My instructor changed his mind about starting me on the multi-engine aeroplane next week. Instead, we hopped in last Wednesday, and I’ve had a couple flights now.

The plane they train on is a Piper Seminole, which is a nice plane, fairly easy to handle.

The first thing you notice taking off is the power. Bigger engines, more power on each one. The idea is not only to have more power with the two engines, but also to have engines powerful enough that if one fails, the one still running can still keep the plane in the air.

The second thing you notice is what everybody kept telling me I’d notice when I got to the Seminole. It’s about fifty percent faster than the Cessnas I trained on. It cruises at the speeds I’m used to avoiding exceeding, and at twenty five hundred feet, the speed increase is noticeable. In a Cessna, cruising at ninety knots, if feels like you’re crawling across the sky, but in the Seminole, it feels like you’re actually going somewhere.

It’s also a much heavier plane than the Cessnas, and glides like a rock. Maybe not quite as bad as the float plane, but close. Steep turns are a breeze – it doesn’t get bounced around as much in the wind because it’s heavier. The other thing though, is when you add power, Β or nose down it takes a bit longer for the plane to respond, so when you’re doing anything at a slow speed, you have to be extra careful of getting close to a stall.

It’s my first time flying a low-wing – for the uninitiated, that’s a plane with the wings attached at the bottom of the fuselage instead of having the fuselage hanging below the wings. That means you can’t use gravity to feed fuel into the engine, so you have fuel pumps, which is yet another among a million things that you have to remember to turn on and off and test.

So many firsts; it’s also my first time flying with retractable landing gear. I’m told landing gear up is bad. You know how you can tell if you’ve landed gear up? It takes full power to taxi to the ramp.* But in all seriousness, it’s an easy thing to forget, and a really bad one if you do!

Overall, it’s helped a lot that we’ve been going over multi-engine stuff in the simulator, so not all of it is completely new, and it hasn’t been too overwhelming. And it has been super nice to get back in the air and behind the controls after having not flown since finishing my float rating in November.


*Can’t believe my instructor hadn’t heard that one.


6 responses to “Multi

    • I know – there are so many people who make it through their private pilot’s license, and once they get it, they never fly again. They don’t have the money – it’s a rich person’s hobby. I knew the only way I would be able to get enough flying in to not resent everything in my life that kept me from flying was going to be making it my career. People tell me I’m so inspiring, and I go, aw, I’m just doing what I…Nope, never mind, I am fracking awesome, I can’t even πŸ˜›

  1. Way to go Lindsay. Being a fellow pilot I can sympathize with your articles. I too know people who have either given up flight training or never flown after getting their certificate. What a shame.

    • I know – At work, at the call centre, there’s at least 4 guys that I *know* of who started flying, 3 that got their private licences, one of them was IFR rated, but the story is always the same. Ran out of money.

      It was weird, going into a IFR familiarization class and as my classmates stated where they were in their training as part of introductions, I realized maybe I didn’t have more hours than *all* of them, but I was the only one who’d completed my commercial pilot’s license, and I had more ratings than any of them. As a woman, I reflexively downplay my accomplishments, but moments like that make me stop and realize, yeah, I’ve worked damn hard and I’ve accomplished a lot, and more than most, considering 75% of people who start flight training don’t complete their private license.

      • You should be proud of your accomplishments. Not everybody has the will and determination to be a pilot. There are necessarily times during training where you will be in a scary situation by yourself. Overcoming that is one aspect of flying that makes it such a character builder. Rock on Lindsay.

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