My regular readers will already know that our family Piper Cherokee 235 is nicknamed "Katy"...but what you didn't know is that like myself, she prefers to read AOPA Pilot Magazine above all other publications.
So today I stopped by the hangar to visit her, and she was just plain miffed...you could see it in the way her wing tips drooped, a look of sadness on her cowl. I asked what had the old girl so down, and she tossed AOPA Pilot's beautiful 50th anniversary issue across the hangar at me, open to this:
In AOPA President Phil Boyer's column, he was making a very good point that while so much has changed in general aviation, in many ways, not much has changed. In talking about these constants, he wrote "Thrust still has to exceed drag and lift must exceed weight in order for you to take off. Other laws may not be so well grounded in hard science, but are nevertheless just as true.It was that last line that had Katy in a tizzy. She instructed me to get out her original Pilot's Operating manual for a fixed pitch 235, and read back the specifications for weights:
You can fill all of the seats and baggage areas, or you can fill the tanks, but you can’t do both.
USEFUL LOAD (Standard) (lbs)..........1,490
She proceeded to tell it like it is:
"Dano," Katy said, "here's the deal. I carry 84 gallons of dead dinosaurs in my four wing tanks, which weighs 504 lbs. Add you and a 200-pound right seater and that total jumps to 904 lbs. Add two more two hundred pounders in the back seat, and that is only 1,304 lbs. worth of people and gas. So you can tell the honorable Mr. Boyer I can STILL carry 185 pounds of baggage and be legally under my certificated useful load of 1,490 lbs."Whew, girl, take a chill pill," I replied before explaining to her that in writing his column, I'm sure my real president just forgot about the abnormally high useful load of the Piper 235. He must not have remembered that Piper designed this load hauler by mating a mammoth Cherokee Six Hershey Bar wing to a 180 fuselage, creating a Frankenplane that is one of the very few birds that can lift more then its empty weight of 1,410 lbs.
I talked Katy down, and brought the usual smile back to her cowl. She's a happy gal these days – fresh engine and all – and is still very, very glad to be owned and flown by someone who is AOPA all the way. That way, Katy knows her pilot will be staying up on the very latest issues facing GA, and she is thankful for that.
And if you are not AOPA, what the %$#@!*& is your problem? Join now by clicking here.