Flew s/n 1056 Thursday from Duluth home to Norwood, MA. The SR20 is truly an awesome IFR machine.
A little background: I’m a 350 hr pilot (comm/Instr) having spent virtually all of those few hours in Warriors and Arrows.
We left Duluth in an 800 ft overcast bound for Burke Lakefront in Cleveland via Green Bay, Lansing and Toledo. Convective sigmets had been issued for the Ft Wayne to Cincinnatti area so we were a little concerned but greatly comforted by the Stormscope’s 200 nm range showing the strikes relative to our route on the Arnav.
We were peacefully on top at 7000 till we reached Lake Michigan and spent the next few hours in the goo in light and not too occasionally moderate turbulence. With the Garmin talking to the STEC 55 and the Arnav, we had unmatched situational awareness, perfectly tracking our course with ground speeds averaging about 150.
A word about wing loading; the SR20 slices through turbulence with the feel of an airliner. Flying in turbulence in a PA28 one wing often gets lifted resulting in uncomfortable roll movements. This plane is rock steady in roll and seems almost to flap its wings in the breeze, not so much pitching up but rising up and down. (Of course, the autopilot helps here immensely.)
Anyway, ATC rerouted us during the worst of the bumps but no problem! We’ve got a 430, a Stormscope and an autopilot! Punched in the new clearance and we were back in business. I can’t tell you how comforting it was seeing the lightning strikes come no closer than 50 miles.
ATC kept us high over Cleveland so our descent was a bit brisk (ok, I made it a bit brisk)at 180 kias as the weather in Cleveland was much improved and we had virtually no turbulence. As has been said many times, this plane is slippery! Had a terrific view of the city as we made a visual approach to Burke-Lakefront. My landing was so-so as I’m still tempted to flare when the picture out the window looks like it does in a PA28 - which is a definite no-no in the SR 20. Got to let it keep coming down and be flatter.
After Cleveland it was virtually a straight shot East down V270 to the Boston area. This final leg home was almost entirely VFR in silky smooth air. And yes Walt, ATC asked us 5 times during our trip, “What kind of a plane is that?”)
Clyde, thanks for the forum and I hope I didn’t use up too many bytes of something or other technical.
PS Here’s a CAPS thought. We’re flyng eastbound south of Albany NY and its quite dark below with very few lights on the mountains. The 430 says the nearest a/p (paved) is 20 miles. Some might say don’t make the trip in a single engine plane at night - maybe they’re right. But my buddy sitting in the right seat and I both felt like that if we were to have some type of catastrophe at least we had a really good shot of living to tell about it.