Have been flying the plane up and down the west coast recently. A couple of observations. (Context is continued vast admiration for comfort, attractiveness, ease of flight, and so on.)
I agree that the secret to starting is lots and lots of priming, and then holding the throttle almost closed when turning the starter.
I agree with the general indictment of Arnav. In particular I agree with the lack of faith about its terrain indications.
However, I have found myself appreciating its powers in one particular application: it is very good, I find, for orienting yourself in complicated airspace. I’ve been flying in and around both the SF and the LA areas, and it’s quick, easy, and effective at showing the borders, floors and ceilings, etc. Better than the Garmins. Also good in situational-awareness while intercepting airways, localizers, and so on. Like everyone else, I wish it were better. But it does these things well.
Passengers all comment favorably on comfort and ergonomics on the plane. People at airports still ogle it. One area that needs work: heating is unbalanced, so front-seaters are warm while back-seaters are cold, especially at night.
Got a cover from Bruce’s Custom Covers. It’s great. Easy to get on and off; attractive; effective.
Had an episode this evening that provided info on a previously-discussed topic, how the plane handles ice. Was coming from Southern Calif back to SF Bay area, had designed an IFR plan that appeared to avoid the likely ice areas. Part of this plan was delaying the necessary climb (to get over SoCal mtns) as long as possible. Headed westward across the LA basin, from San Bernardino, then turned north past Burbank. Starting altitude was 4000.
ATC cleared me for this plan but once en route gave an early instruction to climb to 8000. In the time it took to pass from 6500 to 7500 feet the plane almost instantly got a layer of ice. It looked like 1/2" on the wings, but it was probably less than that. I immediately asked for and got a climb to 10,000, since I had heard tops reported at 9000. If they’d said no I would have asked to descend, since the air just below the clouds was surprisingly warm, and I would have gone back to where I started to try another day.
Data points: climb after taking on ice was slow at full power (maybe 300 fpm, 90 kts). Broke out of the clouds at 9000 and the air there was at +4 C. When I leveled at 10,000, TAS at full power was 120 kts. It took 15-20 minutes for the ice to clear; TAS speed rose steadily in that time from 120 to the 150s.
Episode was reminder #508 of the importance of getting out of ice in a big hurry. It was dramatic how quickly it came and how fast it degraded performance. And if you want data on the plane in ice-- at least this plane, in this particular icing situation, this time – here you go.