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For This


It Was All In The Bag

By Bill Cox Photography By James Lawrence



Pilot Journal

Winter 2002


“With the Trinidad, I can be in the air on my own schedule, usually within 30 minutes of leaving the office, and I can cover quite a bit more territory than I could before. I can fly directly to the most convenient airport rather than to an airline hub 30 to 100 miles away.”


here has never been much question that American piston-powered, generalaviation aircraft dominate the world market, comprising well over 80 percent of the inventory. In fact, for nearly the last 20 years, there has been only one foreign piston aircraft design that has represented any significant competitive threat to American products—Socata. Jeff Herold manufactures and sells an extremely popular upscale golf travel bag known as the Club Glove. As president and CEO of Orange County, Calif.-based West Coast Trends, he
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visits a huge array of golf courses, pro shops and retailers across the Southwest. It became clear to Herold that the personalized marketing of his one-of-a-kind bag could easily be enhanced by flying his own airplane over his 580,000-square-mile territory. So he learned to fly in 1997, training in a 180-hp Skyhawk SP. Immediately after earning his license, Herold began to shop the used-plane market, looking for exactly the right aircraft for his specialized applications. He considered a number of turbocharged airplanes for his business travel around the 11 western states,

The Socata Trinidad GT is custom-made for the high country of the western United States, thanks in part to turbocharging. Socata put a ”set-it-and-forget-it“ blower on the TIO-540, allowing the engine to develop all 250 horses all the way up into the flight levels. This airplane features custom paint, new retractable footsteps and a larger door to improve access.

with emphasis on reasonably fast, low-wing models. Compressed power was pretty much mandatory, as many of Herold’s customers are in the high country. The then-new Commander 114TC was a strong contender, but there were few Turbo Commanders available at the time. He also was impressed by the spacious Piper Saratoga TC, but in at least one respect, the airplane’s size worked against it: Herold didn’t feel he’d have enough application for six seats. In 1998, Herold finally settled on an early (but still jaunty) Trinidad TC—in fact, the very first 1986 production model. He stepped up to a new TB-21 Trinidad TC earlier this year. “It was obvious that flying would be a big time-saver,” says Herold, “but I had no idea how much. Some places I used to visit by car simply because access was so inconvenient by airline are now within easy reach of the airplane. With the Trinidad, I can be in the air on my own schedule, usually within 30 minutes of leaving the office, and I can cover quite a bit more territory than I could before. I can fly directly to the most convenient airport rather than to an airline hub 30 to 100 miles away. I often wind up beating the airlines over distances greater than you might imagine when you consider door-to-door time.” Another advantage of the Trinidad

The new Trinidads come with a choice of either a Honeywell Bendix/King KMD 550 multi-function display combined with a KLN 94 color GPS or a Garmin/Honeywell hybrid that sports dual 430s.


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W i n t e r 2 0 0 2 73

2001 EADS Socata Trinidad TB 21 TC
Base Price: $391,000 Engine Make/Model: Textron Lycoming TIO-540-AB1AD Horsepower: 250 Max Cruise Speed (knots): 190/75% power/20,000 ft. Max Range (w/reserve) (nm): 1000 Best Rate Of Climb (sea level) (fpm): 1126 Certified Ceiling (ft.): 25,000 Max Payload (lbs.): 1226

Not only is it one of the widest and most comfortable of the singles flying, but the Trinidad GT also is certified to carry up to five passengers, not just four. Leave the fifth seat empty, and you can add the saved weight to the aircraft’s already formidable payload.

is that it gives Herold the option of carrying an extra person or two plus baggage for roughly the same cost. Like the normally aspirated Trinidad, the TC sports a max gross weight of 3,086 pounds (1,400 kilograms for European airways billing purposes), leaving a typical full fuel plus three souls’ useful load. His trips are usually

hassle-free. “I visit plenty of golf courses, and the airplane will easily swallow three people and three sets of clubs without problems, though I do have to leave some fuel in the truck.” Perhaps best of all, according to Herold, is the convenience of doing it yourself. “I fall into the class of ‘professional traveler,’” says Herold, “and the

Trinidad makes the whole process so much easier than any of the alternatives. There are no airline reservations to be made, no traffic jams, no parking backups, no check-in lines, no security scans, and we know for certain our luggage will arrive at the same time we do and at the same airport.” Like many busy executives, Herold

appreciates quality, and for that reason, he prefers to operate into the top FBOs on most airports, primarily Signatures, Millionaires and Airflites that specialize in full service. “If you call ahead (or sometimes, even if you don’t), they’ll usually have a rental car parked at the curb, and you can put in your fuel order, any special requests such as oxygen or other services and be on your way in 15 minutes or less.” Herold chose a Socata Trinidad partially because it fit him. “I’m 6’ 4”, and that means I don’t fit into most airplanes,” he explains. “The Trinidad has a larger, more comfortable cabin than the majority of comparable models. In fact, that’s exactly the reason I stepped up to a new airplane for 2001.” Socata redesigned the interior this year for more head and leg room, and pilots like Herold have a special appreciation for the change. For Herold, turbocharging was a necessity for operation into the West’s high country, where summer density altitudes often can reach five figures. The Trinidad TC’s TIO-540-AB1AD is a well-proven engine, essentially the same powerplant used in pairs by Piper on the Turbo Aztec back in the ’70s. Turbocharging is automatic, with the turbo compensating for temperature and altitude through both a density controller and a differential pressure controller. Indeed, all the Socata designs have long capitalized on ultimate simplicity. Aerospatiale recognized early on that transparent operation would help endear their airplanes to more pilots, and a set-it-and-forget-it turbocharger plus a luxurious, people-friendly cabin were almost guaranteed to win minds and credit lines. To that end, Socata configured the Trinidad/Trinidad TC with a near-automotive interior, closer in design and execution to the dimensions and materials of a plush Peugeot
Winter 2002


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After shopping a number of other aircraft, Herold declared the Trinidad a winner by a length—the length of leg room, head room and the comfortable, wide Socata cabin. Does he ever second-guess his decision? Not really. Herold is now flying his second Trinidad.

sedan than a 190-knot light aircraft. Herold has improved upon the airplane’s standard talents with a few mods of his own. Herold Airlines has DVD screens velcroed to the front seat backs so rear-seat passengers can watch movies in flight, much like the current tricks on Boeing 777s. Bose headsets up front and Sennheisers in back provide stereo sound for playing CDs, and a custom leather interior helps everyone arrive relaxed and ready for work or play. Meanwhile, the captain flies behind a flight deck that’s nearly as modern as an airliner’s. A King KLN94 moving-map GPS system presents a large, easy-to-read, real-world track of position with reference to all the standard aviation checkpoints, plus roads, rivers and other major landmarks. The autopilot features programming functions that allow rateof-climb and altitude preselect and switching, and instrumentation is as obvious as is possible to make it. Now an instrument-rated pilot with 450 hours, Herold’s association with his Trinidad has allowed him to add yet another product to his line: highend, custom eyewear from Scheyden. In fact, his success has been so remarkable, he’s surprised the aviation industry doesn’t take advantage of aircraft management for smaller GA aircraft. “That kind of service is readily available on corporate jets,” Herold asserts, “but there are many owners of smaller aircraft who’d be willing to pay a reasonable fee to have everything except the actual flying taken care of for them. I’d be happy to pay a management company, such as Avex, Inc. in Camarillo, Calif., to oversee all aspects of my Trinidad’s operation, if I were fortunate enough to be based there. They basically keep the airplane maintained, clean, fueled, serviced and ready to fly on a moment’s notice, but those companies are few and far between.” For the nonce, Herold flies his business missions with the sure knowledge that his Trinidad offers the right combination of performance, efficiency and operating economics—until the PJ day he can afford a TBM-700.


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