Photos: Keith Wilson
You know the kind of woman who is the last word in elegance, but also goes hiking in Levi’s and a work shirt? The Stationair is a bit like that; it has dual personalities. It’s a glamorous mini-airliner, but it’s also a cargo-shifter that can cope with jungle airstrips.
The Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair provided for this flight test by Cessna’s dealer is the model first introduced in 2009. It has an all-glass panel, a turbocharged engine, on-board oxygen and leather seats for six. In 2009 Cessna introduced a number of detail improvements over earlier models, including...Read more
No doubt you have read a multitude of editorial on the subject of the Go/No Go decision. In reality, it should probably be called the Go On/Not Go On decision, since Go/No Go implies that the decision is made on the ground prior to departure. But in the real world, that is not always the case.
Flying is expensive enough as it is. But you don't have to cut corners or cramp your flying style, just to save a few bucks.
Own an airplane and fly it long enough and you will develop your own little trick to save a few pennies here and there. I'd love to hear about them. Here are some of my personal favorites.
In August, Hurricane Charley blew through Florida and into the Carolinas. That fast-moving Category Four storm cut a compact swatch of destruction across the state, effectively bringing aviation operations to a halt for a few days, and much longer at affected airports.
Just when we got a handle on that recovery effort, and the TFRs had disappeared, Hurricane Frances entered our reality. On Monday, August 30, everyone began to take him seriously. Tuesday happened to be my kid’s birthday and I was determined not to press the panic button too early and deprive him of his day.
September 2004 -
After years of work, the FAA has finally issued a new rating category, targeted at lowering the cost of flying. Called the Sport Pilot Certificate, this new rating is specifically designed to work with a new class called Light Sport Aircraft.
The Sport Pilot rating addresses the weakness found in the Recreational Pilot Certificate, which is so limited that it is virtually useless.
When I make my semi-annual pilgrimage to my dentist’s office, I always notice the small sign on the wall that says “If you ignore your teeth, your problems will eventually go away.”
Lots of piloting and aircraft ownership details are just the same—it’s sort of a pay-me-now or pay-me-later scenario with so much of what we do with and around our airplanes. For that reason, I’ve always got my antenna up for better ways of doing what needs to eventually be done.
Without a doubt, they’re the hardest-working, most under-appreciated part of your airplane. Of course, I’m talking about your propeller.
Most of us just think of a propeller as a chunk of aluminum spinning around on the front of our airplane. How wrong we are. Your propeller is one of the most highly stressed components on your airplane. During normal operation, it has to withstand 10 to 20 tons of centrifugal force that is trying to pull the blades right off the hub.
“The value of a twin-engine aircraft is that it gets you out of the trouble you wouldn’t be having in the first place unless you were flying a twin.” —Murphy’s Law of multi-engine aircraft
After the resumption of civil production following World War II, Cessna Aircraft knew it had to get into the multi-engine business in order to expand its markets, keep growing and hopefully stay profitable. About the only new airplane competition in 1950 was the ubiquitous Twin Beech, the DeHavilland Dove, the new limited-production Aero Commander… and it was rumored that Piper was at work building the...Read more
Oshkosh! For any GA pilot who’s been around for a while, it makes the heart beat faster. Once a year, Wittman Regional becomes the world’s busiest airport, with over 10,000 arrivals in less than a week.
Static displays this year featured a mammoth Air Reserve Command C-5A Galaxy transport, along with historic aircraft including the C-141 “Hanoi Taxi” that ferried POWs home after the end of the Vietnam War. A wide range of other military aircraft visited, including a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, AV8B Harrier, F-15 and F-18.
Only big airplanes with jet engines have to worry about replacing things on a calendar or time in service basis. None of that applies to my airplane, or does it?
We all know that transport airplanes have to change landing gear, and starters, and engine components and many other components on a time table that is based on time the component has been in service, not the condition of the component. The selection of what is on these time life lists is made during the certification of the aircraft, and sometimes items are added from service history of the aircraft.
Seventy percent of runway incursions happen to General Aviation pilots. Getting lost at an airport when you are trying to taxi is not limited to GA aircraft, it is just that there are so many of us and we usually operate without the help of a co-pilot.
With over 650,000 pilots and 240,000 aircraft in this country it is amazing that we don’t have more runway incursion accidents and incidents. In other words, most of us are doing a good job when it comes to having situational awareness and running a professional cockpit.
Looking at the insurance premium for amphibious aircraft is an eye-opening reality check. Why? The answer should be obvious. Insurance companies know that sooner or later the plane they have insured might end up on the wrong side of the water.
A seaplane broker specializing in Cessna amphibians told me that 50 percent of the planes he has sold have been involved in at least one incident and the other 50 percent may have omitted the incident from their respective logbooks.
There is nothing as exhilarating as landing a seaplane on some desolate, pristine lake in the middle of nowhere or inside a coral reef next to an island in the Bahamas.
If buying a seaplane is in your future, I’d like to give you a few dos and don’ts. Actually I’m really more of an expert on the don’ts, because I’ve already made most of the mistakes.
Let’s start off by describing the buying part, which is like trying to get a politician to tell the truth about anything. The first question you should ask is, “Mr. Seller, has your plane...Read more
I have been hooked on airplanes from the beginning of my memories as a little kid. Going places over the horizon is a great adventure even today, 50 years after my first flying lesson.
“Adventures with Bill” and other stories are my way to share some of the insights, experiences and thoughts I have about flying single-engine airplanes with you. These adventures will be interspersed with lessons learned in my day job flying a Cessna twin and Citation Excel as a line captain for a major fractional ownership operation.
In 1965, Cessna had already been the industry leader for two decades, building more than half of the world’s GA products. In the ten years since they had introduced the 172 Skyhawk, about 9,000 of the four-place singles had been built—it was already the world’s most popular airplane.
But the title of No. 1 came with certain obligations, and assurance of continued business through R&D was one. There had been new features added to the 172, like the Omni-Vision rear window, aerodynamic clean-up, one-piece windshield and the like, but both management and engineering were interested in the business an advanced...Read more
The Continental O-200 and its big brother O-300 are candidates for the best-selling General Aviation engine ever built. Originated in the late 1940s and built as the C-75, 85, 90, 125 and 145, they powered countless Cessna 120s, 140s, 150s, 170s, 172s, 175s and a host of other manufacturers’ models.
Designations were changed during the 1950s to reflect displacement rather than horsepower: four of the 4.1” x 3.9” cylinders totaled 201 cu. in. and six of them added up to 301 cu. in.
The early decades of aviation saw the proliferation of aircraft into many aspects of daily life. Proving itself invaluable in war, the airplane also found use in the war against six-legged pests in the farm fields of America.
The first known use of a heavier-than-air machine occurred in August 1921. A United States Army Air Service Curtiss JN-4 Jenny piloted by John A. Macready was modified at McCook Field to spread lead arsenate to kill Catalpa Sphinx caterpillars at a farm near Troy, Ohio. This first test was considered highly successful.
The first commercial operations were begun in 1924 by Huff-Daland...Read more
If you have a midair collision it isn’t going to happen like it does in the movies. It won’t be a head-on, high-speed thing like those dogfight passes in “Top Gun.” It won’t be a Beechcraft Baron hovering in your windshield just before you smack into it, again head-on like in that old “Airport” movie.
According to a recent study by the AOPA Safety Foundation, chances are you’ll overtake or be overtaken in a midair collision—not smacked in the face by an oncoming airplane in a head-on mishap. Eighty-two percent of midair collisions happen when a faster aircraft overtakes and...Read more
The old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” was certainly true of Clyde V. Cessna.
Raised in South Central Kansas, he soon learned how clever he was with mechanical devices and began working for an implement/auto dealer. Then he discovered a hidden talent for sales. Those two attributes led him to early success as an automobile dealer—until the day he discovered airplanes.
Smitten with the new flying machine, Cessna bought an early Bleriot XI replica and doggedly tried and tried until both he and the airplane learned...Read more
I have been fortunate to have had the privilege to fly all my life. From a youngster, through my teen years, and then in the military, I have enjoyed the thrill of flying both General Aviation aircraft, fighters and training aircraft.
Throughout my life different folks, agencies, departments, and my wife taught me to keep as many options open as possible. I have learned the lesson well. During years of flying, I have applied this rule very routinely… not ever giving it much thought; it was just a matter of course.
When my flight plan and the weather is a bit...Read more
If you’re a pilot who says you’ve never even dreamed of flying a jet fighter… maybe your nose is growing?
The end of the Cold War in the 1990s brought a sigh of relief to much of the world. The end of the arms race between the Soviet Union and United States delivered a welcome downsizing of many military assets. For pilots, that meant the first time in history that a selection of jet warbirds were available for civilian use.
While the Cold War was winding down, Larry Salganek was busy teaching aerobatics in a T-34 Mentor. As the first foreign...Read more
On a crisp March afternoon in 1968, Gene Morris was flying over Springfield, Mo. He was chatting with his friend, the Springfield airport manager, on the Unicom radio channel when the conversation turned to a Cessna 140A that had come up for sale.
The airport manager said that the first $2,000 would buy the Cessna, and Gene said, “Hold it; I’ll be there tomorrow with the money!”
The following day, March 17, 1968, American Airlines pilot Gene Morris purchased that Cessna 140A, N5669C, sight unseen.
The airplane was rough by any standard. The previous owner bought the aircraft in Alaska and moved it...Read more
I’ve logged more than 8,400 hours in tailwheel aircraft.
Many early airplanes were equipped with a simple skid mounted on the underside of the tail for landing on unimproved fields. These were taildraggers in the purest sense of the term. But as both airplane and airfield design progressed, tailskids soon gave way to tailwheels. In turn, the tailwheel yielded to the nosewheel (tricycle gear) design.
Today, pilots use the terms “taildragger,” “tailwheel,” and “conventional gear” interchangeably to describe tailwheel-equipped airplanes. With all due respect to those still flying tailskid airplanes, I will also use these terms interchangeably in this article. Furthermore,...Read more
After The Other Woman’slast annual inspection, Victor, my mechanic, installed a new dual EGT gauge before we put everything back together. I had also planned to install a Power Flow exhaust system at the same time. However, I ran into a few minor problems because the system I had purchased was an “experienced” system. These weren’t insurmountable issues, but they did cause a bit of a delay.
Some folks are probably thinking, “Why in the world would you buy a used system?” Well, the answer is simple: money. I would love to buy everything brand-new, but with the bad economy...Read more
The old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” was certainly true of Clyde V. Cessna.
Raised in south central Kansas, he soon learned how clever he was with mechanical devices and began working for an implement/auto dealer. Then he discovered a hidden talent for sales. Those two attributes led him to early success as an automobile dealer—until the day he discovered airplanes.
Smitten with the new flying machine, Cessna bought an early Bleriot XI replica and doggedly tried until both he and the airplane learned to fly...Read more
Pilots and airplane owners always need new stuff. Flying’s like that. The stuff could be a new headset, a bigger flight bag, or flight simulation software. Unlike other hobbies, airplane stuff can’t be purchased at Wal-Mart—or Neiman Marcus, for that matter. Airplane stuff requires an “Airplane Stuff” store.
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, a megastore for all things airplane, has branched out again with Pilotshop.com. The Pilotshop.com catalog is full of cool airplane stuff, useful airplane stuff, and must-have-to-be-safe airplane stuff. There’s also fun-for-the-family airplane stuff.
Pilotshop.com has airplane pedal cars for the future pilots in the family; flight simulation accessories such...Read more
The Revolution is Coming – Get Ready
NextGen is going to cause an aviation revolution, and all pilots need to prepare for Jan. 1, 2020. If you are unfamiliar (or even if you aren’t), the JetWhine blog has an excellent discussion of the FAA’s proposed rule and its plans to decommission the majority of the VORs. (See Resources at the end of this article for the URL. —Ed.)
ADS-B Out will be a requirement; GPS navigators will be an implicit requirement for decommissioning VORs. Every pilot will need to make a decision—and some may just give up flying entirely. Others will...Read more
Aircraft maintenance records can be a source of confusion for many aircraft owners and pilots. What information is necessary, what inspections are required, and determining whether an aircraft is in fact airworthy according to the maintenance records is important.
Unfortunately, airworthiness is not limited to the physical condition of the aircraft but in fact is a catchall term that can be used to describe the physical condition of the aircraft as well as the records and whether they indicate an inspection is overdue.
Most all aircraft in the General Aviation fleet are issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate. This certificate remains valid...Read more
Walking into the hangar with my bags for a December departure, Bill, our ever-eager-to-go 182, greeted me with, “Hey, Charles, where are we going?”
“Well, Bill, our destination is Long Beach, Calif., and the trip is going to offer some weather challenges. I promise to work with you in order to reach our destination safely.”
You can find it at almost every General Aviation airport. A little sign on the bulletin board, or a business card taped to the self-serve gas pump, advertising annual inspections for some ridiculous price like $200.
We all know that it is not possible to perform an annual inspection on even the simplest of General Aviation aircraft for the sum of $200, yet there it is, in black and white. What’s disturbing is the fact that these guys stay in business, which would indicate someone is utilizing those services.
Owning an aircraft can mean unanticipated expenses, and you don’t want to...Read more
“The time between the notes relates the colour to the scenes”1
Annual, day number three, starts out with a predawn ride toward the airport. The maintenance facility where I’ll be working doesn’t open till 0830, but the nearby gym is open early, and these old bones can use the warm-up. I noticed (again) yesterday while lying on my chest to remove the rudder pedal area cover plate that it’s a bit more of a squeeze this year, so maybe the gym stop will ease the squash if I make it a habit....
So, on the way to the airport the radio...Read more
Here’s the first test to see if you’re ready for backcountry (bush) flying. Dig out the Pilot Owners Handbook or Owner’s Manual for your airplane. Look up the minimum distance required to do a short field takeoff. Add in all the variables—air temperature, surface, density altitude, runway slope—to come up with a “book” distance. Then imagine that your life depends on your ability to get off a remote airstrip in the book distance. Fly a series of test flights to see if you can get off the ground in that distance. This is the first step in flying “scientifically”—gathering...Read more
Fasteners keep our machines together. They’re simple, strong—and often neglected, overlooked and misunderstood. They’re also critical to our machines’ condition, and ultimately to our own longevity. It’s worth looking at them and knowing what we’re looking at.
Bolts hold things together, or keep things from shifting. Tension pulls on the bolt; shear forces try to bend it or cut it off. (The best example of a fastener designed for use in shear is a pin.)
In the seventh aviation novel by Tom Block, an airline company whose owners shield a hidden agenda, an airliner with some fancy technical upgrades and a cast of characters with secrets, troubled pasts and crossed purposes come together for what is supposed to be a routine flight from Rome to New York.
Capt. Jack Schofield, First Officer Peter Fenton and Second Officer Linda Erickson are in the cockpit of a Consolidated 768—the Consolidated 768 is a Boeing 767 modified by Trans-Continental airlines with advanced electronics and other airframe alterations—preparing Flight 3 for departure from Rome. Checklists are being followed, flight...Read more
June 2012 It was summer 1967. In San Francisco young people gathered to join in the hippie experience. There was free food, free love and free drugs.
In Wichita there was another type of gathering as Cessna debuted its 177 Cardinal to dealers. It was a beautiful airplane with its cantilever, laminar-flow wing and a large, spacious cabin. About 1,100 Cardinals were sold that day, with many dealers opting for same-day delivery and flying the Cardinals home.
It all started innocently enough. Dr. Tim Smith and his wife bought a Cessna 152 for their own flight training. During his quest for a private pilot certificate, Tim ate, drank and slept aviation, so it was no surprise when he taught his Frankfort, Ky. high school math students how to model linear algebra using a flying airplane. Wow. This aviation schtuff is kinda cool, they thought.
At the end of those first nine weeks, Smith’s students did not want to stop, so he enrolled them in an online aviation program called AeroScholars. More students from the high school began...Read more
As aviators, it seems we are perpetually seeking out new destinations. These achievements—so fastidiously recorded in our logbook—leave us with fond memories. For many of us, navigating to (and landing!) at the big show in Wisconsin figures prominently on our aviation bucket list.
For me, there are few memories as lucid as flying the Fisk Arrival and hearing, “…land on the green dot and expedite it off of the runway!” I think that flying your airplane into EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh is something every pilot should do at least once.
AirVenture 2012 is the 35th year my wife Karen and I...Read more
Military flight training prepares students to move into high performance aircraft that have many fascinating flight characteristics. But where can General Aviation pilots experience military flying?
During my visit to Nu-Tek Aircraft Instruments, Steve Cannaby showed me the shop that contains his fascinating second business, Nu-Tek Simulations. It’s where retired military simulators are brought back to life and then transported to airshows all over the country.
John Evans, an old friend and C-414 owner, is a former flight surgeon and speaks fondly of his days in the Air Force tending to his pilot patients and getting his share...Read more
Returning to Waltanna (SN65) after a long trip, I noticed that my 182, Bill, didn’t seem to be his normal bubbly self. I asked him why he was so quiet, and he said, “Well, I seem to be having some trouble with some of my gyros. Did you notice how fast the heading indicator precessed? Then on our last takeoff, the heading just danced around over a 90-degree arc.”
I said, “Bill, you know your gyros have been in the panel for 10 years. How about removing your gyros and taking them to the gyro doctor for a checkup?”...Read more
Cessna’s glamorous tomboy is both a “mini-airliner” and a cargo carrier that can cope with rough airstrips
You know the kind of woman who is the last word in elegance, but also goes hiking in Levi’s and a work shirt?The Stationair is a bit like that; it has dual personalities. It’s a glamorous mini-airliner, but it’s also a cargo-shifter that can cope with jungle airstrips.
The Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair provided for this flight test by Cessna’s dealer is the model first introduced in 2009. It has an all-glass panel, a turbocharged engine, on-board oxygen and leather seats for six. In...Read more
Most buyers do give the prop a good visual inspection, at least from the spinner outward. That’s important, and it can reveal nicks and perhaps some cracks or a bad paint job.
What else is there to consider? The answer depends on the prop’s construction. Is it wood, metal, or composite? Fixed, variable-pitch, or ground adjustable?
Generally speaking, fixed pitch is the easiest propeller to inspect. It is one piece; there are no moving parts. Variable pitch propellers are more complex. With so many moving parts, there are many more things that can present themselves as problems.
In short terms, the simpler...Read more
Cessna manufactured approximately 145,000 single engine airplanes between 1946 and 1986. The average age of an aircraft in the Cessna fleet is 42 years; that translates to a 1970 model aircraft. The average airplane has an aluminum airframe that was certified under Civil Air Regulations using Civil Aeronautics Administration standards from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
Certification requirements for legacy aircraft are similar to today’s certification strength requirements, but there are some major differences: the CAR standards contain no life limit or targeted requirement to detect metal fatigue as required under today’s certification standards.
No matter how carefully you treat one...Read more
Batteries, like many things in aviation, are unexciting unless they malfunction. Then, they can be annoying, perplexing, or even dangerous. A few tips passed on to the people who own them can save a lot of headache, frustration and possibly, repair cost...
Note: Because nickel cadmium (NiCad) and lead-acid batteries differ in many important respects—and accepted practices for one type may destroy the other!—this article discusses flooded (vented, wet cell) lead-acid batteries. (Lithium-ion batteries, available soon in some new aircraft, have their own full-system requirements and are not covered here.)
Today’s batteries are similar in design to the first voltaic cells...Read more
In the early 1970s, Cessna—along with every other General Aviation manufacturer—was selling airplanes. Vertical marketing was the strategy in vogue, and airframe manufacturers had a step-up program designed to introduce a new pilot to aviation in their brand of aircraft and keep them there.
The business jet market was dominated by Rockwell, which built the Sabreliner; Hawker, which built the DH-125-400; and Lear, whose small but incredibly efficient airplanes had earned them the nickname, “the executive mailing tube.”
Up to this point in aviation history, a small, lightweight, fuel efficient, high bypass turbofan engine applicable to small airframes had not been...Read more
“An airframe contains the elements necessary to turn it into a battery—all that’s lacking is an electrolyte.”
—Jim Van Gilder
Founder, Corrosion Technologies
When two different metals are near each other and are bathed in an electrolyte, electrolysis occurs. (That’s how a battery works.) Electrons transfer from one metal to the other. That’s corrosion.
Even aluminum skin and aluminum rivets are different alloys; unprotected metals at the places they meet, wetted by an electrolyte, will result in corrosion. Remove a skin from a 30-some-year-old airframe and you will likely find a circle of oxidation around each rivet hole.
Calling an airframe a “battery” may...Read more
The new Cessna model T240 Corvalis TTX is now touring the United States prior to deliveries scheduled for 2013. This is the latest refinement of the carbon fiber and fiberglass airframe Cessna purchased to enter the high performance single engine market.
The “TT” stands for twin turbo with an intercooler feeding a 310 hp Continental Motors TSIO-550-C engine. The “X,” well, maybe it stands for a little extra—such as the all-new Garmin G2000 panel that takes the user interface to a new level.
Kirby Ortega, my Cessna host and chief pilot for piston operations at Cessna Aircraft Co., provided...Read more
Improper fuel management, contamination and poor preflight planning cause far too many GA accidents; statistics reveal nearly two accidents per week on average. Whether the result of fuel exhaustion, improper planning or mechanical issues, the majority of these fuel mishaps are easily preventable.
Improper fuel management
However basic a fuel system may seem, as pilot in command it is important to know the system’s design and operation. Figures such as unusable fuel and total capacity, what fuel is considered part of the empty weight of the aircraft, and what type and grade of fuel is approved for your aircraft are...Read more
For all that light jets have promised, the reality of buying and flying one can be somewhere between frustrating and downright vexing, especially for those who are just now arriving on the scene.
And which of the new personal jet companies are you betting will even be around next year? Even if you’re ready to roll those dice, your choices for acquiring a light jet now include securing a delivery position that will seemingly be exercised by your grandchildren, or else, tossing a serious mordida to someone willing to sell you an acquisition date you can put on next year’s...Read more
Ladies, Start your engines!
Every June over 100 female pilots come together to participate in the four-day, 2,500-mile, cross-country, VFR, all-women’s Air Race Classic, the modern-day continuation of the Powder Puff Derby.
These pilots do not arrive in highly modified experimental aircraft. Quite the contrary: they race their every day, average, stock airplane—their “Sunday Sedan.” The Air Race Classic rules even prohibit entry of experimental aircraft for competition.
Basically, if your airplane is a commercially manufactured single or twin, is normally aspirated, has no restrictions on running continuous full power and can make each race leg in its entirety without fueling,...Read more
When you begin the search for the aircraft model that will best fit your most common mission profile, you define and prioritize the wants and needs that will fit into a defined budget.
You evaluate necessary compromises, and debate between two-place or four-place; speed; cargo capacity; VFR or IFR. Will the airplane be used on unimproved strips or paved runways? Then come the costs to acquire, operate, maintain and insure your choice.
The Light Sport category of new aircraft gives a pilot several possibilities, but most are small two-place aircraft and still run well in excess of $100,000. When one looks into...Read more
Preflight inspection of a floatplane is generally similar to that of a landplane. The major difference is the inspection of the floats. Floats, wires, attachment gear and ropes must be thoroughly checked for holes, buckling, damaged fittings and extensive wear.
The floats themselves should be inspected before each flight for possible leakage. Water in the float compartments can adversely affect water handling and flight characteristics including a shift in the aircraft’s center of gravity.
Individual compartments should be pumped out through the built-in bilge pump-outs by a hand-operated bilge pump. Always count the number of “strokes” in order to estimate the...Read more
Pretty much a Cessna 172 with a tailwheel and tandem seating for two, this warbird served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
Photographs by Keith Wilson
“Guys,” said the U.S. Army, “these fabric-covered spotter airplanes don’t last. How about you make us an all-metal replacement?”
That was in the late 1940s, between the end of World War II and the Korean War (which broke out in 1950). Luckily Cessna had just decided to make its 170, a four-seat version of the Cessna 140, all-metal, because until 1949 the 170 had fabric-covered wings.
A new fuselage with two seats in tandem was mated...Read more
Redheaded Copilot asked me where we should take our 2013 winter vacation. The last couple of years, we’d taken cruises.
I suggested it would be adventurous to take our airplane, N50KF—“50 Kilo Fox”—on a trip to the Out Islands of the Bahamas.
Redheaded Copilot replied, “I can’t swim.”
I observed that our first stop would be Bimini, which is only 46 nm off the Florida coast; and, that we had crossed Lake Michigan and back (73 nm each way); crossed Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown, Mass. and back (30 nm each way); crossed the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island and back (40...Read more
In the late 1970s Cessna executives became convinced that there was a market for a new utility aircraft—one that would be able to fly into remote strips and in extreme weather.
Studies confirmed the market was ready for a rugged, single-engine turboprop. If it also offered low operating and maintenance costs, Cessna personnel estimated they could sell 40 units per year in North America and possibly additional units in other markets.
Designers chose the 207 fuselage as the platform for the new model. The fuselage was widened and fitted with a 600 shp Pratt & Whiney PT6A-114 turbine engine. There was not...Read more
Useful tips for understanding your airplane’s turbocharger.
We get calls every week from someone across the country regarding bearing play. During pre-buy, annual inspections and routine maintenance, the common practice is to reach into the compressor housing inlet, grab the turbine wheel shaft and give it a wiggle. You might be surprised to know that you can expect to find some play when you do this.
A little explanation is in order. As you can see by the photos, the main bearings in these turbochargers look more like a bushing.
There are two items to consider when understanding proper bearing clearance: (1) the...Read more
CFA’s assistant director visits one of the biggest aviation celebrations in the world.
Well, this year, I had the privilege to visit Lakeland, Fla. for the very first time to attend one of the biggest aviation celebrations in the world. I’ve attended only a handful of conventions and airshows, including AOPA Aviation Summit and Kaneohe Bay Airshow, so I didn’t know what to expect.
Although I was only scheduled to attend for a short three days, I knew that I would be bedazzled by everything I saw, especially since I am a big aviation geek. Before I left, I asked Jen...Read more
A directory of Cessna Flyer supporters
Many of these companies offer multiple products and services but for the sake of this guide we are listing only specific categories. Please visit the company websites for complete information about their offerings.
Twice this past month friends of mine in two separate states found themselves attending the funerals of friends of theirs who died in crashes of General Aviation aircraft. The Florida death involved a Cessna Skymaster that lost one engine and had problems with the second engine, while in Nebraska the crash of a Piper took the lives of its young pilot and his friend when the PA-28 struck power wires shortly after takeoff.
These occurrences are awful tragedies for the families and friends of the dead. Having lost two friends myself to bad things happening to airplanes—one a former flight...Read more
An Unforgettable First Flight
April 21, 2013 1340Z
“Columbus Clearance, Shane 1. Through the Warren County RCO requesting VFR Flight Following to South Bend Regional at six thousand, five hundred.”
“Shane 1, Columbus Approach. Good morning, squawk 6666; maintain VFR and contact Columbus Approach on 118.55 when airborne.”
“Columbus Approach, Shane 1. Squawk 6666; contact Columbus on 118.55. We’ll be airborne shortly.”
On a see-forever Sunday morning in late April, I’m sitting in a twin engine airplane at I68, Lebanon-Warren County airport, 20 miles north of Cincinnati. In the back is Chuck DiGiovanna. He was supposed to be accompanied by his wife Patsy and their...Read more
The Cessna Aerobat makes an affordable entry to aerobatics and is a great all-rounder
In the 1960s, Cessna took note of the growing popularity of aerobatics and responded with the A150K Aerobat, introduced in 1970. This was a version of its popular two-seat nosewheel trainer with some structural reinforcement, a four-point harness to keep pilot and instructor in place under negative g and a few other modifications.
Considering that it was all rather a compromise, the resulting airplane turned out surprisingly well. One inevitable drawback was the rather poor view out, particularly in a loop when you need to be able...Read more
Hoop Earrings-Earwings? These 18k white gold hoops will make a great gift for the female aviator in your life—even if that's you. $695.00www.theabingdonco.com
Garmin D2 Pilot Watch-Move over, Dick Tracy: a new era in nifty watches has arrived. The new Garmin D2 Pilot does everything but catch the bad guys. GPS enabled with direct-to and nearest function buttons on its side. Interfaces with Garmin Pilot app. $449.00 msrpwww.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/pspages/garmind2watch.php?clickkey=952004
InReach SE-He's gone country—backcountry flying, that is. And if he has, make sure he's got a way to keep in touch. DeLorme's inReach SE is a portable satellite communicator. Send and receive text messages...Read more
If you have been wondering where I have been the last few months, the answer is, “out flying.”
In the last 60 days I have logged just under 150 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, flying in a variety of weather and flight situations. Sixty-eight hours of that time was dual instruction given, mostly in a King Air. I shot 27 approaches, of which two were to actual minimums and that included a rare actual missed approach; and I made 98 landings, four of which were at night. I also logged 1.1 hours of night flight and 5.1...Read more
When I first laid my eyes on what would become my next airplane, I immediately thought that it was quite attractive. The L-19 Bird Dog (type certificate Cessna 305F) sat up high and appeared to be alert and powerful—a good hunting dog, one might say.
The unusual ingredient in my first impression of this airplane was that I had absolutely no intention of buying it. That’s not what I was there for.
My mission for that day was to fly this pristine (actually, nearly brand-new—more on that later) warbird in pursuit of a feature article for the December 2004...Read more
If you had to pick the single most misunderstood aspect of aircraft ownership, logbooks would certainly be at or near the top of the list. All owners know they have to have them, but few understand their responsibilities as it pertains to maintaining those records and how those records may affect the operation of your aircraft.
If you want some interesting reading, look up AC-43-9C. This document, titled “Maintenance Records,” offers some insights as to the FAA’s position on record keeping. The following are paragraphs four and five:
Longtime friends Kendyl and Barbara Monroe finally decided to retire, leave New York City and move back home to the family ranch near Clayton, N.M. 10 years ago.
All this time the invitation to visit them in their new home on the New Mexico plains was there for the Lloyds to accept, and we missed a lot by not accepting sooner. In addition to managing the ranch, Kendyl joined a local group restoring the 100-year-old local hotel.
On one of Kendyl’s recent trips to Wichita, he described his new venture, The Eklund Hotel restoration, with all its trials and...Read more
In the wake of 9/11 and the massive government reorganization that followed, it was inevitable that some government agencies would have different rules and guidelines for defining specific operations than others.
As pilots, we are all very familiar with the FAA and the rules it publishes by which we operate our aircraft. But other government agencies don’t necessarily share the FAA’s definitions. Specifically, I am speaking about U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP.
Now if you never fly out of the United States, it may not matter to you. But if you occasionally venture beyond our nation’s borders...Read more
Bill has many standby systems with one major missing link. In the recent “Adventures with Bill” STC articles, a standby alternator was high on the list for future installations.
There are many accessories competing for space and ways to get power to various systems. The Cessna 182 engine installation creates a unique problem for direct standby alternator installations. The distance between the firewall and the engine accessory pad will not accommodate a direct drive standby alternator.
Other aircraft make and model installations use this second accessory pad for dual vacuum pumps. Attaching another alternator to a second belt drive on...Read more
In 1951, Cessna President Dwane Wallace was searching for a way to enter the up-and-coming helicopter market. Although Cessna had no rotary wing expertise, a Wichita neighbor, the cash-strapped Seibel Helicopter Co., had just certificated a helicopter using the patented Seibel Control System (requiring fewer drive gears and bearings than its competitors). Charles Seibel, a California Institute of Technology engineering graduate who had worked for Boeing on the XL-15 program, had built his first helicopter prototype in his basement.
In 1951, Dwane Wallace attended the ceremony for the CAA type certification of the Seibel Helicopter Co.’s new S-4 at...Read more
We had talked about having a plane with more capacity and speed for a number of years. N7429X, our 1960 Cessna 172, was an old friend and had taken us many places over the last thousand hours we had flown her. She was the plane I got my instrument rating in and practiced for my commercial.
Known as the “Old Girl” at the airport she flew several times a week with the bulk of her time being cross countries to Oshkosh, Maine, Atlanta, Block Island, Key West and our biggest trip to the Bahamas this past year.
The “Old...Read more
Avionics is where the action is (and has been!) for some time in aviation. It seems as if each month brings a new, relatively low-cost gadget or app designed to increase situational awareness, monitor aircraft systems or otherwise improve the lot of pilots.
This month, we’ll look at a product that’s been around for a few years and it’s a device that fits the “big bang for the buck” paradigm: Zaon’s passive collision avoidance system (PCAS), the PCAS MRX.
But why PCAS when there’s ADS-B and TCAS?
Before you begin reading this column I feel that I should warn you that it does not have a happy ending. But maybe the ending has not yet been written. Maybe the ending is for you to create in how you react to what you read, and what—if anything—you do about it. I tried as I wrote to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty, but I fear that I failed in that hope… and the glass itself may be leaking.
For many years, being a pilot—and the awareness that comes along with that role—and the flying of airplanes...Read more
One privilege of conducting air tests is that one gets to fly airplanes the like of which one would not normally experience. However, I have no desire to become a professional pilot, and am happy to remain a club-level PPL and react as one in such a situation. So, when an invitation was received from Roche Bentley (a true multi-business entrepreneur) to fly his uncommon and desirable twin, it was accepted with alacrity.
In January 1953 Cessna flew the prototype of one of their most successful light twins, the Model 310. This was at first deemed to be something of...Read more
Interestingly enough, most of the times when we use our torque wrenches, it’s not so much the torque we’re interested in. It’s the amount of tension or crushing force we’re exerting on the assembly through the tightening of the fastener.
Because the threads, materials and finishes in high-quality nuts and bolts are standardized, a given amount of torque (or twisting force) on a given threaded fastener will produce a fairly consistent amount of tension in the fastener. Because it’s difficult if not impossible to directly measure the tension in the fastener, we do the next-best thing: we check the torque...Read more
When you take flying lessons, you learn the basics of moving an airplane on the ground. At first, you’ll help your instructor, then you’ll do the moving under his or her supervision.
If your trainer is kept on a tiedown, most of what’s involved is just taxiing but from time to time you’ll have to move the airplane without using the engine. Where modern trainers are concerned, this is just a matter of muscle power—attach the tow bar to the nosewheel, and push or pull on the prop, near the hub. Older tailwheel trainers are even easier—just lift the tailwheel...Read more
Over the years I have relished the challenge of the efficiencies of packing. Early in my life, I owned a Corvair, notably short of space when packing for a 10-day vacation involving some camping along with some hoteling. When I was finished, the car held everything—but no more toothbrushes, please.
Several years later I was again challenged when packing for a week’s vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina—and it all had to fit in a C-172 along with two adults and three young children. Again, it was a success story.
This efficiency, of course, came full circle when we were...Read more
The 2013 California Pilots Association (CalPilots) annual meeting, “California Dreamin’,” was much bigger and better attended than past CalPilots get-togethers. Jolie Lucas and Mitch Latting are recognized for their inspired advocacy of the Oceano Airport (L52), and they turned their considerable skills toward organizing and promoting the meeting.
It was a rousing success. Spread over one and a half days, the event drew nearly 300 pilots, advocates, airplane owners and other nonspecific wing nuts.
The program included advocacy speakers such as Jamie Beckett of the Polk Aviation Alliance, Mike Jesch of the Fullerton (Calif.) Airport Pilots Association, and Bill Dunn of AOPA....Read more
The weather’s still pretty good as I write—though we’ve had a few cloudy days, and winter rain, fog and ice are just a couple of months away. Nonetheless, I’ve been spending more time on the ground than in the air lately.
I’ve spent some of it thinking about the changes we’re going to see in the air in the next few years, and the most worrying of those changes will be sharing the air with robots—unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted aircraft (RPVs), in a word: drones.
It’s already happened on a limited basis. Until recently there was a TFR over Beale...Read more
If you are a fan of "Antiques Roadshow" or a saver of things with the barely recognized thought that they might someday be worth enough that a grandchild will remember you fondly, give some thought to stashing away any sectional charts you have sitting around. Roll them up neatly and store them, away from sunlight and insects, up in your attic.
There's probably room next to that old Erector set, alongside your collection of manual typewriters, those two rotary dial phones and that precarious stack of mahogany cigar boxes your dad gave you.
I am no futurist, and my prognostications have often...Read more
Q: Dear Steve,
I like other GA pilots have concerns such as the fact that the value of my airplane has sagged, my mechanic has finally locked up his toolbox and hit the road on a rolling retirement, and the price of Avgas has cut back on my flying hours. However, today I’m writing to alert fellow readers of Cessna Flyer magazine about the day I almost burnt up my Cardinal.
Here’s the deal. Due to my age I need supplementary vision help. So I’ve had to start carrying a pair of nonprescription “readers” glasses with me when I fly.Read more
When you take flying lessons, you learn the basics of moving an airplane on the ground. At first, you’ll help your instructor, then you’ll do the moving under his or her supervision.
If your trainer is kept on a tiedown, most of what’s involved is just taxiing, but from time to time you’ll have to move the airplane without using the engine. Where modern trainers are concerned, this is just a matter of muscle power—attach the tow bar to the nose wheel, and push (or pull) on the prop, near the hub. Older tailwheel trainers are even easier—just lift the...Read more
You might think that this season of the year is an unusual time to have a discussion about aircraft icing. Not really. All you have to do is climb a few thousand feet, enter some visible moisture and you can easily have an ice issue on your hands.
Late summer and autumn are the best times to have this discussion because it allows you time to make sure your airplane is in good shape for the upcoming icing season and that your knowledge and training is up to the challenge.
By now pilots should know that it is a bad...Read more
September 2005- You can find it at almost every General Aviation airport. A little sign on the bulletin board, or a business card taped to the self-serve gas pump, advertising annual inspections for some ridiculous price like $200.
We all know that it is not possible to perform an annual inspection on the simplest of General Aviation aircraft for the sum of $200, yet there it is, in black and white. What’s disturbing is the fact that these guys stay in business, which would indicate someone is utilizing those services.
Owning an aircraft is an expensive proposition, and you don’t...Read more
October 2005- In last month’s issue, the trip preparation described all the necessary details required to plan this type trip. After departing Wichita with a fuel stop in Sioux St. Marie, Canada, we are in Goose Bay fuel and ready to start out Atlantic Crossing.
Goose Bay to Reykjavik: 1,338 nm
From Canada to Iceland, the requirement to know exactly where you are and where you are going gets deadly serious. Places to say, “Oops, we need to stop” are few and far between.
November 2005- If you operate your aircraft into large busy airports, this comment from the tower controller has almost become a cliché. “Caution wake turbulence,” your trusty government employee will say. “You are six miles behind a heavy Boeing 777. Wind calm, cleared to land.”
If you’ve been operating at large airports long you’ve heard this warning hundreds of times and nothing has happened to you. In a few instances your airplane went through a few seconds of rough air – nothing you couldn’t handle. Following a heavy 747 in past encounters only resulted in a little mild rocking and...Read more
With the increasing use of single-engine aircraft for actual IFR flight, it is important to understand and properly maintain the pneumatic system that operates the gyroscopic instruments.
Reliable aircraft operations require customary service and system replacement at regular intervals according to manufacturer specifications. Ignoring this system until it fails could end in disaster and at the least could become quite inconvenient and costly.
November 2005- While I was changing his oil and filter recently, Bill, the talking 182, casually asked, “Why is it that you go to the lil’ red schoolhouse to learn how to fly jets and you never go there to learn how to fly me?”
“Bill, that is an excellent question and I will see what I can do about it,” I replied.
December 2005- Some years ago I was listening to a conversation among a few pilots and happened to overhear the statement, “How do they find out?” This was in reference to a situation that happened to a pilot/aircraft owner as a result of an “error” in judgment that concerned operation of an un-airworthy aircraft.
While no accident occurred, a mechanical malfunction put the situation in the spotlight, an investigation took place and the facts were quickly uncovered. This individual faced an enforcement action and the knowledge of this spread among the local aviators.
December 2005- One of the more overlooked and certainly misunderstood areas of aircraft maintenance may be prop balancing. While most aircraft owners would never drive their car with the tires out of balance (and the steering wheel shaking in their hands) they don’t think twice about operating their airplane with the prop out of balance.
I flew with a buddy a week or so ago in his nicely restored Cherokee. It flew perfectly with hands off, but at cruise power there was an obvious vibration and it was clearly evident in the compass and in the artificial horizon, which was...Read more
December 2005- Author’s note: The Cessna Agwagons are working airplanes, employees that are paid by the hour to do hot, dirty jobs—sometimes seven days a week. It’s not likely that many Cessna Flyer Association members have ever flown an Agwagon, but you can be sure that the experience the company gained with this tough little bird found its way into every airplane that has since come from Wichita.
The first use of an airplane to disperse agricultural chemicals was in 1921, when Army Lt. John Macready spread insecticide on a field outside of Troy, Ohio that was infested with caterpillars. The...Read more