From the March 2014 Issue
Ask a Grumman Tiger owner what they like about the airplane and youll likely get an earful of energetic praise. Most owners gush over the Tigers snappy handling, healthy climb performance and slide-back canopy that allows for open-air flight. Theres arguably lots of appeal to these little cruisers. Non-Grumman enthusiasts (and even some mechanics) just wont understand. Some call them silly little airplanes.
The list of approved maintenance items an aircraft owner can do under FAR Part 43 is long and includes replacing, cleaning and gapping plugs. In the spirit of cleaning, we think checking plug resistance is also on the list.
Garmins GDL39 portable ADS-B receiver is just one choice in a crowded market of capable low-cost solutions. In our view, the GDL39 has been shadowed by the competition because it lacked some of the advanced features that buyers might expect from a modern portable ADS-B receiver. For example, while other brands sport full AHRS functionality, the utilitarian GDL39 is stark, by comparison, offering little more than an integral Bluetooth GPS receiver.
The most unsung aviation invention of the past 40 years isnt diesel engines or glass panels, but the lowly headset, without which most of us would be deafer than we already are. And if headsets are to do their stuff, they need to be plugged into effective intercom systems (ICS), a product category that improves with each new iteration.
Pilots have been looking for ways to make their airplanes faster and more efficient since there has been airplane ownership. One of the long-targeted spots for aerodynamic clean up has been the gap between the trailing edge of the wing and the ailerons and flaps.
According to GAMA statistics, there are 611,000 active pilots in the United States and only 223,000 registered general aviation aircraft. Even allowing for air taxi airplanes, clubs and partnerships, this means that lots of us are flying airplanes that we dont own. Some of us rent from local flight schools, some borrow from friends.
Goodness knows, there are a lot of ways we can spend money on improving our airplanes and plenty of folks who will promise us the moon in terms of performance or glitz or impressive panel displays. Many times the sales promotion includes a claim that the product makes the airplane safer. But which products do? New paint? Hardly. Glass panels? No proof, yet. Retrofit shoulder harness? You bet.
The way we see it, if theres an aircraft manufacturer that could have an advantage in the LSA market, its Vans Aircraft. For decades, Vans has dominated the kit market with the proven and respected RV line. With over 8000 RV aircraft flying, homebuilt RVs have an earned reputation for excellent handling, decent ergonomics and plenty of fun factor.
I just received my February 2014 issue of Aviation Consumer and read with interest the article on turbochargers, since Ive been flying my Mooney 231 converted to a 252 for the past 6500 hours and 27 years. I was surprised at the estimated turbo surcharge of $25 per hour, with most of it being for a $2200 overhaul at 1200 hours. If you were to put aside $25 per hour for 1200 hours (to cover a $2200 overhaul), that would be $30,000. Lets say the engine made it to 1500 hours. The turbo allowance would have amounted to $37,500, which for me would more than cover both the engine and turbo overhaul.