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Birds of a Feather

Terry’s Cessna 182



As if we’re trying to find support from people with a similar disease, we pilots love to find and talk to other pilots who fly the same type of airplane. For example, type clubs help connect pilots interested in learning more about a specific type of plane.

I learned much of what I know about the Ercoupe from the Ercoupe Owners Club. The relatively rare Ercoupe has a cult following! Whenever two Ercoupe pilots meet an an airport, they always have to check out each other’s planes.

The plane doesn’t have to be rare to cause a following. It seems all the major manufacturers are represented by some kind of club, or even just a loose group of interested people.

The North 40 camping area at EAA AirVenture, which is arranged mostly in first-come-first-served random fashion, ends up having clusters of the same type of plane clumped together. Why? Because birds of a feather flock together! Lots of pilots participate in the Cessna, Beechcraft, and Mooney “mass arrivals.” They plan to meet at an outlying airport and fly to the show together as a group. (Even the Ercoupes do this sometimes, arriving in the Vintage parking area en masse.)

When a particular airplane is close to your heart, it’s nice to get to fly in other examples of the type and meet other people who are just as fond of it. I love the Cessna 182 I fly for work, and I’ve been walking past Terry Moore’s similar airplane in the Jet Air hangar for over a year. Terry flies for travel and is also working on his commercial pilot certificate. With his regular instructor unavailable, I substituted today as an evaluator of commercial maneuvers. Any day I get to go for a 182 ride is a good day!

Terry’s airplane is a 2008 Cessna 182T Skylane with the G1000 avionics suite, WAAS, the Garmin autopilot, and synthetic vision. Terry loves the plane and takes great care of it. He and I always swap Cessna 182 stories whenever he gets a few spare minutes before or after his flights.

Today it was fun to ride in his plane today and see some of the changes Cessna made between model years. I fly a 2005 Cessna T182T Skylane with the G1000, but with the King autopilot, no WAAS, and no synthetic vision. I joke with Terry that I still win because mine is turbo.

I recommend that pilots (including student pilots) check out type clubs and other type-specific resources to learn as much as they can about the plane they fly. Other pilots and owners can be a great source of knowledge that goes far beyond what the manufacturer prints in a manual. There’s a sense of camaraderie among pilots who have something in common — from shared experiences like learning to fly a particular type of plane, to things as simple as having been bopped in the head by an Ercoupe’s cowling. (The Ercoupe Owners Club message board has solutions for that.)