September 2018

Download The Full September 2018 Issue PDF

Subscribers Only - You’ve 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 that’s 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 didn’t 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—including the planned new radar data that will replace the current Nexrad—it’s not fair to say the second-gen FIS-B stream will be a SiriusXM subscription killer, but based on the lineup of expected data it’s quite possible. Turns out implementing the new weather products isn’t as easy as I thought it might be, but it will likely be worth the wait.

Honeywell Gets Serious At Airventure

I always think of AirVenture as the last chance, final frontier when it comes to product marketing and this year my eyes were laser focused on Honeywell and its BendixKing division. Once the king of all avionics, BendixKing has been, as we say around the office, the lost ball in tall grass, with a history of unveiling prototypes of fresh products that ultimately end up stalled in a long certification process. The KI300 retrofit EFIS display unveiled several years ago, which is the proposed replacement for the ancient KI256 mechanical flight director, is only one example.

Letters From Readers: September 2018

The fatal accidents we have had fall into two categories: typical accidents and rather unusual and unexplained ones. I have participated in almost every one of these NTSB investigations, gaining 30 years of experience with these airplanes, including a time when the company was manufacturing kits. The time period between 2014 and 2017 was rough for Flight Design and 2016 in particular was a witching hour for the whole S-LSA industry, with almost three times the statistical average of the years before and after. As was said, the fleet numbers, particularly by type, are so small that there is a lot of uncertainly in the ability to predict much from the raw data.

Quest Kodiak Series II: A Workhorse Refined

A clean-sheet design with STOL capability, the Kodiak initially catered to humanitarian groups that needed to get in and out of tight and unimproved strips. It carries a sizable payload (upward of 3500 pounds and roughly 2500 with floats), seats up to 10 people and most important, it runs on Jet-A for operating in places where 100LL is impossible to get, and of course to up the ante in reliability and operating simplicity. Quest chose the 750-HP Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34. It has a 4000-hour TBO—which at the time was the most widely produced single-stage variant of the PT6A—making worldwide field support even easier.

Avidyne IFD550: GPS Nav With Attitude

Subscribers Only - Aside from connecting to an iPad running the IFD100 app, which adds a second IFD550 display/control set, the navigator connects to a Bluetooth keypad as another option for data entry. It’s standard on every IFD model and adds to the choices of how you interact with the navigator. There’s the native hybrid touch, knobs and keys, plus you can interact with the navigator from the iPad and remote keyboard. It really caters to a wide variety of users

Intercooling 101: Detonation Defense

Subscribers Only - An intercooler’s goal is fairly simple: Reduce induction air temperature. If you had a simple Ideal Gas Law PV=nRT compressor, the simple fact of compressing gas (in this case, ambient air) from, say, 10 PSIA and 23 F (at roughly 10,000 feet) back to sea level pressure of 14.7 PSIG would heat the gas. But, in addition to that ideal gas behavior, our turbocharger compressors have other inefficiencies, like internal recirculation and heat transfer from the cowling environment, that heat the gas further. It’s not uncommon to see compressor discharge temperatures (CDT) over 200 degrees F at middle altitudes and over 300 F in the flight levels.

Step-Up Sim Training: Tailor It For You

Subscribers Only - Any owner with the financial wherewithal to step into the world of aircraft with engines that go “whoosh” is smart enough to immediately talk the idea over with his or her insurance broker. In addition to getting a ballpark estimate for the cost to insure a used King Air, Citation Mustang or new HondaJet, one of the first things the prospective owner will hear from the broker is that any insurer is going to require upgrade training at a facility approved by the insurer.

AirVenture Diary: More ADS-B, LSA Regs

More significant is that Garmin’s G5 electronic flight display can be installed as a legal STC’d backup to the G500/G500 TXi flight displays. Believe it or not, previously this interface required an FAA field approval because the G500-series primary displays didn’t include the G5 in the STC. The technical interface is expanded, too, and for the better. Any adjustments made to heading bugs, altitude select, airspeed bugs and baro settings are automatically synced from the G500 TXi or G500 displays to the G5. Flight director and autopilot mode annunciations from the GFC 500 can also be viewed across all displays, including on the G5. No, the G5 isn’t approved for backup in Cirrus models. That means if you have a second-gen Avidyne Entegra or even G1000 Cirrus (or any other G1000 airplane) the G5 is off limits.

More Low-Cost EFIS:Prices Tumble Lower

Subscribers Only - AeroVonics has in mind inexpensive replacements for vacuum instruments with its AV-20 and AV-30 self-contained multifunction instruments. The $800 AV-20 fits into a 2-inch instrument hole—the size of a typical clock—and provides 11 discrete functions, including attitude, AoA, bus voltage, flight timer, TAS display, G-meter and a clock. There are actually two versions of the instrument. The AV-20 is a minimal variant that doesn’t have the gyro sensing. It will sell for about $499. The AV-20S packs all the features. We saw the instrument demonstrated at AirVenture and although it appeared to have some sort of extraordinarily sharp display, AeroVonics’ Jeff Bethel says no, it’s just a garden-variety TFT. But the AV-20’s software tweaks the graphic processing at the sub-pixel level, giving the instrument dense colors and smooth refreshes.

Piper Twin Comanche

When we looked at the current Twin Comanche market, we found that owners generally prize the Piper Twin Comanche for the same reasons that they always have. It’s a relatively affordable, economical and accessible twin with decent performance. There isn’t much more to ask for. In many ways, it’s one of the few twins that can claim to be not much more expensive than a single to own and operate, but that’s only if you buy the right one. There are plenty of basket cases in the weeds. But there are some pretty nice ones, too, and you’ll pay top dollar for them.