From the October 2018 Issue

Mooney Acclaim Ultra: Tops in Raw Speed

Although it’s really an incremental upgrade to the long-body M20 series, the Acclaim Ultra was a major certification project for Mooney at a time when we’re not seeing many of those—from anyone. The results inarguably make the Acclaim Ultra the fastest four-place certified single-engine piston airplane and not just by a little. The Acclaim goes head to head with both its normally aspirated sibling, the Ovation Ultra (see February 2018 Aviation Consumer) and both Cirrus models, the SR22 and SR22T which, together, constitute the current market leaders. That puts the Acclaim into a niche within a niche—a slice of buyers who want speed, but care less about cabin size or payload. Pricewise, at $789,000 base, the Acclaim invoices below the typical Cirrus models.


Current Issue

What’s The Future For Deltahawk's Diesel?

You know, I’ve been trying to keep my mind open to Jet-A-burning diesels finding their way in the U.S. GA market, but so far it’s been easy to shrug off the notion that the typical engine buyer has a real need for one. Most recently Textron canceled production of its diesel-powered Turbo Skyhawk JT-A, not a year since earning both FAA and EASA certification. The 155-HP Continental CD-155 turbodiesel powerplant is still offered to buyers directly through Continental as an STC’d installation for existing Skyhawks, but whether Textron had buyers or not for the JT-A Skyhawk, it’s still a tone-setting setback. Officially, Textron said the decision will help streamline its production process. It’s not tough to read between the lines.

Letters From Readers: October 2018

Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the Evektor Sportstar. We had (past tense) several of them here in southern Indiana, and I administered a lot of checkrides in the Sportstar. I believe that the Sportstar is a major player in the LSA community, with a couple hundred of them flying in the U.S. At one point I think they were the third most numerous LSA, behind Flight Design and Legend. That would put them in the middle of the pack of the ones you considered. And I know the Sportstar had its share of accidents. Why did you omit the Evektor from your accident statistics?

BendixKing AeroVue: Cursor-Driven EFIS

The suite for the King Air has three high-resolution 12-inch color LCD screens. There’s pilot and copilot primary flight displays and a multifunction display. The displays are instant-on and the whole system comes up ready in roughly 20 seconds. The screens have multilayer anti-reflective coating that permits a pretty wide viewing angle—as much as 80 degrees. They simply have to be high performers for big cockpits and the are. There’s a dedicated autopilot controller directly above the MFD, plus two PFD controllers.

Replacement Plastic: Lower Prices, More PMAs

Elevator tips, window trims, door panels and plastic parts that need to be removed for annual inspections might live the hardest lives, while others wear prematurely because they are prone to vibration. Parts that stick out might get hurt the most, and landing legs and fairings take a beating. Luckily, plastic parts can be repaired and some damage can be hidden, but eventually you run out of washers big enough to hide cracked or oversized holes. There’s no set lifespan for a given piece of aircraft plastic, but in general about every 20 years or so most plastic has degraded enough to require replacement. On the other hand, we’ve seen 40-year-old aircraft with original plastic components that look they just rolled off the factory floor. For preserving interior plastic, using cabin sun shields and covers is a huge help.

SpotX Messenger: Robust, Sized Right

SpotX is assigned a telephone number for your appropriate country during activation. This allows contacts in the same country to send SMS messages to your SpotX without incurring any additional fees. There are four key components to the SpotX product: the SpotX hardware, its activation and service plan, its configuration through the website and the SpotX Device Updater application used to synchronize account information and update firmware. As weve learned from other satcomms, setup and activation can be a chore. For the SpotX, it begins with setting up an account on the FindMeSpot website from a Mac or PC, requiring a credit card for payment and information about your hardware.

Prop Inspections: More Than Surface Flaws

A propeller and its systems are more complex (and critical) than you might realize, evident by the detailed inspection procedures prescribed by the prop manufacturer. The good news is there is a lot of inspecting that can be done without even removing the blades from the aircraft. The FAAs advisory circular AC 20-37E is worth a read as it provides guidance for aircraft propeller maintenance. In particular, the AC provides information and suggests procedures to both increase service life and to minimize failures of metal propellers. Wood and composite props generally follow different repair guidance.

uAvionix tailBeacon: ADS-B On The Tail

For almost two years the market has been dazzled as Montana-based uAvionix introduced smartly designed ADS-B mandate solutions that seriously curtail the installation effort and cost. As weve been reporting, the first product aimed at the masses is the skyBeacon, a wingtip LED position light with internal WAAS GPS, L-band antenna, an ADS-B transmitter and wireless Bluetooth. With a two-wire interface (power and ground) and a mounting footprint thats the same as many existing incandescent position light housings, the $1849 bolt-on skyBeacon is about as simple as ADS-B Out installs get. uAvionix has been selling the skyBeacon to the experimental market while it soldiered through the TSO certification process, which was awarded as we go to press.

Commander 112/114

These days you dont have to put your eyes on a model 112 or 114 Commander for long to see why these airplanes had perhaps more ramp appeal than the competition. At the time (somewhere around 1972) North American Rockwell remained true to its military contract experience and built big airplane touches into the small Commanders. Even well before the Commander singles came along Rockwell had been trying to bring the right mix of ramp appeal, features and performance to the general aviation market. The Lark, Darter and efforts to revive the Meyers 200 didnt exactly work out the way Rockwell had hoped.

Mooney Acclaim Ultra: Tops in Raw Speed

Although it’s really an incremental upgrade to the long-body M20 series, the Acclaim Ultra was a major certification project for Mooney at a time when we’re not seeing many of those—from anyone. The results inarguably make the Acclaim Ultra the fastest four-place certified single-engine piston airplane and not just by a little. The Acclaim goes head to head with both its normally aspirated sibling, the Ovation Ultra (see February 2018 Aviation Consumer) and both Cirrus models, the SR22 and SR22T which, together, constitute the current market leaders. That puts the Acclaim into a niche within a niche—a slice of buyers who want speed, but care less about cabin size or payload. Pricewise, at $789,000 base, the Acclaim invoices below the typical Cirrus models.

Download The Full October 2018 Issue PDF

You know, I’ve been trying to keep my mind open to Jet-A-burning diesels finding their way in the U.S. GA market, but so far it’s been easy to shrug off the notion that the typical engine buyer has a real need for one. Most recently Textron canceled production of its diesel-powered Turbo Skyhawk JT-A, not a year since earning both FAA and EASA certification. The 155-HP Continental CD-155 turbodiesel powerplant is still offered to buyers directly through Continental as an STC’d installation for existing Skyhawks, but whether Textron had buyers or not for the JT-A Skyhawk, it’s still a tone-setting setback. Officially, Textron said the decision will help streamline its production process. It’s not tough to read between the lines.

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