June 2015

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Dry Chem? Not In Aircraft

Subscribers Only - Dry chemical extinguishers have long been attractive because they are less than half the price of Halon and Halon alternative units. A visit to our local Home Depot store and a quick survey on the web found prices for 5B:C and larger dry chem extinguishers in the $35 to $70 range. However, the FAA specifically recommends against using them in aircraft in AC 20-42D. “In general, dry chemicals are not recommended for hand extinguishers for internal aircraft use, due to the potential for corrosion damage to electronic equipment, the possibility of visual obscuration if the agent were discharged into the flight deck area, and the cleanup problems from their use.”

Foreflight On Apple Smartwatch

Subscribers Only - We’ve seen this before. First it was Garmin’s D2 pilot watch for interfacing with its Pilot tablet app and VIRB action camera. Then it was the Google Pebble watch, compatible with the Wing X Pro 7 app. Now ForeFlight introduces its own app interface for the Apple Watch.

Wanted: The Next Generation of Mooniacs

That’s what Mooney is looking for with its proof of concept M10T, which was on display for the first time at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, this past April. If you’re a hard-core Mooney enthusiast, you get it. Mooniacs are a manically enthusiastic bunch and if it weren’t for the demand to support the speedsters they fly, the company might not be here today. Mooney was established in 1929 and cranked out over 11,000 M-series aircraft.

The Crashes: Takeoff and Landing

Subscribers Only - We were interested, and pleased, to see that runway loss of control (RLOC) only accounted for 21 of the most recent Taylorcraft accidents—when we do an accident scan for tailwheel airplanes we expect to see RLOC account for 50 to 60 percent of the total. Even though it appears the classic T-craft has better than average manners on the ground for a tailwheel airplane, the modest power available means that if something starts going wrong on landing, it’s wise to go-around early. We counted six blown go-around accidents; three involved hitting obstructions off to the side of the runway, and three hit obstructions off the end of the runway.

Feedback Wanted: Cessna Skymaster

For the September 2015 issue of Aviation Consumer, our Used Aircraft Guide will be on the Cessna 337 Skymaster. We want to know what it’s like to own these planes, how much they cost to operate, maintain and insure and what they’re like to fly. If you’d like your airplane to appear in the magazine, send us any photographs (full-size, high-resolution) you’d like to share to the email below. We welcome information on mods, support organizations or any other comments. Send correspondence on the Skymaster by July 1, 2015, to:

Letters: June 2015

I read the HID article in your May 2015 issue and thought your readers might be interested in my real-world experience with HID lamps. I wanted to purchase HID landing lights back in 2006 for my Mooney M20K, but there wasn’t an available STC. The lights

The Big Engine That Didn't

Subscribers Only - At Lycoming, executives roll their eyes when they hear “Lycosaurus” used to describe the lack of innovation in aircraft power plants. That suggests that the market hungers for engine innovation, but the reality is something different, as Rotax discovered in 2006.

The Wet Pump Alternative

After the dry air pump put wet pump makers Pesco and Garwin out of the business, those who used them relied on overhauled pumps. Then, in the 1980s, dry pumps got vilified, and interest in wet pumps returned. Airwolf, known for its line of oil filters, obtained the Pesco data and some of its manufacturing equipment, updated the design, received the necessary certification and started selling wet pump replacements for all 200- and 400-series dry pumps.

Ditch The Pump Once and For All - Maybe

When a high-priced avionics retrofit produces a panel that’s completely electrically driven, the natural question is: why retain the vacuum system at all? While pneumatic de-ice boots will still require a pump, simpler aircraft with all-electric flight instrumentation (including electric backup instruments) simply don’t need a vacuum system. But, is it legal to remove the pump and the plumbing that tags along? The answer should be simple, but it isn’t.

Inside Rotax: Leveraged Technology

Subscribers Only - While companies are defined by what they make, what they decide not to make can be just as distinguishing as the product catalog. And that would be the case with Rotax, the Austrian engine giant that all but owns the light-sport engine market. But a decade ago, flush with success, Rotax drew back from an expensive project to take on Lycoming and Continental with its own six-cylinder engine.

Vacuum Pump-411: Continually Improving

While glamorous glass cockpits are probably the wave of the future, in the real world the vast majority of airplanes still sport round-dial panels with gyros spun by air pumps that either suck or blow. We tend to collectively call them vacuum pumps, although on most Beech aircraft they are pressure pumps. No matter the appellation, they are turned by the accessory drive of the engine.

SkyVision Salus-3: Portable ADS-B Out, In

Subscribers Only - Let’s play regulatory devil’s advocate, shall we? The SkyVision Xtreme Salus-3 portable ADS-B transceiver is nearly the perfect solution for the most basic aircraft. It’s packaged in a durable portable housing, it has internal WAAS GPS, it can work with popular tablet apps, can run off its own battery, it doesn’t require a pricey installation and it can be carried from one aircraft to the other. Best of all—at $1099—it’s priced less than a high-end ANR headset. But without TSO 154C approval, it’s still considered another piece of glareshield candy.

Fire Extinguishers: Halon, Not Dry Chem

Subscribers Only - The idea of an inflight fire rightfully scares the bejabbers out of pilots. Uncontrolled combustion in a confined space is ugly enough—adding altitude and speed to the mix can make a fire lethal in short order. It’s no wonder that pilots dealing with an inflight fire have jumped out of their aircraft even though they had no parachute. While inflight fires are rare, we think that every aircraft should have an effective fire extinguisher in the cabin where the pilot can reach it quickly and easily.

Garmin G600/500: Upgraded for ADS-B

Subscribers Only - In avionics life, nine years is a long time. That’s how long Garmin’s G600 retrofit primary flight display has been on the market. While that’s long enough for a product to lose its tech edge, Garmin generally doesn’t let that happen. Luckily, periodic software upgrades can give an otherwise aging product a new lease on life, although FAA certification can limit major changes without requiring a time-consuming and costly recertification process.

ForeFlight For Desktop: Cloud-Based Planner

Subscribers Only - For a while it seemed that desktop flight planning was headed for extinction, replaced by do-it-all tablet computers running apps that capably serve double duty as flight planners and cockpit navigators. At Sun ‘n Fun 2015, navigation app developer ForeFlight introduced a new web planner that automatically interacts with its iOS Mobile navigation app. Additionally, ForeFlight released version 7.0 software for the app, a major update which adds a new procedure advisor function, cabin pressure altitude alerting, faster nav data downloads and an interface for the Apple Watch. Here’s a rundown.

Taylorcraft: Affordable, Simple

Subscribers Only - Post World War II, the state-of- the-art for a personal airplane was a basic, two-seat taildragger of modest horsepower and tube-and-rag construction. Wood, as often as not, was a major airframe constituent and IFR flight was something not even all the airlines practiced.