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The Need For Speed

Posted by on May 15, 2011

You would think that just owning a plane and flying when you chose (for business or pleasure) would be satisfying enough for any pilot. Not the case with me. I don't remember how the idea got started but I found myself looking for a small twin engine plane a few short years after learning to fly.

Understand, I already had a plane. One which I bought shortly after getting my private pilot license. I know I should count myself fortunate to have a plane at all. I knew many guys (and gals) who had spent many hours training and flying who didn't own a plane........of any kind. They either rented a plane (which wasn't cheap) or flew for someone else. Yet, here I was a new pilot with my own plane and not satisfied.

You see my father and I owned a group of stores in Arkansas and Louisiana. One of these stores was about 5 ½ hours from us by car. The single engine plane made it much better as I could make the trip in about 2 ½ hours. Not bad by anyone's standards.

However, I dreamed of moving into a small twin. As I thought about it, I could just imagine that we would be safer......after all a twin means you've got a backup in case of engine failure. Although that's not exactly true, it sounds good and helped me justify it in my mind. Also felt like I could get there a little faster and that would certainly help.

Now, that part is true. The single cruised at about 110 to 120 knots while my first twin (Piper Seneca I) would cruse at about 140 knots. In actuality there was only significant time gain if the trip was long enough. Didn't matter, though, I wanted a twin.

Didn't take much shopping before I found one. But, there was one slight problem. I had a pilot license with and Instrument rating........but no twin rating. You can't simply jump from one type to another and start flying. You've got to get a rating. That requires more training and a check ride.

As I remember it, we made the deal on Friday and by Monday morning I had enlisted the services of a twin instructor in a neighboring town to get the training out of the way. Getting a twin rating only required 20 more hours of training and passing a check ride. However, my insurance saw things a little differently. I had to get my rating plus an additional 10 hours of solo flight before I was allow to carry passengers. Argh......another hurdle.

Here's how things went. I started on Monday. Flew every afternoon that week and flew to town about an hour away to take my check ride with a qualified instructor. Then, over the weekend, I flew to New Orleans Lake Front (about 5 hours round tripe) and then on Sunday I flew to Corpus Christi (another 5 hours).

By Monday morning of the following week I had my rating, additional flight time, and was ready for business. Wow! What a ride. This amount of learning is challenging and fun.

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