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N6161P

 
     6161Papa is a Cessna turbo 182T four-place airplane.  We were looking for a plane with a little more power, mainly for flying on hot days, at higher altitudes, or operating out of higher elevations.  (The thinner the air is, the less power a regular engine can produce.)  The Cessna 182 is a great little plane, so the turbo was just the ticket.
     We flew commercially to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and drove about 90 miles north to Independence, Kansas, arriving there about mid-afternoon.
     Everyone we met, from the Enterprise-Rent-A-Car people in Tulsa to the cashier at Wal-Mart in Independence was friendly, nice and helpful.  Independence only has a population of about 10,000, but they must be supported by a large outlying population as their downtown is much larger than Boulder City's, which has a population of around 15,000.  They have many more shops and businesses, including the super Wal-Mart.  The countryside is absolutely flat.  Our flight instructor pointed out a hill to us, but all we could see in the direction he was pointing was a mound, or a hill wannabe.
     There are some other differences between there and home.  The Albertsons store has a pet food and supply section that takes up four rows.  The restaurants put bacon on everything.  A salad described on the menu as "crispy greens with garden vegetables" is a bowl of lettuce with one slice of tomato.  All the restaurants offer silverware wrapped in napkins; whether it's paper napkins in a fast food place or cloth napkins in a fancy place.  Independence has several farm equipment dealers, including a big John Deere dealership just outside of town.  Their Title companies are called Abstract companies.  I'm sure there's more, but unfortunately, we couldn't spend much time in town.  (We both woke up at home Monday morning with a feeling of "missing" Independence.)
     We did one short flight Thursday afternoon just so we could be shown that everything worked.  We spent all day Friday in ground school for the new instrument panel and on Saturday we spent about three hours in the air with an instructor so Steve could get some practical use with it. 
     I was remiss in not getting pictures of the ground school.  They wouldn't let me take pictures of the factory -- something they just stopped allowing two to three weeks ago.  It's too bad, because the factory was really something to see.  It is HUGE.  And clean.  Despite all the work being done in there, it was amazingly neat.  And noisy.  If they'd let me take pictures, I would have made a 10-second video, so you could get a real sense of the place.
     We left Kansas about 7:15 (Central time) Sunday morning, stopped in Santa Fe for gas and a break, and arrived home about 2:15.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, giving us a chance to really play with the new panel.  We flew on autopilot the whole trip.  After take-off and climbing to about 800 feet above ground, we entered our course, activated the autopilot and never touched the controls again except for landing.  That's pretty exciting!  This airplane can fly up to 20,000 feet above sea level.  Above 12,500, we would need to use oxygen, which is on the plane.  Since we didn't need to go that high, we didn't get a chance to try it out.
     
 
Behind us is a statue of Clyde Cessna as a boy.  At the age of 32 he designed and built his own airplane, and then taught himself to fly!   Steve checks in with Dale, who is chief of security.  Security is tight there.  We had to wear visitor passes and be escorted everywhere we went.  The buildings have cameras mounted outside and security constantly patrols the premises.
 
This is the flight building.  Steve begins his very thorough check of the airplane.   I mean very thorough.  On the right is Tim, the delivery pilot who took us up on the first flight to check that everything was in working order.
 
Getting ready for the first flight.   There's quite a start-up check list for this airplane.  No more jump in and go.
 
Isn't this beautiful?  This is Kansas or Oklahoma.  Independence is only about 30 miles from the Oklahoma border.   This is Eric who did our flight training.
 
Now we're at the controls on our way home.  We're about 10,000 feet over Texas.   When we're flying, of course we don't see the propeller, but I could see the blades through the view finder of the camera, so I took a picture.  I don't understand why I could see them through the view finder... have to do some research.
 
Ahh, New Mexico.  It's beginning to look like home.   This is Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Somewhat prettier and smaller than our Las Vegas.
   
And here she finally is in her new home.