October 2017

Download The Full October 2017 Issue PDF

Subscribers Only - For a moment, let’s forget that the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet is arguably the most technically advanced personal light aircraft we’ve ever flown. Or that Cirrus likely will achieve its goal of making it a safe step-up jet for qualified SR22 piston pilots. Moreover, its cabin and cockpit dwelling is perhaps the most satisfying we’ve experienced. But in our view, the most impressive thing about the Part 23-certified SF50 is that it even exists to talk about.

Can Workhorse Reinvent The Helicopter?

For the past few years, the Innovation Center at AirVenture is the place to visit if you’re even slightly interested in electric mobility, flying cars and UAVs. Sure, it’s a place for dreamers but dreams spark reality, I suppose. This year while doing a video shoot there on the Workhorse SureFly helicopter/VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) personal aircraft, it was obvious that some of the dream machines are getting bigger—as in big enough that people would actually fly in some of them. The majority in the steady crowd of onlookers waiting in the long line to climb into the sleek SureFly seemed like they would and that’s a good sign for market acceptance.

Letters From Readers: October 2017

Great article on pulse oximeters in the September 2017 issue of Aviation Consumer. I have been using them for almost two decades and keep one in my turbocharged Bonanza and another in my glider. I routinely fly in the teens and I always insist that passengers use the pulse oximeter every half hour or so just as I do.

Cirrus Vision Jet: Near Perfect Execution

For a moment, let’s forget that the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet is arguably the most technically advanced personal light aircraft we’ve ever flown. Or that Cirrus likely will achieve its goal of making it a safe step-up jet for qualified SR22 piston pilots. Moreover, its cabin and cockpit dwelling is perhaps the most satisfying we’ve experienced. But in our view, the most impressive thing about the Part 23-certified SF50 is that it even exists to talk about.

On The Factory Floor

It’s easy to see why. Although it has expanded with off-site annexes, the basic footprint of the Cirrus factory hasn’t changed appreciably since the first airplanes were delivered in 1999. But it has undergone substantial reorganizations and yet another was underway when we visited Duluth in August 2017.

The $60K Slide: Post Gear-Up Strategies

Now that cockpit GoPro cameras are as common as iPads, it’s only a matter of time before someone posts the ultimate deer-in-headlights moment: the shock and terror of a pilot just commencing an inadvertent gear-up landing, otherwise known as the $60K slide. It might be just as interesting if the camera kept running through the aftermath—the runway recovery, the call to the insurance agent and, ultimately, what to do if this happens to you.

Sub-$200 ADS-B: Scout Versus RXWX

Subscribers Only - With the ADS-B mandate creeping closer, we’re seeing more aircraft owners pony up for the minimum compliance of ADS-B Out when transponder work is needed. That satisfies the FAA, but does nothing for receiving weather and traffic information in the cockpit. We flight tested two units that get it done for rock-bottom pricing.

Redbird GIFT: Flight Training Upgrade

Subscribers Only - The most basic stepping stones to be traversed by a student pilot going after a certificate involve figuring out where she or he wants the airplane to go and learning the monkey motion involved in causing it to go there. We’ve gotten all sophisticated over the years and refer to that sort of thing as flight maneuvering tasks. Nevertheless, the process of

Garmin D2 Charlie: Nexrad, Better Maps

Garmin is trying to get as much mileage as it can from its watches by trickling models down into the aviation division and the D2 Charlie is a derivative of the successful Fenix 5 multisport watch series. The Charlie improves features we always thought could be better in the old pilot watch, which include more useful map graphics. There’s still no touchscreen.

LIFT Aviator Shoes: Comfort, Quality, Status

Subscribers Only - An acquaintance who pilots an MD 500 helicopter while barefoot says her bare feet on the pedals makes her one with the machine like no pair of shoes can. I get the need for feel, but to protect her toes, I suggested compromising with barefoot running shoes. I even stopped flying in shorts because I’m paranoid of a cabin fire.

Model 35 Bonanza

Subscribers Only - If Beech Bonanza ownership seems out of the budget, the good news is that there are plenty of vintage V-tail models on the market at affordable prices. The bad news is that unless those 50- and 60-year-old airframes have been well maintained, you could be buying a money pit. Plus, shops won’t feel sorry for you when you roll up in any Bonanza.