Today was a great day to fly. I was back in the Minion (Piper 140), so it should have been nice and familiar. But it wasn’t.

Sometime in the last two weeks, they installed new seats. I wish I’d taken a picture of them. In some ways, they are nicer, but they are covered with vinyl and not as wide as the originals. Where the old seats were like a comfy recliner, these are more like dining chairs. They suck.

Whoever has been flying the Minion recently is jacking with the GPS settings, so now I have to reset it to default and reconfigure to what I like every time I fly. I’m sure the other pilots are thinking the same thing. I blame the senior instructor who flew with me last time. He likes to fiddle with the GPS to show off some of the advanced capabilities. I’m trying to fly here. Just the basics, please. 

I thought everyone might like to see the BOXER engine that’s in so many general aviation planes.

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We have to check the oil before every flight. The last joker that checked it cranked the dipstick down so tight it took two hands to break it loose. I almost had to grab some tools. Those cylinder heads are air-cooled, all of the gray and orange ducts are designed to flow air across the cylinders, then down out the bottom of the cowling.

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There was some chatter about oil drains recently, so I thought everyone might like to see the drain in a Lycoming engine. It’s that brass fitting. Push up on that brass rod and the oil starts flowing out. There are actually two of them, one for each side.

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This is the other side. If you think you keep meticulous records, try comparing them to a decent set of airplane maintenance logs. Note the information on the oil filter. It has the plane registration, the date it was changed, the tachometer time, and it indicates that it was done during the 50-hour inspection.

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I didn’t take any cool pictures from the air today because I was too busy practicing maneuvers!

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In there are some stalls, an emergency landing, steep turns, and some ground-reference maneuvers like turns around a point, S-turns, and tracking straight line that isn’t either direction upwind or downwind. That last one requires the pilot to compensate for the wind in order to track a straight line.

For those who made it this far, here’s the real treat! Today was customer appreciation day at the school. The owner usually feeds us and brings in something interesting to see. This month, it was a Cirrus Vision! I never thought I’d have a chance to get near one, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to climb in this one! The photo dump follows. There’s nothing more to say.

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EXPOSED FASTENERS!

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V-TAIL!!!

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The MONEY SHOT! VEEEEEE TAAAAAAIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLL!!!! Big engine too.
This one is set up for four, but an extra row of three seats can be added to the back.

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Of course I had to sit in it!

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Just in case you were wondering, yes it has supplemental oxygen on board and a whole-airplane ballistic parachute system. Soooo fancy!