From the November 2019 Issue

ADS-B For Jets: Garmin, FreeFlight Tops

It's no surprise that the U.S. fleet of GA turbines will fall short of the upcoming ADS-B equipage mandate. At press time, 70 percent of small jets and turboprops comply. Some call this the forgotten part of the market-the category between pistons and mid- to large-size bizjets and airliners. And if you're ready to pull the trigger on the purchase of a small step-up turbine that isn't ADS-B equipped, you'll have a problem flying in the ADS-B airspace in a couple of months.


Current Issue

ICAO Flight Plan Codes: Required For IFR, VFR

Specifically, on the form there's Item 10 Equipment and Item 18 Other Information. Item 10 has two parts: avionics and surveillance capability. What makes the codes confusing is that unlike the older domestic flight plan form that used installed equipment, the ICAO flight plan goes a step further. The codes not only could refer to installed equipment (e.g., "D" for DME), but also capability ("B" for LPV) and approvals ("W" for RVSM Approved-reduced vertical separation minima, above FL290) and at times, combinations such as "Y" for VHF with 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability. Got that?

Clarity Aloft Flex: Less Weight, No BT

One important trait we've always favored is the Clarity's durable build quality. Remember, the idea of an ITE model is to make the wearing experience a minimalist one. It's all about freedom from the intrusive nature of circumaural or even supra-aural designs. But to succeed the set has to be lightweight, yet durable enough to survive the abuse a typical pilot asks of them. Bend them, sit on them, step on them and drop them. And those thin wires-they're asking to break. We've tried all of the above and still can't break the Clarity.

Your Flight Review: Inexpensive Prep Tips

The only downside to not getting the FR endorsement on the first time you fly with a CFI is that if your 24 months has expired since your last FR, you can't fly as PIC (that includes solo) until you get a new endorsement. Um, that's also a very good reason for not putting your FR off until the last moment as the realities of aviation karma include delivering lousy weather for the one day you have available for the FR flight before it expires.

Phillips 66 New Oil: Lycoming Additive

In 1977 Cessna introduced the 172 N model, employing the newly developed O-320-H2AD engine and allowing Cessna and Lycoming's common parent to save money and offer slightly more horsepower. Unfortunately, the engineering compromises made in the valve train resulted in camshaft lobes and associated lifters that were quite corrosion intolerant. Cost saving led to minimizing the size of the hardened surface, so the contact pressures became extreme. The design was barely adequate, as long as no rust occurred. But any rust increased pressures beyond what the oil could handle, and metal-to-metal contact would occur, rapidly wearing away the valve train components in as little as a few hundred hours.

uAvionix TailBeacon: Another Low-Cost Option

And shops we talk with say ADS-B sales remain brisk, while scheduling remains a challenge. If you've waited until now, we wish you luck. It's as long as nine months to get on some schedules, and while some of the shops I talk with say they are installing primarily Garmin transponder-based solutions, I know a handful of A&P mechanics who have been busy installing the uAvionix skyBeacon wingtip ADS-B Out unit, which has LED position and strobe lighting.

Sporty's PJ2 Radio: Inexpensive VHF

The SP-400 is ably manufactured by Japan Radio, but for the PJ2, Sporty's found a new vendor called Rexon, a Taiwanese company with a modest line of portable radios, including a VHF aviation model. Because Sporty's didn't like the operating logic of Rexon's off-the-shelf RHP-530, despite its $40 lower retail price, it commissioned Rexon to build a clean-sheet design for its new radio, says Sporty's Doug Ranly. "No one knows about it [RHP-530] because it's not very user friendly. That's one reason we didn't want to sell it because of complications in programming and using it," Ranly says.

David Clark: A Story of Survival

I remember the drill like it was yesterday. Self-announce the 45-degree entry to downwind by shouting into the Telex hand mic, stow the Telex mic between the knees, power back, carb heat on and work in some flaps as the cabin speaker in the old Cessna 150 screeched with garbled combined radio calls from every Unicom within a 100-mile range. Those were the bad old days of flying without headsets, of course. Then I stepped up a layer in the food chain and blew my college partying wad on a David Clark headset and never looked back. I think my first model was the company's H10-30-you know, the set with the signature green domes, shiny mic boom and clamping pressure higher than a college-age teenager on a Friday night.

Piper Comanche:

The original airplane had a 60-gallon fuel system. In 1961, Piper offered an optional 90-gallon system, which gave the Comanche 180 seriously long legs: nine hours, provided it was only loaded with the pilot, one passenger and a little baggage. Range remains one of the Comanche's strong points and many have been fitted with even more fuel capacity in tip tanks and fuselage tanks to give it impressive endurance. In 1961, the gross weight of the 250 was boosted by 100 pounds. Electric flaps replaced the manual ones in 1962 models. Production of both the 180 and 250 ended after the 1964 model year. The 180, which obviously came second to its bigger brother in load carrying and was not selling as well as the 250, was dropped altogether while the 250 was upgraded to the 260.

Letters From Readers: November 2019

It's the airplanes with the first-generation fuel selectors you want to be cautious of. In August 2019 the FAA issued an airworthiness concern sheet (ACS) that requests PA-28 owners and operators of first-gen fuel selectors (these are the round, flat-plate selector assemblies installed in the lower sidewall) to provide operational input. It wants to know if operators have mistakenly selected the Off position instead of the intended Left or Right Tank position. It could turn into an AD.

Download The Full November 2019 Issue PDF

Chances are you’ve flown with a David Clark headset at least once, and you might even own a set or two or three. As my short attention span flashed back to 1986, or so, it seemed fitting to try David Clark’s latest Pro-X2 model for the field report we ran in the October 2019 Aviation Consumer. When the article (and the video chaser) hit, some wrote in saying they were happy the company was still selling headsets because like me, David Clark was the first headset they bought—and the set still works.

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