The Adventure continues, with days two and three, plus customer comments from Chris Hansen
By Field Morey
On day one of Chris Hansen's Corvalis TTx Discovery Flight, we flew over Mt. Shasta en route to South Lake Tahoe, before stopping in Las Vegas on our way to an overnight in Sedona, Arizona. Every leg of the first day opened up new vistas of gorgeous scenery while offering Chris great opportunities to learn about the TTX in "real world" situations.
Day Two of the TTx Discovery took us to Big Bear City in the San Bernardino Mountains northwest of Palm Springs, followed by a short hop to Camarillo, CA for lunch at the Waypoint Café. On a sunny weekend, there was a long wait at this popular café, but the double chocolate milkshake more than made up for it.
After our lunch settled, we were off to San Luis Obispo for a planned missed approach before we ended the day in Monterey, dining at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch in Carmel. I think this is a good place to remind readers that my slogan is "IFR" (I Find Restaurants!).
Day Three began at a funky breakfast spot called “Griddle in the Middle” referring to it’s location on the middle of the commercial wharf in Monterey harbor. Chris ordered their pancake special that came out about the size of a Buick’s hubcap. The leg from Monterey to Santa Rosa was conducted at 6,000 feet in IMC conditions beneath the San Francisco Class B airspace and finished with an extended vector for a GPS approach to runway 14. We decided against lunch…no kidding…so it was off to the coastal town of Arcata in Northern California.
We filed for 17,000 but soon after departure when checking the weather page on the MFD we saw there was a convective Sigmet covering Arcata and by the looks of the yellow areas on the Nexrad display elected to continue on up to FL250 scrapping our plans for Arcata in favor of on-top conditions and less chance of icing by heading slight east direct to Medford.
Our ground speed was in the 235 knot range at FL250, so it wasn’t long before Center issued a descent clearance. At that altitude the yellow arc on the airspeed began at 135 knots, so it was time to deploy the speed brakes. Shortly after I threw the speed brake switch to the UP position Chris remarked, “They aren’t up!” I looked and sure enough they were down. Repeated attempts to deploy them failed, so we gave up on that plan and reduced power instead. I routinely use speed brakes to slow down in turbulence or when a steep descent is in order so they were sorely missed. On top of that, ATC changed our approach to a Back Course from the south instead of the advertised ILS from the north. It all ended up with having to request and receive permission for a 360-degree turn on final once the runway was in sight.
I believe that Chris would have to say that the three days provided a good introduction to the Cessna Corvalis TTx plus a bonus dose of IFR experiences…not too mention IFR food!
Chris Hansen Comments
"As a 370-hour pilot who recently got his IFR ticket, my main goal was to get first-hand experience and see if the TTx would be a plane I want to move up to some day. On top of learning about what it is like to fly the TTx conservatively the way Field does (CHT’s well below red line, 65% cruise power, etc.), flying with a guy like Field who has so much IFR experience was extremely valuable in itself.
Being able to climb to FL250, and flying along the West Coast brought my capabilities to a different level. I don’t think you can find someone that knows more about the Garmin 1000/2000 system and how to use it practically than Field. I learned a lot of things about the system, even though I had a few hundred hours of G1000 experience. He introduced me to some tricks and practical setup procedures that take full advantage of all the capabilities of the Garmin system. Being competent with the G1000 makes flying approaches much safer, and knowing how to intervene when ATC inevitably alters a 'textbook' approach is a must. If you take your instrument rating seriously, I cannot recommend this experience highly enough.
I would love to get a TTx someday in the not too distant future. The plane does come at a significantly higher cost. Also, not to be understated is the difficulty I would have parting with my T182T, which does so many things well. Part of me was hoping that I wouldn’t like the TTx so that I could avoid this difficult decision and stop dreaming about one. I guess I can always blame Field for making this experience too damn fun! Thanks Field for a very worthwhile trip!"