Letters 01/98

Its In the Genes
Regarding the Great GA Sell Job in your December issue, I offer my opinions on propagating public interest in flying.

I think that the desire to fly is a genetic thing. My Grandfather and my Dad were pilots. Im a pilot and my kids, who beg to go flying with me, will certainly be pilots, too.

Most of my buddies who fly had a parent who was a pilot. Most of my buddies with kids have kids that love airplanes and therefore these kids are likely to be pilots, too. I would bet that 80 percent of all pilots are related to another pilot. In support of my theory, how many of us pilots have said flying is in my blood.

Given the difficulties and mixed results in trying to lure members of the non-flying general public into aviation through expensive advertising, why not develop programs by which existing flying enthusiasts are encouraged to grow the rank of the aviation inclined?

Instead of general aviation Be-A-Pilot programs, how about Gen(etic) Aviation Breed-A-Pilot programs that would provide incentives for pilots to produce offspring endowed with an inborn predilection towards flying?

Maybe all of the money spent on advertising could be put directly into a high-return investment fund which, in turn, could be used to cover flight training expenses of a new crop of Gen(etic) Aviation pilots.

Then again, if it werent for my little hangar sweepers, Id have more time and money to fly myself.

-Harry Fenton
Rockford, Illinois

Progressive Lenses
I bought a pair of the Leitz continuous gradient glasses to fix my 55-year-old eyes. I have been slightly nearsighted since high school, but now need help in reading missed approach instructions (and details like DH) from my yoke-mounted plates. In addition, the panel instruments are a little fuzzy too.

The continuous gradient glasses solved the problem. However, a situation has now caused me to consider them unsatisfactory at least at night when there are far fewer visual cues.

I was landing at night onto a black hole airport in the midwest. The only lights in the area were the runway lights and REILS. As I flared over the numbers, there was a strong sensation that I had stalled and that the runway was approaching at a very rapid rate. I applied power and tried again. The sensation was still there!

Conclusion: As you flare and tip your head back, you are looking through the lower portion of the lenses. This is not the part of the lens for far vision and the resulting distortion and accompanying sensations are not representative of whats really happening.

I talked with my eye doctor and he said there is no way to avoid this problem. Pilots werent consulted about the flare requirements. The side vision is a bit weird so pilots who fly taildraggers might also have a problem when landing while depending on cues from the side.

Otherwise, I adapted quickly to these well-made glasses and would only recommend them with the above caveat.

-Steve Silverman
via e-mail

Husky as Seaplane
On your owner comments on the Husky Used Aircraft Guide, I was disappointed you didnt print something about the Husky as a seaplane. I have owned a Husky for two-and-a-half years, with about 70 hours on wheels and over 100 on floats. On floats this plane is a marvel. I never flew the plane on floats before I had them installed on mine.

Sounds crazy, but I did call a couple of bush pilots in Northern Canada and inquired about the Husky on floats. They did nothing but rave about the performance of the plane.

There are a lot of pilots and passengers in graveyards from trying to do in a Super Cub what the plane simply cannot do. Recently, in our area, a couple of beefy guys (together they weighed about 550 pounds) killed themselves trying to take off on a small lake, fully loaded.

As you may know, the lakes in the woods have big trees and even high banks surrounding the lake. When you take off into the wind (as you should) there are strong down drafts coming over those trees that you are heading into.

In this case, the down draft put their rate of climb at 0 as they approached the trees. Instinctively, the pilot pulled the nose up to gain altitude as the trees were getting close. The airplane stalled and there were two fatalities.

That would never have happened in a Husky. Since you want readers to know about the planes you review, the marvelous quality of the Husky to jump off the water is a lifesaver. As I recall, Edo calculates a Huskys takeoff at 380 feet, with a Super Cub at twice that distance.

Shouldnt your readers know about this?

-Charles Adams
Ontario, Canada

Yup. And now they do.

LoPresti Fan
I am writing in response to a letter that from Jeffrey Kerch that concerned his dealings with LoPresti Speed Merchants. I own a 1978 Lance 300 Turbo. Recently, I had the engine changed and various speed modifications added to my airplane by LoPresti Speed Merchants.

In the course of my dealings, I dealt with Roy LoPresti, Curtis LoPresti and Joe Geiger. They were extremely cooperative in helping me choose those speed modifications that were appropriate for my airplane.

They did an excellent job of installing the modifications I desired and the difficult task of replacing the turbo engine in my Lance. The work they performed was excellent and handled in a timely fashion.

I am more than pleased with the work performed by LoPresti. The modifications they installed provided the expected speed increase. As an owner of my own company, I would like to believe that the service and customer relations we provide approach the service that I received from LoPresti Speed Merchants. I unequivocally recommend LoPresti Speed Merchants to any owner who takes pride in his airplane and desires to have it in the care of people who make certain that all work is performed in a highly professional manner.

-Norman Fisher
Maple Heights, Ohio

More Lean of Peak
The Lost Lore of Leaning in your September 1997 issue was interesting and provocative.

Would it be possible to expand on the actual procedure one might use in an airplane without a power gauge but with a CHT and EGT instrumentation? Your Bonanza example was sketchy in this.

-Jordan Colby
Sandy Hook, Connecticut

As we pointed out in the article, the lean-of-peak method probably wont work well, if at all, in a carbureted engine. Fuel injection is a must to assure the even fuel-air distribution that makes aggressive leaning practical.

By no power output gauge we assume youve got an engine with a fixed-pitch prop. If its also fuel injected-and there arent many fuel-injected engines with fixed props-we dont see any reason why you cant operate it lean of peak, providing you have the necessary instrumentation.

We would use the same method described in the article, approaching the leaning operation at a relatively low power setting, then advancing the power (RPM )when on the lean side of peak.

Telex Did It Again
A few weeks ago, I wrote to tell you that Telex has fixed a broken and loose boom on my ANR headset at no charge. I raved about the service.

Theyve done it again. I broke one of the jack pins, rendering the headset useless. I sent the unit back, along with a credit card number and authorization to repair it without an estimate.

Within a week, I had it back, fixed at no charge. Im a Telex customer for life.

-Brian Peck
Waterbury, Connecticut