My friend Mike called the other afternoon with an itch to go flying. The weather was awesome, and we had talked about spending some time flying his Beech Travel Air. I was game, so I met him in Mountain Home
The Travelair is late 50’s model, but being a twin it has more complex systems with fuel pumps, 4 fuel tanks, cross feed valves, etc. Even the heat/defrost is more complicated with a dedicated burner for heating air. Mike taught me about the systems, how to manage them, and when to use them in flight. Like most twins, the Travel Air has constant speed props, and retractable gear. All the sort of things I don’t deal with on a flight in our 172.
We flew up to Springfield, shot an ILS approach, and landed there. We went into Premier flight to look around and check out their operation. Next we loaded up and headed toward Gimlin (18MO) where Mike’s son lives.
The twin is incredibly fun to fly. It is a bit more work, but fun. The acceleration down the runway is much higher, and the rudder inputs for torque and p-factor somewhat less. Liftoff is a bit faster, and the airplane climbs much faster with all of that power. Getting the gear up cleans the airplane up a lot, and if climbs even better. Once clear of the runway, we reduce power and adjust the props for climb, then adjust power, props, and synchronize the propellers at cruise.
While we were on the ground at Gimlin I saw I had a missed call, and a text message from two of the partners on the 172. One of the partners, a student pilot, had a tire blow out on landing. He did everything right and got the airplane stopped and secured. We were already planning to take the airplane down for maintenance the next day, so I just called the mechanic and arranged for him to meet us at the hangar so we could address the wheel before flying it to Ava.
We headed out of Gimlin and straight back to Mountain View. The final landing in the Travel AIr was my best.