Cross Country in a Stationair

(Click pictures to see enlargements.)

A couple of years ago, I went along with my friend George Finlay (of Trans-Atlantic fame), to pick up a brand-new Cessna Stationair at the factory in Independence Kansas, and deliver it to Lincoln Park Aviation in New Jersey.These are opportunities not to be missed, especially if the one-way flight (to Tulsa, Oklahoma) could be purchased for just $99.George and I met at Tulsa airport and drove to Independence by rental car (an hourís drive if I remember correctly).

We arrived mid-afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon touring the factory.It was very noisy with the sound of rivet guns.When we watched, the assembly line was producing Skyhawks.We werenít allowed very close, probably so we couldnít learn the tricks of the trade.Outside, we could see the new Skyhawks being test flown.George performed the paper work for the Stationair and then we had a big steak for dinner and a good nightís sleep.

Early the next morning, we inspected the aircraft for dings and scratches and tested all systems.Everything seemed to be in order (Iíll relieve the suspense right away: everything was in order).It was a nicely equipped aircraft: Turbo charged, oxygen system, Bendix-King stack with two-axis autopilot, GPS, moving map display and HSI.

It was a beautiful day and George let me fly the first leg to our fuel stop in Dayton, Ohio.We decided to go VFR and cruised very comfortably at 9500 feet.We flew right over the arch in St Louis.We landed in Dayton, had lunch at the local Chinese restaurant and, back at the airport, we got a good look at a Wright Flyer replica (in the hangar).

George flew the second leg and this is a good point to mention it was June, very hot and muggy and, yes, big CB towers started sprouting everywhere. We had elected to fly VFR this second leg too, so we could see what we were getting into.With scattered thunderstorms about, you donít want to be forced through cloud by your flight plan.

The storm scope, whose display could be displayed on top of the moving map told us that we would probably have to deal with thunderstorms at some point (see picture).They seemed to be right along our route.When the holes between the towers started to close up we decide to land and found a small, abandoned airport whose name Iíve already forgotten, somewhere west of Washington DC.The first picture of the Stationair was taken here.

A big thunderstorm came right over our heads while we took shelter in an old hangar.One thunderclap struck something very nearby; gave us a nice jump.When the storm subsided, we called Flight Service and filed an IFR plan for the rest of the way.We took off VFR and activated the flight plan in the air.The rest of the way there was nothing to see but the inside of clouds.The controller told us not to worry; heíd keep us clear of convection.Nevertheless, I kept a sharp look at the storm scope.

We arrived at Lincoln Park just when the sun set and popped out of the clouds at 1500 feet or so.

The Stationair was a nice aircraft to fly, a bit heavier than the 182, of course.It has huge loading/passenger doors on the pilot side, six seats (two of them very small).It flies at 150 kt true at 10,000 feet.It really is a slightly larger 182.

It was a fun flight.

 

March 2007,Sape Mullender