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Think you want a faster plane?

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  • Think you want a faster plane?

    Who among us has not pondered the benefits of a
    faster airplane for travelling? My own such idle
    thoughts on occasion drift towards the Cirrus SR22, a 180+
    kt cruiser. Its climb rate is somewhat faster than
    the 260se, albeit at a much faster Vy (and resulting
    shallower gradient). I recently had an illuminating
    experience in this regard. A friend recently took delivery
    of his SR22 and has unfortunately had to have a few
    things tended to in multiple visits to the Cirrus
    Service Center in Stockton (SCK), about 50 miles from
    Palo Alto (PAO). I helped out by providing air taxi
    service to and from SCK for him to deliver and pick up
    his plane--a circle of friends around here do this
    for each other. When we ferried his SR22 to SCK I
    departed first (Peterson Departure), climbed straight to
    5500 feet through a narrow gap between SFO Class B and
    SJC Class C, and timed my top-of-the-green arc
    descent to a crosswind entry at midfield. He departed
    right behind me in the '22 but had to fly a wider
    departure underneath Class B and delay his climb to 5500.
    Sure enough he buzzed by me before the halfway mark.
    However, he had to fly beyond SCK in his effort to both
    descend and slow down, and enter on the 45. For all his
    30+ knot cruise speed advantage, I landed just 45
    seconds behind him, but only because I had to loiter a
    bit waiting for him to fly a longish downwind and
    base! Granted he's a less experienced pilot flying a
    plane that's new to him, but it shows that a properly
    planned flight using the capabilities of the 260se can
    often if not always considerably narrow the advantage
    of a faster but more conventional airplane.
    Kevin Moore
    Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now