My next contract is a little different than what I've been doing lately. I'll be flying with a client, as usual, this time in the client's airplane. The biggest difference is not in who owns the airplane, however, but in what sort of airplane it is. It's small. It won't quite be the smallest airplane I have ever flown, but close. It cruises at about the speed I normally touch down on the runway. The owner contacted me to help her fly it from the factory in Florida back to Canada, a long trip for a little arirplane, especially factory new.
My client is also new to aviation, a very new student pilot. Her training record reveals that she can fly straight and level, make medium turns, correct for drift, and keep a look out for other aircraft. That is ninety percent of the mechanical task of flying an airplane to Canada, but there's the little matter of take-offs and landings, and the big matter of planning a 1500 nautical mile trip through several kinds of weather and a lot of complex airspace.
Waiting for my flight down to Orlando to meet her, I look over the checklists and information she has sent me on the airplane. Its "never-exceed" speed is my "over-the-fence" for landing speed. At least there will be lots of time to think. And think I should. The difference between the cruise speed and the clean stall speed is only 40 mph, and the airplane has little mass, so little momentum and that would be only a few seconds. The manufacturer's checklist advises three-point power-on landings for the little airplane. It has conventional gear, but retractable, because it's an amphibian.
What? You want to know what kind of airplane it is? Why don't I let Lite Flyer tell you herself.
I've spoken to her on the phone a few times and now I'm meeting her at the baggage carousel. Here goes another adventure! For the next week you can read both our blogs, to follow our progress.