Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Arrow

So flying the Katana is fun, but its main roll in the aviation world is that of a trainer.  It has decent speed, and great handling characteristics.  It's just not designed for traveling.  It has a payload the size of a coconut, and can only seat the pilot and one other person, and it's a small cockpit.  No space to stretch out at all.

So I've been learning to fly the Arrow.

This plane is a blast.  It's got a 200 horsepower engine, so it's fast.  It seats 4 people and even has a baggage compartment.  It's meant to be an airplane that you go places in and take stuff with you.

It's a bit different than the Katana, the main difference being retractable landing gear.  Gotta remember to put those bad boys back down before you land.  Landing gear-up classifies as a good landing, not a great one.  Pilots always strive for great landings. (A good landing is one you can walk away from.  A great landing is one in which the airplane is reusable.)

It also has what's known as a Constant Speed Propeller.  I won't go into all the details as to how it works and all, but suffice it to say that it works kinda like cruise control.  Set the power and never have to worry about it again until you want to slow down.

These differences classify this airplane as a Complex Airplane and so I had to get a special endorsement to fly it.  Now I just need more flight time in it to make the insurance company feel happy about my taking it for a spin solo (fyi: spinning is not allowed in this airplane).

It has some drawbacks.  The view outside is not as good as the Katana because it doesn't have a bubble canopy.  It doesn't have a Garmin GPS with moving map, the Transponder uses little dials (which I find verry annoying) instead of pushbuttons.  The biggest drawback?  It costs $141 an hour compared to the $106 the Katana costs.  But...when going long distances, the speed makes up for the cost, and it ends up being cheaper than the Katana.

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