This morning, Air Associates, hosted an open house at the KOJC airport. One of the planes on display was a re-branded Columbia 350. Cessna is calling this plane the Cessna 350. As you might know, Cessna purchased Columbia in late 2007 after Columbia declared bankruptcy. I must say this was a smart move for Cessna, because until now, they did not have anything to compete the composite market.
What were my impressions? I must say, the plane stood much taller than I had imagined — much taller than a Diamond DA40XL. However, the primary competitor is not a DA40XL, but more the Cirrus SR22.
The Cessna 350 had an amazing ramp presence but the visibility from the cockpit was not quite as good as the DA40XL. I have not sat in a SR22, but Cessna reps were claiming that it has more overall glass than the SR22. Another thing I noted was there was more to the cockpit in terms of controls scattered than what I am used to in the DA40XL. The plane does have some advanced features like speedbreaks. I’m not sure we’ll be seeing this plane on the rental line anytime soon, but time will tell.
The family and I took a trip up to Omaha on Thanksgiving Day in the Diamond DA40XL. Weather was forecasted to be good, however, there was some warmer air aloft and I had some concerns of visibility due to the recent snow fall to our north (colder ground temperatures). The issue was that the Blair airport had no published instrument approaches. We decided to proceed with the flight as visibility was good (10+ miles), there were no icing concerns, and if we could not get VFR into Blaire, we’d go to Omaha International as our alternate. We’d also watch the XM Weather close on the flight up to see if the weather closed in on us en-route.
Read all the details after the jump.
This past weekend I had the chance to use my shiny new VFR/IFR checkout in the new Diamond DA40XL on an overnight cross country flight to Iowa with my family (minus the dogs). Get the details of the flight including lessons learned after the jump.
Today I had my first flight and VFR portion of my checkout in N793US, a 2007 Diamond DA40 XL. I plan to post an in-depth review of the airplane after I complete my IFR checkout and do a XC flight back to Iowa next weekend. In advance of a more detailed write-up, I want to say that this was the most enjoyable flight in an airplane I have ever experienced!!! I’ve got time in various Cessna models, Piper models as well as a few others and this airplane was awesome to fly! It is a very light weight and fast airplane that would be a good transition to some of the faster, and more complex singles out there — however, you won’t find better fuel efficiency!
I hope KCAC has more of these planes on order because these composite airplane manufactures are on to something with their light weight, fuel efficient and technically advanced aircraft!
More to come…
Was so excited yesterday when I was looking around on the Diamond Aircraft site and discovered a local FBO (KCAC) had recently been selected as a Diamond distributor — Okay, so I was only moderately intrigued at this point; give me a second I’ll get to the good part…the rest of the story after the jump.