5 Years

I recently thought I've been stuck flying around the airport and the local region too long, so a cross country was needed.  Ardmore is close enough to not be extremely expensive and is far enough away to be interesting, so I'll fly up there to meet a friend on Thursday weather and aircraft serviceability notwithstanding.  Looking up the bookings both planes I would normally take were booked, so the only option left was WIT.

I last few WIT in 2009, when it had less than 300 hours on the clock and it still had that new car smell about it.  Five years later I'd get rechecked out in it.  There are two main reasons I have not flown WIT over the last 5 years.  Firstly, it used to cost a lot more than our trusty old Archer 2, UFS.  Secondly, because it has a lot of gear (autopilot, IFR required avionics and air conditioning) and has the same 180 hp Lycoming O360 up front it doesn't have as good a useful load nor climb performance, so when I want to head off into the countryside with some friends aboard weight becomes a significant issue.  The club recently brought the price back to the same as UFS to encourage recreational pilots like me to fly it, so off I went to get current again.

As I had last flown UFS back in February was no longer legally current in Archers so I booked instructor Rob to assist. Being a rather chilly 3 degrees C at 9am in the morning, the plane had a covering of hoar frost that I had to brush off, then apply tepid water several times to remove the rest, constantly checking to see if any clear ice had formed.  The sun was trying its best to assist but the right wing was in shadow and the water froze around the fuel cap so I couldn't open it.

After 45 minutes of coaxing all the ice off, I got the preflight done and we set about starting it up.  The Archer 3 is always started on the left magneto only (don't ask me why, I don't know).  After it turns over you press the button to engage the right magneto and set the throttle to maintain 1000rpm, which required a bit more than I thought because the engine was very cold. 

We got the avionics up and running, and noted the ATIS down while the engine warmed up.  Once I got taxiing everything went just like flying an Archer, and the only trouble I had was remembering where certain switches were.  Three circuits and an EFATO later Rob was happy to get out and I did 3 more on my own.  I was especially proud of my glide approach,  touching down with the stall warning chirping smack bang on my aim point.  The AOPA stated that "most pilots feel that Archers are easy airplanes to consistently land well."  I think I proved that to be true.  Haven't flown one in some months, and that particular aircraft in 5 years, but I pulled out some beauties on the day.


Sounds cool ( and not just the frost!, BTW you can't call it "chilly until there's a minus and a 2 in front of that number!)

One of the things I want to do when I get fully qualified is to fly as many different types of plane as possible.

While I love the 172, it is the only plane I have experience of. A low wing is next on my list. If nothing else they are a lot easier to check the fuel tanks on!
Flyinkiwi said…
LFE: While it doesn't get as cold as Canada, it did get below freezing over night, which is why the ice formed on the plane in the first place.

As for aircraft types, apply the following logic. You will be required to remain current in each and every type you are rated in if you want to simply turn up and fly, and for me that is not that easy since I am rated in 4 types so far. Consider at least one other rating (Pa28 is a good choice) but see what your flight school offers in terms of rental. My Club offers 5 (C172, Pa28, Robin R2160, Tecnam P2008, C180, sadly the Arrow is no longer on the books) different single engine types to choose from and I am rated (and presently current too) in 3 of them. It means if the day looks good I can normally simply turn up to the club, grab a plane and go.
JetAviator7 said…
I learned in the Cessna 172 but spent a lot of my flying career in low wing aircraft (Piper Navajo, Cessna Citation, DC-3 etc) but always liked the visibility from the 172. Now a days I fly my wife's Piper Cub which is a blast!

One piece of advice - always protect your eyes with a good pair of aviator sunglasses and, in fact, always carry 2 pair (one with gray lenses the other with tan lenses for low vis days).

Have a great day and as always keep your wings straight and level.

John a/k/a JetAviator7