Letters: 05/02

More on Covers
Thank you for your article on aircraft covers. I wanted to share my experiences with Bruces Custom Covers. Their product is wonderful and their willingness to customize is superb.

However, in an attempt to cover my entire aircraft, their customer service was poor and their phone manner abrupt, as though they were really busy.I suggested that every one of the fuselage and wing covers I had seen fit well, but were poorly strapped and flopped around in the wind.

I suggested a wide Velcro modification, going insofar as to purchase the materials and send them to Bruces. They were not interested, sounded mildly annoyed and far too busy to explore the possibility.

-John Pleisse
Germantown, Maryland


Reese Fan
In October, I had my 1979 Aerostar 601P/700 beautifully repainted by Reese Aircraft in Newburgh, New York, with a scheme created by Scheme Designers. So I was delighted to see that both companies were included in your recent articles about aircraft painting.

As Im sure youve heard from many aircraft owners, I was 100 percent satisfied with the work performed by both companies, which is more than I can say for another east coast shop that painted my 1977 Mooney 201 about five years ago.

That bad experience made me wary of all paint shops, but I found myself in good hands with Ken Reese, Don Reese and Barry Blizard of Reese Aircraft and Craig Barnett of Scheme Designers.

It means a lot to do everything right, but it means even more when everyone works together to resolve the little things that can go wrong in a project as complicated as painting a twin. Reese Aircraft and Scheme Designers patiently and thoroughly addressed all my concerns and resolved them to my complete satisfaction. Im happy to recommend both companies to anyone considering repainting.

Finally, one of the marks of a good paint job is the reaction you get on the ramp. Im happy to report that my recently painted Aerostar never fails to draw compliments from pilots and line service personnel, thanks to the efforts of Reese Aircraft and Scheme Designers.

-Alan Jacobson
Norfolk, Virginia


Wing Waxer Notes
Just a short note to let you know that, based on your article, we tried the Arizona franchise of Wing Waxers owned by Greg Begin of Prescott. We had a Cessna 172 and Cessna TU206 detailed by Arizona Wing Waxers with the same excellent results reported in your article.Mr. Begins price was $385 per aircraft, $15 more than you experienced, but this included travel time to/from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport.

Mr. Begin and his assistant spent approximately 15 man-hours on the Stationair and 12 man-hours on the Skyhawk. We were very pleased with the results and, as your article suggests, we will now be arranging for this treatment on a regular basis, along with other scheduled maintenance.

-Mike Ebersole
Grand Canyon, Arizona


Monroy Feedback
Ive owned Monroys ATD-200 for over a year and have been pleased with its performance, once I became familiar with thequirks that you pointed out in your article.

I don’t consider it to be first and foremost a traffic detector, although that is certainly its function.I just don’t feel comfortable relying upon it 100 percent. Rather, I use it as a head-out-of-the-cockpit detector. If it squawks, I ask myself if Ivebeen spending too much time looking atmy charts or my gauges. In this role, it performs flawlessly. Furthermore, my visual scans have occasionally picked up aircraft that the ATD never detected.

I assume that this is because the target did not have an active transponder, but it only needed to happen once in order for me to fully appreciate the limitations of the technology.

Finally,I would dearly love to hear from someone who has used it with a mounted antenna, as I suspect that this would improve performance.

-Miles Abrams
Via e-mail

See the March issue letters section for information on the paperwork necessary to install a remote antenna.


Weve owned a Monroy ATD-200 for six months now and your review in the March issue was right on. Here are some additional comments.Seeing traffic immediately below the airplane is more a function of physics than design. A vertical antenna has a horizontal donut-shaped pattern, with a vertical null on top and below.

Given that, and the fact that all transponder antennas on the threat aircraft have this same null and most are mounted on the bottom of the threat airplane (that is, shielded), its a wonder any TCAS type unit can detect threats from below.

We mounted our ATD permanently in our Glasair and chose to run the audio alert thru a speaker instead of the intercom.The problem with the latter is that the audio alert can be incessant (aircraft slowly overtaking) and the constant alert makes it hard to concentrate on ATC calls or your copilots conversation.

Whereas the way God made us, having the alert come from a discrete point in space (as opposed to filling both ears) you can mentally tune out the audio alert when necessary. We can hear the alert just fine while wearing ANR headsets.

Applying a Murphys Law of Management that says No job is impossible for the man who doesnt have to do it himself, here are some wish list items Ive passed on to Jose Monroy.

Given that Mode-S transponders are generally mounted on large aircraft, I wish that when Mode-S is detected, the alarm sensitivity would automatically reduce a bit. We are constantly falsing on air carriers that are 8000 to 10,000 feet above us.

We fly on the outskirts of the Phoenix Class B airspace. When within 2 miles of arrival corridors, the ATD is constantly squawking level 4 and 5 signals, so as to be useless for GA threats.

Or maybe there’s some signature difference between high power transponders and typical GA units, so that the unit could, Stormscope-like, guess better at range. The alert cycle repeat time is too short. Every 10 seconds is too much. A 20-second repeat would be better.

There’s got to be a way to figure which received signals are altitude threats based on Mode-C info.

Since the ATD is receiving your own transponder signal, it has some data about your altitude and the ground stations signature.

Or it could use a solid-state pressure transducer to learn your altitude. Seems to me it could be made to display threats only within, say, 2000 feet. If it cost another grand to do this, itd still be cheaper than TCAD. don’t know if it alerts on TCAS hits. If it does, it shouldnt, since presumably, anyone with TCAS will see you and avoid.

We bought the ATD as a poor mans TCAS. If we could afford a TCAD-both from a financial and space perspective-wed buy one. We wanted something that would get our heads out of the cockpit on those long cross countries where you havent seen anyone for hours and maybe arent really looking or are fiddling with the GPS at the wrong time.

While the unit complains a lot on air carriers that arent a threat, I suppose its better to be looking out the window than not. In general, Id rather have the unit than not. Can always mute the alerts.

-Mike Palmer
Via e-mail


I had a new Apollo (UPSAT) GX-60 installed in my Bonanza in May 1998. It has been trouble-free until recently. I contacted UPSAT by fax about the concern and received a call from an UPSAT representative the next morning.

I was asked to ship the GX-60 back to UPSAT for repair under warranty. I received the unit back from UPSAT one week later. They updated the software and made some internal repairs-all at no charge to me.

Considering that the radio is approaching four years old, I am extremely pleased with their service. I will strongly consider a UPSAT radio when its time to upgrade due to the way the GX-60 has performed for me and due to UPSATs excellent customer service.

-Richard Grossmann
Overland Park, Kansas