From the February 2015 Issue

Lycoming 2.0: Survival in a Harsh Market

To survive in a market that’s a shadow of what it was 40 years ago, Lycoming and Continental have had to reinvent themselves. This is the first of a series explaining changes at the engine companies.When’s the last time your late-model car broke? Not a check-engine light, but well and truly quit? It probably hasn’t happened and one reason for that is that modern automotive quality is relentlessly driven by quality control systems that favor high volume in factories that build the very same engine, or transmission or ignition module in which the only thing that changes in 50,000 units are the serial numbers.

Current Issue

First Word: February 2015

There are seemingly more signs of stability in the avionics market with Scottsdale, Arizona-based TKM/Michel Avionics under new leadership. It says it has an improved product line and is currently planning the next generation of slide-in replacement navcomms, while it ratchets up support for existing units in service—roughly 37,000 radios.

Letters: February 2015

I read with interest your article on the FAA and the new Part 23 revision in the December 2014 issue of Aviation Consumer, and would like to share my experience of obtaining STC certification and PMA approval.

Budget IFR Upgrades: Used Garmin 430W Wins

We’ll cut to the chase. The typical basic ground-up IFR avionics upgrade is going to approach, if not exceed, $20,000. This won’t buy an autopilot or primary flight display, so you’re stuck with steam gauges unless you can spend around $35,000. Sadly, we’ve witnessed enough buyer remorse over the years when owners upgrade entry-level aircraft for IFR on the cheap. Whether it’s an unsupported IFR GPS found on eBay or passing on a PFD that can save money in the long term, it’s imperative to price all options before pulling the trigger on the upgrade, including pricing flagship packages.

Lycoming 2.0: Survival in a Harsh Market

To survive in a market that’s a shadow of what it was 40 years ago, Lycoming and Continental have had to reinvent themselves. This is the first of a series explaining changes at the engine companies.

Aircraft Survival Kits: Vest is Best

Every pilot considers the aftermath of having to put an airplane down other than where he or she desires. Every year some pilots are required to put such thoughts into action. Contemplating the worst and preparing for it is something pilots are trained to do—and part of being ready to implement an after-accident plan of action is having equipment available to carry it out. That means having a survival kit in the airplane.

Pilot Flight Bags: A Tote For Every Purpose

Flight bags become a part of our aviation lives. We somehow become attached to those glorified grocery bags we use to schlep our flight gear around—so spending a little time making a selection is worth the effort. Chances are you’re going to have it for a long time. There is a bewildering selection of bags—we quit counting at 70 different offerings. However, before even looking at a flight bag, we believe that the selection process should begin with a thoughtful assessment of the type of flying you do, followed by consideration as to what you truly need to have with you in an airplane and how you want it organized. A good flight bag is all about organization and convenience for you as pilot in command.

ForeFlight Mobil 6.6: Synthetic Vision, MOS

As much as we like the ForeFlight Mobil app for iPad, we’ve been waiting for more advanced features that make better use of the iPad’s processing horsepower. The short list included synthetic vision and a better HSI presentation. That’s just what ForeFlight has done with the latest version 6.6 upgrade. It includes intelligent, next-gen synthetic vision that we think betters aging certified displays.

Bogert Battery Housings: Improving the Stock Box

While the aircraft battery box is a thankless component that has to be inspected annually, it’s often neglected by owners and even by some mechanics. That’s a bad thing because a battery box has more critical functionality than you might think. Neglect can lead to unnoticed airframe corrosion, engine starting problems, audio system noise and other electrical system nags.

Beech Model 19/23

Beechcraft was never all-in in the training market. Its niche was carved out from day one with the Bonanza, a high-performance traveling machine that the company knew would attract buyers who learned to fly in something made by Cessna or Piper. That’s why when some pilots walk the ramp, they clap eyes on a Musketeer or a Sundowner and can’t quite place what it really is. There just aren’t that many of them out there and they are far outnumbered by Skyhawks and Cherokees. But to Beech’s credit, what it did, it did right, at least in terms of comfort and handling, if not performance.

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