This is the story of my delivery - #1118, a.k.a. N84MR, a.k.a. #108 off the production line. IÂ’ll try to keep it brief; much of what I would describe matches all the other delivery stories youÂ’ve read.
I arrived on Monday 29th Â– a day before d-day. I called Alison Johnson (my Contract Administrator) and asked if I could come over and take a peek. IÂ’m glad I did. It was a giddy sensation seeing MY AIRPLANE for the first time; and here I run out of words. Those whoÂ’ve already taken delivery know what I mean, and the rest will find out. I challenge anyone to adequately describe that moment.
The cowl covers were off, because the Reiff preheat system I had ordered was still being worked on. I walked around the airplane, but resisted the temptation to start inspecting it in detail. I hardly slept that night; but I think I slept better than I would have if I hadnÂ’t seen the bird at all. The airplane was just beautiful.
The next morning (Tuesday), the weather was lousy; so there could be no flying. The acceptance flight would have to wait. It was a good opportunity, though, to do the Â“Mother of All Pre-Flight InspectionsÂ”. I had brought along a friend whoÂ’s also a pilot, so there were four eyes looking for any glitches. We found a few, and listed them. Cirrus was great about the whole thing Â– some were truly tiny gripes, but at no time did anyone question whether they should be fixed. By the way: Having a friend along is also great for having lots of photos taken; I brought a digital camera and my laptop, so each night I could chronicle my Great Adventure in an email bulletin to family and friends.
After the Great Inspection (about 1.5 hours) – and the Paying oÂ’ the Money and the Signing oÂ’ the Forms – I met Kara Kahler of Wings Aloft, and we dived into the ground school portion of the agenda. I was well prepared Â– I had read through the Training Guide until I knew it almost by heart. I had answered all of the various written questions etc., and had my own list of questions. I strongly recommend this to anyone who is heading for Duluth for a delivery: It saves lots of time and it makes the whole experience much more satisfying for both student and instructor. We finished everything that day, even with time out for a great lunch sandwich.
Wednesday brought weather that was still lousy, but less so than TuesdayÂ’s. Gary Black, CirrusÂ’ Corporate Pilot (I believe), took me on an acceptance flight (on an SVFR clearance). He flew left seat, and I observed, ready to note any discrepancies. Other than a VSI, which needed to be adjusted, everything was Â“on the moneyÂ”. Total time for the flight was about 20 minutes, which brought the Hobbs to 5.6, including all the Cirrus pre-delivery flights to Hibbing (for paint) and for debugging.
The weather was improving to almost-really-VFR, and Kara was keen to get started; obviously, I was too, so off we went. I had already rigged up my Â“Poor ManÂ’s Cockpit Voice RecorderÂ” (see post Â“Headset power, and Poor Man’s CVRÂ” , Wed Jan 24 2001, under the 2001-Jan-wk3 archive). Having a tape of these training flights was great later on Â– itÂ’s amazing how much I miss the first time around, especially with the excitement of flying MY AIRPLANE for the first time. Kara is a great instructor Â– IÂ’d recommend her to anyone; I really enjoyed flying with her. She knows that airplane inside out, and could answer all my questions on the spot.
So off we went on a series of three flights. We did all the obvious things Â– every type of takeoff and landing (except crosswind, because there just wasnÂ’t any to speak of); the stall series; recovery from various emergency situations; a GPS approach, and finally a couple of ILS approaches (one hand-flown, one coupled to the STEC-55). This airplane behaves exactly as advertised if you just fly the numbers. All went very well, and after a total of four hours, Kara declared me ready to go out into the world and scare people.
My trip back home was delayed one day because of continued iffy weather at DLH on Thursday; but Friday was CAVU, so off I went. Hobbs was at exactly 10.0 on departure; outside air temp was MINUS 23 degrees C. Needless to say, N84MR climbed like a scalded cat.
My friend and I had various stops to make enroute Â– Palwaukee near Chicago, and Indianapolis; so we didnÂ’t get back until Tuesday this week. The flights were phenomenal. Fast, quiet, comfy; we went through some turbulence over the Blue Ridge Mountains that had been described as Â“moderate, occasionally severeÂ”; and we certainly felt it, but it felt more like going through turbulence in a jet than like it usually does in my Cessna 182RG. I had plenty of time to play with the power settings and compare them to the performance charts; at a given altitude, temperature, and power setting, with the engine properly leaned (to 75 deg. R.O.P. for break-in), I got the advertised performance in terms of TAS and indicated GPH. Good tailwinds got me an average groundspeed of just over 190 kt, with peaks of about 203 kt.
A couple of things I found that are worth passing on because they may save others some time and worry:
In a dive to about 170 knots, a strange rumbling started - apparently from the engine. It then persisted at speed down to about 155; any slower and it stopped, but it came back if I sped up. It turned out to be a rubber sheet or flap which is attached to the inside of the lower cowl, and is meant to seal the gap around the nosegear strut. At high enough speeds, this sheet pops out into the airstream and flaps. Apparently, on earlier airplanes, this had been a sheet of metal, and it didnÂ’t have the problem. Cirrus changed to the rubber sheet, believing that it would give a better seal. Mike Busch of CD is aware of this issue, and is investigating a solution. Meanwhile, if I do get fast enough to cause the rumble, at least I donÂ’t worry about it.
In the training manual is the statement that “Blue streaks on the belly would indicate a leak in the fuel selector that should be checked by a mechanic before flying”. I became concerned when I noticed blues streaks on the belly of N84MR. It turns out that there are two apertures - one from which some fuel leakage/venting/overflow is normal and expected; the other from which it is not. The “normal” one is the one just behind the lower cowling - one of three tubes which stick out. The “abnormal” one is just a hole in the belly, directly below the fuel selector valve.
This is one awesome machine, and IÂ’m in love again.