From the June 2016 Issue

Decathlon and Citabria

If you want to learn how to fly advanced aerobatic maneuvers, we don’t suggest you rush out and buy a Pitts or an Extra 300. Those machines require no small degree of skill to fly safely. Not convinced? Just ask your insurance broker and any aerobatics instructor. Perhaps the better choice for a newbie might be a Citabria or the Decathlon. You might be surprised that these starter aerobatic airplanes have much more capability than you thought.


Current Issue

The Crossover Avionics Market

It’s time to drop the ambiguous “experimental” label that follows avionics without a TSO and ones that started life in the experimental aircraft category. Is the experiment whether or not the equipment is going to kill you while flying in the clag? I think we’re past all that. Besides, the FAA’s experimental category is for aircraft and includes special airworthiness certification issued to operate an aircraft that doesn’t have a type certificate. There’s really no category for avionics. But there are STCs and the FAA is now issuing them for so-called experimental avionics—or those not previously approved for installation in type-certified aircraft.

Busting the Regs

The requirement of a third class medical, which has been shown to provide absolutely no safety enhancement over a drivers license medical, has disenfranchised many private pilots, hurting general aviation.

Icon Purchase Terms: The New Normal?

Icon was launched in 2006 with the stated goal of revolutionizing the general aviation industry with a sexy, two-place sport amphibian marketed not through traditional aviation channels but using methods common to the motorsports market. Icon also promised new business practices and its buyer agreement certainly qualified.

Diamond DA62: Perfection at a Price

Given its luxury panache, the DA62 seems more likely to become the personal ride for owners wealthy enough to afford it. And given that it is, in our view, the most sophisticated airplane Diamond has ever offered, we think those buyers aren’t likely to be disappointed.

Budget Fuel Totalizers: Insight, Shadin Tops

Among the many avionics gadgets to install, an aftermarket fuel totalizer could offer the most utility. These devices are simple to operate, they work with most modern GPS navigators for trip endurance calculations, and while installation technique is critical, they aren’t overly complex to retrofit. There are four major players in the standalone fuel computer market: Shadin Avionics, Insight Avionics, JP Instruments and Electronics International. In this article we’ll look at each product line and show how they can interface with a GPS navigator.

Building a Hangar: Shelter, Not Investment

The stars have aligned just right—your local airport has a waiting list for hangar space, you are unwilling to park your airplane at a tie-down and the airport has land it will lease at a reasonable rate. This is your chance to create a hangar that will suit your airplane—and potentially your need to spend quality time with your airplane. As we got into our hangar research we were amazed at the number of companies that sell pre-engineered hangars, many offering turnkey erection. Almost all are metal building manufacturers that build hangars as one of their clear-span products. Most will work with you to match the demands of your site and help you with what may be a complex approval process for construction on a public-use airport.

Garmin G5 EFIS: Standalone, Integrated

While evaluating Garmin’s new G5 electronic flight instrument, we couldn’t help but look beyond its target market of light sport and experimental aircraft. At first blush, the instrument is packaged perfectly for use as a primary attitude instrument in vintage steam gauge-equipped panels, fitting in the 3-inch attitude instrument cutout.

Eye Aligner: A Sight For Flight

My landings are a lot like my golf drives—inconsistent. That’s why I was anxious to check my cockpit seating position with the Eye Aligner, a portable leveling device developed by Florida-based FAA designated examiner Tripp Wacker. After 30 years of administering checkrides, Wacker recognized that landing and airwork performance were proportional to the correct view over the glareshield, but he didn’t invent the aligner concept.

Decathlon and Citabria

If you want to learn how to fly advanced aerobatic maneuvers, we don’t suggest you rush out and buy a Pitts or an Extra 300. Those machines require no small degree of skill to fly safely. Not convinced? Just ask your insurance broker and any aerobatics instructor. Perhaps the better choice for a newbie might be a Citabria or the Decathlon. You might be surprised that these starter aerobatic airplanes have much more capability than you thought.

Download the Full June 2016 Issue PDF

In most states, assumption of the risk by the injured party is a defense to a lawsuit brought by that party against the manufacturer. It appears to us that even if a buyer spends the money to retain the right to pursue legal action against Icon, the buyer has handed a perfect defense to the company by admitting assumption of the risk.

Download Acrobat Reader

Many of the charts & tables found on this site are PDFs.

Download Acrobat