Our flying club recently bought a 1966 Piper Cherokee 180C. We are all very excited about this purchase. One of the best things about this purchase is that it’s the same year as our Cherokee 140. The controls are all basically in the same place and the speeds and feeds are about the same. It’s easy to transition between the two airplanes.
I was formally checked out in the 180C this week. It took me a little while to get used to the extra horsepower and the different sight picture, but after 2.1 hours, I felt comfortable in it and I was very excited to get flying. Even though I was checked out, I wanted to take one more flight in it with a safety pilot, mess around with the controls a little bit while we were out there, and get a feel for its cross-country legs.
My buddy Keith earned his PPL about a month after I did, so I asked him to come along as my safety pilot. We decided to do a round trip from KRME to KFZY Friday after normal business hours. It was a great night for a flight; the crosswind component at both airports was just enough to keep me on my toes but nothing crazy. Visibility seemed to be unlimited. Once we got up over 3000′ MSL, the air smoothed out wonderfully.
I’m finding that I tend to land to the right of the centerline in this airplane; I feel like I slide over a little bit in the flare. I think I need a tad more left rudder and/or left aileron. I’m going to do some pattern work and get out of that non-centerline habit as quickly as possible.
The sun had just gone down when we got back home to KRME. It wasn’t dark, but it was dark enough that the runway lights were on. Here’s a photo of my approach for a long landing on runway 15.
I’m out of town this week for work and then on vacation later in the week. I’m looking forward to getting back up in the 180C when I get back. I love this time of year.