February 2018

Download the Full February 2018 Issue PDF

Subscribers Only - Combining spacious cabins and relatively small, efficient engines, the 414 series can carry lots of fuel or a small crowd with their belongings—but not both. All told, Cessna built nearly 1000 of the airplanes—roughly a 50/50 split between early tip-tanked 414s and wet-wing 414A Chancellors—during 16 years of production. Once in service the airplanes became popular as workhorses for small charter and corporate flight departments, as well as comfortable transports for private owners.

Cessna 414

Subscribers Only - the last of the pressurized, piston, 400-series airplanes Cessna developed, pilots and mechanics will tell you that Cessna got it right with the models 414 and 414A. Combining spacious cabins and relatively small, efficient engines, the 414 series can carry lots of fuel or a small crowd with their belongings—but not both.

Vulcanair’s Run At The Skyhawk

When I heard that Italian aircraft manufacturer Vulcanair earned an FAA type certificate for its V1.0 four-seater this past December, for some reason my mind did a rewind to a time when Fiat was trying to sell its X1/9 targa sports car in the American market. The two have absolutely nothing in common, of course, but everything in common when it comes to market acceptance and support confidence. Thankfully, the X1/9 went away in 1982. Tony will never have to fix many of them again. These days Fiat is enjoying better American market acceptance with a few new models that seem priced just right. Whether the American airplane market will embrace a Skyhawk look-alike from Italy is anyone’s guess, but Vulcanair might be nicely positioned for success.

Letters: February 2018

You imply that re-webbing a seat belt is simple and cheap. My experience is that it can be far from so. For newer (1997 and beyond) Cessna aircraft, the seat belts are “dynamically certified.” This apparently means that it is quite hard to find a place that will re-web them (none of the vendors mentioned in your article will). I got a quote of $2147.30 per belt the last time I asked about this a couple of years ago. Insane. Is this only a problem with newer Cessnas, or does it apply to all newer aircraft?

Ovation Ultra: Fast, Efficient, Refined

A popular (and lazy) journalistic toss away is to describe a company as “owning” a market. Yet no company does, not even 800-pound simians like Garmin and Cirrus. There are always buyers swimming against the tide and in the world of aviation, Mooney has made a business of scooping them up; a flea in a world of elephants.

Mooney’s Place In The Universe

Buying a new airplane is both an act of passion and an act of faith. The very idea of sinking so much wealth into an asset used but 100 hours a year has to be driven by blind love for flight. The faith part has to do with the company remaining solvent to support such an investment.

ASA CX-3 Computer: Simple, Full Featured

Subscribers Only - At a time when nearly every pilot struts around with a tablet computer or smartphone running their favorite navigation app, we were surprised to see that pilot supplier giant ASA (Aviation Supplies and Academics) redesigned its CX-series flight computer.

Budget ADS-B: uAvionix, Garmin Lead

Subscribers Only - If you’re still holding out for a cheaper mandate-compliant ADS-B upgrade, the calendar is closing in on you. We’re hearing that the better avionics shops have sizable installation backlogs—some greater than six months—for even basic upgrades. Some are charging a premium for priority scheduling. We predicted this very scenario years ago, and suspect shop labor rates will increase, moving forward.

Sporty’s Air Scan Radio: Bluetooth, Fair Price

Subscribers Only - There are lots of reasons for investing in an aviation-band desktop radio. Maybe you want to monitor local traffic communications while working in the hangar, listen to the local airport weather broadcasts over your morning coffee or listen to real-time PIREPs before launching. Plus, an aviation scanner can be a good learning tool for students.

IFR Training Courses: Sporty’s, King, PIC Win

Subscribers Only - Thinking rating, toughest rating, necessary rating, unnecessary rating—all descriptions we’ve heard of the instrument rating. No matter what you call it, the instrument ticket is virtually essential if you wish to fly professionally or, in our opinion, get the most out of ownership of a GA airplane designed for traveling.

Cessna Control Yokes: Inspect The U-Joints Now

Subscribers Only - The critical hardware that attaches an aircraft control yoke to the control surfaces should be inspected regularly, but if you own a Cessna, you might consider doing an immediate inspection. That’s because McFarlane Aviation in Baldwin, Kansas, recently issued a service bulletin for its FAA-PMA aftermarket universal joints that attach the control tube to the shaft for controlling the flight control surfaces in Cessna models. These are models ranging from the 120 to the 210.