The most recent Oddball Pilot blog entry is a follow-up to Aidan Loehr's interview of Pat Goodrich, the chief pilot of Island Air Express.
After Loehr talked with Goodrich, the Island Air pilot invited him along for a ride. Loehr, of course, accepted the offer. He writes:
(Goodrich) suggested a flight over to Klawock, where Island Air Express is based. Cable Wells was finishing up Initial Operating Experience (IOE) with Pat, so Cable would be flying and I’d be a passenger in the back. Still, I happily took him up on the offer. It’s always fun to get the view from the back, and I’ve always been intrigued by the Garrett-powered Caravan. Those extra horses up front were bound to have an effect on performance! (The Garrett in the amphib Caravan produces 850 horsepower, and 950 in the Grand Caravan).
The peak season hadn’t hit yet, so the Caravan was still on wheels (as opposed to the amphibious floats that it sports during peak months). On wheels, flying off a runway used by 737s, I don’t think Cable was forced to push the performance limits. But liftoff certainly happened sooner then I would have expected from a standard 208. The climb rate was also impressive. Flying the Caravan IFR in Southeast Alaska, or on the heavier amphib floats, I don’t think there is any question that the Garrett engine provides a greater margin of safety.
The Chelton avionics that were installed also reflected the company’s interest in providing a very good, useful, IFR machine. You may have picked up on my skepticism regarding some of the modern panels (e.g. the Garmin G1000 and touch screen GPSs) in other posts. In general, I think the avionics companies are getting too clever and complicating what should be simple systems. Well, I have to say I was impressed by the Chelton system. I didn’t get to use it myself, but it seems to encompass the best of the old and new technology. It helped that Cable was very well versed in the practical application of the package, and he was able to explain the ins and outs in an understandable fashion.
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