Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Flying high(ish)

I went for a flight in Cessna's Corvalis 400TT today. The weather at Cranfield was interesting, with bright sunshine and clear blue skies ten miles away, but with low cloud and heavy rain in the vicinity. We, that's to say Steve McKenna, Richard Kerr from Patriot and Pana Poulios from Cessna drunk much coffee while grumbling about the British weather. We took advantage of what we thought was a clearing to fly, but by the time we got to the aeroplane it had started raining heavily again. More coffee, more grumbling. Eventually we got airborne and made good use of the aeroplane's twin turbocharged Continental to pick our way through the holes that had now appeared to some nice clear, unlimited visibility sky. Settled in the cruise, 80% power (a frequently used cruise setting) gave us almost 200kt TAS while burning 17usg an hour.

You can go a long way at those speeds. A strong point of the aeroplane is its ability to take you to the sun (or snow) in comfort - it can climb above most European weather. The service ceiling is FL250 - so you'll need to be using the built-in oxygen.

So, the Lancair, no Columbia. The Corvalis is yours for just $635,000 including a non FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) TKS system. Full report in the magazine. Nice touches - inflatable door seals giving a very quiet cabin, air conditioning that can be used all of the time (many AC systems need to be off for departure and landing), and speed brakes. Not quite so nice touch - the lack of a stormscope, even as an option, something to do with the lightnining protection mesh used in construction I'm told. In the US they have XM weather, here we don't, at least not yet.

Edit - Talking to Avidyne at Aero Expo it seems that their TWX 670 has recently been STC'd for the Corvalis (N reg only for now though).

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