When you wait 3 years and 9 months for your plane, you have the time to think over what you want to do with it when you get it. And I got to do all I dreamed up on my ride home.
After a great time at Cirrus with the pickup and orientation. They treat you like royalty and they have a blast seeing folks coming in to start their dreasms. Had lunch with Mike Busch, head of customer service and found him to be super-knowlegeable and a fun guy to boot.
I left out Saturday afternoon with Kara to fly to places actually neither of us had been. I wanted to fly IFR in the NE corrdior and learn the avionics in that environment.
We used the next few days continuously training as she tirelssly and patiently answered my questions (over and over).
We flew first Saturday afternoon (after completing the ground school portion)from Duluth to Green Bay for refueling and then took off again at sunset overflying Detroit, Cleveland and a bit of Canada to reach Alegaeny County Airport at Pittsburg, PA. We got there about 11:00 after a beautiful night flight.
The next morning we crossed Pennsyvania and gassed up again to fly at 1500 feet down the VFR corridor over the Hudson River in New York City on Sunday early afternooon. Approach gave us to a Laguardia controller who said “are you familiaar with Manhatten?”. I allowed that I was, but only from ground and skyscraper lever (where we were acutally). He said "ok, just head on to the Statue of Liberty, circle it, and head on up the East River to cross over Laguardia and head out the Long Island Sound (our request). I tried not to give a war whoop (it would sound a bit too Southern) and thanked him for his hospitality.
Great fun watching all the boats below and remembering a promise I made to myself the last time I looked out from the observation deck of the the twin Trade Towers and saw planes flying below me through the VFR corridor…
We continued along the shoreline, finally arriving at Martha’s Vineyard for some crabcakes late Sunday afternoon. Then at dusk we climbed out and overflew Boston to land in Manchester, NH (just to say I’d been in NH).
The next day we flew IFR south, overflying Kennedy (contollers lost our flight plan 2 times on this flight-lots fof punchin the Garmins)on our way to Reagan National (another part of the dream), for which you have to have made a reservation. We were the first Cirrus to land there (per the controllers) and were given a nice reception. The FBO picks you up in a van and they have warm chocolate chip cookies ready once you get inside. Doesn’t get much beter than that!
From there we landed (or rather Kara did- I didn’t want to break anything yet) at the Eagle’s Nest airport in Waynesboro, Va, a 2000 ft, shortest paved runway in VA. She did it with plenty of room to spare.
From there we did a night GPS approach to a small airport in NC where I would fly a rented Arrow over the yearson business and then on the KGMU, home base, Greenville, SC.
By the way, it is in its new hanger which after being on a waiting list for 2 years, just opened the day before I left for Duluth to pick up the plane.
The next day (all day)was spent doing engine outs and all types of approaches.Just before ending the day a controller told me there was a medical emergency and my family was trying to find me (no details!). So we headed back to KGMU (the direct to button sprung into action)and then we added a night round-trip flight over Charlotte to make an emergency visit to my mother-in-law who had been taken to the ER there. Thankfully she was OK.
Kudos to Kara, who worked about 14 hours every day and being an Embrery-Riddle grad, was able to teach me many things.
The SR20 is really easy to fly but the electronics (Garmins plus Stec55, C package)created confusion for me. I had worked a lot with the simulator before going; if not, it would have been sad.
I also had laid off flying for 6 months before going out to Duluth because I just did not trust the rental aircrat I had been flying.I did enough to keep up minimum IFR requirements, but no more.
There is nothing like knowing your own plane and knowing exactly what has and has not happened to it.
Flying approaches automagically is just thrilling. The autopilot is super and doesn’t miss a trick. Cross country with altitide hold is like flying the Garmin from the laptop.
I have about 50 hours now on the plane and a trip to New York State planned next week and Orlando the next weekend. This thing is a time machine. Quite comfortable on trips.
By the way, when controllers ask about the aircraft,I tell then it is similar to a Bonanza, but 4 inches wider, 6 knots slower, and half the price. They immediately understand!
It is great fun pulling ahead of a Boeing that is stuck at the end of a Manchester runway waiting for release, to take off on my own,going when and where I want to go. One of the pilots said over the ground freq.“that’s where we’d like to be”.
I count my experience a real blessing from God and a special gift. I met great people at Cirrus, a knowledgeale and flexible instructor, and had the chance to fulfill a dream of owning a plane unike the ones that I started with 23 years ago and was still renting.
I talked with Alan K. for a few minutes, thanking him for persevering to give pilots like me the chance to break out of spam cans.
I could tell we shared a similar dream.
Thanks Cirrus folks!
#70, 350 hour, IFR, c config, stormscope, cloth, 2 blade, big smile