Original 2010 post: I bought an Expedition aircraft E350. It took a while to get it, but it has been great.
There are a lot of positive things about the expedition E350 that appeal to me. It seems to me that it has more power, performance, range and safety for rough-landings, than any other plane on the market. It is priced very well and I think it will be an easily upgradable long-term asset for my family. I'm looking forward to flying it all over Canada, and later putting it on floats and retiring to a water-side location somewhere in about 15 years. Good plan? I think so.
I had a test flight of the plane with chief test pilot Ted Dirstein, back in summer 2008. The plane is beautiful and the interior is nice and roomy. The doors are particularly nice, and not just because of the big windows. The door levers don't make you twist your body around to open them. Riding in the back seats is even more comfortable and roomy than the front seats. The plane climbs very fast! The engine has a great sound. It is very stable in flight. Ted did most of his flying with his hands off the yoke, to demostrate the amazing stability of the wings in flight. He showed me the plane stalling, which was almost imperceptible. He slowed the plane down to stall speed, and all that happened was a slight drop of the nose, and then it resumed flight on its own. Ted said "that was a stall". We both laughed. I also remember feeling impressed by the powerful rudder effect, which will be handy for float flyers. A smooth landing, and easy to control steering on the ground.
I originally predicted that my wife will probably prefer to ride in the back, and I was right. She loves the back seats, and the room around her feet.
Images from July 8, 2010, just before delivery
Update August 3, 2010. Being a low-time pilot, my insurance company asked for 10 hours of dual instruction on the E350. I'm at 8.2 hours so far. We've landed on a few grass airstrips in farmers fields, and practiced the usual things.
Here are some blog'ish comments about the plane. The Flaps switch is in a fantastic place, which I had never appreciated beforehand. It is up high on the dashboard, so your eyes are seeing the clouds while the flaps change, and you can instantly adjust the yoke. The MPV-50 is really really great. I bought a 6' telescoping aluminum ladder to carry in the back compartment of the plane. Unfortunately, 6' is too short to reach the front of the wing! Oops.
August 5, 2010. Found aircraft sent me a short video showing "Hot startup", which I had requested, so I could learn from an expert handling the fuel pump, throttle and mixture. You'll see him run the fuel pump for about 6 seconds with the mixture full, then pull throttle and mixture back, then turn the starter motor, then push the mixture in as the engine starts. I'm posting this for my own future reference, in case I forget.
August 5, 2011 update.One year later! For a hot start, always do the above method. But for a cold start, just set the mixture to a normal flying mix (like 1cm away from being pushed all-in), and pull the throttle out to a medium idle setting (not fully pulled all-out), then turn the key for the starter motor.
Sept 10, 2010. I got some more pretty pictures, and some comments.
Comments. I'm flying solo now, and the plane is at 42 hours. I've given lots of rides to friends and family. We did a really fun mountain flight to Abraham lake near Nordegg, Alberta, and tried to get to Ram Falls airstrip, but a raining cloud was stuck over that airstrip, sadly.
Sept 27, 2010. I'm at 47.5 hours now. I had a great weekend flight, from Camrose to Edmonton City Center to pick up my daughter, and then delivered her to Lacombe, and from there, west to the mountains, where I found the Ram Falls airstrip. It had a big animal, ( a moose or bear or buffalo), on the center of the runway.
Here's a picture of the plane in my hangar.
Some comments. Notice the Towbot under the nosewheel. Although this was kind of expensive, (from Trace Towbots), its Fantastic. The plane is too heavy for one person to push around, this towbot makes it easy and fun. Here's some pics of flying near Camrose.
October 13, 2010. My airplane is 52 hours airtime now. Here's an extremely cool video showing how stable the airplane is for E350 stall and spins.
October 15, 2010. My first long flight over the mountains. Camrose to the BC coast and back. Of note, I got a 656 nautical miles range on one full tank of gas.
April 24, 2011. My plane at 75 hours airtime. Just got back from trip to Hudson Island. My daughter took this amazing video of the landing.
July 1, 2011. Annual maintenance done. Plane at 80.7 hrs. Today I flew to Slave lake to see the extend of the burned community. It was a lot of homes destroyed by the forest fire. The red highlighted area shows what burned. Click to see higher resolution.
July 24, 2011. A few interesting flights. One flight was 1:50 hrs out to Prince Albert, 2:15 hrs back, with pretty high winds. (49 tailwind out, 29 headwind back (flying VERY low.) My landing in PA was at the edge of a thunderstorm, very dark and gusty crosswind, and some downdrafts, but the airplane was excellent, with power to out-climb those downdrafts, and no trouble with the crosswinds. My other flight was to the mountains, landing on grass airstrips at Hinton old entrance, and Jasper. It was a hot summer day, with airstrips at around 3500 ft. My take-offs were very pleasing. What I noticed was: using soft-field technique, I was pulling the nose up, and the nose-wheel literally was off the ground, starting at speeds in the mid-30s. So I was doing a "wheelie" down the runway until my rear tires left the ground, which is nice indication of the power of the engine, and I thought to myself.. who needs a taildragger?
Also, these last few flights I've had fun by trimming everything to perfection and flying mostly with hands off the yoke, and just occasionally tapping the pedals to adjust my wings and heading. Oh, and people still take pictures of my airplane, where-ever it lands.
August 5, 2011. Last weekend my family flew over the mountains to Hudson Island again. Of my two landings on Hudson Island's short uphill curved grass airstrip, one was perfect and one had a spectacular bounce on the landing gear. I'm glad this plane is built strong. And a wee funny story: We had to haul a lot of stuff, so we carefully weighed every item and had to leave stuff behind because we were at the weight-limit. Then my wife admitted she was actually 20 pounds heavier than she told me earlier the same day! The plane is at 95 hrs, one year later. (I had hoped to do more per year than that.)
October 5, 2011. Updates of recent events. I got the autopilot installed, and I love it. Totally worth the cost! My daughter recently got her private pilot license, and now she's completed 10 hours of dual- training in the Expedition E350 with me. We've had a wonderful father-daughter time recently, flying around to land on grass airstrips, and finding various abandoned airstrips by their GPS coordinates, and we did some mountain flying together over Kananaskis lakes during 50 Knot winds, which was a good learning experience for us both ( and no worries, we were safe). Here's a video of my daughter doing a touch and go, and I think it very nicely shows the roominess of the cockpit, and the spectacular uncrowded glass panels. I also love the engine sound, even a year later.
November 13, 2011. A long weekend came, and I had excitable hopes of flying all the way to Churchill, Manitoba, to see polar bears. But the clouds didn't cooperate. All I could do was let my daughter fly me around over Camrose, at the 500 foot cloud ceiling, while I took pictures of Camrose. It was good practice. (And yes, this is me, 65 pounds lighter and no beard.)
December 04, 2011. Learning from mistakes. We had a great adventure. Flying from Camrose to Revelstoke, skiing, then flying home in the evening. A few things were "less than perfect". In the morning, we got the plane stuck in snow drifts while taxing from my hangar toward a common taxiway. While digging out, I bumped my head on the propeller and lost my glasses in the snow. Then, after skiing, I discovered I had left the power switch on, and drained the battery. But my amazing luck, some mechanics were working in a Revelstoke hangar on a helicopter, and they had a rig for boosting airplanes. Thank-goodness I bought that option to plug-in the Cessna-style battery connectors! That saved us! So we left Revelstoke just before sunset, and flew at 12,000 over the first clump of mountains until Golden (picture below). At this point, darkness was all around us, and cloud ceiling was dropping to 10,000. But there was enough moonlight, and nice contrast between white mountain tops and darker valleys, that I could keep flying VFR, so we flew the valleys from Golden to Abraham lake. It sounds risky in theory, with the G500 showing the synthetic vision and the detailed topographic map of the valleys, I never had a moment of doubt, (and I could dim the cabin instruments and still see everything I needed to see out the window.) But there's no doubt the G500 was a confidence enhancer.January 05, 2012. It was getting onerous to add new posts into this single page, so I've moved my flying-related blog posts into a new place. Click here for my further adventures flying the Expedition E350.
( Because I'm always forgetting if it will fit into various hangars. Images are from the POH.)
The color scheme for my plane will look like this:
Other pictures of Found and BushHawk XP aircraft, predecessors of the Expedition. (If you have more pictures.. send them to me.)
|Found Brothers FBA-1
|Found Brothers FBA-2C
|Bush Hawk FBA-2C1
|Bush Hawk XP FBA-2C2
|Expedition E350 FBA-2C3
Some press releases
My favorite Expedition E350 pictures. (click to enlarge, save & print )
(provided by www.expeditionaircraft.com)
Here's a cool thing I created. I hope you like it. It's a Takeoff distance calculator for the Expedition E350. Note that its based on data that will supposedly appear in the POH, but since I haven't actually gotten my plane yet, I haven't seen its final official printed POH, so there might be differences.
Check it out: E350 Takeoff distance calculator
Also note that the calculator "estimates" and "interpolates" the results based on formulas that give "approximate" results. Those estimated results won't exactly match the exact data values that appear in the tables in the POH, but they'll be reasonably close.
Legal Disclaimer: I made this for my own personal use, to make it convenient to calculate these takeoff distances. It's possible I made mistakes in programming it. It's possible that it can be used incorrectly or misinterpreted. Therefore, if YOU use it, it is entirely at your own risk. You should always verify the calculation results with the actual POH tables, to see if they agree.
You don't need the internet to use it. You can "Save As" (the calculator page), choosing "webpage, complete" and it will save a local copy of that webpage onto your laptop, and you can run that local copy from your laptop, without needing an internet connection.
I chanced upon an Add-On product for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX).... for the Bush hawk XP. It's very good, and the closest thing to flying an E350 in FSX right now. Thought you'd be interested too, so here's the link to Aerosoft.com Bush hawk XP. And there's a forum for discussing Aerosoft flight sim aircraft, and you can search for "Bush Hawk", to read about, and see lots of beautiful simulation Bush Hawk pictures.
|Landing Distance||Takeoff Distance||Climb - Time, Fuel Distance to Climb|
|Cruise at 2000 ft||Cruise at 4000 ft||Cruise at 6000 ft|
|Cruise at 8000 ft||Cruise at 10000 ft||Cruise at 12000 ft|
|Airspeeds for Normal Operations.||More Airspeed info||Cruise summary. Best RPM and MAPs|
With the above Cruise settings, it will fly at 150 KTAS at -20 C and at 160 KTAS at +20 C at around 7000 to 8000 ft, and consumes about 19.3 GPH.
|Didn't have sufficient range and load ability.|
|is closer, but insuring 6 seats is more than I need. You can't get a new 206 for under $500,000 either.|
|Is a certified bush plane, but a little smaller then E350.|
|Non-certified. I needed a certified plane so I could fly across borders with it.|