Commentary

February 2018 Issue




Letters: February 2018

SEAT BELT FEEDBACK

I was reading the December 2017 issue of Aviation Consumer and noticed that there were two areas you covered that didn’t jibe with my experience. First, seat belt re-webbing.

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?

The other issue is with the Cessna Pilots Association. This organization sadly appears to have degraded to the point where I think you are doing a disservice by recommending it. If you want to point readers to an active Cessna owners community, there is a thriving one at www.cessna-pilots.net (which is where many of the forum members from www.cessna.org migrated when their forum died).

 

Chris Colohan
via email

 

You are correct; we’re told that newer Cessna belts are unique and it has everything to do with the original certification process. The short answer is that the majority of aircraft seat belts were manufactured under a specific TSO. But when Cessna went back into production, it installed load-attenuating seats and certified the seat belt along with them as a combination. Shops tell us this doesn’t make a field replacement belt an easy option due to the recertification process. So where do you go? You guessed it—Cessna.

As for the Cessna Pilots Association, we’ve heard similar reports from others about a serious decline in what used to be the best type organization around. Many of the complaints stem from its deteriorated technical support and a broken web forum. We’ve heard from reliable sources that the organization is working to rebuild itself, so we’ll follow up periodically on the progress.

HOT STARTS

I enjoyed your article on taming hot starts in the November 2017 Aviation Consumer. I used to own a Bellanca Super Viking and it was terrible to start when hot. A long-deceased CFII, Charlie Ratliff, advised me to stop the engine by turning off the fuel with the fuel selector.  That way, when starting the engine after refueling there was no hot fuel or vapor in the lines, only cold, fresh fuel. I never again had trouble with hot starts. I have used that technique on other airplanes, with good results.

 

Harry Wander
via email

SIRIUSXM IN CANADA

Thanks for the review of Garmin’s new GDL51 SiriusXM weather receiver in the November 2017 Aviation Consumer. I recently purchased the GDL51 and have attempted to get it activated here in Canada for use with my aera 660 portable GPS. It appears SiriusXM Canada does not yet have subscription service for the SXM data feed that seems to be replacing the older legacy XMWX data feed. 

I attempted to sort this out, but no one at SiriusXM Canada seems to know anything about the differences. I was able to activate the GDL51, but get no data as the Garmin Pilot app does not recognize a valid subscription. From what I can tell the hold-up in services via SiriusXM here in Canada may be related to U.S. FCC rules. Any ideas on this? This is a bit frustrating, as technology is progressing, but one can’t make use of it.

 

Richard Smith
via email

 

SiriusXM says the only data feed that’s currently available for Canadian subscriptions is the XM WX Aviation Weather, but couldn’t offer much of an explanation why the newer subscription package isn’t available. We’re told that the newer data feed isn’t a replacement for the legacy weather packages.

It currently offers the Aviator package, priced at $54.99 per month, and the Aviator Pro at $109.99 per month. 

ICOM'S NEW RADIO

I read Larry Anglisano’s thorough field report on Icom’s new A25N portable radio in your January issue, but I couldn’t figure out if the lower-cost A25C is equipped with the GPS receiver. 

 

Bill Stetson
via email

 

The comm-only A25C does not have built-in GPS or Bluetooth.

 

CORRECTION

In the mountain flying training article in the January 2017 Aviation Consumer we wrote: “Much of the flying will be over valleys, but on the upwind side of the valley because that’s where the updrafts are.”

We got that just backward. The updrafts are on the downwind side of the valleys where the wind is flowing up the side of the valleys.