Friday, October 01, 2010

Have the correct manual for the plane

You might wonder why pilots that have flown many type of airplanes have such a large library of manuals.
I bet that if you looked a little closer at the books themselves you would notice that not only does this home library include the obvious subjects like weather, regulations, places to go and so on but that it also has what seems like many copies of the same manuals regarding the type of airplanes that the pilot might fly.

After all who really needs a different manual for a Cessna 172P and a 172N?
Aren't they both Cessnas?
They aren't even that far apart in years produced so why do you need a different manual for each?
You might even find two manuals for the same year and model of plane but one has a packet of papers attached to it. What is the reason for this?

We all can see the need for a separate set of manuals for different types of planes like Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft and so on, but why do we need the rest of them?

The answer is very simple.........  No two airplanes are exactly alike.

I fly two Cessnas that are only about 3 years apart in age but one of them has a bigger engine that was installed as an upgrade. Why does this matter you ask.

The answer might not jump out at you until you read the performance data that is included with the pack of papers that is attached to the outside of my manual. These papers are part of the STC or supplemental type certificate that is required when major changes have been made to any aircraft.

The difference between these two almost identical airplanes becomes more apparent as you calculate the amount of weight the plane can carry, how fast it can climb and how much fuel you burn at a given power setting.

As you look closer at what information is included the reason becomes much more clear.

One plane might have the old style of transponder while the other has a new Garmin GTX-330.

I think you would agree that the old style analog transponder with rotary dials is a little different than the fully digital Garmin product with the push buttons and a menu screen.

Guess what? You'll need a manual for those as well. Are you beginning to see how quickly the library can grow?

The next time you are looking for the perfect gift for the pilot in your life you might want to think about a gift certificate to, Barnes & Nobel or your local pilot shop so they can add to their ever growing library of books.

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