180 in a Cherokee 180

If you read our last post, you’d know that we are in the process of shopping for a plane. We have big news coming on that soon! But for the moment, we just need to get back up in the air.

Enter Curt, our local enabler based out of Whisky17.

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And this is his beautiful Cherokee 180.

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Curt was kind enough to take us out on what was basically an introductory flight lesson. Seth was up first.

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After completing the pre-flight inspection, we run through the startup checklists (we’re going to fit in well here… if you get off to lists, you are half way to being a pilot).

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Seth did the run-up and take off. We headed southeast, flying back by Whisky17 as we departed.

A few 30* and 45* turns, and 1.3ish Gs later (it is a strange feeling the first time you experience it in a small aircraft), we found ourselves entering a 45* upwind to cross midfield into pattern at Johnston Regional Airport.

From there, Seth buttered the landing…

And successfully taxied us to park… even though he may have tried to use the ailerons at one point. 😛

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Chuck came out to help us pump gas. He was a really cool guy; took time to talk us through the whole process.

From there, Seth and I swapped spots, and we climbed back in.

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Being at the controls was an eye-opening experience. From the get-go, I was slow getting on the power. Climbing out, the controls felt heavy. The plane really comes in to it’s own as you trim it out, but there is a good deal of weight on the yoke. Curt walked me through the same turning exercises he put Seth through on our way down, and then gave us a tour of the area surrounding Whisky17, which was good, because you are not going to find it any other way…

The approach to that strip is a bit of a challenge. The runway is 35 feet wide and not entirely what you’d call flat. Plenty accessible, but you need to be confident. Luckily for me, the equipped auto-pilot includes landing… and funny enough, it also goes by the name of Curt. Quite the coincidence. And in this case, a good thing. Will get there soon on my own for sure.

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What a day. I can definitely get used to this.

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