I was approached by a member of the Buttonville Flying Club to be a safety pilot for him so that he may do some approaches to keep his IFR currency. This was to be done in the owners aircraft, a 1980 Beechcraft Baron 55.
This was my first time in a Baron and the only other twin I have to compare it to is the Seminole. My first thoughts:
– The Barons wingspan seemed to be a lot smaller at 11.53m (versus the Seminoles’ 11.77m)
– This particular aircraft had the throttle quadrant set up, from left to right, as: Prop, Throttle, Mixture.. Contrasting to the more “standard” of: Throttle, Prop, Mixture.
– A lot more room, both head and leg. (6 person seating, versus 4 person of the seminole)
– Blue line of 100KIAS versus the semonoles 88KIAS.
– A lot more toys, such as a storm scope, radar, Traffic Advisory Service (using the Avidyne EX-500), and a working autopilot.
After a quick runup, we departed 33 for Brantford airport. Followed the shoreline to about the Skybridge then headed direct to Brantford. The approach we were going to do was the GNSS 29 to minimums. I kept a sharp eye out for traffic while the pilot donned on his hood and did his thing.
I’m always amazed had how well these approaches work sometimes.
Our next stop was to shoot an ILS approach into Kitchener/Waterloo. That wasn’t going to be possible as the ceiling (broken) was approx at 2800′ ASL. We would need to climb up to 3000′ to do the ILS approach. Instead we decided to head back to Buttonville.
Approaching Kitchener Airport
The Baron would haul ass. I was keeping an eye on the ground speed and I saw it peak out at about 180KTs (about 330km/h).
All in all the flight was a great experience, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. The last time I acted as a safety pilot, was for Mark over a year ago. It’s rare that I get to fly from the right seat, and it’s even rarer to just be a passenger.
In other news… studying the G1000 is coming along nicely. Hopefully I can get checked out next week.