August 2018

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Subscribers Only - When we evaluated the Iridium-based Airtext cabin router in the April 2018 Aviation Consumer, overall we found it to be a good performer with rugged hardware, reliable Bluetooth and a useful suite of smartphone apps.

Where Are The New ADS-B Weather Products?

Youíve probably heard that the FAA, through its datalink weather service and support contractor Harris Corporation, is adding new weather products to the subscription-free FIS-B ADS-B data thatís broadcast to UAT/978 MHz ADS-B receivers. Since the rollout was scheduled for June 2018, like others I cranked up my portable ADS-B receiver and tablet app, but didnít see the new lightning, turbulence, icing, cloud tops, G-AIRMETs and center weather advisories that are part of the new ADS-B In data. Without sampling the new weather products yet≠óincluding the planned new radar data that will replace the current Nexradóitís not fair to say the second-gen FIS-B stream will be a SiriusXM subscription killer, but based on the lineup of expected data itís quite possible. Turns out implementing the new weather products isnít as easy as I thought it might be, but it will likely be worth the wait.

Letters From Readers: August 2018

Bad Elf also suggested that flyGarmin customers who want to use the Wombat wait until the subscription has expired and then switch to the Jeppesen JDM because the cost is nearly the same and it will allow them to use the Wombat for remote avionics data updates. Worth mentioning is that Garminís Flight Stream 510 wireless card that performs a similar function (plus a variety of other ones, including flight plan transfer and data overlay) is in the $1500 price range, compared to the $250 Wombat piston model.

LSA Accident Review: Nothing to Celebrate

Two decades ago, when the light sport aircraft idea was being hatched, skeptics worried that lighter, cheaper airplanes flown by pilots without medical certs would lead to a spike in the accident rate. After all, without FAA oversight of design, manufacturing and pilot health, how could it not? The reality, while challenging to pin down, is mixed. According to our review, the light sport segment definitely has a higher overall accident rate than that of legacy certified aircraft. The fatal accident rate, by our calculation, is also higher at 1.6/100,000 hour compared to 0.93 for all of GA, but this varies by aircraft model and is a marginal difference because of such small numbers.

Aircraft Wash Shootout: Fleet Wash a Favorite

Wear anti-slip footwear that provides solid footing. Youíll likely be working with stepladders, perhaps while balancing wash brushes that can damage control surfaces and antennas should you slip. The hangar floor gets slick. Ours was slickened from runoff and nine overflowing wash buckets filled with the proper mixture of soap and water. As we learned, some of the stronger washes work best when undiluted, while serious degreasing and stain removal mean applying the cleaner straight from the bottle. We tried those first.

Cessna HD T206H: Turbocharged Utility

Subscribers Only - As itís been since it started life in 1963 as the model 205 (a fixed-gear version of the wing-strutted 210), the current HD T206H turbo Stationair is neither fast nor slow and itís no looker on the airport lunch ramp. But what it lacks in sexy styling it more than makes up with in utilityólots of it. It works well on floats and on oversized tires and it easily carries a cargo pod on its belly. We know of more than one Stationair owner who loads motorcycles in the cabin.

Multi-Engine Rating: Pricey, Challenging, Fun

Subscribers Only - A combination of flight training programs bulging at the seams as airline pilot hopefuls race to get their ratings and prices of light twins hovering at historic lows attracting buyers with the cash to maintain and feed them has led to more and more pilots seeking to pick up their multi-engine ratings. We surveyed a number of operations across the country that offer the training to find out whatís involved, how long it takes and what it should cost.

Airtext LT Satcomm: Transportable Router

When we evaluated the Iridium-based Airtext cabin router in the April 2018 Aviation Consumer, overall we found it to be a good performer with rugged hardware, reliable Bluetooth and a useful suite of smartphone apps.

Whither 100UL? Tested Fuels Fall Short

The long, torturous road to replace 100LL with an unleaded alternative just got longer and more torturous as the FAA temporarily halted testing on the two leading candidate fuels in May. The agency said its testing revealed differences significant enough with 100LL to obviate further testing.

Best Tugs: Sophisticated Towing

Subscribers Only - In our July issue we published a survey of some of the tugs on the market that are suitable for moving airplanes weighing less than 6000 pounds. We reported on 20 tugs put out by seven manufacturers and found that electric models had come to dominate the field. We somehow managed to overlook one manufacturer: Best Tugs (www.besttugs.com) of Spanish Fork, Utah. Best Tugs offers three sophisticated electric tugs that fall within our under-6000-pound area of interest.

Piper PA-46

Subscribers Only - If youíre in the market for a used Piper PA-46, the good news is there are plenty of them for the taking, plus the oldest ones can be found for around $200,000. Moreover, a Malibu, Mirage or Matrix can wear a lot of hats. For pilots looking for experience in high-altitude, pressurized flying, a Malibu or Mirage is a logical step up. The unpressurized Matrix, with the same cabin as the rest of the PA-46 line, works as a comfortable people hauler with more simplicity and perhaps lower maintenance costs than its pressurized brethren.