By Rocky Ladsverk with John Wingfield
Cover plane owner John Wingfield explained the pluses and minuses of pressurization, and what else he likes (or not) about his plane.
“The pressurized version can hold a cabin altitude of less than 12,500 at FL230, which enables higher altitude flying without the need for supplemental oxygen and the hassles that are associated with it. The downside is the pressurized versions have one cabin door and cost about 200 pounds useful load for the intercooler that’s needed.
“So, you don’t need supplemental oxygen and can climb high, fly fast, and carry a large load without the need for a large fuel burn. I average around 15 gph LOP, and 18 gph ROP with GAMIs.
“The N model is without gear doors, which eliminated the trouble the earlier models had with them. Fairly forward CG but can be balanced by removing one of the middle seats and carrying about 50 pounds aft in the plane, which makes takeoffs and landings a little more manageable.
“Keeping CHTs (cylinder head temperatures) at 400 or under is what I prefer in cruise, with the occasional above in a climb. In Texas’ hot summer days, I’ll limit climbs to 500 fpm, which also gives me a better view over the long engine/nose.
“Pressurized models enable the comfort and ability to climb over most storms. I have radar in mine as well to determine precipitation, etc.
“Candidly, there are some greater advantages in the T210 versus the P210, such as higher ceilings and greater useable load. However, I don’t do a lot of mountain flying – mostly from Texas to Florida with my daughter (to the beach), so I can get up above most GA and into Class A airspace if needed to get those good easterly tailwinds. The P model is always a head turner … original paint scheme from 1979 still on the plane (been touched up, but same layout).”
Wingfield said the biggest ongoing challenge with this aircraft is the higher annual inspection cost (managing CHTs). His advice if you’re considering one is similar to almost everyone we ask that question to, regardless of model: “Do a thorough prebuy from someone who has experience with P210s.”