We picked up N255M (Serial #219) on Sept 10. We have 3 of us going through training and decided that @Nancy Sliwa and I would do the SOE first. We spent 9 days with @Travis Klumb (Cirrus Aircraft) (famous for the VPO videos) as our mentor pilot and ended up putting in over 50 hours. I suspect there will be upcoming new owners that are thinking through their process for their victory tour. Perhaps our observations will be helpful. Here is a map of our mentorship flights:
We were originally planning to spend most of the time near our summer home in WA state (KDLS), but the smoke and fires interfered. We also had a couple of redirects due to a variety of issues: closed airports for construction, a closed runway for gear-up landing, tropical storms hitting the south, performance limitations (3 adults with nearly 2 weeks baggage), a punch-list issue on the plane, and etc. But we adapted on the trip and it went well.
A couple of observations on flight locations to which we flew that might be helpful for planning future trips:
- I think we all had to deal with KMEM in training. So we decided to make that one of our stops. I flew it inbound and Nancy flew it outbound. So we did it for real. Surprisingly… there were no runway emergencies, no planes jumping in front of us, and we could see the runways at all times.
- We spent a night in Santa Fe (also a high altitude airport)
- Nancy unloaded me (I had business meetings) and our baggage and went with Travis to KEGE for more high-altitude work.
- We did our night landings at KLNK (Lincoln NEB) and they were accommodating.
- Big airports for practice landings with partial and no flaps included KHSV (Huntsville) and KTUS (Tucson), and the towers were quite accommodating
- Another day that I had business meetings Nancy flew from KPWM (Portland ME) to KBTV (Burlington VT) to KACK (Nantucket) to KMVY (Martha’s Vineyard) to KBHB (Bar Harbor) and back to KPWM. It was a fun round-robin that included some IFR and VFR routing.
- We did SFOs at KMVN (Mount Vernon ILL)
We decided that if we were going to adapt to smoke, weather, and other issues we might as well pick a theme. So we decided food was as good as any. A couple of examples:
- KCOS (Colorado Springs CO) has The Airplane restaurant walking distance from the FBOs. It includes a KC97 aircraft built into the restaurant. One can even be seated in the airplane with cafe type booths.
- KMVN (Mount Vernon IL) – After completing some SFOs and partial flap landings, we landed for fuel. A gentleman hustled on over to our plane, said how much he admired it, convinced us we were hungry and escorted us to the local cafe (Bonnie’s). It was a good lunch and we found out that Chris Collins was the airport manager … clearly he is a great evangelist for the airport.
- We wanted to go to Portsmouth NH for lobster and popovers, but the airport’s only runway was closed for repairs so ended up in Portland ME. We all ended up with a dinner serving of lobster and a lobster roll for lunch.
- Nancy and Travis did lunch at the restaurants at KAPA (Centennial) and KMVY (Martha’s Vineyard)
- Really enjoyed tuning our use of the autothrottle
- It was nice to have a mixture of trips and airplane VFR operations
- I probably over-thought the planning and it worked out fine going with the flow given the pop-up events
- The Cirrus Team and especially our mentor pilot (@Travis Klumb (Cirrus Aircraft) went out of their ways to make it a special time for us even when we had some pop-up issues. Thanks.
Here is a SmugMug gallery: SmugMug Link
Here is a gallery of pictures from the delivery ceremony, the pictures that were taken that day by the Aerista photographer, and from the trip: