Friday, June 26, 2009

New Airplane

Many months ago they took away the Cessna 152s I was training in. So, they finally replaced them with a Tecnam P2004 Bravo airplane, a neat little 2 seat Light Sport airplane. I've wanted to get checked out in the airplane for awhile (meaning, trained on the specific airplane to satisfy the rental facility's insurance demands) so finally I went in and did it. Well, it's a neat little airplane and I'm going to have a lot of fun flying it.

First, it's a nimble little airplane with plenty of zip. It doesn't hurt that the plane is brand new - 32 hours total. It still smells new inside. Also, it is a stick instead of a yoke, which at first I thought would be hard to get used to but it's not at all. It feels very natural and more "free" than a yoke at times.

First thing we did was takeoff and do some turns around a point. Amazingly I can still pull that off, so then we climbed to 4000 feet and did power-on and power-off stalls (these simulate stalls in takeoff and landing configurations). I recovered from them easily, but I noticed it stalls more like the 152 than the Warrior - it tends to drop off the cliff after the stall, whereas the Warrior kind of vibrates and mushes along until you push the nose down.

After the stalls, we did steeps turns which I messed up at first. Here, the stick vs. yoke was throwing me off because of the way I am used to holding my steep turn in the Warrior. It's easier to hold the yoke perfectly still than a stick - but after a couple of tries I was getting it. The other thing that was throwing me off was that the attitude indicator is in the glass panel display...and with the bright sun it was difficult to see the tiny hash marks for the bank angle.

So after steep turns we headed back to the airport, and Jim showed me the GPS system where you can lock onto your airport and it draws a line right to it. From the practice area I could probably find my way to the airport on pure instruments (hope I never have to!) but it was nice seeing how it worked.

The first landing was ugly due to me overcontrolling. The Warrior has a robust control system that requires a bit of effort to manipulate, but the Bravo has smooth as silk movement in the full range of motion. I did land the plane without breaking anything and my second landing was very smooth. I forgot, though, how much a crosswind throws these little planes around, so the Bravo is not for flying in gale force / hurricane force winds.

All in all, it was a lot of fun to fly and it's nice having another option if I'm just going up with 1 other person. It doesn't hurt that it's a new airplane with glass panel and GPS displays, either.

11 comments:

Steve said...

Color me jealous, as I am quite unfamiliar with that new airplane smell. I believe the newest plane at Stewart was built before we landed on the Moon...

Keith K. said...

Ha, you and me both Steve. The newest Warriors are 1980's vintage and actually pretty nice, but the 152's were mid '70's (ok, post Moon landings but still) and quite beat up.

Nice thing is they're renting it for the same price as the old run-out 152s.

Steve said...

Now that, my friend, is an aviating bargain.

Keith K. said...

I agree. Also, I've come to the conclusion that you are the only person who reads my blog anymore.

Steve said...

Nah, I'm sure there are still random folks who never comment. I know I get that over on mine. Of course, if I flew more and therefore posted more maybe there's be more folks reading.

Alas, we're all too busy sometimes...

Keith K. said...

Come on Steve, just let me wallow in self pity!

;)

Steve said...

Nah, that's not acceptable. I'm sure I could relate the FAA's stance against self-pity to the AIMIR attitudes if you gave me enough time.

Then again, I think I'd feel too much self-pity if I actually took the time to do that.

It's all such a vicious circle.

Jock said...

I read it...

Rob said...

I don't read this schlock.

Keith K. said...

Yes you do.

Floyd Mclendon said...

What?! Push the nose? Wow, go to your doctor directly