I thought I’d summarize my trip last week to Duluth, and the incredible experience of taking delivery of N2578B and bringing it home. This will hopefully bring back fond memories for those who have already had the experience, and provide some insight for those still waiting.
First, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, prepare yourself for a wonderful experience. Everyone at Duluth was great (very friendly town) and the people at Cirrus were more than great. Really made the purchasers feel special.
One big surprise was how pretty the town was. My co-pilot and I stayed at the Hawthorne Suites, which is in the canal district. It’s very reasonable, and very nice. (The two bedroom suite was $94 - it pays to team up. We got room 1202, and it was a free upgrade, and about 1400 square feet!)
As I was advised, I was very diligent on the pre acceptance inspection. We had the mother of all ice storms that day anyway, and the inspection is a good way to get acquainted with the new family member. Its also a good opportunity to run the avionics without running down the battery.
I had a top notch, knowledgable, profesional, and very nice instructor (John Fiscus). The quality of the training was the best I’ve experienced in my aviation career. To those who haven’t made the trip yet, practice, practice, practice, and practice some more on the Garmin simulator before making the trip. It gives you more time to focus on the things that are unique to the plane, which are many. I downloaded the autopilot, HSI, transponder, intercom, and stormscope manuals ahead of time. Familiarization with all this, and very importantly, the Wings Aloft training manual, is a huge help.
I struggle with understanding those who are lukewarm on the Arnav. Without going into detail why, I found it to be really useful.
On flying the plane, good news and bad news. First the bad news - it took considerable practice to learn when and how to flare, compared with my old Warrior. My understanding is that it’s an even bigger transition for Cessna alumni. The good news is that it has far exceeded my considerable expectations in terms of pure joy to fly.
Finally some little tips I’ll offer. I put a little “dot” of velcro “hook side” on the top of the autopilot circuit breaker, in order to be able to feel for it in the event of an emergency. It’s very difficult to see down there, especially with sunglasses on. The plastic retaining strap on the armrest door (which always breaks as I’m told, and I fulfilled the legacy) can be replaced with a small brass chain from the hardware store. The end of the mike cord can be velcro’d to the door top, so it doesn’t flop all around. With all my worrying about where to put jepp appraoch plates, any type of knee board or clip works.
Yes, I’m aware of all the issues with the plane, some of which I’ve experienced. (I did inadvertently reverse the flaps while they were traveling, and didn’t blow out the relays.) But…the positives of the plane overwealmingly outweigh the drawbacks, which I feel are minute in comparison.
I felt that the Cirrus Duluth contingency treated me like family, and it added to making my trip north a true life experience! As so many others have said, it was worth the long wait!