Flying near the Rockies

Good afternoon all!

I am relatively new to flying Pipers (J3 experience for SES rating and 1 or 2 hours in an Arrow), but I just wanted to share my recent exposure and joy I have found in flying the Cherokee 180.

For the moment my family and I live in Colorado Springs. I learned to fly here, but that was mostly in Cessnas. In the last year I joined a small flying club at KCOS called Arapaho’s Flight Club. They have a Warrior, two Cherokee 180s, a Barron, and a DA40. It’s a great little flying club with great people.

Anyhow, back to the Cherokee 180. About two weeks ago I got checked out in the 180. I love how that ole girl flies! She’s got the power for the altitude and is nimble in the air. Last weekend I took it out for almost three hours into the mountains and flew to SilverWest Airport (C08) out near Westcliffe, Co. It was a really pleasant flight and the views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains are amazing! After a few touch and gos I flew over to Salida (KANK), another nice and fun airport. They have a courtesy car you can use to go grab food, etc. I stretched my legs here and then it was back to KCOS for a touch and go and full stop. The Cherokee handled everything like a champ! I remarked to my wife upon my return home that I don’t know that I have ever felt that relaxed while flying, and I LOVE to fly. I just wanted to share the great experience. It has spurred discussion that we might pursue the purchase of a Cherokee once we are more stable and not moving every couple of years.

That’s all!

Sean

Comments

  • By the way, there are a few schools in the area that offer some good training for mountain flying; I highly recommend them and encourage folks to go through the training if you’re going to be flying in, near, or around mountains. :-)

  • Sean, I also live in COS (based at KFLY) and, of course, the most important thing about summer flying here is Density Altitude!! Your Cherokee 180 will do just fine for morning flights in the summer as you undoubtedly know by now. Some nice COLD (calm) day you could take a flight to Leadville (10,000 MSL) and be rewarded with a certificate for landing at the highest airport in the country!!

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • Gentlemen, the 180 is an awesome airplane and buckets of fun to be in. :) Thanks for the posts!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited August 5
    Thanks guys!
    I actually flew up to Leadville a year or two ago, but I was in a 182RG; it was still loads of fun! I am really looking forward to some cold weather flying in the Cherokee! It already flies like a homesick angel; I can only imagine what it's like in cold air!

    I know KFLY very well! I usually take my son there to watch the planes on weekends and have flown there a decent amount. :-)
  • You could also check out the Paul Weisbrod Aircraft Museum at Pueblo airport. (https://pwam.org/) A short flight but the museum is very interesting.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • I will have to check that out! I also saw that there is a restaurant on the field. Sounds like a fun family trip.

  • Well you are one up on me! I haven't been to KPUB (except to do approaches) for quite a while since the previous restaurant closed. I just checked and indeed there is a new one! I will have to check it out.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • New restaurant at KPUB...open 0800 to 1400 except Sunday. Fast service although there weren't many folks there when I had lunch yesterday. Outdoor eating available too although it was too hot outside for me!!

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • edited August 9
    Funny thing! We flew in there for breakfast yesterday!
  • Speaking of which, as I'm writing this I am sitting with my 2 year old son watching airplanes take off and land away Meadow Lake.
  • Great! Start the kids early :) I was at the KPUB restaurant on Friday noon-ish. Nice folks there. It would be nice if the restaurant were open on Sunday mornings, Perhaps later as their presence becomes more widely known.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • Perhaps. Hoping to go to Centennial (APA) and eat at the Perfect Landing next weekend. Love the restaurant. Not a huge fan of the airport.
  • Flew my 2 year old son and I out to C08, then up to Salida, and back to COS today. It was really smokey/ hazy, but the flying was great!
  • Fire season in the west effects on visibility are similar in scope to mid-west/east coast humidity effects. One can see ok straight down but into the sun is like IFR. We get used to the 100 mile visibility so when we are down to 10 miles it's a shock :)

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • Yup. It was really bad today. Still made it up to Longmont and then over to Centennial for breakfast at The Perfect Landing before returning to COS, but the smoke was bad. ADS-B has become a life saver on days like today.

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