AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2012 - 58
Worthy of aeronautical lust
BY RICK DURDEN
AOPA PILOT •
e are level at 10,000 feet on an IFR clearance to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when we get the call from ATC: “Experimental Niner-Echo-Echo, say type aircraft.” In the other seat, owner Stan Musick replies, “It’s a Swearingen SX300; a two-seat, retractable.” “Oh, yeah, I know that one,” replies ATC. “What a hot rod. I had to ask—you’re really moving.” We have a three-knot tailwind and have just impressed a controller. According to the Grand Rapids Technologies EFIS in front of us, we, in a piston single, are whistling along at 242 KTAS. 58 • JANUARY 2012
Adding to the visceral excitement of this kind of speed is the deep satisfaction of burning just 16.4 gph, for an efficiency of 14.9 nm per gallon. I’ve rarely seen any airplane get above 12 nm per gallon, which is excellent considering the advantages of going direct versus winding around on roads in a car, and I’ve never seen this kind of efficiency at anything near this speed except in a dedicated CAFE racer. Musick then comments that when he flies the CAF’s P–51 Mustang, Red Nose, he figures on a cruise speed of about 10 knots faster, but with a somewhat greater fuel burn of 60 gph.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE FIZER