Photos: Keith Wilson
You know the kind of woman who is the last word in elegance, but also goes hiking in Levi’s and a work shirt? The Stationair is a bit like that; it has dual personalities. It’s a glamorous mini-airliner, but it’s also a cargo-shifter that can cope with jungle airstrips.
The Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair provided for this flight test by Cessna’s dealer is the model first introduced in 2009. It has an all-glass panel, a turbocharged engine, on-board oxygen and leather seats for six. In 2009 Cessna introduced a number of detail improvements over earlier models, including...Read more
Winter flying can be an enjoyable experience if you take the time to prepare for cold weather flight and exercise good judgment based on all available weather information. Winter operations will often mean that a decision must be made to go or not to go, that is based on all of your experience and background as a pilot.
Beginners in winter flight must use extra caution and occasionally seek advice from more experienced pilots as there are times during winter that not even the birds are flying.In a previous article, titled “Preparing for Winter Flying” (see Cessna Flyer, November 2011), I...Read more
I had taken off early from South Florida and had flown all day long between 8,500 and 10,500 feet MSL. I touched down briefly at KAEX in Alexandria, La. for lunch and fuel, then climbed back to my cruising altitude. I was headed for Mineral Wells, Texas for an S-TEC autopilot tune-up, but decided to land at Waco, Texas (KACT) instead. It was the end of a long day and low ceilings were cramping my comfort zone. I punched in the identifier for Waco and followed the GPS guidance, but didn’t see any runways. I felt flummoxed and frustrated. Waco...Read more
Thirty-five years ago, there were dozens of piston twins on the market, everything from Piper’s $66,000 Aztec to Beech’s quarter-million-dollar Queen Air 88. The light twin market had gained momentum in the 1950s when big and small business alike discovered General Aviation.
The designs of early multi-engine aircraft were largely based on expansion of their single-engine forebears, and as such they tended to lack the refinements and creature comforts that the airlines were offering. The reason they were selling, however, was that the light corporate twin was infinitely handier and could operate to and from thousands more destinations.Read more
No doubt you have read a multitude of editorial on the subject of the Go/No Go decision. In reality, it should probably be called the Go On/Not Go On decision, since Go/No Go implies that the decision is made on the ground prior to departure. But in the real world, that is not always the case.
Flying is expensive enough as it is. But you don't have to cut corners or cramp your flying style, just to save a few bucks.
Own an airplane and fly it long enough and you will develop your own little trick to save a few pennies here and there. I'd love to hear about them. Here are some of my personal favorites.
In August, Hurricane Charley blew through Florida and into the Carolinas. That fast-moving Category Four storm cut a compact swatch of destruction across the state, effectively bringing aviation operations to a halt for a few days, and much longer at affected airports.
Just when we got a handle on that recovery effort, and the TFRs had disappeared, Hurricane Frances entered our reality. On Monday, August 30, everyone began to take him seriously. Tuesday happened to be my kid’s birthday and I was determined not to press the panic button too early and deprive him of his day.
September 2004 -
After years of work, the FAA has finally issued a new rating category, targeted at lowering the cost of flying. Called the Sport Pilot Certificate, this new rating is specifically designed to work with a new class called Light Sport Aircraft.
The Sport Pilot rating addresses the weakness found in the Recreational Pilot Certificate, which is so limited that it is virtually useless.
I finally got myself IFR current again, almost six months after my last hood work. That has a tendency to happen around here in the summer, as there’s little (or no) actual IFR to fly in, and there’s rarely any reason to fly in Class B airspace or on the coast, where there might be fog.
As usual, I spent several hours practicing in Microsoft Flight Simulator first, getting used to doing an IFR scan and reading approach plates. Once I was comfortable with those, it was time to get in the real airplane. The forecast for the next day...Read more
When I make my semi-annual pilgrimage to my dentist’s office, I always notice the small sign on the wall that says “If you ignore your teeth, your problems will eventually go away.”
Lots of piloting and aircraft ownership details are just the same—it’s sort of a pay-me-now or pay-me-later scenario with so much of what we do with and around our airplanes. For that reason, I’ve always got my antenna up for better ways of doing what needs to eventually be done.
Without a doubt, they’re the hardest-working, most under-appreciated part of your airplane. Of course, I’m talking about your propeller.
Most of us just think of a propeller as a chunk of aluminum spinning around on the front of our airplane. How wrong we are. Your propeller is one of the most highly stressed components on your airplane. During normal operation, it has to withstand 10 to 20 tons of centrifugal force that is trying to pull the blades right off the hub.
“The value of a twin-engine aircraft is that it gets you out of the trouble you wouldn’t be having in the first place unless you were flying a twin.” —Murphy’s Law of multi-engine aircraft
After the resumption of civil production following World War II, Cessna Aircraft knew it had to get into the multi-engine business in order to expand its markets, keep growing and hopefully stay profitable. About the only new airplane competition in 1950 was the ubiquitous Twin Beech, the DeHavilland Dove, the new limited-production Aero Commander… and it was rumored that Piper was at work building the...Read more
Oshkosh! For any GA pilot who’s been around for a while, it makes the heart beat faster. Once a year, Wittman Regional becomes the world’s busiest airport, with over 10,000 arrivals in less than a week.
Static displays this year featured a mammoth Air Reserve Command C-5A Galaxy transport, along with historic aircraft including the C-141 “Hanoi Taxi” that ferried POWs home after the end of the Vietnam War. A wide range of other military aircraft visited, including a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, AV8B Harrier, F-15 and F-18.
Only big airplanes with jet engines have to worry about replacing things on a calendar or time in service basis. None of that applies to my airplane, or does it?
We all know that transport airplanes have to change landing gear, and starters, and engine components and many other components on a time table that is based on time the component has been in service, not the condition of the component. The selection of what is on these time life lists is made during the certification of the aircraft, and sometimes items are added from service history of the aircraft.
Seventy percent of runway incursions happen to General Aviation pilots. Getting lost at an airport when you are trying to taxi is not limited to GA aircraft, it is just that there are so many of us and we usually operate without the help of a co-pilot.
With over 650,000 pilots and 240,000 aircraft in this country it is amazing that we don’t have more runway incursion accidents and incidents. In other words, most of us are doing a good job when it comes to having situational awareness and running a professional cockpit.
Looking at the insurance premium for amphibious aircraft is an eye-opening reality check. Why? The answer should be obvious. Insurance companies know that sooner or later the plane they have insured might end up on the wrong side of the water.
A seaplane broker specializing in Cessna amphibians told me that 50 percent of the planes he has sold have been involved in at least one incident and the other 50 percent may have omitted the incident from their respective logbooks.
There is nothing as exhilarating as landing a seaplane on some desolate, pristine lake in the middle of nowhere or inside a coral reef next to an island in the Bahamas.
If buying a seaplane is in your future, I’d like to give you a few dos and don’ts. Actually I’m really more of an expert on the don’ts, because I’ve already made most of the mistakes.
Let’s start off by describing the buying part, which is like trying to get a politician to tell the truth about anything. The first question you should ask is, “Mr. Seller, has your plane...Read more
I have been hooked on airplanes from the beginning of my memories as a little kid. Going places over the horizon is a great adventure even today, 50 years after my first flying lesson.
“Adventures with Bill” and other stories are my way to share some of the insights, experiences and thoughts I have about flying single-engine airplanes with you. These adventures will be interspersed with lessons learned in my day job flying a Cessna twin and Citation Excel as a line captain for a major fractional ownership operation.
In 1965, Cessna had already been the industry leader for two decades, building more than half of the world’s GA products. In the ten years since they had introduced the 172 Skyhawk, about 9,000 of the four-place singles had been built—it was already the world’s most popular airplane.
But the title of No. 1 came with certain obligations, and assurance of continued business through R&D was one. There had been new features added to the 172, like the Omni-Vision rear window, aerodynamic clean-up, one-piece windshield and the like, but both management and engineering were interested in the business an advanced...Read more
The Continental O-200 and its big brother O-300 are candidates for the best-selling General Aviation engine ever built. Originated in the late 1940s and built as the C-75, 85, 90, 125 and 145, they powered countless Cessna 120s, 140s, 150s, 170s, 172s, 175s and a host of other manufacturers’ models.
Designations were changed during the 1950s to reflect displacement rather than horsepower: four of the 4.1” x 3.9” cylinders totaled 201 cu. in. and six of them added up to 301 cu. in.
The early decades of aviation saw the proliferation of aircraft into many aspects of daily life. Proving itself invaluable in war, the airplane also found use in the war against six-legged pests in the farm fields of America.
The first known use of a heavier-than-air machine occurred in August 1921. A United States Army Air Service Curtiss JN-4 Jenny piloted by John A. Macready was modified at McCook Field to spread lead arsenate to kill Catalpa Sphinx caterpillars at a farm near Troy, Ohio. This first test was considered highly successful.
The first commercial operations were begun in 1924 by Huff-Daland...Read more
If you have a midair collision it isn’t going to happen like it does in the movies. It won’t be a head-on, high-speed thing like those dogfight passes in “Top Gun.” It won’t be a Beechcraft Baron hovering in your windshield just before you smack into it, again head-on like in that old “Airport” movie.
According to a recent study by the AOPA Safety Foundation, chances are you’ll overtake or be overtaken in a midair collision—not smacked in the face by an oncoming airplane in a head-on mishap. Eighty-two percent of midair collisions happen when a faster aircraft overtakes and...Read more
The old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” was certainly true of Clyde V. Cessna.
Raised in South Central Kansas, he soon learned how clever he was with mechanical devices and began working for an implement/auto dealer. Then he discovered a hidden talent for sales. Those two attributes led him to early success as an automobile dealer—until the day he discovered airplanes.
Smitten with the new flying machine, Cessna bought an early Bleriot XI replica and doggedly tried and tried until both he and the airplane learned...Read more
I have been fortunate to have had the privilege to fly all my life. From a youngster, through my teen years, and then in the military, I have enjoyed the thrill of flying both General Aviation aircraft, fighters and training aircraft.
Throughout my life different folks, agencies, departments, and my wife taught me to keep as many options open as possible. I have learned the lesson well. During years of flying, I have applied this rule very routinely… not ever giving it much thought; it was just a matter of course.
When my flight plan and the weather is a bit...Read more
It was time. Eleven years earlier in 1988 I had fulfilled a childhood dream and obtained my pilot’s license, and in 1993 the instrument rating. I had a stable job in a successful company, with considerable vacation earned over many years of service.
I could foresee 200-plus hours per of flying, and an increased commitment to Angel Flight. My new bride Tina was an enthusiastic right-seat companion. The Moon was in the Seventh House, Jupiter had aligned with Mars—and I wanted my own airplane.
There was an additional consideration. The aircraft available to rent were…well, with scant exception, the flight line...Read more
If you’re a pilot who says you’ve never even dreamed of flying a jet fighter… maybe your nose is growing?
The end of the Cold War in the 1990s brought a sigh of relief to much of the world. The end of the arms race between the Soviet Union and United States delivered a welcome downsizing of many military assets. For pilots, that meant the first time in history that a selection of jet warbirds were available for civilian use.
While the Cold War was winding down, Larry Salganek was busy teaching aerobatics in a T-34 Mentor. As the first foreign...Read more
On a crisp March afternoon in 1968, Gene Morris was flying over Springfield, Mo. He was chatting with his friend, the Springfield airport manager, on the Unicom radio channel when the conversation turned to a Cessna 140A that had come up for sale.
The airport manager said that the first $2,000 would buy the Cessna, and Gene said, “Hold it; I’ll be there tomorrow with the money!”
The following day, March 17, 1968, American Airlines pilot Gene Morris purchased that Cessna 140A, N5669C, sight unseen.
The airplane was rough by any standard. The previous owner bought the aircraft in Alaska and moved it...Read more
I’ve logged more than 8,400 hours in tailwheel aircraft.
Many early airplanes were equipped with a simple skid mounted on the underside of the tail for landing on unimproved fields. These were taildraggers in the purest sense of the term. But as both airplane and airfield design progressed, tailskids soon gave way to tailwheels. In turn, the tailwheel yielded to the nosewheel (tricycle gear) design.
Today, pilots use the terms “taildragger,” “tailwheel,” and “conventional gear” interchangeably to describe tailwheel-equipped airplanes. With all due respect to those still flying tailskid airplanes, I will also use these terms interchangeably in this article. Furthermore,...Read more
Piloting Aspects inside the novel “Captain,” Part Three
Here is the promised ending chapter to our ongoing discussion of the piloting aspects lurking inside my latest aviation-themed novel “Captain,” which is available from the usual book sources in all e-book formats and also a print edition.
Again, I wish to remind Cessna Flyer readers that there is no requirement to have read the novel to follow what is being discussed here and, for those who might get “Captain” sometime in the future, I’ll be disguising the material enough so that this article won’t spoil the novel for you.
To see parts one and...Read more
“Hey pilots, we have something really swell for you! It’s a new technology called ADS-B that we can all have installed in our airplanes and update the aging air traffic control system.”
“That sounds like you expect me to pay for the upgrade to your ATC?”
“It’s an opportunity!”
“An opportunity to pay a scrillion dollars to have new systems installed in my aircraft!”
“Oh, pas de tout, my little flying friend. You can have ADS-B in your aircraft today for just a few hundred dollars. You’ll get NEXRAD, notams, TAFs, pireps… the whole shootin’ match.”
“But I already get NEXRAD, notams, TAFs and pireps...Read more
I’m the proud owner of a 1959 Cessna 182. I think these older 182s perform much better than the newer, more complex (electric flaps, fancy upholstery, etc.) Skylanes.
However, there are drawbacks to my airplane—the biggest is the small fuel capacity (65 gallons) of which only 55 gallons are usable. That’s just not enough for me. I like to get up in the air, trim her up, turn on the autopilot and cruise for hours. Every time I have to descend and land to fill up my tanks I’ve lost lots of time. Can I add bigger tanks?
I have a...Read more
After The Other Woman’slast annual inspection, Victor, my mechanic, installed a new dual EGT gauge before we put everything back together. I had also planned to install a Power Flow exhaust system at the same time. However, I ran into a few minor problems because the system I had purchased was an “experienced” system. These weren’t insurmountable issues, but they did cause a bit of a delay.
Some folks are probably thinking, “Why in the world would you buy a used system?” Well, the answer is simple: money. I would love to buy everything brand-new, but with the bad economy...Read more
The old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” was certainly true of Clyde V. Cessna.
Raised in south central Kansas, he soon learned how clever he was with mechanical devices and began working for an implement/auto dealer. Then he discovered a hidden talent for sales. Those two attributes led him to early success as an automobile dealer—until the day he discovered airplanes.
Smitten with the new flying machine, Cessna bought an early Bleriot XI replica and doggedly tried until both he and the airplane learned to fly...Read more
Pilots and airplane owners always need new stuff. Flying’s like that. The stuff could be a new headset, a bigger flight bag, or flight simulation software. Unlike other hobbies, airplane stuff can’t be purchased at Wal-Mart—or Neiman Marcus, for that matter. Airplane stuff requires an “Airplane Stuff” store.
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, a megastore for all things airplane, has branched out again with Pilotshop.com. The Pilotshop.com catalog is full of cool airplane stuff, useful airplane stuff, and must-have-to-be-safe airplane stuff. There’s also fun-for-the-family airplane stuff.
Pilotshop.com has airplane pedal cars for the future pilots in the family; flight simulation accessories such...Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I love my 1980 Cessna 210N. I think it’s the best high performance single ever made. It’s certainly the best airplane I’ve ever owned. Because of this airplane, I’ve been able to share amazing adventures with my wife and kids.
We all play golf and our 210 lets us load up our clubs and four small suitcases and get away very quickly from Cleveland during the winter months to play great courses in Florida, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Now, on to my problem. The last time we flew, I thought something was wrong but couldn’t quite figure out...Read more
The Revolution is Coming – Get Ready
NextGen is going to cause an aviation revolution, and all pilots need to prepare for Jan. 1, 2020. If you are unfamiliar (or even if you aren’t), the JetWhine blog has an excellent discussion of the FAA’s proposed rule and its plans to decommission the majority of the VORs. (See Resources at the end of this article for the URL. —Ed.)
ADS-B Out will be a requirement; GPS navigators will be an implicit requirement for decommissioning VORs. Every pilot will need to make a decision—and some may just give up flying entirely. Others will...Read more
Aircraft maintenance records can be a source of confusion for many aircraft owners and pilots. What information is necessary, what inspections are required, and determining whether an aircraft is in fact airworthy according to the maintenance records is important.
Unfortunately, airworthiness is not limited to the physical condition of the aircraft but in fact is a catchall term that can be used to describe the physical condition of the aircraft as well as the records and whether they indicate an inspection is overdue.
Most all aircraft in the General Aviation fleet are issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate. This certificate remains valid...Read more
Walking into the hangar with my bags for a December departure, Bill, our ever-eager-to-go 182, greeted me with, “Hey, Charles, where are we going?”
“Well, Bill, our destination is Long Beach, Calif., and the trip is going to offer some weather challenges. I promise to work with you in order to reach our destination safely.”
Over the past 50-plus years of being involved with airplanes, I’ve had a number of memorable bouts with turbulence. When I count the episodes that come to mind, you might be surprised to discover that those that occurred in large airplanes outnumber the light aircraft incidents by a significant margin. This imbalance makes immediate sense because I’ve got a great deal more hourly exposure in transport-category airplanes than in General Aviation singles and light twins. But the hours alone are not the only reason.
It is a little-known fact that in 1913, bedouin shepherd boys playing outside EAA headquarters in Oshkosh discovered an ancient manuscript wrapped in a white linen scarf dating from the earliest days of aviation. The venerable parchment was stuffed into the sound hole of an antediluvian lute, which was perfectly preserved except for a missing G string. Now, for the first time ever, these nuggets of aviation wisdom are seeing the light of day.
Aphorisms of Aviation
The three most critical phases of any flight are takeoff, cruise and landing. They are also the only phases of flight.
Q: Hi Steve,
I fly a 1965 C-182. I was ready to upgrade from my 172 when I came across this 182. I bought it a couple of years ago (for a good price, I might add) and have been slowing getting it into tip-top condition.
My mechanic has encouraged me to take on some of the tasks, and I have replaced the fuel filler caps with the Monarch Premium (raised) Caps from Hartwig. I’ve also taken out the old interior and installed a new interior from Airtex, and I’ve learned to change the oil and filter.
One of the guys here...Read more
The United States Congress, back in February, passed and sent the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to President Obama, who signed it into law a few days later. It authorizes $63.4 billion for the FAA over four years, including about $11 billion toward the air traffic system and its modernization, and speeds up the change from radar to ATC based on GPS in the “Next Generation” system. The law also mandates an increase in access to airspace for military, business and privately owned drones.
Why, you might ask, reading now, should you be interested?
You can find it at almost every General Aviation airport. A little sign on the bulletin board, or a business card taped to the self-serve gas pump, advertising annual inspections for some ridiculous price like $200.
We all know that it is not possible to perform an annual inspection on even the simplest of General Aviation aircraft for the sum of $200, yet there it is, in black and white. What’s disturbing is the fact that these guys stay in business, which would indicate someone is utilizing those services.
Owning an aircraft can mean unanticipated expenses, and you don’t want to...Read more
The gorgeous Cessna 195 is a historical work of art and a darned capable airplane.
The Cessna 195 is one of the most iconic aircraft designs in the General Aviation fleet. Of the 1,180 that were manufactured from 1947 to 1954, less than 600 remain. They are the pride and joy of many an aviation enthusiast. To understand the airplane’s significance, it’s interesting to look at its history.
The Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s decimated Cessna Aircraft Co. Clyde Cessna started the company in 1927 but because of the country’s economic meltdown, the young aircraft company sputtered...Read more
Last year, I was appointed to the Modesto City-County Airport Advisory Committee, a group chartered jointly by the city and county to give advice to the airport manager. We have monthly meetings, the topic of which, I suspect, is probably the same as that for most other General Aviation airports: how to increase revenue, which fell dramatically in the 2008 recession, and has yet to recover to anything like pre-recession levels.
A common complaint in those meetings is the high cost of 100 low lead (100LL) aviation gas. I’ve been told multiple times by different people something along the lines...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I own a 1975 Cessna 172 M and this cowling is in bad shape. The little fasteners don’t grab very well and as a result, the holes in cowling are getting bigger and bigger. I’ve looked at other 172s on the airport with this same cowling setup and I’ve seen some that have “solved” this problem by putting a big washer under the fastener.
I think that looks tacky. Isn’t there a better way to resolve this?
“The time between the notes relates the colour to the scenes”1
Annual, day number three, starts out with a predawn ride toward the airport. The maintenance facility where I’ll be working doesn’t open till 0830, but the nearby gym is open early, and these old bones can use the warm-up. I noticed (again) yesterday while lying on my chest to remove the rudder pedal area cover plate that it’s a bit more of a squeeze this year, so maybe the gym stop will ease the squash if I make it a habit....
So, on the way to the airport the radio...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I’m looking for an all-around Cessna that I will use both in business and for family outings and vacations. I have flown in a friend’s Cessna 182 and I do like the way Cessna single engine airplanes fly.
I also like that Cessna built so many single engine airplanes. I’m in the farm equipment business and know that mechanics sometimes have trouble with machines they aren’t familiar with.
I talked to my local airplane mechanic about buying a Cessna and he told me that he thinks the Cessna 205 would be perfect for me. He described the 205 as...Read more
Here’s the first test to see if you’re ready for backcountry (bush) flying. Dig out the Pilot Owners Handbook or Owner’s Manual for your airplane. Look up the minimum distance required to do a short field takeoff. Add in all the variables—air temperature, surface, density altitude, runway slope—to come up with a “book” distance. Then imagine that your life depends on your ability to get off a remote airstrip in the book distance. Fly a series of test flights to see if you can get off the ground in that distance. This is the first step in flying “scientifically”—gathering...Read more
Nothing jogs my memory about stories from the old days like getting a thoughtful letter from a copilot that I had once shared the cockpit with. While I’ve had a good number of really great copilots during my 36-plus-year airline flying career (and a scattering of not so good copilots too, but I’ll save those stories for another time), one of the all-time best to sit to my right was a prince of an aviator named Scott Reynolds. As another example of the journey of “time’s winged chariot,” Scott then went on to become a captain at U.S. Airways...Read more
Oh God, I thought, please just let me make it and get this little bird on the ground.
Circle, Mont., still lay 30 miles ahead. The 150’s engine was missing, the RPMs dropping, and, even worse, the small carbon monoxide detector was turning black as the cabin lost oxygen. My headache grew worse, throbbing at my temples and blurring my vision. It was hard for me to think and it left me feeling nauseous. I was slowly being poisoned and needed to land fast.
The AWOS for Circle was calling for winds at 25 mph with peak gusts at 35 mph....Read more
It’s right about this time that I begin to have traces of nausea over the volume of political speeches I’ve been subjected to since we started all this presidential election folderol that doesn’t end until this November. I’ve heard about how one candidate or another will impact the Latino vote, the health care industry, auto workers, and so on. Despite the 24 hour-a-day sound bites, the frantic waving of red, white and blue flags and rampant baby kissing, I can tell you with great confidence there is no one who seems to care about General Aviation.
And most of that...Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I own a real nice Cessna 172 G. It’s been well taken care of, flown often enough to keep all the reciprocating parts happy, and is a great plane that suits my needs.
I have finally retired and am planning to fly my little 172 up to Alaska next summer. What do you recommend I do for that trip?
Fasteners keep our machines together. They’re simple, strong—and often neglected, overlooked and misunderstood. They’re also critical to our machines’ condition, and ultimately to our own longevity. It’s worth looking at them and knowing what we’re looking at.
Bolts hold things together, or keep things from shifting. Tension pulls on the bolt; shear forces try to bend it or cut it off. (The best example of a fastener designed for use in shear is a pin.)
In the seventh aviation novel by Tom Block, an airline company whose owners shield a hidden agenda, an airliner with some fancy technical upgrades and a cast of characters with secrets, troubled pasts and crossed purposes come together for what is supposed to be a routine flight from Rome to New York.
Capt. Jack Schofield, First Officer Peter Fenton and Second Officer Linda Erickson are in the cockpit of a Consolidated 768—the Consolidated 768 is a Boeing 767 modified by Trans-Continental airlines with advanced electronics and other airframe alterations—preparing Flight 3 for departure from Rome. Checklists are being followed, flight...Read more
June 2012 It was summer 1967. In San Francisco young people gathered to join in the hippie experience. There was free food, free love and free drugs.
In Wichita there was another type of gathering as Cessna debuted its 177 Cardinal to dealers. It was a beautiful airplane with its cantilever, laminar-flow wing and a large, spacious cabin. About 1,100 Cardinals were sold that day, with many dealers opting for same-day delivery and flying the Cardinals home.
It all started innocently enough. Dr. Tim Smith and his wife bought a Cessna 152 for their own flight training. During his quest for a private pilot certificate, Tim ate, drank and slept aviation, so it was no surprise when he taught his Frankfort, Ky. high school math students how to model linear algebra using a flying airplane. Wow. This aviation schtuff is kinda cool, they thought.
At the end of those first nine weeks, Smith’s students did not want to stop, so he enrolled them in an online aviation program called AeroScholars. More students from the high school began...Read more
As aviators, it seems we are perpetually seeking out new destinations. These achievements—so fastidiously recorded in our logbook—leave us with fond memories. For many of us, navigating to (and landing!) at the big show in Wisconsin figures prominently on our aviation bucket list.
For me, there are few memories as lucid as flying the Fisk Arrival and hearing, “…land on the green dot and expedite it off of the runway!” I think that flying your airplane into EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh is something every pilot should do at least once.
AirVenture 2012 is the 35th year my wife Karen and I...Read more
“Ditch kits” are part of good flight planning, risk management
Anyone who has spent any time at all flying around in small airplanes has looked down and realized the immense distances below where there doesn’t seem to be much of anything. No people, no roads, no structures and no sign at all of the touch of the human hand. Meanwhile, we trained as students and as competent pilots continue to imagine what it would take to safely land our craft away from an airport. In those imaginings, we always survive.
But, to use my favorite phrase, what if ... there was...Read more
Some years back, I was with a group of other pilots on a houseboat trip. After a few days on (and sometimes in) the water, I called flight service for a weather briefing before flying home, and discovered a line of thunderstorms was moving in. So I started diversion planning, and got out my sectional charts (still paper in those days).
One of the other pilots laughed and called to his wife, “Come here and look at this!” It was the first time he’d seen someone doing serious flight planning in quite some time. That is a problem, because, as...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I’m the proud pilot of a 1962 Cessna 182. I’ve been slowly doing little upgrades here and there as time and money permit. I’ve done some paint touch-up and know how to change my oil and clean the screen. I’ve changed tires and polished the windshield.
Now I’d like to start on the interior, and I’ve got a couple of questions. First, can I put in better seats? Sitting in the existing seat is like sitting on a toadstool; the seat bottoms have no shape, and there’s very little back support. The seats in later 182s are much...Read more
Military flight training prepares students to move into high performance aircraft that have many fascinating flight characteristics. But where can General Aviation pilots experience military flying?
During my visit to Nu-Tek Aircraft Instruments, Steve Cannaby showed me the shop that contains his fascinating second business, Nu-Tek Simulations. It’s where retired military simulators are brought back to life and then transported to airshows all over the country.
John Evans, an old friend and C-414 owner, is a former flight surgeon and speaks fondly of his days in the Air Force tending to his pilot patients and getting his share...Read more
Returning to Waltanna (SN65) after a long trip, I noticed that my 182, Bill, didn’t seem to be his normal bubbly self. I asked him why he was so quiet, and he said, “Well, I seem to be having some trouble with some of my gyros. Did you notice how fast the heading indicator precessed? Then on our last takeoff, the heading just danced around over a 90-degree arc.”
I said, “Bill, you know your gyros have been in the panel for 10 years. How about removing your gyros and taking them to the gyro doctor for a checkup?”...Read more
My column in the May issue of Cessna Flyer had been prompted by a copy of a letter I’d received from a fellow who had flown with me as copilot on a great many of my international airline flights in the 1990s. Capt. Scott Reynolds (now retired) was a prince of an aviator to have sitting beside me in those days while I plied back and forth across the Atlantic in widebody jets. His recent letter reminded me of a particular flight from Rome, Italy to Philadelphia in a Boeing 767 when deteriorating weather, increasing ATC delays and lowering...Read more
Cessna’s glamorous tomboy is both a “mini-airliner” and a cargo carrier that can cope with rough airstrips
You know the kind of woman who is the last word in elegance, but also goes hiking in Levi’s and a work shirt?The Stationair is a bit like that; it has dual personalities. It’s a glamorous mini-airliner, but it’s also a cargo-shifter that can cope with jungle airstrips.
The Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair provided for this flight test by Cessna’s dealer is the model first introduced in 2009. It has an all-glass panel, a turbocharged engine, on-board oxygen and leather seats for six. In...Read more
Most buyers do give the prop a good visual inspection, at least from the spinner outward. That’s important, and it can reveal nicks and perhaps some cracks or a bad paint job.
What else is there to consider? The answer depends on the prop’s construction. Is it wood, metal, or composite? Fixed, variable-pitch, or ground adjustable?
Generally speaking, fixed pitch is the easiest propeller to inspect. It is one piece; there are no moving parts. Variable pitch propellers are more complex. With so many moving parts, there are many more things that can present themselves as problems.
In short terms, the simpler...Read more
The early days of flying were the toughest. In the early 20th century, people began taking to the skies at a time when humanity was still in the learning process about the pure physics of lift, weight, drag and thrust. By trial and error, you might have learned things like adding a little top rudder to make sure you don’t overbank, or adding some elevator in the turn so as not to lose altitude.
With this rudimentary knowledge, it’s not surprising that airplanes crashed at alarming rates. Talk to the really old-timers and you’ll find folks who can tell you...Read more
This month, we’ve compiled some of the most useful tips from Q&As published in Cessna Flyer over the last year. The questions and answers you’ll see here are abridged; refer to the original publication for complete information, including photos, drawings and company resources. —Eds.
JANUARY 2012 Q: Hi Steve,
My 1966 182 J doesn’t fly straight. How did my 182, which everyone swears shows no evidence of any major damage, get out of rig? What has to be done to fix it?
—Flying Sideways A: Dear Sideways,
I’m not surprised at your report that your 182 is out of rig. In fact,...Read more
The end of World War II marked a resurgence in civil aviation production. Cessna got back in the civilian market with the release in 1946 of the 120 and 140. In 1947 production began on the model 190 and 195, Cessna’s first all-metal airplanes. Also that year Cessna entered the four-place market with the release of the 170.
The 1950s were seminal years for Cessna as it released in short order the 185, 172, 182, 150, 310 and 210. In 1956 the Cessna 210 became the first high-wing single-engine aircraft to fly with retractable gear.
That’s a pretty impressive lineup of...Read more
Cessna manufactured approximately 145,000 single engine airplanes between 1946 and 1986. The average age of an aircraft in the Cessna fleet is 42 years; that translates to a 1970 model aircraft. The average airplane has an aluminum airframe that was certified under Civil Air Regulations using Civil Aeronautics Administration standards from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
Certification requirements for legacy aircraft are similar to today’s certification strength requirements, but there are some major differences: the CAR standards contain no life limit or targeted requirement to detect metal fatigue as required under today’s certification standards.
No matter how carefully you treat one...Read more
Batteries, like many things in aviation, are unexciting unless they malfunction. Then, they can be annoying, perplexing, or even dangerous. A few tips passed on to the people who own them can save a lot of headache, frustration and possibly, repair cost...
Note: Because nickel cadmium (NiCad) and lead-acid batteries differ in many important respects—and accepted practices for one type may destroy the other!—this article discusses flooded (vented, wet cell) lead-acid batteries. (Lithium-ion batteries, available soon in some new aircraft, have their own full-system requirements and are not covered here.)
Today’s batteries are similar in design to the first voltaic cells...Read more
The Cessna 310 started life in 1954 as Cessna’s first postwar, modern twin engine airplane. Its iconic lines and distinctive tiptanks were made famous by the 1950s television show “Sky King.” The 310’s prolific production run came to an end in the 1980s when the General Aviation industry succumbed to a miserable economy.
More than 5,000 Model 310s were produced. The last of the breed was the “R” model. Its long nose and long side windows, along with a bulbous aft cabin window, gives the 310R a distinctive profile. It looks as if it is going 200 knots even when...Read more
Your magazine was created in the world of monthly print publications and says August on the cover. Meanwhile, I write over Memorial Day weekend as a tropical storm named Beryl is coming ashore 50 miles or so east of where I sit, as winds of 11 on the Beaufort Wind Scale are recorded along the northern Florida coast.
It is raining harder and blowing more than I have ever seen in almost two years living in the Sunshine State. So it’s fitting that I tell you more about Sir Francis Beaufort of the Admiralty and his system of estimating wind...Read more
Six years ago, I opened my column with these words: When I started flying actively about 10 years ago, I was warned that if I stuck with it, eventually I’d have to face the loss of a friend in an airplane crash.
Sad to say, it has happened again. What gives me pause is that this makes the fourth time in a little less than 10 years that a pilot with whom I’ve had a personal connection lost his life in an airplane crash.
The first was Steve Meissel, a fellow volunteer pilot with Liga International (“The Flying Doctors of Mercy”)....Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I have been flying my 1974 Cessna 182 a lot lately as I work toward getting my instrument rating. My other flying buddies have questioned the wisdom of using my airplane for my training—they tell me that I would save money if I rented a less complex airplane like the flight school’s 172—but I want to train in the airplane I’ll be flying in actual IFR conditions. So far, I think it’s been the right decision.
However (and there’s always a “however”) during one of my instrument approaches yesterday, my instructor suddenly told me to go around. In...Read more
In the early 1970s, Cessna—along with every other General Aviation manufacturer—was selling airplanes. Vertical marketing was the strategy in vogue, and airframe manufacturers had a step-up program designed to introduce a new pilot to aviation in their brand of aircraft and keep them there.
The business jet market was dominated by Rockwell, which built the Sabreliner; Hawker, which built the DH-125-400; and Lear, whose small but incredibly efficient airplanes had earned them the nickname, “the executive mailing tube.”
Up to this point in aviation history, a small, lightweight, fuel efficient, high bypass turbofan engine applicable to small airframes had not been...Read more
“An airframe contains the elements necessary to turn it into a battery—all that’s lacking is an electrolyte.”
—Jim Van Gilder
Founder, Corrosion Technologies
When two different metals are near each other and are bathed in an electrolyte, electrolysis occurs. (That’s how a battery works.) Electrons transfer from one metal to the other. That’s corrosion.
Even aluminum skin and aluminum rivets are different alloys; unprotected metals at the places they meet, wetted by an electrolyte, will result in corrosion. Remove a skin from a 30-some-year-old airframe and you will likely find a circle of oxidation around each rivet hole.
Calling an airframe a “battery” may...Read more
While I’ve been an aviation magazine writer for the past 40-plus years, some members are probably also familiar with my aviation-themed novels: there have been seven of them since 1979. The first one—“Mayday,” an airline disaster story—was revised and updated in 1997 with my lifelong friend, author Nelson DeMille. “Mayday” was eventually bought by Hollywood and turned into a CBS Movie of the Week that aired October, 2005.
In April of this year my latest aviation-themed novel, “Captain,” was released in a print edition and also in all e-book formats. That novel was reviewed here at Cessna Flyer a few...Read more
Will Fly to Eat. Give me a sectional and dreams of a great burger.
I was walking through all the airplanes at this great little fly-in I attended. There were several classic birds there including a cabin-class Waco, a tricked-out Luscombe 8 and two beautiful Cessna 140s. Admiring the loving restoration, I couldn’t help but notice how tiny the cockpit was and how close the seats were back then. Were people that much smaller five and six decades ago? The answer, I discovered, is you betcha.
Our country’s prosperity, which brought with it a better diet and better health care, has...Read more
The new Cessna model T240 Corvalis TTX is now touring the United States prior to deliveries scheduled for 2013. This is the latest refinement of the carbon fiber and fiberglass airframe Cessna purchased to enter the high performance single engine market.
The “TT” stands for twin turbo with an intercooler feeding a 310 hp Continental Motors TSIO-550-C engine. The “X,” well, maybe it stands for a little extra—such as the all-new Garmin G2000 panel that takes the user interface to a new level.
Kirby Ortega, my Cessna host and chief pilot for piston operations at Cessna Aircraft Co., provided...Read more
Improper fuel management, contamination and poor preflight planning cause far too many GA accidents; statistics reveal nearly two accidents per week on average. Whether the result of fuel exhaustion, improper planning or mechanical issues, the majority of these fuel mishaps are easily preventable.
Improper fuel management
However basic a fuel system may seem, as pilot in command it is important to know the system’s design and operation. Figures such as unusable fuel and total capacity, what fuel is considered part of the empty weight of the aircraft, and what type and grade of fuel is approved for your aircraft are...Read more
A thesis by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate student on why we are flying less, and a move by the largest aviation “alphabet” group appointing a new senior vice president to “solve the problem,” have me thinking—not for the first time—that we aviators are not all that good at looking in the mirror, and maybe we need to reconsider what mirror, exactly, we gaze upon.
The thesis, by Kamala I. Shetty, was researched and written for a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT under the supervision of professor R. John Hansman. Shetty’s objective was to...Read more
Four years ago, I flew right seat with my friend Leroy Nygaard on an Angel Flight charitable patient transport mission, picking up a cancer patient in Lincoln, Calif. (KLHM) and dropping her off in Santa Monica (KSMO). I enjoyed the experience and have been looking forward ever since to flying such a mission in my own airplane.
A couple of weeks ago, that finally happened—and it turned out to be a bit of a challenge.
Getting checked out as an Angel Flight command pilot took some doing. It required an early BFR, completing an AOPA Air Safety Institute online course and...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I would like advice on how to best protect my 1975 Cessna 180 if there ever comes a day when I’m caught out in the bush.
You see, I’m planning a month-long flying vacation to Alaska and want to be fully prepared when I launch out next spring. I want to fly to out-of-the-way places and land on unimproved sites but need to know how to make sure my trip isn’t cut short due to airplane damage.
I suspect there are some tricks, but need a little guidance on how to proceed—and if need be, what commercially available aids...Read more
For all that light jets have promised, the reality of buying and flying one can be somewhere between frustrating and downright vexing, especially for those who are just now arriving on the scene.
And which of the new personal jet companies are you betting will even be around next year? Even if you’re ready to roll those dice, your choices for acquiring a light jet now include securing a delivery position that will seemingly be exercised by your grandchildren, or else, tossing a serious mordida to someone willing to sell you an acquisition date you can put on next year’s...Read more
As I mentioned the last time we met on these pages, several months ago my latest aviation-themed novel—“Captain”—was released in a print edition and also in all e-book formats. That novel was reviewed in the June 2012 issue of Cessna Flyer, and now I’m sharing some of the “insider stuff” about the ingredients inside of “Captain.”
For a complete explanation of the whats and wherefores of this series of articles, go back to the September 2012 issue of Cessna Flyer. But let me state again that nothing in this series requires you to have read “Captain.” If you have, you’ll...Read more
Allan Ramsay retired a few years ago from a career in medical equipment sales, but he has the soul of an old-fashioned “white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer” (RIP, Neil Armstrong). It shows in his airplane: N6100Y is meticulously maintained, carefully flown, and has an upgraded cockpit that features a Garmin G600/G500 glass panel.
That makes Ramsay’s airplane unusual, to say the least—the entire production run of the 210 type (1959 to 1986) predated the introduction of glass panel avionics in General Aviation airplanes. Thus, Ramsay has created something Cessna never produced at its factory: a truly high performance...Read more
I know I’m a bad person, an erudite of nothing, untutored in all but onomatopoeia and iambic pentameter, exuberant with righteous selfdom, disarranged from all scholarly consonance, heretical of history, ignorant of any recondite explanation, void of even the slightest intellective gurgle, satiated from the drone of alleged perspicacity, puerile in the art of rhythmical composition and generally revulsed by rhyming bromidic dribble.
See, even words can sometimes be a poor way to communicate. But if you try to start making things rhyme…
I’ve been blessed with writing for aviation magazines for some time now. I’ve gotten a lot of mail...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I’m frustrated with the door hold-open devices on my old Cessna 182.
The left door hold has never been very reliable—sometimes it’s strong enough to hold the door open, but if the wind is blowing at all, it doesn’t work. The right one is okay.
I’ve done a little research on the web and it seems like my best bet is to put on a hold-open device called a Door Steward. Do you know anything about this product?
—Flopping in the Breeze
Ladies, Start your engines!
Every June over 100 female pilots come together to participate in the four-day, 2,500-mile, cross-country, VFR, all-women’s Air Race Classic, the modern-day continuation of the Powder Puff Derby.
These pilots do not arrive in highly modified experimental aircraft. Quite the contrary: they race their every day, average, stock airplane—their “Sunday Sedan.” The Air Race Classic rules even prohibit entry of experimental aircraft for competition.
Basically, if your airplane is a commercially manufactured single or twin, is normally aspirated, has no restrictions on running continuous full power and can make each race leg in its entirety without fueling,...Read more
When you begin the search for the aircraft model that will best fit your most common mission profile, you define and prioritize the wants and needs that will fit into a defined budget.
You evaluate necessary compromises, and debate between two-place or four-place; speed; cargo capacity; VFR or IFR. Will the airplane be used on unimproved strips or paved runways? Then come the costs to acquire, operate, maintain and insure your choice.
The Light Sport category of new aircraft gives a pilot several possibilities, but most are small two-place aircraft and still run well in excess of $100,000. When one looks into...Read more
Preflight inspection of a floatplane is generally similar to that of a landplane. The major difference is the inspection of the floats. Floats, wires, attachment gear and ropes must be thoroughly checked for holes, buckling, damaged fittings and extensive wear.
The floats themselves should be inspected before each flight for possible leakage. Water in the float compartments can adversely affect water handling and flight characteristics including a shift in the aircraft’s center of gravity.
Individual compartments should be pumped out through the built-in bilge pump-outs by a hand-operated bilge pump. Always count the number of “strokes” in order to estimate the...Read more
Pretty much a Cessna 172 with a tailwheel and tandem seating for two, this warbird served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
Photographs by Keith Wilson
“Guys,” said the U.S. Army, “these fabric-covered spotter airplanes don’t last. How about you make us an all-metal replacement?”
That was in the late 1940s, between the end of World War II and the Korean War (which broke out in 1950). Luckily Cessna had just decided to make its 170, a four-seat version of the Cessna 140, all-metal, because until 1949 the 170 had fabric-covered wings.
A new fuselage with two seats in tandem was mated...Read more
Redheaded Copilot asked me where we should take our 2013 winter vacation. The last couple of years, we’d taken cruises.
I suggested it would be adventurous to take our airplane, N50KF—“50 Kilo Fox”—on a trip to the Out Islands of the Bahamas.
Redheaded Copilot replied, “I can’t swim.”
I observed that our first stop would be Bimini, which is only 46 nm off the Florida coast; and, that we had crossed Lake Michigan and back (73 nm each way); crossed Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown, Mass. and back (30 nm each way); crossed the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island and back (40...Read more
Racing across an azure autumn sky, two thoughts suddenly occurred to me: not only did the original 182 fly 57 years ago—but the type is still in production today!
Entirely conventional both in appearance and design, the Skylane is an all-metal, strut-braced high-wing, powered by a single piston engine turning a metal, controllable pitch propeller that looks remarkably similar to many other spatted and strutted single-engine Cessnas.
Introduced in 1956 as a sort of tricycle version of the 180, (the name “Skylane” was added the following year) it may not be the fastest, the prettiest, or the most charismatic aircraft on the...Read more
Freshening up your aircraft’s interior can be an important update for many reasons. In addition to looking good, it increases your and your passengers’ comfort. New carpet and seat coverings often add value to your aircraft while reducing cockpit noise and vibration.
Many pilots dream of the day their airplane’s cockpit is a Perfect 10, and for many, leather seats are at the top of the wish list. “There is nothing more beautiful than a leather interior in a plane—especially one that is custom designed in colors to give the plane a ‘total package’ look,” said Mike Hudyma, Vice President...Read more
The right tools, products and techniques make all the difference when caring for your aircraft’s interior. Follow these guidelines for worthwhile results.
“I need to mention before we get started that all aircraft interior material, whether cloth, vinyl or leather, is specially treated to be fire retardant to FAR specifications for the application to which it is being used,” explained Tom Trudeau, owner of Aero Design Aircraft Services.
“This treatment for the most part is an application of a water-based compound that is saturated into or sprayed on the material—or the material’s backing, in some cases. So it is of utmost importance...Read more
In the late 1970s Cessna executives became convinced that there was a market for a new utility aircraft—one that would be able to fly into remote strips and in extreme weather.
Studies confirmed the market was ready for a rugged, single-engine turboprop. If it also offered low operating and maintenance costs, Cessna personnel estimated they could sell 40 units per year in North America and possibly additional units in other markets.
Designers chose the 207 fuselage as the platform for the new model. The fuselage was widened and fitted with a 600 shp Pratt & Whiney PT6A-114 turbine engine. There was not...Read more
In part one of my Insight engine monitor pirep (Cessna Flyer, January 2013), I described the G3 engine monitor’s operation and its diagnostic and data logging capabilities.
This month, I’ll focus on how the G3 engine monitor got installed, along with how the 22 sensor leads were wired in order to make all those features light up on the liquid crystal display.
The journey starts with configuring the G3 monitor to fit your aircraft.
Insight does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to engine monitor configuration, which is readily apparent from the beginning: the company’s website includes a separate order form for each...Read more
Sticking valves are a relatively common problem on aircraft piston engines. Lycoming Service Bulletin 388 addresses the need to regularly check clearance and provides a procedure to clean carbon accumulations to prevent problems.
Valve sticking is almost exclusively limited to the exhaust valves. Most issues with intake valves are usually associated with improper fit or machining during repairs or loose seats usually becoming apparent soon after the cylinder is put into service.
Most engines will give an important warning that valve stem clearance has been lost to carbon deposits, allowing for maintenance that can avoid the problem. The following will explain...Read more
Useful tips for understanding your airplane’s turbocharger.
We get calls every week from someone across the country regarding bearing play. During pre-buy, annual inspections and routine maintenance, the common practice is to reach into the compressor housing inlet, grab the turbine wheel shaft and give it a wiggle. You might be surprised to know that you can expect to find some play when you do this.
A little explanation is in order. As you can see by the photos, the main bearings in these turbochargers look more like a bushing.
There are two items to consider when understanding proper bearing clearance: (1) the...Read more
CFA’s assistant director visits one of the biggest aviation celebrations in the world.
Well, this year, I had the privilege to visit Lakeland, Fla. for the very first time to attend one of the biggest aviation celebrations in the world. I’ve attended only a handful of conventions and airshows, including AOPA Aviation Summit and Kaneohe Bay Airshow, so I didn’t know what to expect.
Although I was only scheduled to attend for a short three days, I knew that I would be bedazzled by everything I saw, especially since I am a big aviation geek. Before I left, I asked Jen...Read more
A directory of Cessna Flyer supporters
Many of these companies offer multiple products and services but for the sake of this guide we are listing only specific categories. Please visit the company websites for complete information about their offerings.
Insider’s guide to getting the best bang for your engine overhaul buck.
Life’s funny that way. One day you’re flying your 172 along without a care in the world. The next, your mechanic is breaking the news that your beloved is in dire need of an engine overhaul. Of course you knew this day was coming. What do you do now?
First and foremost, as Douglas Adams stated in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” don’t panic. Take a deep breath and assess the situation.
Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to have a mechanic who specializes in engine overhauls, you’re going have...Read more
Although the terms “overhaul” and “rebuild” are sometimes used interchangeably, there really is a difference—and it’s a codified difference.
Engine overhauls can legally be done at the factory or by many service facilities in the field. Overhauls can include used parts, as long as they fall within approved limits and your engine time continues on from where you left off in your logbooks. Each engine manufacturer (with approval from the FAA) sets the minimum standards that will comply with engine overhaul requirements.
Service Limit Overhaul
In a service limit overhaul, the engine is disassembled, parts are checked and any part that falls...Read more
Twice this past month friends of mine in two separate states found themselves attending the funerals of friends of theirs who died in crashes of General Aviation aircraft. The Florida death involved a Cessna Skymaster that lost one engine and had problems with the second engine, while in Nebraska the crash of a Piper took the lives of its young pilot and his friend when the PA-28 struck power wires shortly after takeoff.
These occurrences are awful tragedies for the families and friends of the dead. Having lost two friends myself to bad things happening to airplanes—one a former flight...Read more
2009 articles will be available soon.Read more
We are uploading more content all the time, so check back for more articles soon.Read more
July 2013 -
"I don't go that high," came the reply to my question asking why a pilot had never had hypoxia training. After asking how high the pilot typically flew, he said he never would go over 10,000 to 12,000 feet. Then I asked him if there was a possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning aboard his aircraft.
"What does that have to do with anything?" came the pilot's reply.
I've been working at the Arizona State University's Altitude Chamber for the past 10 years, given training to hundreds of personnel, as well as receiving training myself. Once upon a time, I too...Read more
An Unforgettable First Flight
April 21, 2013 1340Z
“Columbus Clearance, Shane 1. Through the Warren County RCO requesting VFR Flight Following to South Bend Regional at six thousand, five hundred.”
“Shane 1, Columbus Approach. Good morning, squawk 6666; maintain VFR and contact Columbus Approach on 118.55 when airborne.”
“Columbus Approach, Shane 1. Squawk 6666; contact Columbus on 118.55. We’ll be airborne shortly.”
On a see-forever Sunday morning in late April, I’m sitting in a twin engine airplane at I68, Lebanon-Warren County airport, 20 miles north of Cincinnati. In the back is Chuck DiGiovanna. He was supposed to be accompanied by his wife Patsy and their...Read more
The Cessna Aerobat makes an affordable entry to aerobatics and is a great all-rounder
In the 1960s, Cessna took note of the growing popularity of aerobatics and responded with the A150K Aerobat, introduced in 1970. This was a version of its popular two-seat nosewheel trainer with some structural reinforcement, a four-point harness to keep pilot and instructor in place under negative g and a few other modifications.
Considering that it was all rather a compromise, the resulting airplane turned out surprisingly well. One inevitable drawback was the rather poor view out, particularly in a loop when you need to be able...Read more
Hoop Earrings-Earwings? These 18k white gold hoops will make a great gift for the female aviator in your life—even if that's you. $695.00www.theabingdonco.com
Garmin D2 Pilot Watch-Move over, Dick Tracy: a new era in nifty watches has arrived. The new Garmin D2 Pilot does everything but catch the bad guys. GPS enabled with direct-to and nearest function buttons on its side. Interfaces with Garmin Pilot app. $449.00 msrpwww.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/pspages/garmind2watch.php?clickkey=952004
InReach SE-He's gone country—backcountry flying, that is. And if he has, make sure he's got a way to keep in touch. DeLorme's inReach SE is a portable satellite communicator. Send and receive text messages...Read more
As a mecca for aviation, Oshkosh is an important venue for manufacturers to introduce and showcase their new products. This year was no exception. Light-sport aircraft (LSAs) dominated the news at EAA AirVenture 2007, and Cessna and Cirrus both introduced their efforts into the LSA arena. Cessna had on display its aluminum Model 162 SkyCatcher in its final (albeit non-flying) form. Cirrus displayed its composite FK-14, manufactured by Fk Light Planes of Speyer, Germany. They are both interesting aircraft; however, when it comes to LSA success in the marketplace, aircraft durability and product support, I am putting my money...Read more
If you have been wondering where I have been the last few months, the answer is, “out flying.”
In the last 60 days I have logged just under 150 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, flying in a variety of weather and flight situations. Sixty-eight hours of that time was dual instruction given, mostly in a King Air. I shot 27 approaches, of which two were to actual minimums and that included a rare actual missed approach; and I made 98 landings, four of which were at night. I also logged 1.1 hours of night flight and 5.1...Read more
When I first laid my eyes on what would become my next airplane, I immediately thought that it was quite attractive. The L-19 Bird Dog (type certificate Cessna 305F) sat up high and appeared to be alert and powerful—a good hunting dog, one might say.
The unusual ingredient in my first impression of this airplane was that I had absolutely no intention of buying it. That’s not what I was there for.
My mission for that day was to fly this pristine (actually, nearly brand-new—more on that later) warbird in pursuit of a feature article for the December 2004...Read more
If you had to pick the single most misunderstood aspect of aircraft ownership, logbooks would certainly be at or near the top of the list. All owners know they have to have them, but few understand their responsibilities as it pertains to maintaining those records and how those records may affect the operation of your aircraft.
If you want some interesting reading, look up AC-43-9C. This document, titled “Maintenance Records,” offers some insights as to the FAA’s position on record keeping. The following are paragraphs four and five:
Longtime friends Kendyl and Barbara Monroe finally decided to retire, leave New York City and move back home to the family ranch near Clayton, N.M. 10 years ago.
All this time the invitation to visit them in their new home on the New Mexico plains was there for the Lloyds to accept, and we missed a lot by not accepting sooner. In addition to managing the ranch, Kendyl joined a local group restoring the 100-year-old local hotel.
On one of Kendyl’s recent trips to Wichita, he described his new venture, The Eklund Hotel restoration, with all its trials and...Read more
When my old friend Max Berger called me, he proposed an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas in his Cessna 310. That was the good news.
The bad news was that it would be a one-day trip, a simple out-and-back from our home airport in Florida to Treasure Cay (MYAT, for you fanciers of airport identifiers).
The mission was, quite literally, to deliver the kitchen sink. (More on that later.)
Our secondary target would be some of the new stuff on Max’s instrument panel, on which he wanted some additional inputs from me. The scheduled takeoff was 0800, and Max promised...Read more
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went camping, pitching their tent under the stars. During the night, Holmes called out, “Watson, Watson, look up. What do you see?”
“Stars”, the groggy Watson muttered.
“And what do you deduce from that?” asked Holmes.
Watson replied, “If just a few of the millions of stars I see have planets, it is quite likely some of those planets are like Earth, and if a few of the planets out there are like Earth, then there might also be life out there.”
“Watson, you idiot!” scolded Holmes. “Somebody stole our tent!”
There is a...Read more
In the wake of 9/11 and the massive government reorganization that followed, it was inevitable that some government agencies would have different rules and guidelines for defining specific operations than others.
As pilots, we are all very familiar with the FAA and the rules it publishes by which we operate our aircraft. But other government agencies don’t necessarily share the FAA’s definitions. Specifically, I am speaking about U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP.
Now if you never fly out of the United States, it may not matter to you. But if you occasionally venture beyond our nation’s borders...Read more
Bill has many standby systems with one major missing link. In the recent “Adventures with Bill” STC articles, a standby alternator was high on the list for future installations.
There are many accessories competing for space and ways to get power to various systems. The Cessna 182 engine installation creates a unique problem for direct standby alternator installations. The distance between the firewall and the engine accessory pad will not accommodate a direct drive standby alternator.
Other aircraft make and model installations use this second accessory pad for dual vacuum pumps. Attaching another alternator to a second belt drive on...Read more
In 1951, Cessna President Dwane Wallace was searching for a way to enter the up-and-coming helicopter market. Although Cessna had no rotary wing expertise, a Wichita neighbor, the cash-strapped Seibel Helicopter Co., had just certificated a helicopter using the patented Seibel Control System (requiring fewer drive gears and bearings than its competitors). Charles Seibel, a California Institute of Technology engineering graduate who had worked for Boeing on the XL-15 program, had built his first helicopter prototype in his basement.
In 1951, Dwane Wallace attended the ceremony for the CAA type certification of the Seibel Helicopter Co.’s new S-4 at...Read more
We had talked about having a plane with more capacity and speed for a number of years. N7429X, our 1960 Cessna 172, was an old friend and had taken us many places over the last thousand hours we had flown her. She was the plane I got my instrument rating in and practiced for my commercial.
Known as the “Old Girl” at the airport she flew several times a week with the bulk of her time being cross countries to Oshkosh, Maine, Atlanta, Block Island, Key West and our biggest trip to the Bahamas this past year.
The “Old...Read more
I had wrangled myself an invitation to see and fly a particularly historic C-47A…
(Note: The parenthetical passages are from Ernest K. Gann’s novel, “Island in the Sky.”)
Last time we were together (May 2013) I wrote about aviation books that have meant a great deal to me. One novel was not only a great inspiration in my teenage and very early years of learning to fly, it was also the emotional engine that caused me to reach out so many years later and finally live the dream that those magic words on that novel’s printed page had evoked and...Read more
Avionics is where the action is (and has been!) for some time in aviation. It seems as if each month brings a new, relatively low-cost gadget or app designed to increase situational awareness, monitor aircraft systems or otherwise improve the lot of pilots.
This month, we’ll look at a product that’s been around for a few years and it’s a device that fits the “big bang for the buck” paradigm: Zaon’s passive collision avoidance system (PCAS), the PCAS MRX.
But why PCAS when there’s ADS-B and TCAS?
In 1893, the Dalton Gang attempted to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kan. All the members were gunned down by armed citizens and died in their boots, all except the youngest of the Daltons, 27-year-old Emmett.
Surviving nearly two-dozen bullet holes in him, Emmett would spend the next 14 years in the Leavenworth federal penitentiary until he was pardoned and released. The sole surviving Dalton had every intention of beginning a new law-abiding life. Until, that is, he ran across my grandfather and heard his idea about airplanes.
If he was anything, my grandfather was...Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I recently purchased my first airplane; it’s a Cessna 170A and I love it. I have always liked the look of the 170 and have always wanted a taildragger.
The 170 fits my needs exactly and I’ve had a great time polishing and shining it up. It’s the cleanest airplane on my airport. But I have one gripe—the vents up in the left and right corners of the windshield. They won’t stay in.
These look like juice cans with a plastic knob on one end. One has the outside air temperature gauge. They are real loose so when...Read more
Before you begin reading this column I feel that I should warn you that it does not have a happy ending. But maybe the ending has not yet been written. Maybe the ending is for you to create in how you react to what you read, and what—if anything—you do about it. I tried as I wrote to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty, but I fear that I failed in that hope… and the glass itself may be leaking.
For many years, being a pilot—and the awareness that comes along with that role—and the flying of airplanes...Read more
Regular readers of this column will know that my wife and copilot, Kate Bolton, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last fall. I am happy to report that after surgery and aggressive chemotherapy she is in complete remission and back to work part-time! But we still have to go into San Francisco, about a 90-mile drive each way, every three weeks for maintenance therapy that will (hopefully) keep her in remission.
Months ago, I wondered if there was any way we could fly to the Bay Area for Kate’s chemo, and dismissed it—we were under enough stress without adding turbulence, weather...Read more
Q: Hi Steve,
I just bought a 1957 Cessna 180. I love the reputation of the 180 as an all-around good airplane.
I live on a farm and wanted an airplane that I could land and operate off grass and turf. And I wanted to do my part to preserve a piece of aviation history—many people don’t realize that flight had only been possible for 53 years when my 180 was built, and it’s now been thriving for 110 years.
It took a while for me to find a good one. I subscribed to Trade-A-Plane and kept my attention focused...Read more
One privilege of conducting air tests is that one gets to fly airplanes the like of which one would not normally experience. However, I have no desire to become a professional pilot, and am happy to remain a club-level PPL and react as one in such a situation. So, when an invitation was received from Roche Bentley (a true multi-business entrepreneur) to fly his uncommon and desirable twin, it was accepted with alacrity.
In January 1953 Cessna flew the prototype of one of their most successful light twins, the Model 310. This was at first deemed to be something of...Read more
Interestingly enough, most of the times when we use our torque wrenches, it’s not so much the torque we’re interested in. It’s the amount of tension or crushing force we’re exerting on the assembly through the tightening of the fastener.
Because the threads, materials and finishes in high-quality nuts and bolts are standardized, a given amount of torque (or twisting force) on a given threaded fastener will produce a fairly consistent amount of tension in the fastener. Because it’s difficult if not impossible to directly measure the tension in the fastener, we do the next-best thing: we check the torque...Read more
When you take flying lessons, you learn the basics of moving an airplane on the ground. At first, you’ll help your instructor, then you’ll do the moving under his or her supervision.
If your trainer is kept on a tiedown, most of what’s involved is just taxiing but from time to time you’ll have to move the airplane without using the engine. Where modern trainers are concerned, this is just a matter of muscle power—attach the tow bar to the nosewheel, and push or pull on the prop, near the hub. Older tailwheel trainers are even easier—just lift the tailwheel...Read more
Over the years I have relished the challenge of the efficiencies of packing. Early in my life, I owned a Corvair, notably short of space when packing for a 10-day vacation involving some camping along with some hoteling. When I was finished, the car held everything—but no more toothbrushes, please.
Several years later I was again challenged when packing for a week’s vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina—and it all had to fit in a C-172 along with two adults and three young children. Again, it was a success story.
This efficiency, of course, came full circle when we were...Read more
The 2013 California Pilots Association (CalPilots) annual meeting, “California Dreamin’,” was much bigger and better attended than past CalPilots get-togethers. Jolie Lucas and Mitch Latting are recognized for their inspired advocacy of the Oceano Airport (L52), and they turned their considerable skills toward organizing and promoting the meeting.
It was a rousing success. Spread over one and a half days, the event drew nearly 300 pilots, advocates, airplane owners and other nonspecific wing nuts.
The program included advocacy speakers such as Jamie Beckett of the Polk Aviation Alliance, Mike Jesch of the Fullerton (Calif.) Airport Pilots Association, and Bill Dunn of AOPA....Read more
The weather’s still pretty good as I write—though we’ve had a few cloudy days, and winter rain, fog and ice are just a couple of months away. Nonetheless, I’ve been spending more time on the ground than in the air lately.
I’ve spent some of it thinking about the changes we’re going to see in the air in the next few years, and the most worrying of those changes will be sharing the air with robots—unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted aircraft (RPVs), in a word: drones.
It’s already happened on a limited basis. Until recently there was a TFR over Beale...Read more
If you are a fan of "Antiques Roadshow" or a saver of things with the barely recognized thought that they might someday be worth enough that a grandchild will remember you fondly, give some thought to stashing away any sectional charts you have sitting around. Roll them up neatly and store them, away from sunlight and insects, up in your attic.
There's probably room next to that old Erector set, alongside your collection of manual typewriters, those two rotary dial phones and that precarious stack of mahogany cigar boxes your dad gave you.
I am no futurist, and my prognostications have often...Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I like other GA pilots have concerns such as the fact that the value of my airplane has sagged, my mechanic has finally locked up his toolbox and hit the road on a rolling retirement, and the price of Avgas has cut back on my flying hours. However, today I’m writing to alert fellow readers of Cessna Flyer magazine about the day I almost burnt up my Cardinal.
Here’s the deal. Due to my age I need supplementary vision help. So I’ve had to start carrying a pair of nonprescription “readers” glasses with me when I fly.Read more
Ken Rodgers was a man on a mission—to find the right twin-engine aircraft for use in his business. He needed a twin that would be able to easily get him to both the West and East Coast and to Canada from his base in Wisconsin. He wanted a twin that would be relatively easy to fly as he had very little twin time.
He researched everything from the Cessna 421 on down, spending some time looking at Aerostars, 340s and 310s. Then a friend of his, John, an RJ trainer for a major airline, suggested he look at the Cessna 303...Read more
When you take flying lessons, you learn the basics of moving an airplane on the ground. At first, you’ll help your instructor, then you’ll do the moving under his or her supervision.
If your trainer is kept on a tiedown, most of what’s involved is just taxiing, but from time to time you’ll have to move the airplane without using the engine. Where modern trainers are concerned, this is just a matter of muscle power—attach the tow bar to the nose wheel, and push (or pull) on the prop, near the hub. Older tailwheel trainers are even easier—just lift the...Read more
The T303 Crusader that Cessna began marketing in 1982 was probably one of the most thoroughly tested and finest flying twins that ever came from the Wichita factory.
Problem was, the timing of its introduction kept its reputation a secret. The model was conceived in the late 1970s as a lightweight multi-engine trainer to possibly replace the 25-year-old 310 design and to compete with competitive aircraft—Beech 76 Duchess, Piper Seminole and Grumman GA-7 Cougar.
And, while the 310 concept was as a light twin, the 303 was initially called a “light, light” twin.
You might think that this season of the year is an unusual time to have a discussion about aircraft icing. Not really. All you have to do is climb a few thousand feet, enter some visible moisture and you can easily have an ice issue on your hands.
Late summer and autumn are the best times to have this discussion because it allows you time to make sure your airplane is in good shape for the upcoming icing season and that your knowledge and training is up to the challenge.
By now pilots should know that it is a bad...Read more
September 2005- Turbo-supercharging was patented in 1906, but the system was used only sporadically because of the need of extreme temperature-resistant component materials. During World War II, it found its niche on high-speed, high-altitude bombers, and by the 1940s and ‘50s many large airliners utilized turbocharged Wright and Pratt & Whitney piston engines.
By 1960, the piston engine had been relegated to General Aviation power, and although several aftermarket units were beginning to come on the market, engine maker Continental knew that to ensure long-term reliability, many components would have to be engineered as part of an integral engine design (hence...Read more
September 2005- You can find it at almost every General Aviation airport. A little sign on the bulletin board, or a business card taped to the self-serve gas pump, advertising annual inspections for some ridiculous price like $200.
We all know that it is not possible to perform an annual inspection on the simplest of General Aviation aircraft for the sum of $200, yet there it is, in black and white. What’s disturbing is the fact that these guys stay in business, which would indicate someone is utilizing those services.
Owning an aircraft is an expensive proposition, and you don’t...Read more
October 2005- In last month’s issue, the trip preparation described all the necessary details required to plan this type trip. After departing Wichita with a fuel stop in Sioux St. Marie, Canada, we are in Goose Bay fuel and ready to start out Atlantic Crossing.
Goose Bay to Reykjavik: 1,338 nm
From Canada to Iceland, the requirement to know exactly where you are and where you are going gets deadly serious. Places to say, “Oops, we need to stop” are few and far between.
November 2005- If you operate your aircraft into large busy airports, this comment from the tower controller has almost become a cliché. “Caution wake turbulence,” your trusty government employee will say. “You are six miles behind a heavy Boeing 777. Wind calm, cleared to land.”
If you’ve been operating at large airports long you’ve heard this warning hundreds of times and nothing has happened to you. In a few instances your airplane went through a few seconds of rough air – nothing you couldn’t handle. Following a heavy 747 in past encounters only resulted in a little mild rocking and...Read more
With the increasing use of single-engine aircraft for actual IFR flight, it is important to understand and properly maintain the pneumatic system that operates the gyroscopic instruments.
Reliable aircraft operations require customary service and system replacement at regular intervals according to manufacturer specifications. Ignoring this system until it fails could end in disaster and at the least could become quite inconvenient and costly.
November 2005- While I was changing his oil and filter recently, Bill, the talking 182, casually asked, “Why is it that you go to the lil’ red schoolhouse to learn how to fly jets and you never go there to learn how to fly me?”
“Bill, that is an excellent question and I will see what I can do about it,” I replied.
November 2005- It’s early on a fall morning in West Texas and one of the local yahoos is offering his expert opinions on all things aerial. I lean over the water fountain, take a sip and smile to myself since my 210 on the ramp inspired his last remark.
He was as right as he was wrong. Both planes are made by Cessna, have high wings and benign handling characteristics. After that, differences get larger, just as one would expect when comparing a flying Suburban with a winged Chevy Nova.
December 2005- Some years ago I was listening to a conversation among a few pilots and happened to overhear the statement, “How do they find out?” This was in reference to a situation that happened to a pilot/aircraft owner as a result of an “error” in judgment that concerned operation of an un-airworthy aircraft.
While no accident occurred, a mechanical malfunction put the situation in the spotlight, an investigation took place and the facts were quickly uncovered. This individual faced an enforcement action and the knowledge of this spread among the local aviators.
December 2005- One of the more overlooked and certainly misunderstood areas of aircraft maintenance may be prop balancing. While most aircraft owners would never drive their car with the tires out of balance (and the steering wheel shaking in their hands) they don’t think twice about operating their airplane with the prop out of balance.
I flew with a buddy a week or so ago in his nicely restored Cherokee. It flew perfectly with hands off, but at cruise power there was an obvious vibration and it was clearly evident in the compass and in the artificial horizon, which was...Read more
December 2005- Author’s note: The Cessna Agwagons are working airplanes, employees that are paid by the hour to do hot, dirty jobs—sometimes seven days a week. It’s not likely that many Cessna Flyer Association members have ever flown an Agwagon, but you can be sure that the experience the company gained with this tough little bird found its way into every airplane that has since come from Wichita.
The first use of an airplane to disperse agricultural chemicals was in 1921, when Army Lt. John Macready spread insecticide on a field outside of Troy, Ohio that was infested with caterpillars. The...Read more