From the March 2019 Issue

LED Landing Lights: Worth the Investment

This economy of scale has put upward pressure on volume, downward pressure on pricing and competitive pressure to improve LED efficiency and longevity. In new aircraft, LED landing lights are all but standard, as are LED position and and strobe lights. The aftermarket remains a mixed bag. A survey of any ramp will find a smattering of LEDs, but a bunch of old GE 4509s. That the retrofit market is small is indicated by the small number of players-about six. As we went to press in February, that dropped by one when Whelen announced that it acquired LoPresti Aviation's entire line, including the recently formed Illumivation for LED products. The new combined entity is called Whelen Aerospace Technologies. Most of these companies have some tilt toward large commercial and military applications because, well, that's where the profit is.


Current Issue

Vortex Generators: Got STOL? Think Twice

When things go south and you have to park an airplane in an unintended location, touching down at a lower stall speed means less energy to dissipate in the crash. Energy is a squared function, so reducing impact speed, even a little, pays big dividends. In a twin, reducing Vmc means reducing the risk of an uncontrolled roll following engine failure. A crash right side up means a far higher chance of survival than smacking the ground inverted.

IFR Training Hoods: ViBAN, Overcasters Top

The FAA calls them view-limiting devices, or VLDs, but we call them hoods. The concept is simple: In visual conditions simulate instrument conditions by restricting the pilot's view to only the instrument panel and nothing outside. Who among us, however, hasn't had "the hood" on and still snuck a peak outside? So, no matter how much it restricts your vision to the sides, you can always turn your head just that little bit and get a fleeting glimpse of the visual world beyond the instrument panel.

Garmin GTR200B: Comm, Bluetooth ICS

The $1395 GTR200B (the B is for Bluetooth) picks up where the first-gen $1199 GTR200 (still available) left off and sports the same chassis and overall footprint. Weighing just shy of two pounds, the radio measures 1.35 inches high by 6.25 inches wide and 9.39 inches deep with the interface connectors in place. That chassis is fairly deep and can pose a challenge for some panels, but it's slim enough to save space on the face of the panel.

Airframe Vibration: Look Beyond the Prop

Although we're primarily concerned with airframe vibration for this article, it's worth a few words on engine mounts, or engine isolators, as they're more appropriately called. We covered them in detail in the January 2015 Aviation Consumer. These elastomer donut-like components that live between the airframe and the engine serve the important purpose of dampening the rigid airframe from the hammering vibration of the engine and propeller. Engine vibes can certainly do damage, including cracking major structural components, loosening rivets, fatiguing metal and damaging instruments, to name a few issues. Steve Gruenberg, a professional vibration analyst, told us to "Think of airframe vibration as multiple impacts-as in taking a hammer to the structure."

TSO Certifications:Here To Stay, For Now

Digging deeply into the installation data for Garmin's new GTR200B comm radio got us thinking about the requirement of TSO certification. With autopilots and primary EFIS systems being approved without a TSO, but instead via AML-STC (approved model list supplemental type certificate), are the days of TSO approval coming to an end? Garmin-a company that cranks out a lot of them in short order-says no. You don't have to dive far into the regulations to see why.

Beech Baron 55

All the way down to the basic Musketeer, Beech just took pains to get its airplanes' flying manners a cut above everything else, and that applies in spades to the Baron series. Fly most any Beechcraft model and you will likely come away impressed with its sturdy feel, solid build and, especially, its satisfying handling. Even so, every aircraft company has to make compromises. In the 55 Baron, for instance, what many find to be pleasant handling characteristics can prove to be a handful in poor weather, or when the air turns green with turbulence. We shouldn't have to reiterate that nothing comes for free, particularly in a higher-end Beech.

Letters From Readers: March 2019

But there are more BendixKing products, including the AeroCruze autopilot and the AeroVue Touch retrofit flight display, that we're waiting for. We reached out to BendixKing with an update and per its request submitted a list of questions pertaining to product and certification status. At press time, we were told by a BendixKing spokesperson that its communication team is spread thin and finding the right spokespeople to answer our product questions was posing a challenge. It said it would reach out to Aviation Consumer when it can offer product updates.

A Reality Check at Tiedown Row Number Five

My friend (who has flight training on the bucket list) has lived within a few miles of the airfield for a lot of years, yet never made it onto the field to see just what this little-airplane flying thing is all about. I put on my ambassador's hat and offered a tour, careful not to understate the risks, but saved the cost of aircraft ownership thing for later, which might have set her up for a big letdown. Still, there was no doubt in my mind this gal could be a good pilot and future aircraft owner.

Airframe Vibration: Look Beyond the Prop

Although we're primarily concerned with airframe vibration for this article, it's worth a few words on engine mounts, or engine isolators, as they're more appropriately called. We covered them in detail in the January 2015 Aviation Consumer. These elastomer donut-like components that live between the airframe and the engine serve the important purpose of dampening the rigid airframe from the hammering vibration of the engine and propeller. Engine vibes can certainly do damage, including cracking major structural components, loosening rivets, fatiguing metal and damaging instruments, to name a few issues. Steve Gruenberg, a professional vibration analyst, told us to "Think of airframe vibration as multiple impacts-as in taking a hammer to the structure."

Download The Full March 2019 Issue PDF

The $1395 GTR200B (the B is for Bluetooth) picks up where the first-gen $1199 GTR200 (still available) left off and sports the same chassis and overall footprint. Weighing just shy of two pounds, the radio measures 1.35 inches high by 6.25 inches wide and 9.39 inches deep with the interface connectors in place. That chassis is fairly deep and can pose a challenge for some panels, but it's slim enough to save space on the face of the panel.

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