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A great 260se flight

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  • A great 260se flight

    I mentioned earlier that I was able to accompany Todd when he and Jo
    delivered the embryonic N812KT to Dodge City for the airframe
    refurbishing. What I hadn't described was the return flight from Dodge
    City to EQA in N58565, which served as our "shuttlecraft" for the day.

    I have said often to friends and family that each minute in an airplane
    is like gold to me. Part of that I'm sure is that California pilots
    are fortunate to have huge quantities of nature to see in flight.
    Well, I've flown a few times over eastern Colorado and western Kansas
    and I have to say that these flights were at best silver. Or maybe
    bronze. It's just a whole lot of flat and brown. Only a bit of the
    landscape exhibits any of the geometry imparted by agriculture.
    Expanses of dry ranchland are punctuated occasionally by the odd small
    town. Even Ashland--former home of PPP--sits seemingly in the middle
    of nothing. So, where DO they get their Frosted Miniwheats, anyway?

    But this flight was different. Todd was at the helm and Jo graciously
    insisted that I occupy the right seat. Todd allowed me to perform
    cruicial, highly skilled second-in-command duties such as entering
    "direct-to-EQA" in the GNS530, but mostly I just enjoyed the special
    character of this short flight as it unfolded. We lifted off from DDC,
    Todd dialed in a 600 fpm climb to 5500 feet into the 55X, and we headed
    east, with the sun already low on the horizon. Todd and Jo selected a
    CD and it played throughout the flight, interrupted only by brief
    conversation. The entire ride was magic-carpet smooth with about a 10
    kt tailwind and 160-165 knot groundspeeds. Todd demonstrated lean-of-
    peak operation on the EDM700 and FS450, dialing it down to around 11.5
    gph with a loss of only 3-4 KTAS. I began to notice a yellow and then
    orange glow suffusing the cabin, seemingly highlighted by the tan color
    of the panel, the illuminated moving maps, and other instruments. I
    turned to look to the rear and a magnificent sunset lit the sky,
    reflecting off the empennage. High fairweather clouds blazed orange
    and then red over the next quarter hour as the landscape darkened
    beneath us and the lights of habitation came on. The glow of Wichita
    became visible from at least 40 miles out and soon lights were the only
    ground features to be seen. ATC had seemingly little to do on this
    Friday evening and we were one of only a few planes on frequency.

    As we passed smoothly over the eastern edge of the Wichita area, Todd
    activated the EQA runway lights and the airport's crossed runways leapt
    into view. He timed the descent to arrive overhead at pattern altitude
    and we made left traffic for runway 15. N58565 touched down on 15 like
    a butterfly with sore feet and Todd had to add a little power to get to
    the intersection to turn off! We had the airport to ourselves, and
    pushed Jo's 260se back into the hangar and called it a night.

    A beautiful airplane, smooth clear air (tailwind too!), a theatrical
    sunset with musical score, and fine company--difficult to improve on.
    This flight over Kansas was definitely "gold."
    Kevin Moore
    Former 260se/stol Katmai with BRS owner; planeless for now

  • #2

    That flight and your description is the "pay off" for years of instruction, many dollars invested, and appreciation for the "finer things" in the life given to us to live. A year later, read the account again. Thanks. Beautiful! Levon