A Little while back, I had the great opportunity of flying a Cessna Columbia 400 from Caldwell, ID (KEUL) to Klamath Falls, OR (KLMT). Being a private pilot, unable to fly for hire, I, as any normal pilot is, was hungry for the chance to fly a plane for cheap. This took the cake, A turbocharged Continental 550 strapped on the front of such a light and streamlined airframe, and better yet, I got to do it for FREE. Oh, how those words rang to a private pilot. I didn’t have to think but a second before I was asking my boss for tomorrow afternoon off.
It was a gorgeous mid-summer day, clear skies and smooth air. We (My Instructor and I) taxied to get some fuel and a few short minutes later I was throttling up for takeoff. That baby could climb. No doubt about it, that plane was a sleek, sexy plane with some serious performance. It was just a matter of minutes before we were 10,500 MSL with a gorgeous view of Idaho pine trees and Mountains.
We kicked on some Sirius XM radio on the Garmin 1000 package, another feature on this gorgeous plane, and threw the autopilot on, and it was a pretty simple flight for another hour or so. We BS’d all the usual questions one is left to do while a plane is on autopilot (What kind of music do you like? How are the kids? etc.)
We were cruising along pretty well, 177kts GS on 15.5 GPH. Pretty economic if you ask me. There was a pretty quick change of scenery from woods to deserty environments.
Its always good to keep thinking, ‘If we had an engine failure, where would I put this down?’ I keep this in mind at all times while flying. Its neat to always think about this while the conditions can change so drastically over the course of the flight. Concerns can change from putting it in the trees to ditching in some nasty looking lake.
Don’t mind the dirty wing, we washed it as soon as we got back.
The flight was uneventful and a good time builder in a great aircraft.
The Columbia 400 is an excellent combination of speed and power, I only had one complaint, It is a very small cabin (Thats how it gets its impressive speeds) I had to lean my chair back so that my head didn’t rub on the headliner the whole time. The back seats looked like they would be pretty cramped as well. If you are looking into purchasing one of these aircraft, If you are willing to sacrifice a little comfort for speed and ability, this is a great aircraft but if you are like me, and enjoy the comfort at the sacrifice of the few knots, then I would reconsider the Cessna 400 for a Cirrus SR22T
This was such a great flight, fun time, and good learning experience for me in high performance aircraft.
Of Course we had to take the typical mid-cruise selfie.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Blake Spry