Flying the A500

For Dr. Gerard Kenney of Franklin, Pa., flying to Sun ‘n Fun this year in his new Adam A500 wasn’t just fun — it was part of his required training.

The gastroenterologist is one of the first customers to take delivery of the A500. A former Saratoga driver, Kenney uses the plane for both business and pleasure. His practice is just outside Pittsburgh, but he also has offices in rural Pennsylvania. He uses the plane as well in his other business, AvantLogics, a company that develops medical software for surgery centers and offices.

Why the A500? “When I was looking to step up from a high-performance single-engine plane, I really wanted pressurization, deicing and the twin engine redundancy,” said the 1,700-hour pilot. “If you lose an engine in the A500, you don’t have the adverse reaction that you do in a conventional twin.”

Kenney, who flies about 150 hours a year, said the first time he flew the A500, it felt similar in handling to the Saratoga — “but it was more stable,” he said. “You don’t feel the turbulence.

“The side stick was also a welcome change,” he noted. “The visibility is so much better.”

Buying a $1.2 million airplane from a company that until last year had never delivered one can be nerve wracking. “But when you buy a new airplane from a new company, you’re buying a part of the company in some respects,” Kenney noted.

Doing his due diligence into Adam Aircraft, he found that he liked what he saw. “I am impressed by the integrity of everyone in this organization,” he said. “There’s a real commitment to excellence. That’s a major reason I bought this. You can talk about features, but when it comes down to it, it’s the people who make the difference.”

Kenney, who got his private pilot’s license in 1990, notes that his family is excited about the new airplane, including his wife, Monica, son Stephen, 8, and daughter Carolyn, 5. Both children have been flying since they were 10 days old. “I think they both might be pilots one day,” he said.

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?

Kenney reports that finding insurance wasn’t difficult and that rates are “fair.”

“I’ve had a very favorable response from the insurance industry,” he said. “Adam has done a lot of groundwork in this area.”

And, of course, as he gains time, he’ll see those rates go down. “I was told that once I hit 50 hours, they should go down and then they’ll drop again when I hit 200 hours,” he said.

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