From the July, 2013 Issue
The fifth-generation Cirrus SR22 isnt an entirely fresh model. Instead, its a compilation of advanced features and improvements that Cirrus has added to the aircraft over the past few years. Whether its the new paint and interior styling options, more advanced avionics that come standard, or the bold new gross weight increase, Cirrus dedication to improving and advancing the product line proves why the SR22 has consistently outsold every other certified piston single. As we go to press, production order slots for the new SR22 G5 are sold out well into the fall of this yearencouraging in an otherwise declining aircraft sales environment. We recently visited Cirrus headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota, plucked a new SR22T G5 turbo model from the flight line and hauled it halfway across the countrya mission the aircraft easily delivers with comfort, efficiency and utility.
Its been over a decade since we last looked at aviation life rafts. While there have been noteworthy changes in the industry, numerous evolutionary improvements and some new offerings, its also a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Winslow still, in our opinion, offers the best raftsyou pay a premium, but we feel you get the value for your dollars. In this article, well focus on the most commonly available two- to six-person life rafts from EAM Worldwide (EAM), Revere Supply Co. (Revere), Survival Products and Winslow LifeRaft Co. (Winslow). With a few exceptions, these life rafts are not certified in accordance with FAA TSO-C70a (we call them non-approved) and are generally significantly less expensive and often weigh considerably less than approved life rafts.
When we visited the Cirrus Aircraft factory in Duluth, Minnesota, last month, we couldnt help notice the positive vibes that echo throughout the operation. Theres reason for boardroom fist pumps. Production slots for the new G5 SR22 are sold out through October, the SF50 Vision Jet is well on the way toward certification and delivery in 2015, and the competition is struggling to sell half as many aircraft as Cirrus did last year. Cirrus built a total of 253 aircraft last year alone. Unlike other manufacturers, Cirrus doesnt distribute aircraft to a dealer network, so production is based on customer orders.
The avionics industry gets big props for producing sophisticated, ever-more-capable products, but lately theyve excelled at producing something else: confusion. The veritable gusher of portable ADS-B products that appeared last spring has devolved an already chaotic market into a state of utter confusion that even we have trouble sorting out. To be fair, the FAA is to blame for proposing an ADS-B system that only Rube Goldberg could love and maybe not even him. So its time to ask of ADS-Bas many readers arewhats in it for me? Why should I buy this technology and when?
It goes from bad to worse. You sense something isnt right with your engine, so you ask your shop to have a look. Hopefully its a fouled spark plug. Wishful thinking didnt help because your shop called with news that you hoped not to hear for at least a few years: Its time for an engine because half of the cylinders have low compression and there are valve problems, too. The shop suggests an overhaul. With dollar signs dancing in your eyeballs, its decision time. Do you opt for a field overhaul or buy a factory engine? How about cylinders, hoses, engine mounts and downtime? These are major considerations. The engine shop market is changing, so we conducted an engine shop experience survey on sister site AVweb.com to get a feel for how engine shops and the components they use are performing.
For many pilots, the first realization that the bellies of their airplanes are becoming hazardous waste sites is when ATC advises that their transponders are intermittent. Investigation reveals a layer of goo on the belly antennas, doing its best to block the signal. Frequently cleaning the by-products of engine operationoil, grease, soot and other delicaciesoff of the belly isnt just presenting a pleasing view to the world when over-flying, it helps keep the dorsal antennas working their best, keeps potentially corrosive materials off the paint and aluminum and lets you easily see whether the fasteners are in place or the paint isnt. The idea is to be able to remove that coating of grease, oil and soot without having to wear a hazmat suit. For many of us, water isnt available at the hangar, or the airport requires that all washing be done on a wash rack that has a drain that catches the crud that comes off of the airplaneand its a half mile away.
Mooney aficionados tend to be clustered in the end of the gene pool that has I want a fast airplane in the DNA. For years, they flocked to the marque that promised and delivered speed while sipping fuel. Starting with the single-seat Mite, they were willing to shoehorn themselves into tiny cabins in return for not having to stay in them long when going someplace, while assuming a certain look of superiority over others due to miserly demands at the gas pump. Over the years, Mooney obliged its faithful with progressive aerodynamic clean ups, making quick airplanes steadily faster. However, Mooney eventually shocked the aviation world by tacitly admitting that theyd gone as far as was economically viable with aerodynamics, and it was time to accept that theres no replacement for displacement when it comes to sheer speed.