Friday, August 04, 2017

Article: Entry-Level Travel

As I sit here on a gorgeous Friday morning in Ocean City, I'm reading my recent copy of Aviation Safety. I'm settled in with a mug of hot chocolate topped with whip cream and flipping through pages.

I usually flip through looking for an article that stands out, catches my interest, before starting at the beginning.  Just like in the days of newspapers I would dig into the sports pages then go back and start with the headlines.

The cover photo caught my eye, a Cessna, with the title noted below.
Entry-Level Travel
Yes, you can use a slow airplane to travel. Differently. Page 16

"The problem with an airplane like that is you can’t really use it for travel,” said a pilot looking out the FBO window at a Cherokee 140 sitting on the ramp. That pilot was saying that an entry-level airplane—think two or four seats, fixed gear and no more than 160 hp—can’t go places.

I about spit my hot chocolate out. The author, Dave Higdon, goes on to defend the bug smashers, making a funny relating back to Lindbergh's flight.

"Sorry St. Louis, I'm not flying to Paris unless I can average a buck-fifty...No. Lindbergh flew more than 33 hours between Long Island and LeBourget, averaging 107 mph over 3600 miles."

The comment from the pilot in the FBO was made about the authors very aircraft. Mr. Higdon goes on to makes the case, how to use the typical four seat single engine for travel.

The author walks through his steps about utilizing his plane, a Cherokee 140, to travel. As he noted, You gotta start somewhere, and he did, right out of the gate. Six days after passing his private pilot check ride he and his bride flew from Wichita Kansas to Washington, D.C. That's a big first step in my book.

Higdon goes on to talk about planning and being flexible, his suggested minimum equipment list and strongly encourages obtaining an instrument rating. I agree with his article and have blogged about some of these very topics.
  • Nothing beats a good plan, and a plan B
  • Keep current data for electronics up to date
  • Read and research your destination
  • Know your equipment, and its limitations
  • Get that instrument rating
I take a lot of flack about my Sundowner being so slow, but I think I travel more than most owners and I'll sacrifice speed for comfort any day of the week. In the article Higdon shared the thoughts of his friend that stated, "It's just like flying a short day trip, except when you take off again you don't go back. You keep going in the same direction." This gave me a good chuckle and immediately brought back memories of Bo Boggs and hearing him say "Cross country flights are like eating a pizza, one bite at a time."

It's time for me to get motivated and get a few things done around the house, maybe even take 08Romeo out for a quick hop.


Anonymous said...

I don't subscribe to Aviation Safety so I couldn't read the article, but Dave Higdon is great. I really enjoy his writings as well as the podcast that he hosts with Jeb Burnside and Jack Hodgson. We usually have beers with him ever year on the Thursday night of Airventure and he's a riot in person. I saw him this year but didn't get a chance to talk with him unfortunately.

Jim Rowe said...

^ That was me posting above. Not sure why it posted as anonymous. - Jim

Gary said...


It was a good article, hopefully it motivates some folks to spread their wings. I'll have to look for the podcast, thanks for the heads up.

Jim Rowe said...

Their podcast is called Uncontrolled Airspace. They've been podcasting for a long time and post new episodes pretty regularly. Worth a listen.

Gary said...

Sorry James, no spam advertising on my blog. Appreciate the kind words but no links for advertising.

james anthoni said...
Really a nice informative post which will be connect with the learners and blogger . thanks to the blogger.

Steve said...

While not an owner and as someone who's traveled much less than you, I still think this article's spot-on. Heck, even as a lowly renter, we've been to 7 states on our fair share of long trips in a 172!

Now in the interest of avoiding charges of hypocrisy, I will note I'm looking into a club with a faster plane for future trips for this growing family. Nonetheless, significant travel (and, just as important, relatively affordable travel) is more than possible in simple airplanes.

Great post!