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Some Thoughts on Density Altitude

August 2004 Well here comes summer once again. If you are based east of the Mississippi, that means high temperatures and low flight visibilities, thunderstorms and high density altitudes. Here in sunny South Florida flight vis doesn't get too bad, but temperatures on the runway can exceed 140 degrees F. The effects on aircraft performance in high temperature situations are the result of density altitude. Some aircraft are actually prohibited from operating in these high temperatures. Some of those limitations are based on the fact that there is no performance data for pilots to plan from. The Citation I recently typed in...

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New Orleans Flyout Part 1 - The Dog Ate My Paperwork

Discovering Pilots N Paws This past January, my wife was looking for a way for us to fly our 1972 C180H Jezebel (her nickname for our airplane, not mine—but it works) more than we did the year before. Rhonda has a friend named Nikki Mitchell up in Normandy, Tenn. who is an enthusiastic animal lover. Nikki told Rhonda about an organization called Pilots N Paws (PNP). This organization, founded by Debi Boies and Jon Wehrenberg, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of animals. It offers a web-based meeting place for those who rescue, shelter, or foster animals and pilots...

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Miss Versatility: CESSNA’S T206H TURBO STATIONAIR

July 2012 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...

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Flying Places: Hangar Hotel - Park your plane, step into the idyllic 1940s

It’s one of the things owners Rosemary and Dick Estenson love hearing from guests. “How long did it take you to restore this hangar?” The question is entertaining because the hangar is not old at all, it was built from scratch not quite a decade ago on the ramp of Gillespie County Airport (T82) in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is the product of the Estensons’ countless hours of research, sourcing and dogged attention to detail, and the result is a round-topped replica of a World War II hangar that would fool any veteran.

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Winter Flight Operations

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...

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Hypoxia: What’s Your 10-Point Altitude?

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...

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Need Pilot Supplies? Look to Pilotshop.com

 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...

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The Cessna 414 - Still a good choice for the small business flyer

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.

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Destination: Cooperstown NY

August 2004 Nestled into the soft rolling hills of Upstate New York about halfway between Albany and Binghamton lies the small town of Cooperstown. Settled in the late 18th century, Cooperstown was strategically located at the southern tip of Lake Otsego at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, then a major thoroughfare of commerce.

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To Go or Not to Go

August 2004 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.

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Cheap Pilot Tricks

September 2004 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.

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Hog Log

September 2004 I was 17 years old and having the time of my life. I had been a line boy in Lakeland since I was 15 and was cashing in on the experience by being allowed to go to Wichita and pick up a new airplane. The instructors working at our FBO were too busy instructing, so it fell to us line boy/pilots to do the free ferrying work. The Cessna 150, N1515Q, was white with a light blue trim and had blue stripes painted on the wing roots. It even smelled new—and with the five or six cases of Coors the...

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Bumps & Circuits - November 2004

November 2004 Have you ever wondered why we refer to some airplanes by name while sticking to the numbers for others? For one thing, it’s sometimes simpler. I mean, it’s a lot easier to say “G-III” than “Grumman Gulfstream G-1159A,” and “T-206” is a lot easier and drier to say than “Turbo-System Super Skywagon,” isn’t it? The real reason we call some models by their name or nickname is that when it’s a good name, it fits. For instance, can you imagine a P-51 being referred to as the North American Nimrod, or a 172 named the Clyde, after Mr. Cessna?...

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Mountain High

  September 2004 By now most people are familiar with the term FADEC (Full-Authority Digital Engine Control). Mountain High Equipment & Supply has modified that acronym with their proprietary FADOC™, or the EDS-D1a Full-Authority Digital Oxygen Control. FADOC is a simple concept, but one which had never been tried until Mountain High founder Patrick McLaughlin began concentrating on the problem. “It’s really been a progression of designs,” the Redmond, OR inventor explained.

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Bumps & Circuits – Signs of the Times

October 2004  A couple of weeks ago, I got tapped for jury duty.  Most people try to get excused, but I actually relish the opportunity to aid in the judicial process and pay my societal dues (plus possibly pick up a subject for a column). However, my enthusiasm waned when I got to the courthouse and began the interminable judicial waiting process.

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Full Circle - Twin Adventures

October 2004 With my new partner Jim Corley walking beside me, we finally headed across the ramp and toward the airplane to do some actual flying (“Partnership, Part One & Two;” August and September issues). We had already spent several hours together in preparation for this partnership to, quite literally, finally get itself off the ground. That culminating moment was now at hand. Almost.

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Insight into Insight

October 2004 The saga of the Insight Instrument Corporation began in the winter of 1980. Engineer John Youngquist was flying a Bonanza on a night flight when the airplane’s engine began to run rough. It misfired and stumbled a few times while the existing panel instruments showed absolutely nothing out of sorts under the cowling. With nothing factual to go on, Youngquist took a pure guess as to the length and breadth of his developing engine problems, then came up with a flight plan that matched his guesswork.

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Three Strikes, You’re Out

November 2004 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.

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Left Coast Pilot - Back from Oshkosh

September 2004 - The bugs near Anderson, Ind. are what I remember the most, along with more actual IFR (two solid hours) in one week than I’ve had in the entire year since... but I’ll get to that. Last month, I wrote about my experience last year flying from my home base in Modesto, Calif., to Waupaca, Wis.—an uncontrolled airport near Oshkosh. It was my second trip east for an EAA AirVenture.

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The Sport Pilot Certificate

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.

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Destination Samoa

October 2004 - For many people, a weekend visit to a bed-and-breakfast inn provides a wonderful opportunity to decompress from everyday life. And for pilots, an opportunity to combine the B&B experience with a scenic cross-country trip is just about perfect. On the northern California coast, you’ll find one such combination: The Samoa Airport Bed & Breakfast, located at the south end of Eureka Municipal Airport (O33), about 100 miles south of the Oregon-California border.

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Left Coast Pilot – How High Can You Fly?

October 2004- How high can you fly? That’s a question that’s bothered me for quite a while now. The San Francisco sectional I use regularly has some green in the middle, where the California central valley is—but there’s brown on the chart, both for the coast range mountains to the west (elevation around 3000-4000’) and a lot more brown to the east, where the Sierras rise to elevations of 10,000-14,000’. Going north or south you’ll run into mountains as well, so if you fly any distance at all out here you’re going to run into altitude issues. Which raises a question: How...

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Destination: St Augustine, Fla.

November 2004 Fifteen years ago I was in Germany on a business trip. My client took me to a small town outside of Bonn named Bad Munster Eiffel. This tiny Bavarian hamlet had a wall around it and at the main gate, a cornerstone was marked 1050 A.D. It occurred to me that that this town had been there long before the trees that built the Mayflower had even been planted. I further contemplated the fact that the history of the United States is brief in comparison to the rest of the world. In this country there are few places where you...

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Getting Current Left Coast Pilot

November 2004 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...

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Chicago O’Hare Audio Program

About one year ago, Sporty’s Pilot Shop (www.sportys.com) announced an updated version of an audio tape program they had originally put out nearly 25 years earlier. The press release from Sporty’s said that “Chicago O’Hare IFR,” which had been used by thousands of pilots to learn IFR communications, had been updated and re-mastered to an audio CD, putting the listener in the left seat of Sporty’s Aztec for a round trip flight from their home base in Batavia, Ohio (near Cincinnati) to Chicago O’Hare—the world’s busiest airport.

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Hog Log October 2004

October 2004 Flying is based on seeing. You use your eyesight to gather and use your knowledge. Even though Luke Skywalker could close his eyes, use The Force and fly a successful combat mission, you’re going to need your ability to see if you want to land your airplane. Humans are visual creatures. In a logical world, IFR flight would be based on sound, not sight. It isn’t. You learn now to visually interpret instruments and cathode ray tubes on your airplane’s panel and then at the end of an instrument approach you strain your eyes to see the approach lights and...

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Hog Log November 2004

November 2004 There are natural limits on how well flight schools can operate. On the civilian side of the equation, flight schools are limited in what they can teach their students by cost and time. On the military side, the only real restriction on the quality of what they can teach their flying students is time. Money isn’t that big an object, but they can’t spend five years teaching a new pilot who has a 10-year service commitment. As it is, almost two years are required to get a military pilot from first flight to first fight.

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Taking Care of the Little Things

November 2004 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.

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Prop Talk

November 2004 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.

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The Making of the Cessna 310

August 2004 “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...

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EAA Launches Next Century of Flight

September 2004 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.

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Time Life Items

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.

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The 175: The Quiet Single Cessna

October 2004 For the pilot and passengers, the Cessna 175 Skylark may have been the quietest Cessna ever made. Maybe the quietest non-pressurized single ever. But after a few years, potential customers decided that for the premium they were paying, the noise in a 172 wasn’t all that bad. There are a couple of problems with propellers that are as old as the airplane itself. Noise and vibration.

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We’ll Cross that Runway When We Get to It

October 2004 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.

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The 180 and 185 Skywagon

November 2004 They’re called “conventional” gear aircraft, these taildraggers, and to most people they’re a throwback to the early days of flying when any reasonably flat field was a landing space. Not that they were easy to handle once you got them on the ground—it took foresight and planning and muscle and a working knowledge of geometry and physics to maneuver a machine that steered like a fork lift and was always willing to give the inattentive a quick panoramic view of the neighborhood.

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Ram Aircraft

November 2004 When it comes to replacing an engine in an airplane, an owner can go down several avenues. The choices sometimes involve a confusing collection of titles like rebuilt, overhauled or remanufactured—but those are processes that have their limitations. The only sure thing is new. RAM Aircraft decided that was the best route for them to go in outfitting Cessna 172s, so they put together a package they call The New Difference that includes a brand new 160 hp Lycoming O-320-D2G, McCauley propeller and the appropriate STC.

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Autopsy of a Water Landing

September 2004 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.

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Float Planes

September 2004 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...

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Adventures with Bill – Rules to Live By

October 2004 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.

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Cessna Cardinal – The Cardinal’s Sins

October 2004 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...

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The Genius is in the Details

October 2004   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.

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Bumps and Circuits

November 2004 Have you ever wondered why we refer to some airplanes by name while sticking to the numbers for others? For one thing, it’s sometimes simpler. I mean, it’s a lot easier to say “G-III” than “Grumman Gulfstream G-1159A,” and “T-206” is a lot easier and drier to say than “Turbo-System Super Skywagon,” isn’t it? The real reason we call some models by their name or nickname is that when it’s a good name, it fits. For instance, can you imagine a P-51 being referred to as the North American Nimrod, or a 172 named the Clyde, after Mr. Cessna? Would...

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Bumps and Circuits 01-05

January 2005   While 31,258 of my closest friends and I were in Las Vegas during mid-October at the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) Convention, we got a glimpse of the future. Each year, a sort of theme emerges from the convention. Last year it was entertainment centers; the year before it was the VLJ (very light jet) and RVSM solutions. 2004 will go down as the Year of The Supersonic Business Jet.

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Flying Quietly Over the National Parks

January 2005 The National Park Service (NPS) is raising awareness of soundscapes, the sounds of nature that provide the backdrop for those beautiful panoramas and the solitude enjoyed by thousands every day. Pilots are familiar with the ongoing controversy surrounding National Park overflights, most notably, in the Grand Canyon area. The chief complaint fueling the overflight debate is soundscape disturbance. Most legislation, both in place and proposed, primarily affects commercial tour operations. However, General Aviation pilots are requested to make some small allowances in an effort to protect these special places and our privilege to fly over them.

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Full Circle: Twin Adventures

January 2005   For as long as I can recall, I’ve been quite fond of using the adage that “it is much better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.” The first time I used that phrase under combat conditions was from an airline cockpit many years ago. I had pulled our jet into the runup block adjacent to the departure runway at Pittsburgh while I studied the weather radar in the instrument panel in front of me. A very nasty looking piece of weather lay alarmingly near the departure end of the runway....

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Hog Log

January 2005   People involved in aviation are a friendly lot. At least we think we are. All you have to do is go to a pancake breakfast at a fly-in or sit around at Oshkosh to “feel the love.” Over the decades that I’ve been in the flying business, both General Aviation and the airline world, I’ve noticed what an elitist, closed society we really have. I have been noticing this for some time but only recently have I become embarrassed by what a tight-knit snobby group of people we’ve become. As aviation businesspeople I submit that the very elitism that makes...

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Left Coast Pilot

January 2005   “What’s that on the windshield?” asked Kate, my copilot and wife. I looked up from the instruments I had been concentrating on—trying to understand why the engine sounds had suddenly changed—and at first couldn’t understand her question. There didn’t seem to be anything on the windshield. Then I realized I couldn’t see anything through it—not even the cowling. A quick glance out my side window confirmed my suspicion: ice.   Now the big decision: Try to climb, or turn around (descending on our route was not an option, the MEAs were too high). I called ATC, reported light icing and asked...

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Aerial Aces of Agriculture: The Cessna 188

December 2012 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...

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Spark Plug Servicing and Replacement

December 2012  Spark plug replacement and cleaning is a task that aircraft owners and pilots can easily do to maintain engine efficiency. I encourage aircraft owners to get involved in the maintenance of their aircraft, as a pilot aware of the mechanics of his or her aircraft is a safer pilot. A component of maintaining an aircraft engine in good condition includes the regular removal, cleaning/inspection or replacement of the spark plugs as allowed by FAR 43 Appendix A (“Major Alterations, Major Repairs and Preventive Maintenance”). Spark plugs wear out but can also just become dirty with use; they can become lead-fouled as...

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Let’s Stop Meeting Like This

January 2005 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...

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Clyde Cessna

January 2005 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...

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Just Chute Me: Parachutes for Cessnas

January 2005 Witness the Cirrus phenomenon. Although there are undoubtedly many factors affecting the popularity of Cirrus aircraft, the standard equipment parachute is certainly an important one. Fueled in part by the bestselling book of 2002, “Free Flight” by James M. Fallows, people are seeking out planes with that added measure of safety. A recent Flying magazine online poll showed that 75 percent of respondents would consider a whole plane parachute system if it were available for their aircraft. Our own online survey indicates that 67 percent of respondents would consider adding a parachute. (Go to www.cessnaflyer.org to participate if you haven’t...

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Life and Flying are About Options

January 2005 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...

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Owning The Ultimate Skylane

January 2005 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...

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The Great American Airshow

December 2012   IN A TOUGH ECONOMY, AIRSHOWS ARE STILL RIDING A WAVE OF POPULARITY.   There are now more than 325 airshows held each year across North America drawing millions of spectators. This year, airshow promoters expect attendance numbers of 10 to 12 million which illustrates that even in a recession, airshow attendance is strong. Why? Airshows are one of the best entertainment values around. Consider a trip to Disneyland. Tickets for a family of two adults and two children to step through the gates of the Magic Kingdom total just over $250, and that’s before you get a mouse-eared beanie or have lunch...

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Heading Bug; Wishes for Your Flying Year

December 2012  The fact is that the future is unknowable. Despite ancient tradition of spiritual endeavor, or the most modern advances in particle physics, none of us has yet perfected a process that will let us see into tomorrow. As pilots, no matter whether we are practitioners of a religious faith or not we are all adherents of the physics of flight and its immutable laws of motion. December, however, is a month of what could be called miracles for those of faith, as well as followers of physics; after the third week of the month, the sun begins to stay longer in...

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SPARK PLUG CLEANING, THE RIGHT WAY (OR “HOW NOT TO RUIN A SPARK PLUG”)

December 2012   Glass beads are not good when it comes to cleaning aircraft spark plugs. Let’s understand why and, importantly, what’s right. Cement fills the space between the center electrode and the ceramic insulator in massive electrode spark plugs. The cement transfers heat to the insulator, then the insulator transfers the heat to the cylinder head. Eroding the cement opens the gap and makes a place for glass beads to lodge. It doesn’t matter who made the spark plug, using glass beads will ruin spark plugs. The glass beads will either melt, leaving a conductive lead film on the insulator that may...

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Fly a Different Jet Warbird Every Day!

December 2012 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...

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Left Coast Pilot: Mexico, Presidential TFRs and Personal Limits

December 2012  Last month my wife and I made our last trip to Mexico for the year. The trip down was long but routine. The trip back was something else… Longtime readers of my column will recall that my wife Kate is a pediatrician with an interest in medical mission work. Before we were married, she spent over two years at a Catholic hospital in Papua New Guinea, and we’ve travelled together for shorter missions (from one week to one month at a time) in Ghana, Cameroon, Guatemala, Uganda and the Philippines. For the past 15 years, Kate has also worked regularly at...

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Questions and Answers: Mountain Flying Tips for a 172 Pilot

December 2012  Q: Hi Steve, I’m in the fourth quarter of the game, age-wise, and have decided that it’s now or never! I’m planning a once-in-a-lifetime flying trip around the western United States and up into British Columbia next year. All of my flying—I have logged 880 hours over the last eight years—has been east of the Rockies. I’ve never flown in mountainous terrain. I am the proud owner of a 1985 Cessna 172P and I plan to pack it with a tent, sleeping bag and some emergency gear. I’m an experienced camper and have been dreaming about this trip; I’m looking forward...

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Look Inside Your Engine—From the Cockpit! Part 1: Installation

January 2013 I thought about adding a full-featured engine monitor to my panel for a long time, but I didn’t make the decision to commit until Insight Instrument Corp.’s G Series graphic engine monitors grabbed my attention at EAA AirVenture 2012. This monitor series uses a color LCD coupled with a microprocessor to provide a wide range of engine monitor information and diagnostics. The cost of an engine monitor was part of my reason for waiting all this time—as was my wish for improved engine monitor diagnostics to identify and minimize cylinder over-temp conditions. On the bright side, putting off the decision...

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Charlie: A Morris Family Heirloom

01-13 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...

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Destinations: AOPA Aviation Summit 2012, Palm Springs, Calif.

01-13 AOPA Aviation Summit 2012 in wonderful Palm Springs, Calif. crept up on us like Santa slithering down the chimney. Jen and I packed up the truck with booth supplies, did a “cat check,” set the alarm system, locked the front door, and pulled out of the drive. Off we go! AOPA is a first-class, not-to-be-missed show attended by aviators looking to purchase and negotiate. The lodge-like atmosphere of the convention center just adds to the ambiance. The day before the show, Jen and I were setting up and saying hello to many of our supporters. Of course, we could have just paid...

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Destinations: Copperstate 2012, Casa Grande, Ariz.

01-13 Traveling on Interstate 10 to Casa Grande on my way to the 40th anniversary of the Copperstate Fly-in, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like 40 years ago. What was the price of Avgas? The average cost of a Cessna? VFR and IFR rules over the vast span of desert? Who came to the show? I don’t know the answers, but one thing I believe must have remained constant at this fly-in over the years is the excitement. That never seems to change. The first day at Copperstate 2012 was a bit windy, but the wind settled down...

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FAQ: Tailwheel Transition Training

01-13 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,...

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Full Circle

01-13 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...

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Push To Talk: Will ADS-B Me?

01-13 “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...

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Questions and Answers: Modifying a 182B and a New Generator for a Cessna 150

01-13 Q: Steve, 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...

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Flying Places: Smiley Creek, Idaho (U87)

May 2012 Most pilots have a favorite destination, either because it is in a beautiful part of the country, or because of the friends who gather there with you. My preference is Smiley Creek, Idaho, for both reasons. It is as close to the perfect place as I have found, plus the long grass strip is appreciated by the pilots that fly here... Let me tell you about my favorite fly-in destination, Smiley Creek. On my first visit to Smiley Creek, I remember clearing the ridge, northwest bound, at ten-five, and looking out under the left wing at Sun Valley, Idaho and...

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Destination: Hutchinson, Kansas: Working in the Salt Mines

January 2012 How many times have you heard the expression “working in the salt mines”? In reality, probably not that many, but you have likely heard it one time or another. This story is not about working in the salt mines, exactly, but it could have been, because this is about a visit to the salt mines. In fact, this particular mine is still providing salt, and workers have been removing salt from its mine shafts for over 120 years. So why am I talking about salt in an aviation magazine? That’s simple. One of the great benefits we flyers have...

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Full Circle – Rainy Day Computer Trips

January 2012 I’m writing this on a cloudy, windy, rainy day at home, and I’m doing what’s most suitable for a day like this: I’m sitting at my desktop computer and allowing the kindness of others who have forwarded to me several emails that will enable me to take a virtual trip through aviation’s yesteryear. I began my rainy day diversions with a collection of black-and-white photos of days long past. The first one was an aerial shot of Newark Airport, circa 1960. On the ramp at the big old terminal building are a bevy of piston airliners, a scattering of early...

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Pacific Oil Cooler Service: The Heat Exchange Experts

January 2012 Paul Saurenman, owner of Pacific Oil Cooler Service (POCS) and Aero-Classics Heat Transfer Products Inc., stood in front of Jen and Kent Dellenbusch, publishers of Cessna Flyer, and me, freelance aviation writer who after 45 years in the av bizz views all things aeronautical with a shade of skepticism, and told us that the average light plane’s oil cooler acts as an oil filter and becomes more choked up with carbon as engine hours pile up. During the POCS oil cooler cleaning process, Saurenman explained, “about a full ChapStick tube of carbon and metal particles” are cleaned out of...

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Push To Talk – It Was So Far Out!

January 2012 My father died a little more than a year ago and it is just now that I’ve found it in me to parse through his belongings. There were accolades of accomplishment, photos of him at a microphone doing play-by-play radio announcing for the Oklahoma Sooners football team, awards and gold watches, a few solo cuff links—not an uncommon brew, as end-of-life collections go. But there was one thing that stopped me in my tracks. Obviously at some time or another, my mother (looking down at the image hovering on a Brownie camera viewfinder) had snapped a picture of my...

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Questions and Answers – Pete’s Tank and Flying Sideways

January 2012   Q: Dear Steve, The fuel tank of my 1975 Cessna 172 started leaking fuel a few days ago. My mechanic let me drain and remove the tank. After I removed all the screws in the top cover plate, loosened and folded back the two hold down straps and pulled the tank out, I found the leak. The tank had been rubbing on the tank bay structure and had finally worn through. I sent you pictures of the tank and the spot that wore a hole in the tank. My mechanic and I are wondering what options I have to get this...

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Adventures with The Other Woman: Breathe, Baby, Breathe!

January 2012 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...

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Clyde Cessna

February 2012   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...

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Flying Places: Copperstate Fly-in

February 2012 The sun was up but the day still pleasant when we made our way onto the Casa Grande Airport ((KCGZ) Casa Grande, Ariz.) grounds for the opening day of the 39th annual Copperstate Fly-in. I always get a little thrill when approaching the venue of a fly-in—big or small. I never tire of ogling beautiful airplanes on static display or watching them fly overhead. There’s also the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. Kent and I took a quick look at the grounds before heading to our booth and made note of the location of food stands...

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Heading Bug – Words If by Sea, Words If by Air

February 2012 Every human endeavor, whether blacksmithing, computer science, boating or aviation, has its unique nomenclature. The anthropologists will tell you—with a nervous glance at the higher apes and aquatic mammals—that it is the invention and use of words that defines us as human. Disagreeing over the use of words, where they come from and how we use them, is also essentially human and has enlivened many a hangar flying session over the years. Just bring up “deduced,” abbreviated as “ded.,” versus “dead reckoning” in any group of pilots who learned to fly before the advent of GPS and you’ll see what...

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Left Coast Pilot – The Fog Season

February 2012   Late last year, I found myself planning a flight to Fullerton (KFUL), in Southern California. Typical West Coast winter conditions were in full force: morning fog here in the Central Valley, and a marine layer at our destination. While I met (barely) the legal experience requirements to file and fly IFR, it had been many months since I’d done any flying in actual instrument conditions. The trip wouldn’t involve much actual instrument work—at most, a departure out of the fog and then a simple descent through a thin stratus layer to our destination—but getting a little practice first seemed like...

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Need Pilot Supplies? Look to Pilotshop.com

February 2102 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...

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Pirep: Brightline’s Pilot Bag

February 2012 I will start right off and tell you that I really like the Pilot Bag manufactured by BrightLine Bags. The bag is built well, performs as advertised, and after several months of use seems likely to last a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend. It has already passed, with flying colors, my personal test of zippered devices of any sort—the “Is the zipper any damn good?” test—which I routinely apply to anything I think about using, whether to hold laptops or iPads, safeguard my fly rods, rifles, or shotguns and especially to things designed...

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Questions and Answers – 210 Wing Leveling, New Cessna SIDs

February 2012 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...

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Adventures with Bill – Avionics Bucket List, Part III

March 2012 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...

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Aircraft Maintenance Records

March 2012 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...

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Cross-Country Weather Decisions

March 2012   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.”

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Flying Places: Central Florida Family Fun

March 2012 Our son and his family typically head south during their vacations, and the trips include places that interest their children—our grandchildren—ages 10 and six. Our daughter-in-law Alison suggested Legoland and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Florida’s Gulf Coast as our family vacation destination last Christmas.

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Full Circle – Turbulence

March 2012 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.

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Push To Talk – The Dead G Scrolls

March 2012 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.

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Questions and Answers – 182 Rudder Pedal Inspection, Updated AD for Secondary Seat Stops

March 2012 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...

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Aspen Avionics Synthetic Vision

April 2012 If you think synthetic vision is a gimmick, or one of those nice-to-have features that’s not worth the money, you don’t understand the technology. To be honest, I too was skeptical about the value of syn vision at first. But I get to fly a lot of different aircraft and have had the opportunity to use several different synthetic vision systems. My initial reaction was yes, it’s nice, but is it better? That answer came to me while giving instruction to a long-time student who had upgraded his aircraft to glass with synthetic vision. I already knew from personal experience that...

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Destination: Half Moon Bay

April 2012   There are many scenic locations along the Northern California coast. One of the most picturesque happens to be an ideal fly-in destination, weather permitting: Half Moon Bay (KHAF). It’s not only a great spot for a hundred-and-something-dollar lunch, but also provides opportunities for a spectacular aerial tour of San Francisco Bay on your way in or out...   That’s a direct result of KHAF’s location, just nine nm southwest of San Francisco International Airport (KSFO)—and that in turn means that getting into (and out of) KHAF requires navigating either around or through San Francisco’s Class B airspace.

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Heading Bug – Maybe You Should Read the FAA Authorization Bill

April 2012 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?

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The High Cost of Cheap Maintenance: Getting what you pay for isn’t always a good bargain

April 2012   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...

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King of the Tailwheels: Cessna 195

April 2012   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...

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Left Coast Pilot – Avgas, the Cost of Flying and a Gyro Tip

April 2012 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...

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Questions and Answers – 310 Paperwork Problems, 172 Cowling Wear

April 2012  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? —Sloppy Cowling

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Soundtrack of a Day

April 2012 “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...

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Questions and Answers – Cessna 205 Purchase and Buying a “Beater” 172

September 2012 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...

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Bush Flying Recommendations and Tips

May 2012 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...

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Full Circle – Zero/Zero Landings, Part One

May 2012   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...

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Go Big in Something Small: A cross-continental trip in a Cessna 150

May 2012 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....

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Push To Talk – The Problem as I See It

May 2012 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...

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Questions and Answers – Preparing for Alaska, Cessna 180 Cylinder Priming Systems

May 2012 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? —Heading North

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Threaded Fasteners: More than Appearances

May 2012 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.)

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Book Review: “Captain” by Thomas Block

June 2012 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...

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Cardinals Rule

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.

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Warning: Cessnas Can Cause Flying Fever: A Kentucky math teacher uses airplanes to propel youth aviation education

June 2012 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...

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Destination: The One and Only Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

June 2012  I perked up last October when Audrey said she was headed to Rhinebeck, N.Y. Rhinebeck! That’s the only place I know of where World War I-vintage airplanes as well as airplanes from the Pioneer and the Lindbergh eras are flown during summer weekends. When I learned that the last show of the year at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (ORA) was taking place on the same weekend that Audrey was going to Rhinebeck, I joined her. It was our first Hudson River Valley adventure. The historic village of Rhinebeck is located 90 nm north of New York City’s Times Square and...

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Enhance Your Oshkosh Experience: Volunteer!

June 2012 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...

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Heading Bug – What to Have Aboard

June 2012 “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...

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Left Coast Pilot – Every Flight Needs a Plan!

June 2012  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...

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Questions and Answers – Seat and Glareshield Upgrades for 182s

June 2012   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...

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Nu-Tek’s Military Flight Simulators

July 2012 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.             F-4 SIMULATOR 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...

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Adventures with Bill – Care and Feeding of your Gyros

July 2012 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?”...

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Destination: Three and a Half Shows

July 2012 This spring was a whirlwind of activity as the intrepid CFA staff attended aviation shows as far-flung as Germany and Alaska. Shows are a great way for us to keep in touch with friends and colleagues. We also gain new members—and keep up with what’s new in the industry—by attending aviation shows. Just when you think everything that could be dreamt up has already been thought of, someone comes along with an innovation or a tweak that makes flying and owning a Cessna safer, easier, more affordable, or in the case of some gizmos, just cooler. Here are some...

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Full Circle – Zero/Zero Landings, Part Two

July 2012 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...

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Miss Versatility: Cessna’s T206 Turbo Stationair

July 2012 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...

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Pre-Buy Prop Inspection

July 2012 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...

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Push To Talk – Stuck on Stick and Rudder

July 2012  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...

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Questions and Answers – Anthology

July 2012 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,...

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Stratus: An In-Flight Weather Receiver

July 2012 Real-time, in-flight weather is not a new concept. Sirius XM and WSI have been providing it to pilots for years. ADS-B, the key element in the United States government’s plan for the NextGen air traffic control system, has been in a long and slow development process. The service, which provides weather, traffic—and ultimately will provide clearances and other ATC communications—is now becoming available as the FAA pushes toward its full implementation by 2020. ELECTRONIC WEATHER The first element of NextGen to become available has been the weather products. But in order for pilots to take advantage of this service, they need...

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310 Tale

August 2012 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...

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Aging Aircraft Care and Maintenance

August 2012 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...

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Batteries: Producing the Juice That Makes ‘Em Go

August 2012   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...

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Cessna 310R

August 2012   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...

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Destination – Driggs, Ohio: An Ideal Fly-In Spot Just West of the Tetons

August 2012   WHAT MAKES A PERFECT FLY-IN DESTINATION?  Of course, a good on-field restaurant is a great starting point, but going beyond the average hundred-dollar hamburger, it’s nice to have a museum or other on-field attraction. And if the field is located near one of North America’s top recreational spots, so much the better! Driggs-Reed Memorial (KDIJ), just a mile or so west of the Idaho-Wyoming border, meets all these requirements. It has an upscale restaurant that goes well beyond the typical airport diner, a small but well-organized museum, and it’s just a short flight from Jackson Hole, Wyo. Kate and I visited...

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Heading Bug – Aeronautical Innovation, Old Tech Space Flight and Paying Attention

August 2012   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...

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Left Coast Pilot – Mortality and a Poker Run

August 2012   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”)....

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Questions and Answers – Engine Overspeeds

August 2012 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...

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Aero W&B: A Jim Dandy, Nifty iPhone/iPad Weight and Balance Application

September 2012 There are many weight and balance applications to wade through, and you need to be careful. I recently discovered AeroW&B, an aircraft weight and balance application available at the Apple App Store for $2.99. The app was developed for use with iPhones and iPads. Key factors for a good weight and balance program include data entry for the passengers, fuel and baggage, and a graph that shows whether or not you are within the weight and center of gravity (CG) parameters for the entire flight. AeroW&B shines in meeting these requirements, and the app has filled a hole in my...

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The Citation: Eclipsing the Competition

September 2012   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...

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Corrosion: When Good Metal Goes Bad

September 2012­   “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...

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Visit Europe by Seaplane

September 2012 We were flying through a high mountain pass, a twisting maze of switchbacks across the top of the still-snowing Alps, a pass that may have been the same route Hannibal selected to bring elephants into battle with the Roman Empire. Ahead, the sprawling coastline of Lake Como came into view. The deep blue water was encircled by castles and villas and resorts extraordinaire. Lake Como has been a celebrated destination for literally thousands of years for people like Julius Caesar to Hollywood celebrities. But the best Lake Como experience is not reserved for emperors or Hollywood stars—that experience is available...

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Full Circle – Piloting Aspects Inside the Novel “Captain,” Part One

September 2012   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...

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Push To Talk – The Hundred Dollar Hamburger

September 2012 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...

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AirVenture 2012: Observations and Musings

October 2012 Walking through EAA AirVenture’s exhibit hangars and aircraft manufacturers’ displays is always fascinating to me. Whether you head to Oshkosh with a detailed checklist or employ the good old “I’ll know it when I see it” approach, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Over 800 exhibitors were at this year’s show. My expectation was that 2012 would be The Year of the iPad—and I figured I’d see new iPad apps, as well as a flood of flight planning software upgrades with ADS-B weather in the cockpit.  iPad Apps As I thought, iPad apps for pilots’ use in flight planning and to...

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A Whole-Airframe Parachute in your Future? New data on ballistic parachute systems makes them even more attractive.

October 2012   The sun was casting long shadows on the dry Arizona lake bed. A gathering of engineers stand restlessly behind a battery of cameras, their long jackets zipped to their chins to keep the early morning chill at bay. Above them a giant C-123 military aircraft flashes in the morning light as it rolls out on a heading into the drop zone. A heartbeat later, an instrument package slides off the back ramp of the airplane and is quickly heading for terminal velocity and the desert floor below. Boris Popov, founder and vice president of marketing for Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS),...

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Flying the Cessna Corvalis TTX: A Whole New Adventure

October 2012  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.   WALKAROUND Kirby Ortega, my Cessna host and chief pilot for piston operations at Cessna Aircraft Co., provided...

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Your Aircraft’s Fuel System: Be Safe, Be Legal, Be smart

October 2012  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...

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Heading Bug – Learn To See What You Can’t See

October 2012  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...

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Left Coast Pilot – Angel Flight and a Runaway EGT

October 2012 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...

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The Power of Oshkosh

October 2012  Having had the luxury of flying up in my friend’s aircraft, my experience to Oshkosh started off amazingly. Henry Graeber, Greg Kelsoe and I piled into Henry’s plane and we were off to Waupaca (KPCZ). I’ve been a student pilot for almost three years, but that’s another story. We arrived early in Waupaca, Wis. for the Cessna Flyer Association Gathering so I was able to meet—and immediately connected with—the association’s great members and staff. It was an excellent event. The hotel and meeting rooms were very nice, and the weekend’s outstanding presentations made me all the more excited to get my...

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Questions and Answers – Securing an Airplane, Magneto vs. Spark Plug Troubleshooting

October 2012  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...

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The “No Waiting” Light Jet: Sierra Industries takes older Citations and makes them state-of-the-art

November 2012  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...

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Destination: Niagara Falls, NY

November 2012  The Niagara Falls region of western New York offers some breathtaking scenery including one of the seven natural wonders of North America, Niagara Falls. Recently my wife expressed a desire to see the falls firsthand—and I immediately realized this was a great opportunity for a trip in our single engine airplane. A review of the route from our home base, Albertus Airport (KFEP) in Freeport, Ill. to Niagara Falls International (KIAG) quickly revealed the challenges that I would need to address. First was the decision on the route of flight.  THE TRIP EAST The most direct route would involve crossing Lake Michigan...

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Full Circle – Piloting Aspects Inside the novel "Captain," Part Two

November 2012 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...

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Glass Panel Centurion: N6100Y, an upgraded Turbo 210

November 2012  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...

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Push To Talk – Birdie, birdie in the sky, why’d you do that in my eye?

November 2012  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...

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Questions and Answers – Worn-Out Door Stops and Dead Batteries

November 2012   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

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Sennheiser S1 Headset Pirep

November 2012  Recently I flew with my friend Dean in his straight-tail Cessna 172. I was photographing our friend’s newest airplane, so I opened the window. This rather large opening created lots of fresh air. And lots of wind noise. Dean and I just shouted back and forth to each other (cross-cockpit, that is) to communicate. Even though it was a relatively short flight, I could feel that my vocal chords were strained after we landed. Now I am climbing out as the pilot a larger aircraft, which obviously creates a greater amount of wind noise than in Dean’s 172. I never realized...

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Ladies, Start Your Engines: Air Racing for your “Sunday Sedan”

November 2012 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,...

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The Perfect 10: Aircraft Interiors: Tips and suggestions from SCS Interiors

March 2013- 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...

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The Perfect Plane: Our Better-Than-New Cessna 170B

05-13 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...

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Basic Floatplane Skills

05-13 Preflight Inspection 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...

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Skymaster Adventure to Europe

05-13 A springtime odyssey from the Middle East to the North Atlantic The adventure begins with the chirping of my cell phone one afternoon in early April. The caller, an old friend, has an interesting offer. It seems four recently refurbished Skymasters stored in Aqaba, Jordan need to be moved to Wick, Scotland. His question: would I be interested in flying one of them? I take a full five seconds to mentally review the route we would cover and reply, “Absolutely! When do we leave?” Three of the pilots who are to make the trip—Jay Weinmann, Rich Burbank, and me—arrive at Aqaba on a...

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Cessna Bird Dog

04-13 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...

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WINTER VACATION IN THE BAHAMAS

04-13 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...

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The Ever Dependable 182

03-13 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...

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Airport Data (and more) Your Way: Flight Guide evolves from paper to electronic data

03-13 I’ve been a Flight Guide user for longer than I can remember. For many years one of the iconic little brown loose-leaf binders covering the Western States had a place in my flight bag—and more than once came in very handy when I needed to find an airport with a nearby hotel or restaurant. To be honest, I was a little annoyed when Flight Guide switched to the current larger format for its paper product. It now takes two of the larger throwaway spiral bound books to cover the same area—but the larger format is easier to read, so at least...

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The Perfect 10: Aircraft Interiors Tips and suggestions from SCS Interiors

03-13 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...

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Proper Cleaning for your Aircraft Interior by Aero Design Aircraft Services

03-13 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...

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Cargo Hauling Heavy Hitter: Cessna Caravan

02-13 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...

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Destination: National Naval Aviation Museum

02-13 Stretching from Panama City, Fla. westward to the Alabama border lies arguably the finest white sand beaches to be found anywhere in the United States. Home to four major military airbases, the area somehow manages to combine a laid-back civilian lifestyle with a by-the-book military mindset. And it does it all with élan. This part of Florida is called the Four Seasons area, but even in the dead of winter the daytime temperatures are balmy by North Country standards, averaging in the low 60s. Spring comes early here and the azaleas are in bloom by mid to late February. (A word...

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Look Inside Your Engine—From the Cockpit! An Insight G3 Engine Monitor Pirep Part 2: Installation

02-13 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. Custom Design 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...

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Sticky Situations: Causes and Cures for Stuck Valves

June 2013 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...

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Bearing Play: How Much is Too Much?

Bearing Play: How Much is Too Much?

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...

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Have you ever been to SUN n’ FUN?

June 2013 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...

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CFA Engine Resource Guide

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.  

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Engine Overhauls 101

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...

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Overhauls versus Rebuilds

June 2013 Although the terms “overhaul” and “rebuild” are sometimes used interchangeably, there really is a difference—and it’s a codified difference. Overhaul 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...

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Heading Bug: Death in the Sky, and Other Statistical Tales

June 2013 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...

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2006 Articles

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2007 Articles

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2008 Articles

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2009 Articles

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2010 Articles

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2011 Articles

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Hypoxia: The Silent Killer

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...

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Shane 1

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...

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Flight test: Cessna’s stunt plane

July 2013 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...

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Look Inside Your Engine—From the Cockpit!

An Insight G3 Engine Monitor Pirep Part 03: Baffle Seals The Insight G3 Engine Monitor keeps digging situations out of the woodwork—or more aptly, the engine compartment. Bill, my pampered 182 and I went flying one nice spring day in late March and the two middle cylinder temperatures went immediately into the caution zone above 400 degrees F. Clearly, the cylinder heat temperature problems that I thought had been solved were still present. (For a review, see part one of “Look Inside Your Engine” in the January 2013 issue. —Ed.) I was doubly concerned after reading Mike Busch’s article in EAA Sport Aviation...

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Cessna Flyer Holiday Gift Guide

Cessna Flyer Holiday Gift Guide

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...

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Cessna Catches the sky and Captures a market

November 2007- 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...

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Bumps and Circuits 05-05

May 2005- “Making an airport outta a golf course was about the fairest thing I ever heard of.” Our friend L.G. Poteet, South Texas rancher, pilot and part-time oil millionaire, finally found a way to get me to visit him. He invited me for a round on the nine-hole golf course he owns in the Glass Mountains between Alpine and Ft. Stockton, an area about 250 miles east of El Paso and 275 west of San Antonio, just past the end of the world. As we were tying down our borrowed 172 at Alpine Municipal Airport, L.G. (which stands for Laverne Gail,...

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Do It Yourself!

May 2005- Doing some of the maintenance and refurbishing to your own airplane will give you a great deal of satisfaction, give you greater confidence in the reliability of your airplane, allow you to understand some of the little noises and quirks in flight, teach more about systems than you will ever learn from the pilot handbook or flight manual, may save you significant amounts of money and improve the appearance of the bird. There are a lot of things that you, as a licensed pilot operating under FAR 61 can do to an airplane, so long as that plane is...

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Full Circle: Twin Checkout 05-05

May 2005- Unless you’ve previously owned or flown something very much like the new airplane you’ve just acquired, getting a new airplane means you now need to get yourself up to speed from a piloting point of view. Theoretically, it can be easier to move up along a single brand-name line of equipment so that many elements of the basic design criteria in your new airplane are similar to what you used to fly, but that isn’t always the case, either. Save for the marque on the airframe, a Piper Navajo has very little in common with a Piper Tri-Pacer, and...

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Hog Log: Aliens Envy Us 05-05

May 2005-  Aviation has a very short history when you compare it to something like sailing or horseback riding. Only a little over a hundred years of experience and look how far we have come. I have been thinking about that fact a lot lately along with some other stranger thoughts that I will, of course, share with you. Aliens Don’t Sail or Scuba Dive… I don’t know if you believe in aliens from outer space or not. Some people do and others don’t. I’m not here to argue the point either way, but let’s assume that they do exist for the...

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Quality Time

May 2005-  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...

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San Diego Air & Space Museum

May 2005-  Imagine a supersonic jet fighter that takes off and lands on water skis. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? You might think so, but the U.S. Navy built and flew four prototypes of Convair’s Sea Dart in the 1950s, and you’ll find one of them on a pylon in front of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, (SDASM) right next to an SR-71 Blackbird. Inside you’ll find exhibits that span the entire history of human flight. This is apparent in the lobby, which features the Apollo 9 command module (on loan from the Smithsonian), a World War I Sopwith Pup biplane with...

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Modifications and Other Good Things for the 182

May 2005-  Last month I described the first seven of Bill’s STC Field Modification installations. Part II continues with the remaining 17 modifications plus his wish list. (Where to buy and manufacturer contact information appears at the end of the article.) Aerodynamic Modifications Horton manufactures two good Cessna single modifications. They are the Horton STOL mod and Flight Bonus Speed Kit. Even if you wonder about the performance values, these STCs sure make your vintage aircraft look cool.

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Taking Apart a Perfectly Good ‘Dog

May 2005-  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...

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Aircraft Logbooks

June 2005-  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:

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Bumps and Circuits: Collecting Aviation Art in Miniature 06-05

June 2005-  I’d really like to have more aviation art hanging about. As a group, aviation artists have matured immensely over the past three decades to the point where it’s not just pilots, but the art crowd as well that is praising their work. Maybe those folks have more wall space than I do. Finding a spot to display a Keith Ferris print with a framed outside dimension of 3 x 5 feet is a problem at our house. However, there is a way to maintain a huge art collection and keep it on a tabletop—collecting aircraft stamps. Now philately might...

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Full Circle: Training for Possibilities, Part One 06-05

June 2005-  I was recently on a flight with a friend of mine in his light twin, and something occurred that made me realize I should have been more prepared. While it’s certainly not possible to train yourself ahead of time for every type of failure, there are a number of things that can go wrong that would be far easier to handle if we gave it a little thought and worked out the details of what the most appropriate action might be. The particular failure that got me thinking was simple enough: soon after takeoff my friend noticed that the...

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Hog Log: Can’t We All Just Get Along? 06-05

June 2005-  Brothers and Sisters, can we all come together for this article on peace and harmony between and betwixt our little airplane and big airplane families? Must we always have the Capulets of General Aviation at war with the Montagues of the airline world? To take the Shakespeare analogy a little further down the airway, will it take the secret marriage of a MD-88 with a PA-28-151—a midair—to finally bring about a dialog between our two prominent aviation families and also bring peace to Verona International? Nobody wants to see a marriage of metal against even bigger metal in the...

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Sun ‘n Fun 2005

June 2005-  Originally organized in 1974 as a weekend-long event, the annual EAA fly-in at Lakeland, Fla. has continued to grow in size and stature each year since. Known in the industry as Sun ‘n Fun, this annual spring gathering—which changed to a full week’s event in 1976 and has remained that way ever since—kicks off the aviation airshow season with lots of opening thunder. With a relatively humble beginning in 1975 that counted slightly less than 2,000 visitors and 365 participating aircraft, the Sun ‘n Fun organization (sun-n-fun.org) reports that in 2004 there were an estimated 160,000 people, nearly 5,000...

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The Eklund Hotel

June 2005-  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...

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310 to the Bahamas

June 2005-  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...

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Engine Replacement Decisions

June 2005-  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...

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Visual Instruments Flap Position Indicator

June 2005-  The Problem Cessna single-engine aircraft flap systems changed from a manual to an electrical design in the 1960s. Bill, a 1966 Cessna 182J, and his pilot endured life with the curse of this design until installing the Visual Instruments Flap Position Indicator STC. The original Cessna system is a look-at-it-until-you-get-it-right-type workload. You hold the switch down until the flap indicator shows the flap angle that you hope is close to your desired setting. The first problem is that the flap indicator accuracy is plus or minus 10 degrees. Second, the indicator is in the lower right panel and the...

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