The end of my Christmas aviation trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama with Haley Howard and Rod Kellogg was about to end – I only had one full day left. I was scheduled to leave from Pensacola, Florida on January 6th via Delta Air Lines through Atlanta. The night before my last full day, Rod let me know that he had just gotten a King Air trip in “Shrimp Force One” (The Shrimp Basket Restaurants’ King Air F90) to Jonesboro, Arkansas. He asked if I would like to go along with him, flying up front in the cockpit and switch my departure on Delta from Pensacola to Memphis (for the same departure date of January 6th). I, of course, got on the phone with Delta right away and switched my flights for a $150 fee (well worth it!).

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After flying around in the morning with Haley in the Carbon Cub and American Champion Scout, I walked over to Shrimp Force One to take some photos and set up our 3 GoPro cameras. Shrimp Force One (N931SB) is a King Air F90 that was built in 1980. There are about 200 King Air F90s in the world – they’re distinguished by their T-Tail design coupled with the shorter body-style of the C90 class King Airs. Rumor has it that the smaller F90 performed as well as the larger 200/300 class King Airs; people bought them over the larger aircraft since they were less expensive. In turn, they were discontinued by the company from taking away from their larger, more expensive aircraft line.

We planned to fly the King Air from Jack Edwards Airport (KJKA) to Pensacola, Florida (KPNS) to pick up our 4 passengers for the flight to Jonesboro. Since Rod is a multi-engine flight instructor, I was able to fly the King Air all the way to Pensacola, do 2 touch and go landings, and log all of the flight time. We spent that time training in the King Air because the passengers weren’t onboard or even at the Pensacola airport yet.

Below is a highlight video from our flight:

This was my first time flying a King Air, not to mention the fact that I hadn’t ever flown a turbine or multi-engine aircraft! As we took off from JKA’s Runway 35, Rod instructed me to rotate at 90 knots and simply make the nose light. Being new to large, turbine aircraft, I didn’t really understand what he meant by “make the nose light.” At about 85 knots, I started pulling back and got the King Air into the air. Out of habit (from flying smaller props), instead of letting the plane fly itself off of the ground, I had essentially pulled Shrimp Force One into the air. Rod explained that the takeoff wasn’t bad, but next time I should try rotating more slowly and letting it gain some more speed before pulling back.

I quickly learned how fast things happen in a turbine aircraft; we retracted the landing gear and flaps, pulled back the power, and began to set up a climb to our low 3,500 foot cruising altitude to KPNS just seconds after departure. Within about a minute, we were already nearing the cruise altitude and I overshot it by about 100 feet – Everything was happening VERY quickly at 200 knots!

A few minutes later, we called Pensacola approach and entered a left base for Runway 35 at KPNS. We were “cleared for the option,” meaning the landing could be full stop or a touch and go. For my first landing, Rod told me that he would stay with me on the controls to help give me the feeling of landing the large King Air. I flew the plane while he too had his hands on the controls, making slight corrections and explaining what he was doing.

After stopping on the runway, we set up for takeoff, rotated, and began another pattern for Runway 35. A video of our second takeoff is shown below:

Below is a video of our 2nd and final touch and go landing. After getting on the ground and watching the footage, I was amazed to see that Rod hadn’t even touched the flight controls during the landing – I had officially landed a King Air!

Screenshots of our route can be seen below via CloudAhoy:

As we taxied to the Innisfree Jet Center FBO ramp, I learned how to taxi the King Air without using too much braking (since brakes are very expensive). To slow down, I would add beta prop; to speed up, I reduced the beta prop. Beta prop control moves individual propellor blades to negative pitch, sort of reversing the direction of thrust. We soon arrived at the FBO, shut down, and prepped the plane for the passengers and flight to Jonesboro, Arkansas.

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Thanks, Rod, for giving me the chance to fly the King Air for the first time. It’s so cool that I already have some turbine and multi-engine time as a private pilot!

-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

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Swayne Martin

I started this website to show you why you'll love becoming a pilot. As an owner and editor of Boldmethod Pilot Training, I've spent years working with pilots all around the world to make their dreams a reality. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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