With a total of 16 days, 46 hours of flying time, a tad too much Cuban beans and rice, not nearly enough tailwinds and just enough laughter with lifelong friends Mark Rudolph and Graeme Plant, our flying trip to Cuba was a success.
It was a trip of extremes: dark clouds of thunder and hail in the Midwest compared to white puffy clouds and cobalt blue waters of the Caribbean; the endless urban sprawl of Florida compared to the fascinating timewarp of old cars and colonial Spanish architecture of Havana; and the near-poverty of Cuba compared to the extreme wealth and luxury on display in the Bahamas.
For this trip Mark and I took turns flying his pressurized P210 (vs my T210) which has a full glass avionics suite and a more capable autopilot. His plane is a very nice and comfy plane to spend that much time in. I did however struggle the entire trip with the fact that a P210 has a notable decrease in performance compared with the T210. For example, alarm bells would go off in my head on every takeoff roll since I was expecting to be in the air sooner. My failure to fully adapt to this also led to a hard landing at a short airstrip on a small island in the Bahamas – but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
In the next series of blog posts I’ll take you through the entire trip – the weather challenges (notice how we flew to Cuba via Illinois?), the old cars in Cuba, the plane-wreck diving in the Bahamas and a Midwest tornado that touched down two miles from the parked plane.
Next post in Cuba Flying Adventure: Flight To Cuba, Day One