On the ground, taxiing, the P-180’s low-speed “twitchiness” becomes a serious problem. If you use reverse-thrust to provide your own “push back”, do not touch the brakes to stop; you will pop the nose into the air and smash your pusher-prop blades into the ground.
Likewise, taxing in a tail-wind results in a plane that where the nose bounces up and down constantly, with sudden left-to-right yaws with little apparent reason. A cross-wind on taxi requires constant pedal to left or right to steer anything close to a “straight’ line.
So, other than good looks, what does the P-180 have to offer the new pilot? In a word, speed.
At 240 knots airspeed, it is not uncommon to see speed over the ground over 270 knots. That means the P-180 will do the “Moncton to Halifax” run in half the time that the C208 will … a mere 44 minutes with the right wind.
The P-180 is a fun challenge, but I’m not sure it is for everyone. You either have to already be good at flying fast twin-engines, or you have to want to learn this plane.
I’ll have to do the math, but I expect that the P-180 puts Boston and Quebec City into the “Sunday afternoon project” range for me, purely because of it’s speed. That’s a good way to start learning cruising and navigation at higher altitudes, above 15,000 feet.
So far, based on training and the logged time, I like the P-180. I expect to be doing the next 20 or so flights with it, until I cross the 20-hour threshold for my first “promotion” at Canadian Xpress. That will allow me to look at some new planes and stretch a bit further still.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your comments in the section below. See you up there!