Big changes in small aircraft

For me, at least….

So I flew an Arrow for the first time Wed.  ‘Twas a different experience.

Now, previously I had flown Cessna products.

But I wanted to get my Complex endorsement, and this is the only plane at the flight school with retractable gear and a constant speed prop.

Now, learning the systems isn’t that hard. Nothing too complicated about any of the systems, really. Gear is pretty straightforward, as is the propeller and its’s controller…. (apparently, some folks have a hard time figuring out the prop?….It is pretty simple,and works like every other governor I have seen, except the prop is controlled instead of a throttle).

Thing is, Pipers are VERY different from Cessnas…..I’d rather have flown (and landed) a Warrior or something first, rather than the (relatively) massive change to the Arrow and learning how to control all those systems as well as learning to land in an aircraft with an entirely different approach profile.

I’d have cancelled this lesson except that they are very busy at the school, and getting a time slot is difficult enough right now….So I took it, even though my mind wasn’t really where it needed to be. I probably should not have flown, but I did alright. Plus I had an instructor to keep me out of trouble and coach me…

All told, I did OK. 3 landings, and really, once one gets used to the different attitude on approach, it wasn’t that hard….Although it is easy to get behind the aircraft when one is not used to the different checklist.

1.4 and 3.

6 thoughts on “Big changes in small aircraft

  1. Flying an aircraft with a higher speed than what you’re used to can be difficult. You can’t be thinking at 1-1/2 miles a minute while moving at 2-1/2 miles a minute. You’ll soon be scrambling to catch up. Hence the term “staying ahead of the airplane”. Wait until you go glass cockpit while traveling 180 knots or more, trying to set up an instrument approach, listening and responding to the controller, all while hand flying to stay straight and level. Fun is all in the amount of abuse one is willing to endure.


  2. Mentally, the flight begins before you get to the airport.

    In response to Dale's comment, Rob Machado always tried to impart some wisdom: Be thinking of the next two things. Or something like that. An older saying is, Don't let the airplane get to a place your brain hasn't already been.

    All of that has one thing in common, the mental aspect of flying.

    You have done well. It was where you said you almost canceled because your head wasn't in the game. As long as that wasn't you chickening out instead of not feeling prepared, it was wisdom talking. But you sallied forth and that is a huge confidence builder. Sometimes do we think one thing (not ready) when it actually turns out we are ready. I reckon you have had some good training or at least you feel proficient.

    If I may, you know how the systems work. Go on a cross country and learn to manage the engine and prop. Practice climbs and descents without landing.

  3. RE: practicing climbs and descents. Do so by trying to maintain IAS and by trying to maintain fpm. Two different methods. Have fun.

  4. I almost cancelled BECAUSE my head wasn't in the game….Lots going on in my life. That whole "IMSAFE" thing, you know….

    If I were to have been flying solo, I wouldn't have flown. With an instructor, I had backup. But solo, I'd have chosen to cancel.

  5. Need to rethink that. You might have wasted the time/money if your head isn't in it, and you don't remember those tips/tricks. Just sayin…

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