Had been on the east coast on a reporting trip for two weeks, and on return to Seattle decided to take another step down the “what does not kill me makes me stronger” path with an aerobatics lesson. Hmmm, I guess “what does not kill me” is the wrong way to introduce an aviation topic. My point is, I find parts of aerobatic training, especially repeated spin recovery, to be literally nauseating but also useful in developing skills. Having pulled myself out of a couple dozen intentional spins, I think I’d have a better chance of getting out of an inadvertent one now. And the loops are actually fun – it’s the corkscrew motion of spins that seems not to agree with me.
On my way out to the Aerobat that I was going to use for this afternoon’s flight, groaning under the weight of the big parachute on my back, I found myself walking past… a spanking new SR20! It was N135CD, whose whereabouts are listed as “unknown” in the Planes list here. I can report that its whereabouts are in fact the Wings Aloft flying club at Boeing Field (BFI) in Seattle. I gather from my friends at Wings Aloft (where I got my IFR training and now rent planes) that the plane will be based there for the foreseeable future. Tragically it won’t be available for rentals – but hey, I wouldn’t make mine available either. Most of the rental planes at Wings Aloft are tied down out of doors, but 135CD will have a hanger.
Although I had seen SR20s several times before, it was a shock to see it there – mainly for the reminder of how different it looks from the standard spam cans that surround it. In context, at the Cirrus factory in Duluth, the SR20 looks like a very spiffy new airplane. Out of context, surrounded by 172s and 182s, it looks like a little space ship.
On casual polling, the CFIs at Wings Aloft were highly enthusiastic about the plane – responsiveness, visibility, avionics, ease of the control stick. Mild complaint about stiffness of the seat. I ran into a mechanic who was grumbling that it was harder to work on than a 172, because you had to get down on your back to get under the wings, and other stuff (he claimed) was harder to get at. I felt mildly sympathetic for him, but only mildly.
So, Seattle may have lost the Kingdome, but it has gained N135CD. May other sightings multiply. Jim Fallows