Twenty one + years ago Bob Osborn told me about a plane that Gerrett Gregory had for sale and I should take a look at it. He said it was a Colt and I said “What’s a Colt?” He described it to me as a high wing, fabric covered two-place Piper. I wasn’t crazy about a fabric covered airplane and I didn’t have any idea what it looked like but I had a friend that was going flying with Bob and asked him to take a look at it for me. When I talked to him later about the plane he said Gerrett had gone through it, given it a fresh cover and it looked pretty good. He thought I should take serious look at it and I did. It has been with me ever since.
I took some flight training with Carl Johnston to get familiar with the plane. I had been flying Grummans but outside of the wing being in the wrong place and blocking one’s view when you turned, I liked it. Oh yeah, it also wasn’t as fast - about 10 - 15 MPH slower than the Grumman. It also sinks like a brick compared to other planes. On my introduction/training flight Carl pulled the power off and I started to set up like I would have in the Grumman and he said, NO START YOUR TURN NOW. A hard U-turn and we were on the ground.
So now I knew what a Colt was. It is a derivative of the Piper Tri-Pacer but with a smaller engine, an 0-235C1B of 108 HP. It is a high wing, fabric covered, two place version of the PA-22 Tri-pacer. It carries 36 gallons of fuel which will last about 5.5 hours with reserve. It is reasonably comfortable and that long a flight and the 500 mi + range would be fine if my bladder held out. It does climb better than the other two-place trainers. It doesn’t have flaps but you don’t need no stinkin flaps because you can make it sink like a brick if you want. When you do land, it is planted. It just doesn’t bounce back up into the air unless you are landing at 85 plus MPH. It will carry full fuel, two FAA 170 pounders and 100 pounds of baggage with 8 pounds to spare. The range is 500 + miles if you choose to prepare by not taking on too much coffee (or in my case Dr Pepper), before you depart. I have flown to Arlington WA, about 1200 miles for the fly-in up there, and it is a two day trip even if the weather is good. It usually isn’t good, so plan on three or four days (it has taken three both times I have gone). The plane is easy to fly and goes where you point it. Stalls are more of a non-event and more a controlled 500 ft/min descent than a true stall. On a bi-annual with Bob Johnson once he asked me to stall it and I said OK I’ll try but it won’t do it. All it would do is mush down at 500 ft/min. He then said do an accelerated stall and again 500 ft/min down but this time in a circle. He tried it and got the same thing so he said give me full rudder, either way, correct with opposite aileron and don’t loose any altitude. Think about that for a minute. That isn’t a recommendation you will get in a Grumman. All it did was descend in a big circle at 500 ft/min. He then said do it the other way. Once again it did the same thing but in the opposite direction but this time as I passed through my own wake it broke. I released the pressure and it instantly was flying again. I don’t think we lost more that 10ft. What did it teach me? Man, you have to be a real idiot to get in serious trouble with this thing. Cross winds. Not a problem. Jim MacKinnon and I decided to go out and do some when the sock was straight out and 90 degrees to the runway gusting to over 20 knots. I am not going to say it was easy but it really wasn’t hard and as usual NO bounce. The only thing I can really complain about with the plane is, like most high wing planes, you can’t see where you’re going in a turn and it isn’t blazingly fast. On the other hand it if your bladder is good for 4-5 hour legs then you don’t have to stop as often as the Grumman and if the trip is long enough you can go just as fast on a long cross country since you don’t have to stop as often. You do have to be careful with oil temperatures in really hot temperatures in climb since it has no oil cooler but there is now an STC for that and I am installing it now. You may have heard I am selling the plane since I now have an RV-6a and that was and I guess is the plan but I am in no hurry. It is fun to fly and cheap to keep. Insurance is only $428 for everything and by that I mean hull in motion, not in motion etc. I hope to have the oil cooler on soon, get an annual and go play with it soon.