A Cessna 182T looks quite similar to a C172; it's just a bit larger overall and has a more powerful engine with a three-blade constant-speed propeller. It's rated for 230hp vs 180hp in a 172SP.

A Cessna 182T looks quite similar to a C172; it has a slightly larger cowling and a more powerful engine with a three-blade constant-speed propeller. It’s rated for 230hp vs 180hp in a 172SP.

Learning opportunities are endless in aviation, and that’s one of the best parts of being a pilot.

Seemingly no sooner did I get checked out in the Diamond DA-40 than Galvin decided to sell off both of their DA-40s. I do love to fly the C172, but I also adored the DA-40. Learning to fly that aircraft, which is more complicated than a C172 with its constant-speed propeller, set me up well to transition to the Cessna 182T Skylane, which has the same style propeller, albeit a three-blade version. The T in 182T stands for turbo, which does wonderful things for the plane’s performance as well as increases pilot workload a fair bit.

The turbo essentially makes the engine think it’s at or close to sea level all the time, which means performance doesn’t taper off with altitude as with naturally-aspirated engines. The tradeoff is that not staying on top of managing the engine temperatures makes it easy to damage the engine or the turbo due to the high heat generated by the turbo and its operation.

The 182T’s engine also has 50hp more than the C172SP I’ve been flying for a couple years now, 230hp vs 180hp. FAA regulations require a high-performance logbook endorsement from a flight instructor to fly aircraft with more than 200hp, so that’s also part of the checkout training for the 182T. Galvin’s house rules require a minimum of five hours flight training time with an instructor for this plane, plus a bit of ground training to be sure the pilot knows the aircraft systems and operating procedures.

Besides being a bit faster than a 172, the 182T has a considerably greater load-carrying capacity and can fly much higher – 20,000′ vs 13,500′ for the C172. The 182T is equipped with a supplemental oxygen system for flying at high altitudes.

Despite all that, the 182T handles much like a 172, if a little nose-heavy due to the larger engine. This particular model has vortex generators on the leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizers. This makes it surprisingly difficult to stall. Carl (my very thorough and ever-patient CFI) had me fly it during a power-on stall such that the airspeed read zero on the indicator yet we were still flying and the stall hadn’t broken yet. Super fun.

There are additional controls to manage related to managing the propeller and engine and turbine-inlet temperatures. That makes things like takeoffs, landing approaches, and pattern work quite busy for the pilot, as there’s a lot of new stuff to learn. But with practice, it all becomes manageable.

I’m currently about halfway through the checkout process. The Pacific Northwest fall weather has made flying a game of last-minute weather cancellations. Once things clear up, the next step will be a cross-country flight to an airport I’ve not yet been to, around 100 miles away from Seattle. I have several routes planned out, and the exact choice will be driven by which has the best weather along the route. Stay tuned.

Zara Rutherford after landing in Seattle from Redding, Calif.

Zara Rutherford taxies her plane after landing in Seattle from Redding, Calif.

Piloting a single-engine plane through the mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest and onward to Alaska in the autumn can be daunting, with plenty of weather and terrain challenges.

Then consider that it’s just one short portion of a round-the-world journey, crossing oceans and landing in more than 50 countries across five continents.

She’s also not instrument rated, which means she is doing the whole trip via visual flight rules.

Zara Rutherford is a 19-year-old Belgian pilot, flying a high-performance Shark Aero ultralight aircraft. If she succeeds in her journey, she will become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, as well as the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a microlight.

She departed Belgium in August, 2021, and stopped in Seattle Sept. 19, before heading north toward Alaska a couple days later.

A tired, but smiling, Zara Rutherford arrived in Seattle Sept. 19. King County International Airport officials presented her with a gift bag on arrival.

A tired, but smiling, Zara Rutherford arrived in Seattle Sept. 19. King County International Airport officials presented her with a gift bag on arrival; the local apples were apparently well received.

She we greeted by a small crowd of supporters, including representatives from the airport, Museum of Flight and several businesses from the airfield. Shortly after talking with the group of well-wishers, she was taken on a private tour of the museum.

Appropriately enough, we got a chance to chat with Zara in front of the museum’s replica of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. We only had time for a brief chat, as she was tired from the long flight and still needed to move her plane to its overnight parking location.

Asked about her decision to do the circumnavigation without instrument rating, she simply replied, “why not?”

“I wanted a challenge. I wanted to see the world – not just fly around at X thousand feet,” she said. “If you’re in the overcast you can be anywhere – you can be in Egypt or in Russia – it doesn’t really matter.”

And, something close to this AvGeek’s heart – I wanted to know why she chose this particular light-sport aircraft for such a journey. Her reply was appropriately businesslike: “It has a good cruising speed, good fuel consumption, and good range. And I received a business proposal where they would let me use the plane in exchange for the publicity.”

You can learn more about Zara’s record attempt and follow along here.

Greece was a big destination this summer since the country opened up to travelers a bit earlier than much of the rest of Europe. The islands were especially popular, and to get around them you have two choices: ferries and planes. Being a BoatReporter could be fun, but when I visited in June, I opted to fly.

Flag carrier Aegean is the largest Greek carrier, but the much newer Sky Express is in second place and growing fast. A year ago they ordered six Airbus A320neos to go with their existing ATR fleet. And even though Sky Express is a pretty no-frills airline, the onboard experience on a brand-new plane is usually a touch above. So I picked them for a flight from Mykonos to Athens. The service clocked in at just 20 minutes in the air, but the views were amazing. Take a look for yourself in our video trip report:

 

Let us know if you enjoy video trip reports like this and we’ll keep doing more of them!

World Postcard Day is this Friday- October 1. To celebrate we thought it would be fun to share some aviation-themed postcards and talk about Postcrossing, our newest travel activity turned obsession. Stick through to the end because we’re also offering to share a piece of our postcard collection with commenters.

An assortment of aviation-related postcards received through postcrossing.com.

An assortment of aviation-related postcards received through postcrossing.com.

Postcards are overdue for a resurgence

As a so-called millennial (though, admittedly, an early one) I grew up right in the middle of the digital revolution. Email gained popularity when I was a child and as such was always an option for me. While digital communication essentially eliminated my need for communication by mail, postcards were the clear exception. There’s something special about the personal touch, effort and logistics required to get a postcard delivered to someone’s mailbox. The thought of an unexpected postcard surprise bringing a smile to the recipient’s face is pretty darn cool.

I have felt the calling to send postcards to friends and family while traveling ever since I was a child. During pandemic lock down I finally had the opportunity to examine several large postcard collections I acquired from estate sales. My drive to send postcards while on holiday, I learned, was shared by travelers over a hundred years before me. Sending postcards while away is fun. So in today’s digital world where society is oddly fascinated with retro and throwbacks, I’d propose the postcard hobby is due for a rebirth.

Before I dive deep into my “postcard evangelism” let me ask you a few questions. Are you sitting on a cache of stamps you don’t know what to do with? Perhaps you bought a bunch in 2020 to save the USPS? Or maybe you fell for a charismatic Costco cashier’s 100-stamp sales pitch? Are you a traveler? (Of course you are, you’re reading Airline Reporter!) Well then, join us for a discussion on reviving the 150-year old science of Deltiology and how sites like Postcrossing.com can help.

A classic Concorde postcard is quite the find!

A classic Concorde postcard is quite the find!