Well, my vacation plans had a last minute hiccup since the Skylane
was not out of its annual in time for our departure. After a lot of
last minute phone calls, Ourplane arranged for me to have the
PAO Cirrus SR20. This was a squeeze - with all four of us plus
minimal baggage I worked out we could only carry enough fuel for
2 hours with reserves. But what the heck, the Cirrus should
Getting over the Sierra Nevada - only three of us but extra fuel
for the 3 hour flight, so maybe 100 pounds under gross - was a challenge.
The final 2000 ft to 13500 was done at 100-200 ft/sec holding the
plane between the stall horn at 75 KIAS and zero VSI at 80.
Two days in Vegas then off to GCN. Now we really were at gross,
a bare 30 gals of fuel. 43 degrees and 2200 ft, so density altitude high
but still well within the POH limits. Looooong takeoff run, at least
4000’ (way beyond the POH) and miserable climb rate. Departure
asked for our best climb rate, my response “This is it, 60P” - maybe
400-500 ft/sec. With this performance at 2200’ and temps high
even at GCN, I’m worrying seriously about departure from GCN
at 6600’ and Bryce at 7700’.
Then 10 mins out, the Oil light comes on, temp
at the redline and pressure in the green but low. First thought
obviously “we’re losing oil” (the oil was dead on full at preflight).
Start a diversion to Boulder City right under the nose, decline
to declare an emergency for now. On final to Boulder City
I see the temp falling, pressure rising, and realise that if
I go in I’m not going to be sure of getting out until winter.
So, diversion #1 cancelled, and diversion #2 under way back
to LAS. LAS Approach were great and got me back in by
the shortest route.
So, so much for the Cirrus. Called Hertz and got a car for
our tour in the West instead, and I’ll fly back on my own, with
the rest of the family (now seriously spooked, as you might
imagine) on Southwest.
Moral: the Cirrus is pretty, but the Skylane is a real airplane.
At least I’ll no longer have to wonder whether I should get a SR22
if/when I can afford it. Cirrus is out for me. I’ll start looking
at those F33s again for when (well, if) the Cisco stock ever
goes up again.