Tag Archives: ownership


I saw this quote in a forum sig:

Student Pilot’s Prayer; “Dear Lord, if we must have an instrument failure today, please let it be the Hobbs Meter.”

For those who don’t already know the Hobbs meter is an hour meter which measures hours and tenths of engine running time. When you rent an airplane usually you are billed by Hobbs time and the ending Hobbs time minus starting Hobbs time is also what you log in your logbook. The exact mechanism varies but usually the meter is tied to an oil pressure switch or similar so when the engine starts the meter starts running.

When you own an airplane the Hobbs meter isn’t so important. The tachometer also contains an hour meter which is scaled relative to the engine RPM. It is designed so that it advances in real time if you are at a cruise RPM. This means that ground operations and lower RPM operations count less on the tach hour meter. The tach hour meter is useful for maintenance intervals like oil changes because it is a reasonable proxy for accumulated load on the engine.

All of this is good because the Hobbs meter in N52667 doesn’t work. Before departing Statesville we wrote it down along with the current time as backup for determining the flight time for logbooks. However, upon arriving in Hagerstown the Hobbs meter definitely hadn’t budged. A bit more math is required to figure out your flight time to log when you just have two absolute times to subtract (and decimalize the result) but it isn’t too much of a pain.

The quote reminded me of my hate of the Hobbs. If you are a renter pilot the worst case scenario is slow ground operations. On a nice weekend especially in the spring or fall Nashua can get very busy. There might be a few planes chasing each other around the pattern and numerous planes arriving and departing. When I was working on my Complex Endorsement in the rental Cessna 172RG we were number six in line leaving the run up pad and there was an arrival for practically every departure. All this time you are waiting in line to take off going nowhere the Hobbs meter is clicking over, $2/minute. Of course with ‘667 at the end of the day I still need to pay the gas bill but during ground operations a piston engine airplane is burning a lot less gas than in flight.

Since my Hobbs appears to be inoperative I could fix it. Hobbs meters aren’t particularly expensive – Aircraft Spruce has one similar to mine for $26. Right now it isn’t a necessity since as long as I write down the start time and stop time and do the clock math right I can get my hours from that for my logbook. Having a Hobbs meter would make that easier. So maybe some day I will replace the Hobbs meter but for now I am happy to be rid of it.

Getting ready for closing

This seems like a good place to start this chronology of Cardinal adventures.  Almost all of the hurdles before closing on our new Cardinal have been cleared and money has been wired.  In less than a week we’ll officially be airplane owners.

Since N52667 is in Statesville, NC I can’t just start flying it right away.  I also need to get some training time in the Cessna Cardinal since I only have time in the Cessna 172 and 172RG so far.  Since I already have my Complex endorsement from the 172RG I don’t need any new endorsements for the Cardinal RG.  The insurance company stipulates that I must have 10 hours dual time with a Flight Instructor prior to flying N52667 solo.  Then I will need to fly 5 hours solo before I can carry passengers.

I’ll be enlisting the instructing services of Cardinal expert Guy Maher in Statesville for my initial five hours of transition training.  During this time I’ll learn about all of the Cardinal specific operation and flying techniques.  This transition training process will take around 5 hours and we’ll do it in one day on March 5th.

My regular CFI from Nashua, NH will be flying down commercially to meet me that night, and the next morning we’ll fly together from Statesville to Nashua.  This works out well since it will take around 5 hours to fly back and that will satisfy the remainder of the insurance requirement for dual time.  Since my CFI has an instrument rating we’ll also have some additional flexibility regarding the weather on the long XC home.  While the 60 gallon capacity of the 177RG could allow the trip to be completed nonstop (depending on winds) we’ll likely stop somewhere in the middle for a quick rest and some gas and food.

I’ll need to fly off my next 5 solo hours on my own.  I hope to accomplish this as soon as possible, and it’ll depend on the weather how long it takes to accomplish.  It’ll probably end up being one or more cross country trips with landings at a few different airports.  I like to choose different types of airports to land at with some different challenges – shorter fields, close approaches, narrow runways, etc; to give the best practice.  If the weather cooperates this could be a one day thing.  As the days get longer in the spring it is also becoming practical to do some flying after work (and I’d like to do some night landings, too).

I’m excited.  While the insurance requirement of 10 hours dual is a bit of a pain (as opposed to the 5 hours I would probably have if I had more retractable time) it will be a fun trip back north with my primary CFI.  My fingers are crossed for good weather.