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Aircraft transitions

Planning for long-term aircraft ownership

The thrill of earning a private pilot’s license is often the excitement that initially drives—or in this case, flies—new aviators to add more hours to their log books. Once the initial excitement is over, a new enthusiasm takes hold: planning their aviation goals.

Jeff, an orthopedic spine surgeon, was one of those pilots. He’d always wanted to learn to fly, but his practice kept him so busy he thought he didn’t have the time to put in the flight hours to be a safe, proficient pilot. Then his 17-year-old son came to Jeff with an idea to take flying lessons.

“When my son started, I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to spend some time with him and do something I’ve always wanted to do as well.’”

Jeff looked at his schedule and carved out a couple afternoons a week for ground school and flight training.

His initial experience was like many green pilots. He was happy flying his 19-year-old, single-engine Cessna® Skylane®. It offered him the experience he needed to get comfortable with the basics of flying, but then Jeff decided her wanted more cabin space and an additional engine, because he was carrying more than just himself.

“The more I started getting into flying, I was just thinking logically: ‘Gosh, if I’m going to be flying my kids and my wife around, it’s nice to have the redundancy of an extra engine,’” said Jeff.

As soon as he was able to fit pilot training into his busy schedule again, he decided to start work on his multi-engine certification. But first, he began looking for an airplane to make it happen.

Jeff researched his options for about six months, eventually choosing the Beechcraft® Baron® G58. He thought a used model would be best, but when he spoke to experts at the company, he learned a new airplane was within his price range.

His purchase also included flight training. He put that perk toward his multi-engine education, learning the differences between his Cessna 182 and his Baron G58.

“Basically, [with the Baron G58] now you’ve got two of everything,” Jeff said. “Since you’ve got two engines, you have two throttles. You have two prop controls, and you also have two mixtures. The principles are the same. With the Baron versus the 182, in pilot speak, you have to get down and slow down faster.”

He easily passed his check ride because of the extra, comprehensive training he chose to take.

“After about 10 to 12 hours, I was real comfortable with the airplane,” said Jeff.

He said he’s also prepared for other potential emergencies that weren’t part of the check ride, including making an emergency descent and manually getting his gear down.

“The check ride was just basically single-engine-emergencies-type stuff,” said Jeff.

The Baron G58 isn’t the end to Jeff’s aircraft abilities. In just under three years, with more than 400 flight hours in his single-engine aircraft and more than 300 hours in his twin-engine piston, he’s also already logged more than 200 hours in the Beechcraft King Air® F90 he and a few partners purchased years before Jeff decided to become a pilot.

“Once I got my multi-engine rating in the Baron and developed a few hundred hours in it, one of my partners said, ‘You know Jeff, why don’t you learn to fly this King Air? I mean you travel in it all the time. Why don’t you just learn to fly it?’”

So now Jeff pilots the King Air turboprop when he plans long-range trips like vacations. The Baron is his airplane of choice when his in-state destinations would require long drives, like when he’s headed to an off-site clinic. He also keeps the Cessna Skylane around for his son who uses it when he’s not busy at college to work on his skills for his instrument rating test.

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