Letters: 01/02

How bout a Maule?
Concerning Ken Ibolds article on buying a new Decathlon (Aviation Consumer, October 2001), for that much money he could have had an exciting-to-fly-and-land Maule. I fly mine about 200 hours a year and thanks to business, most days I fly to work.

Its a joy to fly and own and I have Cessna 182 performance with my 235 HP and so I can take four people and bags for the weekend.

-Steve Preas
Lilburn, Georgia

Yeah, but hows it do with hammerheads and Cuban Eights?


Avidyne vs. Bendix/King
Larry Anglisano dida credible job evaluating Honeywell/Bendix/Kings KMD 550/850 in your November 2001 issue. I would, however, like to throw in my two cents.

I flew with an Avidyne for more than a year. Its soft buttons drove me to distraction. Just getting the radar to work properly sometimes took a few minutes to master.

The problem with the Avidyne was that it was not intuitive. Even the factory rep had problems demonstrating the unit to me during a trade show. The best part of the Aviydne is the display, which is very readable. It does get too hot to the touch, however. After an hour-long flight, touching the screen is like touching a 100-watt bulb.

About three months ago, I pulled out the Avidyne and replaced it with the Honeywell/Bendix/King KMD 850. Its so intuitive that the owners manual is almost unnecessary. The display, while remaining cool to the touch, is not as good as the Avidyne display, however. It suffers a bit of parallax.

Overall, I am glad I switched units. The operation of avionics must be intuitive. The Avidyne unit is far from that, in my opinion, and thats coming from someone who is computer literate.

The only other complaint I havewith the Honeywell unit is the ground proximity warning addition (KGB650). I had it installed but the FAA made my shop pull it out because there’s no mechanism in place to get a field approval for this hardware.

For the present, the only way to add this feature is by way of an STC.Honeywell/FAA goofed in not doing their homework on this.

A field approval for this item is the obvious way to go, but so far Honeywell has not convinced the FAA to move in this direction.

-Frank M. Singer
Via e-mail


Exxon Elite
At the first oil change after switching to Exxon Elite, my engine oil analysis showed an iron level of 1485. The engine is a O-360 A4M in a Cessna 172 with the Penn Yan Aero conversion.

Have you received any other reports of problems with this oil?The report also showedhigh dirt levels. I switched to a Brackett air filter at the same time. Could this be the problem?

-Richard Ross
Via e-mail

Weve heard no complaints similar to yours but we welcome reader reports on experiences with Exxon Elite. Weve been using Exxon Elite in our company Mooney for nearly a year and have noted that the iron levels have actually declined. Silicon-dirt-seems to vary with usage and time of year.


iPAQ Redux
Great article on the Anywhere Map in October issue of Aviation Consumer; it made me go out and get a 64 MB iPAQ. Im evaluating the Anywhere Map software and comparing it to the operation of my Garmin 195.

The iPAQ is easier to use, but Im having trouble getting non-published waypoints to list and be part of a flightplan. Either Im doing something wrong or there’s a bug in the program.

Heres a tip: The GPS engine Control Vision uses is the mouse-like Garmin 35, which is not self-powered. The very modern Garmin eTrex handheld is slightly larger, weighs only six ounces, will operate 22 hours on two AA cells, or via external power and costs half the price of the Garmin 35.

It also has a 12-channel receiver and external output and since it has a display, it can provide standalone position back-up (non-aviation) to the entire system.

The good news is that Teletype, Control Visions chief competitor, just released a cable powering the iPAQ and the e-Trex from a cigarette lighter and this moves the satellite data from the e-Trex to the iPAQ. Neat. Redundant. Cheap.

Add Teletype.com to your great list of links. I really like the iPAQ. Its bright but I wish the colors were more vivid. Also, a larger screen would be nice too.

-Ed Cohn
Via e-mail


Good Article, Bad Math
I am an avid fan of your magazine and have been a subscriber for more than 10 years. Your article on picking a paint shop was excellent as was the sidebar on Web-based paint design. I even agree that $350 is not a bad price for the advice and work that these folks do.

However, $350 is not less than 1 percent of the cost of a typical single-engine-paint job. In fact, its more like 3-1/2 percent, which its still worth. Sorry for being picky.

-Peter Lowenstein
Montauk, New York


Watsamatta With Orange?
In your article on paint shops, a comment was made about orange paint and black stripes. Paint schemes are a personal thing. You stepped in it when you made this comment.

As you may have surmised at, my Rangemaster is orange with black stripes and some white thrown for good measure. This airplane has drawn more admiring comments than even our gorgeous dark blue Stinson before it.

You would be wise to limit such statements in the future. As my Ole Grandpappy used to say, it takes all kinds of horses to make a race!

-Gus Causbie
via e-mail