From the October 2014 Issue

Bellanca Viking

In an era when the state-of-the-art aircraft have to be baked in an oven after being laid up in plastic sheets squished together in vacuum bags, it’s hard to imagine that a wood and fabric wonder like the Bellanca Viking still exists. But it does. And although there aren’t great squadrons of them around, the Viking retains a loyal, almost cultish following. [IMGCAP(1)] …

Current Issue

AvNav EFB for Android: Free Charts, Easy Menus

As we’ve said in recent reports, there’s a rapidly growing market of navigation apps designed solely for Android tablets. We think that’s a good thing because our evaluations have proven that many Android devices work well in the cockpit. We even prefer Samsung’s latest Galaxy tablets over Apple’s iPad. Some have longer battery life and better screen quality.

Electroair’s Affordable Electronic Ignition

There have been a number of attempts to bring electronic ignition to the piston general aviation world—with varying rates of success. One we have been following is Electroair, a Howell, Michigan, company that developed an electronic ignition system (EIS) originally for homebuilts, and went on to get an STC for production airplanes—four-cylinder engine models first, then six-cylinder machines. It’s in the application process for turbocharged engines and may have that approval soon after this article appears.

Portable Transceivers: ICOM and Sporty’s Win

Back in the day, King’s KX99 handheld transceiver ruled the roost. It was a big, heavy and solid performer. Today, portable transceivers are far more advanced, but their purpose hasn’t changed.

Denali Scout: Power, Handling, Fun

Let’s begin with the conclusion: American Champion’s decision to add 30 HP to the long-serving, 180-HP Scout, to make what it calls the Denali Scout—created the stud brute of the two-place, backcountry airplane set. It keeps the honest handling and excellent ground manners of the Scout while notching up the climb rate from very good to nearly breathtaking. There are some shortcomings that we’ll outline—they are all carryovers from the original Scout and not safety of flight matters.

Dynon SkyView Touch: Plug-and-Play Hybrid

Dynon Avionics, arguably the volume leader in LSA and experimental avionics, believes that a touchscreen feature set can be difficult to operate in turbulence.

Cheaper But Not Cheap

A month after Cessna announced its $420,000 diesel Skyhawk, our test-the-waters opinion sampling drew two reactions from flight schools: impolite guffaws or stony silence. Logically, that ought to make emerging refurb projects like Redbird’s Redhawk and AOPA’s new remanufactured Cessna 150s/152s a shoe-in cinch for a market starved for affordable trainers. Well, not exactly. Both the AOPA and Redhawk projects are aimed at taming the escalating cost of the world’s most popular trainers, but the overwhelming majority of schools we interviewed about both of these airplanes say they’re still too expensive, albeit a dramatic improvement over the price of new Skyhawks, which are increasingly out of reach.

Composite Complexities

A non-pilot recently asked me if 14 years since new was old for a Cirrus. I didn’t have to pause when answering that it certainly is not. But after thinking about it for a while, it occurred to me that while the modern composite design of a Cirrus—or Diamond or Columbia—may still seem new even after 14 years, the earlier models in the fleet are indeed aging. When these mass-production composites came to market, there was much speculation on how the airframes would hold up and how difficult they would be to service when they break. Owners of earlier models are now finding out.

Letters: October 2014

Thanks for your coverage of angle of attack systems for general aviation aircraft in the September 2014 issue of Aviation Consumer. The MMOPA (Malibu-Mirage Owners and Pilots Association) has taken the position that this technology is an important enhancement to safety and we applaud the FAA for working to streamline the installation approval process as a minor alteration in many aircraft.

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