From the September 2014 Issue

Robinson R44

Pilots looking for a used aircraft usually have a mission in mind: Carry a specific payload over a certain distance in a minimum amount of time. And if you need to get to and from remote locations while mixing it up at nearby Big City International, you might have overlooked the helicopter.

Current Issue

Lightspeed Follow-Up: Ensure a Correct Fit

in our August report, we were impressed with Lightspeed Aviation’s new Zulu PFX headset, but had issues with consistent ANR performance. At press time this month, Lightspeed sent us a new headpad that improved its fit and performance, transforming the headset.

Bug Off: Cleaning Leading Edges

Bugs have been defined as small flying creatures that hurl themselves at airplanes intending, through sheer numbers, to deprive them of flight. While not nearly as effective as icing in changing the shape of a wing’s leading edge, a layer of bug splat does affect performance and efficiency.

PMA450 Audio Panel: True Dimensional Sound

An impressive trait of audio maker PS Engineering is its drive to improve and advance products that would otherwise remain cutting edge for years to come. It seems every time I evaluate one of its feature-packed audio panels, a new model with more capability comes along a year later.

GoPro or Garmin? Hero Outside, VIRB Inside

In an age of shameless navel gazing and epidemic self-absorption, how do you know if something really happened if you don’t have a clip of it on your YouTube channel? Thus, the profusion of so-called point of view (POV) cameras that can grab video from perches unimaginable a decade ago­—including airplane wings and cockpits.

Great Lakes Biplane: Docile, Sporty and Fun

Economists have a name for things that are in daily use despite having been designed multiple decades ago: persistent technology. Biplanes fit the definition, although pilots don’t call them that; they call them fun, an even mix of nostalgia and unique performance characteristics. That more than anything explains why biplanes have been in and out of production since the 1930s and the latest one to go into production is the Great Lakes 2T-1A-2, a modern revision of the classic biplane made famous by barnstormer Tex Rankin.

Savvy Analysis: Protecting Your Engine

In the years since Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management (SAMM) (January 2009 Aviation Consumer) brought managed aircraft maintenance from the turbine to the owner-flown piston world, the company’s practice of analyzing the engine monitor data of its clients has resulted in the collection of a massive database. According to company founder Mike Busch, it has the engine data from more than 600,000 flights.

Angle of Attack Systems: A Growing Market

For years the FAA snubbed its nose at angle of attack system retrofits for certified light aircraft. A handful of owners got lucky when the shop was able to sneak field approval paperwork through the FSDO, while others ran into a regulatory roadblock when field inspectors deemed AOA retrofits too major of a modification to approve. The expensive and time-consuming chase for additional supporting data often put an end to the project. That’s changing.

YellowBird: Affordability Reimagined

Walking around AirVenture 2014 at Oshkosh—almost 30 years from the day that I took my first training flight in a Cessna 150—my 15-year-old daughter Ashley spotted AOPA’s Yellowbird 152 on display. “Dad, I need one of these,” she matter-of-factly remarked in a voice that commanded the same attention as her mother’s. I was 15 when I first enthusiastically strapped into the little trainer and now Ashley is focused on dual instruction of her own in a 152. A bright yellow one, she says. While it’s tough to find anyone that’s not fond of the 150/152 (“The J3 of our generation,” says AOPA president Mark Baker), let’s put emotion aside.

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