Soon after that picture was snapped, after reaching the Sparta VOR (SAX) and turning south, N631S's tach time rolled to 4,245.0 hours. Not a terribly "round" number, but one that I took note of. Back on 27 September 2004 (about seven and a half years ago) when Bob Parks and I departed Keokuk Muni (KEOK) for the flight back to Connecticut, the tach read 3,245.0. That was my first flight in N631S as its ninth owner, and as of Friday last, the airplane and I have flown 1,000 hours together.
Among the owners who've had the privilege of caring for N631S, I've had the longest tenure in calendar time at 90 months (and counting). In terms of flight time I'm in second place, about 200 hours behind the pilots at Erect-a-Tube, Inc. (Shout-out here to Sam F.!) At the rate things have been progressing, I ought to catch up in a bit over a year.
After a thousand hours, you get to know an airplane. I don't recall the last time N631S surprised me. Its responses are predictable and stable. It does everything fairly well and some things brilliantly, and it never bites. I'm grateful to Dwane Wallace and his colleagues at Cessna for a wonderful bit of airplane design.
While it is always risky to indulge in prediction, I suspect and hope that N631S and I will be together for a long time to come.