Stop press! Since I wrote this page, G-BTIM has been sold to start a new life, and is now living at the Solent Flight flying school. So unfortunately I don't have access to this aircraft any more. Farewell India-Mike!
What is G-BTIM?
India-Mike is a Piper PA28-161 Cadet. She's very similar to a PA28 Warrior, and is powered by the same 160 horsepower Lycoming O-320 engine. Her callsign is "G-BTIM", or "India-Mike" for short.
The PA28 is the "Ford Escort" of the skies - a reliable, modest little aircraft with a pretty good safety record. In common with all PA28's, India-Mike is a four-seat aircraft. But she shares the same problem that most four-seat light aircraft have - namely that with four average people on board and a decent amount of fuel, you're often over the weight limit. India-Mike is not an especially powerful aircraft, so with three adults on board and fuel to the "tabs" she's about fully laden.
India-Mike is a "non-complex" aircraft. This means that she's fitted with a fixed-pitch propeller and her undercarriage is not retractable. She also has no other "complex" features such as a turbo-charged engine or cabin pressurisation. In these respects, India-Mike is fairly typical of a great number of light aircraft - possibly the majority.
For such a modest aircraft India-Mike is very well equipped when it comes to avionics and instrumentation. She has twin com radios, twin VOR with RNAV, twin altimeters, and she'll soon boast a full colour moving map GPS unit. She even has a simple autopilot that will hold heading or track a VOR radial for you.
What's her performance like?
It would be fair to say that India-Mike is not a fast aircraft. At 2400 RPM, she'll cruise at a shade under 100 knots (that's about 115 mph) - perhaps slightly over 100 if it's a cold day. I prefer to cruise her at about 90 or 95 knots. But when you consider that a light aircraft can often fly in a straight line from A to B, never has to stop for traffic lights and never gets stuck in traffic jams, in reality even the lowliest training aircraft will beat a Ferrari!
The best thing about India-Mike, though, is the fact that she is a very stable aircraft to fly.
Who flies her?
India-Mike is owned by Mark Joslin, a friend of mine who qualified shortly before I did. He allows myself and Andy Coyte to share the flying to help him cover his costs and to make sure that the aircraft gets flown a reasonable amount. Both Mark and Andy can be seen in various photos elsewhere on this site.
We often do shared flights as a group or in pairs, which is a good way of learning from each other and gaining experience. For booking time in the aircraft, we use a Yahoo online calendar.
I started flying India-Mike about the beginning of March 2002, and as I write these words (May 2002) I've so far flown about 15 hours in her.