By GUY R. MAHER
From May 28-30, 50 twin Cessnas — from the earliest of classic 310s to the latest 421 Golden Eagles — descended upon Colorado Springs, Colo., for the annual convention of The Twin Cessna Flyers (TTCF).
This organization is dedicated to the safety, preservation, and economical operation of the piston-powered twin engine Cessna aircraft, except for the 336/337 series.
For the 125 attendees, it was a packed agenda for the three-day event, with an impressive list of guest speakers, including NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart, who besides being a pilot, was once part owner of a Cessna 310.
Another headliner was Brian Shul, a USAF veteran with 212 combat missions. He was shot down over North Vietnam and was burned so badly he was told he wouldn’t survive. Well, survive he did. He made a miraculous recovery, returned to flight status and became an SR-71 Blackbird pilot.
Doug May, vice president of piston products at Textron Aviation, Cessna’s parent company, updated the group regarding developments in customer support for twin Cessnas. Avionics expert John Collins gave a presentation on the intricacies of GPS and ADS-B. Another popular speaker was Peter Basile a senior air safety investigator for Textron Aviation. He analyzed several twin Cessna accidents and shared the complex detective work that goes into determining accident causes.
With loss of control now being on the NTSB’s “Most Wanted List,” Aviation Performance Solutions President BJ Ransbury was on hand to discuss training pilots to deal with aerial upsets. Other presentations included subjects such as hypoxia, weather, satellites, and forecasting.
There also was an exhibit hall filled with 30 vendors representing the gamut from large to small products and service providers. Dedicated time was provided throughout each day for attendees to visit with each one of them.
A popular event repeated from last year’s convention was “Airport Afternoon,” where the focus shifted to the flight line. Hosted by Colorado Jet Centers, it was a fun time to view of all those twin Cessnas that flew in and enjoy a BBQ lunch.
Another popular component repeated from last year was the individual model-specific break-out sessions. Each session was facilitated by a specific TTCF member who owns that particular model.
The companions weren’t left out, either. They toured the nearby Garden of the Gods, attended a special Pinch Hitter Ground School conducted by SimCom, and enjoyed other social activities throughout the convention.
And no convention would be complete without the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner gatherings for fine food, fellowship, and even a live auction.
TTCF member and Cessna 340 owner Jim O’Day from Fargo, N.D., probably summed it up best: “This was, hands down, the best convention yet — educational value and speaker quality was great. The owner break-out session was very good and our moderator did a great job. The organization of everything made it easy to network with other owners and suppliers who support our planes.”