Letters: 03/02

More Notes on Relief
Heres a comment on your recent article on personal relief devices. Unless we own the miraculous airplane of hangar talk, we all generate a lot of waste containers: Oil bottles.

Purchase a pack of purse-size Kleenex and a plastic automatic transmission filler funnel. Those will make a cheap and handy disposal system, at least as handy as the others and easier to find than the large mouth soda bottles.Get an ATF funnel that will fit into the oil bottle and trim the bottom so that the funnel fits tightly into the bottle neck, that is, it wont bottom out.Trim the top of the funnel to the height and angle that best fits the plumbing with the bottle resting on the floor, if practical in your airplane.

Stuff the used Kleenex into the bottle after cleaning up yourself and the funnel.This works best solo and might work for a very determined lady. Also, one cheek on each seat (if solo) seems easier and safer than turning around, as the article mentioned.Disposal of a capped 15W50 oil bottle (don’t drop the cap!) will not cause alarm and the wiped dry funnel slips into a pocket for the trip to wash it out.

There have been many oxygen articles in various publications over the years, but all have been silent on two issues.

First, after a long day on the ground, I find that use of oxygen on the trip home, even at low altitude, like 10,500 feet-my airport and home are at 5000 feet-keeps me alert. Im not in danger of falling asleep without it, but there’s some lethargy. Why is that advantage not mentioned?

Second, even though properly equipped, I find that oxygen consumption is much reduced in the above situations, even over a conserving cannula, maybe 3 or 4 to 1, by putting the fitting on the end of the hose in my mouth, playing with the flow valve and thinking about my breathing. It is some bother, but there is little else to do. It does keep the cost down.

-Lin Mannin
via e-mail

Nothing wrong with using oxygen at low altitude if it keeps you alert. Were not fans of the hose-in-mouth option but we know others who are.


ABO Revisited
I enjoyed the article on oxygen myths in the December issue, but have a basic question. In Myth #2, it refers to the outdated AC43.13-1A, which was superseded by AC43.13-1B in September 1998.

This AC significantly updated the old AC, and paragraph 9-51 contains CAUTION: Use only aviation breathing oxygen when having the bottle charged.

As I understand the rules, this current AC must be followed, unless the particular aircraft/system manufacturers maintenance manual has supersedinginformation. How can I use something not labeled ABO in an aircraft oxygen system?

-Dick Koehler
via e-mail

Youre correct about the revised ACs significantly different language. However, ACs are still advisory and usually include the phrase acceptable methods but not the only methods. Since we have determined that there’s no risk in using welders or medical oxygen, we don’t see the point of using ABO unless there’s no other choice. Its your call on cost and convenience.


Oximeter Rejoinder
Mr. Barrs letter in the February issue calling a pulse oximeter an inaccurate device and recommending looking for the physical signs of hypoxia is ridiculous.

Not only are pulse oximeters accurate to within one to two percent, by the time someone gets physical signs, their mental capacity has decreased to at least the level of a one year old.

The point behind of pulse oximetery in aviation is to bring oxygen monitoring and supplemental use of oxygen out of the 1950s and into the 21st century.

-Brent Blue


Jilted Owners
Why didnt you include the Grumman American Cougar in your comparisons for the Seminole?I think its reasonable to say that the Seminole, the Duchess and the Cougar are all of a same class. (I admit to a bias.)

While the Cougar uses O-320 engines, I believe the performance is equivalent, which says something about the Cougar. It also has 18-inches of legroom for the passengers sitting in the backseats.Is there an airline that offers that much room to a coach customer?And cruise at 160 knots on a pair of 160-HP engines. Will the Seminole do 180 knots?

-Hugh Replogle
Via e-mail

No. But neither will a Cougar.


Wow!What an article on the Beech Sundowner in the December 2001 issue. Who wrote it? I don’t see a writers name credited. I wouldnt have taken credit for writing that article either.

The Aviation Consumer has made the same mistake as everyone else out there.Everyone believes that these aircraft are dogs.But look at the facts.Thats what Aviation Consumer is supposed to do, not believe the stories and worse yet, promulgate them.

The article calls these aircraft frumpy.In fact, the untrained eye would not be able to distinguish between a Sport and a Piper 140.I have never seen any of the Cherokee series referred to as frumpy.

The article goes on about how these aircraft are not so hot and how owners frown painfully when describing performance.

By the way, what kind of idiot would shoehorn any type of legitimate aircraft into a 1000-foot strip? If anyone tries to do this, he should have his pilots license revoked because he never should of had one in the first place.

Your article dismisses the superior endurance capabilities of the Beeches by stating that the Cherokees, Tiger, Cardinal can fly just as far because their higher cruise speeds let them cover the same amount of ground on less fuel.Hogwash.

You describe control harmonization and superior handling, then the same paragraph gets back to poking at the low cruise speeds (that) turn them into one-airplane traffic jams.Further, you mention crow hopping and porpoising. I have about 500 hours in an A23-19 Sport and have never had the airplane porpoise or crow hop. In fact, I think that the aircraft is a fine handling machine throughout the landing regime.And besides, its not the aircraft that porpoises and crow hops, its the pilot that induces it.Again, if the pilot is not capable of handling this machine, he should not be in it.

After your vicious, insult-laden attack on the Beeches, you include on five letters from owners who are apparently elated with their Beeches. Here are my comments: I bought an A23-19 Musketeer in 1990.Everyone I talked to that knew anything about aircraft spoke highly of them.I have hundreds of hours in Cessnas and Pipers and found that the Beechcraft has superior handling both in the air and on the ground.

The Beech is built so we’ll that taxiing is more like driving your car down the taxiway. There are no squeaks and rattles andparts vibrating around, which is common on the other aircraft mentioned.

Flying the Beech is a delight.Its solid, comfortable, quiet and handles beautifully. I can fill the tanks to the caps, fly 200 miles in comfort with one or two passengers and return without needing to purchase high-priced fuel (upwards of $3 per gallon) at a destination airport.I can then return home and still arrive with about three hours reserve.

Given the facts, why do you give the 172 a cant-go-wrong buying award? Why do you say that the 172 delivers enormous practical value for its highly affordable purchase price?

Where is the real value here? In my opinion, if you want a good solid airplane, with adequate performance, for a minimum amount of money, buy a Beech Musketeer, Sport, Sundowner, or Sierra.If you want a sexy airplane with lots of ramp appeal that can carry lots of people quickly and with excellent range, buy a Learjet.

-Corwin Waswick
Via e-mail

Youre absolutely correct. The Sport is frumpy and slow. The Cherokee is merely stodgy.