Cessna 350 Show

Today at the Rocky Mount/Wilson (RWI) airport there was a show of new Cessna airplanes, including the new Cessna 350. The new 350 and 400 are what Cessna acquired when they bought Columbia Aircraft just a few months ago.

Hunter and I planned a flight to RWI to take a look and then go from there to Wilmington (for some control tower experience) and back to Sanford. When we got to the airport, someone reported that our plane (40B) had a flat nose strut. Great… a no go for most people, but being the maintenance guys we are, we decided to tackle the problem and hopefully still with time to fly. An hour or so later and a couple phone calls to our mechanic and it was repaired and ready to go.

Hunter took us to RWI. By the time we got there the show was nearly over, but we spent some time chatting with a couple salesmen about the new 350/400. Sitting in that thing is a like sitting in a new high-end BMW… leather everywhere, high quality controls and instruments, many creature comforts… everything you’d expect for nearly half a million dollars. We got a short demo of the avionics and an earful about performance and the usual sales pitch stuff. The guy was very nice and was familiar with our club; he knew we weren’t going to be buying one any time soon.

I also took the time to sit in the back of the 6-seater Cessna Stationair. As the name indicates, it’s a station wagon with wings. I felt like I was in the far back seat of a mini-van. If you didn’t look outside, you’d hardly notice a difference. It’d be nice to put the family in one of those and take a trip somewhere. Its base price is half a million; I guess that’ll have to wait for now too.

After the show we knew we didn’t have time to make it to Wilmington and back, but we did have enough time to go somewhere other than straight back to Sanford. Hunter wasn’t too happy with his approach into RWI, so I gave him another shot and he took us to nearby Pitt-Greenville (PGV), just north of East Carolina University. After a short bathroom break and pilot swap, I took us back to Sanford. It was dark by the time we arrived, so I got in a night landing and 1.4 hours total PIC for me.