long VFR cross-country flight across the Continental Divide in the middle of winter. We also wanted to make the trip on a weekend, preferably in a single day at a time of year when the days are notoriously short and the weather consistently bad. Our plan was beginning to sound like the opening narrative of an NTSB accident report. Flying a newly purchased plane on a long cross-country trip is a non-routine, high-risk mission. Why? There are numerous factors that can line up the wrong way to complete the chain of events that lead to an accident.

To continue reading this entire article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Aviation Safety

The monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention, is packed with useful, timely information on basic and advanced technique, accident analysis and, most important, practical articles on how you can develop the judgment that will keep you in the air and out of the NTSB's files.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.