Location: Texas

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Aviation Blogging

Okay. Here is the promised aviation blogging. I am a corporate pilot. I hold an ATP certificate, have been an FAR part 135 Chief Pilot, and I have been flying for my living for more than 28 years plus a few years aviation maintenance/management in Marine Corps Aviation. I've been a CFI (airplane single and multi, instrument) for 27 years.

Currently I'm flying a King Air C-90B. I've been flying this airplane since it was new in 1994. I've flown every model of King Air there is except the B100 which has Garrett engines for those that don't know. I have experience with Garrett engines, but in the turbo prop Commanders. I've flown most models of those as well. I'm not typed in the 300/350 but most of my recurrent training is done in the 350 sim., usually done at Simcom in Orlando.

I've flown a Learjet and I've flown a Citation but I'm not typed in either. I've also flown TBM 700 s/n 1 and, once, I flew a Bell Longranger (and nearly passed out - I was concentrating so hard on hovering the damn thing that I forgot to breathe).

I also fly a 1974 Cessna 340. I don't know if this should be called an antique, a classic, or a junker(!!). I picked this up about 3 months ago. I was able to get the job because I was the only local pilot with any experience in 300/400 series Cessnas. Even though my experience was all 20+ years ago and not that much to begin with, I could meet the insurance requirements. Quite a few younger pilots grumbling over that one. I don't blame them, but hey, where do they think this gray hair came from?

The 340 is an interesting airplane, not at all like the Baron's that I flew 20-25 years ago. It has auxillary fuel tanks in the wings (the tip tanks are the mains)and not much range since it's TSIO-520-J's suck gas like an early 50's turbojet. It carries 163 gal. useable which gets you about 4 hours if you are lucky. Speed is about like a Baron - 185 to 190, depending on conditions and altitude. Supposedly it will go much faster if you take it up into the low 20's. If you do, however, engine life is considerably reduced. It is nominally a 12 to 13,000' airplane.

The airplane has vortex generators all over the wing and tail. These tame the stall and lower Vmc as well as give you a 300 lb boost in max gross weight (6290 v. 5990). There are 96 total. Only 4 can be missing after which you must revert to the original performance specs. The POH has a split personality because of this, the altered and improved (?) performance specs residing side by side with the originals.

As one of my retired pilot buddies quipped, "Makes you appreciate a King Air doesn't it?"

There is more to tell about the 340 but I'll leave that for future posts. In the meantime go over to Cockpit Conversation and congratulate Aviatrix on her school date.


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