I have amazing friends! One of my newest friends is an awesome pilot and so thoughtful and considerate. He recently was ferrying an aircraft from Lexington to the DC area and then another one back to Dayton. I got to tag along and fly a leg for some flight time and instruction from him! Another pilot building time as well tagged along and flew the first leg, while I enjoyed the views from the back for the first time!
It was a rough day and a lot of things went wrong: a late start, forgotten headset, traffic. By the time we were ready to take off from LEX, we were at least an hour behind. It was a nice day for flying, smooth air, good visibility (maybe just a bit of haze) and warming up from the cold we’ve been having lately. It was more cramped in the back seat for almost 3 hours, but I switched back and forth from looking out the window and listening to points about using the constant-pitch propeller.
We enjoyed seeing the world’s largest movable radio telescope in West Virgina! After dropping off the Piper Dakota in Virgina, we picked up a Piper Archer to fly back to Ohio. The avionics were by far the nicest I’ve ever used! A complete glass cockpit. It had two Garmin 450s and Avidyne were my MFD and FD. It was nice!
I remember learning all about left turning tendency. I thought I felt it, but the 152 and Cub have no where near the horsepower the Archer had and I felt it on take off! It was surprising to say the least. Those 50 hp extra makes a big difference.
Soon I was up to cruising level at 7000f and we turned on the autopilot. Yes, an autopilot finally! I don’t know why I had doubts how well it would work, but it was amazing keeping my altitude and course. After getting our altitude all set up correctly after the mountains, my friend covered the avionics much more thoroughly which took a good hour at least with everything they could do. We took some breaks so I could enjoy the lovely sunset going on, and after we were done I went back to hand flying to get more practice in. We agreed it was better for me rather than be lazy on the autopilot.
I used the instruments more than outside navigation since it was pitch black by that point and I wanted some instrument time as well. The plane had a Flight Director so it was super easy even hand flying.
I’m glad I learned on the 6 pack and without an autopilot for sure and all my time so far has been without those instruments, it has made me a better and more confident pilot, but now I’m enjoying this new challenge. I probably won’t fly with those instruments too often even now, but it was fun to try!
My friends are awesome and I’m glad he offered me this experience and hopefully get to do it again!
Flight Time: 3.3 hours
Night Time: 2.0 hours
Cross country: 300+nm