Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


How High Can a Cessna 150 Fly?

June 16,1976

The flight school run by the Piper FBO I worked for also owned a rather tired and anemic and slightly mis-rigged Cessna 150. The main purpose was to have an aircraft in which CFI students could accomplish their spin endorsements (though the airplane didn't want to spin to the right), but also to give "budget-minded" students a cheaper rental alternative to our usual PA-28 Cherokee trainers.

One slow day after finishing with my one student for the day, I decided to take the C-150 up and see how high I could get it to climb. I just did circles over the airport climbing for close to half an hour. The airplane was still climbing about a hundred feet a minute after reaching 12,500 feet, and seeing as how the airplane didn't have a transponder (not to mention no supplemental oxygen), I decided to call it quits there. As for what follows, you need to know that at this point in my flying career, I was pretty good at power-off spot landings, since an instructor needs to demonstrate an engine failure emergency landing to each student, and I liked to terminate my demos with an actual power-off landing on a nearby grass strip. I was pretty confident I could glide down from 12,500 feet and land on the airport, which I was still directly over, if I couldn't restart the engine. And so, that's what I did: shut down the engine, slowed down and stopped the prop, and glided most of the way down. A C-150 glides about as well as it climbs, but it's a whole lot quieter. Approaching pattern altitude, I restarted the engine with no problem. And so I landed, and I had my little adventure to liven up a slow day.

And that's why the flight time recorded in the above logbook line item is only 0.6 - because the Hobbs meter wasn't running when the engine was shut down. Why didn't I add another 0.4 for the glide down? I could have recorded it as "flight time". Maybe because it would have looked a little suspicious if ever compared with my billed rental time? I can't remember.



References for Non-Pilots: