Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reassignment Heaven!

On the 10th, I was supposed to fly a two day San Juan trip. But I got a phone call from our crew scheduling 'asking' me if I wanted to fly on the 9th to San Francisco instead. I say 'asking' because if you answer your phone on your days off you can be required to take the trip. But Camille was nice enough to give me the option. I checked with the wife who thought it would work out even better for us and then it dawned on me. This was a San Francisco trip and my very long time friend Mike is a San Francisco based captain. What if Mike was the captain on THIS trip?

I agreed to take the trip and then I ran to the computer and pulled it up:

Yes! I've been waiting to fly with Mike for the past 13 years. It was finally going to happen. 10,000 pilots. Think of the odds on that.  I worked during my furlough for Mike managing his hobby shop in Coppell, Texas.  Here's Mike in this YouTube video at my side when I crashed one of my R/C helis back then. And another video of Mike tormenting his dog with an electric RC plane at his house. So you get the idea. We go back a long time.

Mike's copilot exceeded 30 hours in 7 days, so he was off the trip. I was to fly to SFO and then deadhead back the next afternoon. So the plan was to stay with Mike at his place which is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco in Santa Rosa, CA. Mike also has access to some neat toys to fly, but more on that later.

Glad you could join us!

Mike and Kent's great adventure

I had my video camera with me and so I had to show Mike that gadget. We shot a few scenes in the cockpit, nothing during the sterile period though (below 10,000 feet or while taxiing).

Now for the fun part. Mike has a Citabria that he's really cleaned up nicely. New engine, etc... But he also has access to an RV-8, a Diamond DA-20 Eclipse and a Columbia 400. So the question is, which one do we take out to fly the next morning? We only had about an hour, so it could really just be one of the airplanes.


Since I've already flown an RV-8 and a Citabria, and since I like airplanes that are at least in the realm of potential ownership on my part, I chose the Diamond DA-20 over the Columbia to fly. The fuel costs would be about 1/4 as well.

The Diamond has become popular with flight schools in both the Rotax and Continental powered versions. Maybe some of you guys out there are flying one? If so, consider yourselves lucky. This is SO much nicer to fly than the 152 that most of us learned in. It's smooth, quiet(er), fast, it has a stick, has great visibility, it's clean, efficient, and even sexy!

Diamond DA-20 Panel

I think any airline pilot type who hasn't flown any small airplanes for a long time would be really comfortable in this airplane. It's feels closer to the jet than it does to a Cessna 152. It even has TIS, Garmin's traffic alerting system. That'll make 'em comfortable. (It's hard to give up some of the features you're used to at work)

So naturally we had to film the .6 hour flight. Here's a version on that looks much nicer than YouTube, but if you have problems viewing it, go to the YouTube version below.

Next up, two trips during two northeast snow storms! Stay tuned.

Oh, and thanks Mike and Gretchen for such a great time!

-Tsurugi boy...


Jonathan said...

Diamonds are great aircraft...we use a DA-40 at our flight school...a little more power, lots more space, and a fantastic G1000 panel. The D-jet should be even more fun! :-)

chris said...

"Waaaaay too much fun."


Love the videos, no matter the size of the flight deck. :-)

neil said...

Great report Kent- excellent videos!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the video from the cockpit.

Think you can post more videos like that?

I've got a friend who flys the 757 and 767 for Continental, do you also fly the 767s for American?

Evan said...

Nice video of the DA-20 flight. I'm 16 and training towards my PPL in this aircraft. Hopefully I'll fly for an airline someday!

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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