May 2017

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Subscribers Only - A colleague faced with an engine swap on his Baron recently asked me a tough one: Will a factory remanufactured engine—as opposed to a quality field overhaul done by a respected shop—greatly influence the resale value of the aircraft? Moreover, will the Baron be more difficult to sell without factory engines? The quotes he got showed almost a $10,000 delta, per engine, between a field overhaul using new cylinders and a Continental reman. Before hitting the pavement and asking several industry pros to weigh in, we threw the question out on sister publication AVweb.com to see what readers would do. The results were predictable.

Resale Matters: Factory vs. Field Engines

A colleague faced with an engine swap on his Baron recently asked me a tough one: Will a factory remanufactured engine—as opposed to a quality field overhaul done by a respected shop—greatly influence the resale value of the aircraft? Moreover, will the Baron be more difficult to sell without factory engines? The quotes he got showed almost a $10,000 delta, per engine, between a field overhaul using new cylinders and a Continental reman. Before hitting the pavement and asking several industry pros to weigh in, we threw the question out on sister publication AVweb.com to see what readers would do. The results were predictable.

Letters From Readers: May 2017

I read Larry Anglisano’s commentary about BasicMed’s altitude restriction in the April 2017 Aviation Consumer. I can only think that restricting BasicMed pilots to altitudes below 18,000 feet is related to limiting them to less complicated aircraft and not the altitude itself. Perhaps the FAA just doesn’t want jet pilots flying around with BasicMed certification and while I don’t agree, I think we are lucky to have gotten what we did.

L-3 NGT9000 ADS-B: Expanded Capabilities

When L-3 introduced the Lynx NGT9000 multifunction ADS-B transponder in 2015, we nearly dismissed it for all but the highest-end applications. With a starting price that put it well north of ten grand, the NGT9000 seemed like a questionable investment for buyers looking for an affordable path to ADS-B compliance.

Continental’s Big Play: A New Engine Factory

Touring either Lycoming’s factory in Williamsport or Continental’s in Mobile is like a stroll through time. Cheek by jowl with ancient hand-operated machine tools are modern CNC machining centers that would be at home in a Ford or GM plant. In late March, Continental revealed that it’s ready to scrap the old stuff for good.

Bristell NG5 Another LSA Speedster

Is there a value proposition in an airplane that cruises two-thirds as fast as a near million-dollar Cirrus, uses only one-quarter the fuel and costs one-fifth as much? The Bristell LSA, an Eastern European import we’re examining here, certainly tests the notion. Like the Tecnam Astore we reviewed in the January 2017 issue, the Bristell NG5 stretches the slow-simple-cheap ethos of the light sport airplane to the breaking point. Given its sophisticated avionics, high cruising speed and attention to interior and baggage space, the Bristell is clearly conceived as a high-end traveling machine, not a bump-around-the-pattern flivver.

The CFI Rating: Getting It, Using It

Subscribers Only - We’ve been following the debate over the existence of a pilot shortage with some interest. We think that one piece of evidence has shoved the needle to the “Yep, there is one” side of the scale so definitively that the debate is over: Flight schools are actively recruiting flight instructors and paying them a living wage. In some cases flight schools are also offering hiring bonuses.

Garmin inReach: Mapping, SMS-Capable

In February 2016, Garmin purchased Maine-based DeLorme—the maker of topo maps and the inReach portable two-way Iridium-based satcomm navigator. The inReach tech was a good score for Garmin because it has a place in multiple markets including aviation, outdoor and marine.

Autopilot STC Update: TruTrak, Trio Are Close

Subscribers Only - If you’ve been waiting for a cheaper FAA-approved retrofit autopilot you might not have to wait much longer. In fact, you can even have your shop begin the installation. This past April, both TruTrak Flight Systems and Trio Avionics came to Sun ‘n Fun with STC approvals on the installation hardware and wiring harnesses for experimental autopilots.

Ercoupe/Cadet

Subscribers Only - Back in the day—as in 1939—the Ercoupe was designed to be exceptionally safe by making it resistant to stalls and spins. But the airplane racked up a number of firsts, including being the first successful production GA airplane that had a nosewheel, plus a fully cowled engine. This contributed to more speed than most of its counterparts had. Better yet, an Ercoupe can handle a crosswind of twice the velocity that can be dealt with by almost any other airplane.