Jeff Granger and his Extra 300L
Jeff Granger and his Extra 300L
One of the best parts of our community is how some have taken up the charge to be part of the solution. To me that means, flying professionally and being an ambassador to the sport. Jeff Granger has both bases covered.
Jeff is President of the International Aerobatic Club Chapter 34 based in Central Ohio and is a surgeon by trade. He owns a beautiful Extra 300L that he regularly campaigns in the advanced category, which he has done for over 15 years.
By anyone’s measure he’s a busy guy. Which is why I was surprised when he graciously offered to demo his Extra 300L with me this Summer. Of course I jumped at the chance to fly an Extra – one of my bucket list airplanes. After a couple of scheduling challenges, mine – not his, we were able to go up.
This is when I learned Jeff’s true passion – spreading the word about his beloved sport of aerobatics. Jeff conducts dozens of demos in his Extra all in the name of promoting aviation. And if that wasn’t enough he is a consummate professional, running his demo flights in a way that rivals most airline flight decks – very impressive.
Now let’s talk about the Extra. Jeff’s demo’s would be very positive and well received in almost any airplane, but he doesn’t have an ordinary airplane. The Extra 300L is a thoroughbred of the highest standard. It is a German-produced, purpose-built, world-class aerobatic mount and I was about to find out what all the hype was about!
Jeff spends just the right amount of time thoroughly briefing each detail about the airplane and safety procedures. The first thing that stands out on the Extra is how well built it is – the fit and finish is impeccable. Jeff has some added STC’d goodies, like an Aspen EFIS in place of the mechanical attitude indicator and HSI.
Buckled, or should I say ratcheted in, you are very reclined, which helps G tolerance. Jeff starts up the engine, which is way out front and with the 4 bladed, MT prop, it is electric smooth.
The takeoff was like being released from a slingshot and the climb was equally exhilarating. We headed to the practice area and Jeff turned over the controls to me. I obviously anticipated it would be responsive, but I was still surprised by how light and quick it was on the controls – literally telepathic! I have never flown anything like it!
Jeff took me through a few maneuvers, alternating with me flying each after he showed me first.
My stomach started to complain a little so I made the call to return to the field. I would have loved to stay up all day in this amazing machine!
The approach and landing were also non-conventional. Due to the visibility, or lack thereof, you do a close-in very steep approach. The flare is more like arresting a falling anvil, but the Extra has so much control, it’s no problem.
We taxi back and I’m pinching myself, in 25+ years of flying, nothing I have flown compares.
Thanks to Jeff for taking the time to share his passion and setting a great example for the rest of us!
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