Letters: 06/02

Cirrus Cruise
I enjoyed reading your article comparing the Ovation, SR22 and Columbia airplanes in the May issue of Aviation Consumer. I have owned a Cirrus SR22 for seven months and 180 hours and can state categorically that you have underestimated themodels cruise speed.

I usually cruise between 8000 and 11,000 feet and I have never seenthe 165 KTAS cruise you cite in your article. In contrast, I typically see 182 KTAS when operating ROP and burning 17 GPH or 173 KTAS when LOP at 13 GPH.To save fuel and reduce stress on the engine, I favor LOP operation in cruise.

My typical IFR trip between San Francisco and Orange Countytakes 2 hours and consumes 29 to 30 gallons of avgas.In summary, I absolutely love this airplane.

-George Savage
via e-mail

Our data on SR22 wasnt based on estimates but on flight tests and interviews with owners. As noted in the article, the airplane will cruise at 180 knots, but we dont consider it capable of doing this at a practical power setting.


More on Tugs
Ref your article on tugs in the April issue of Aviation Consumer. Too bad that your author didnt cover the Cessna 150/150. Im chief tow pilot of a glider club with over 140 members. Weve been using Cessna 150s with 150 HP engines for years.

Here are the simple benefits:

• Very easy to qualify new tow pilots.Who hasnt either flown a 150 or who cant adapt to one very quickly?

• Taildraggers are great, but with insurance requirements being what they are, its getting more difficult to find experienced taildragger pilots who will qualify without extensive training time.

• The Cessna 150 airframe is rugged, parts are plentiful and reasonably priced. Same goes for the Lycoming O-320 engine. Any mechanic can work on this airplane.

• An auto fuel STC is available if desired.

More power is always nice, but here in the Midwest, we find that the 150 HP is adequate. You cant beat this towplane for a compromise of easy to fly, cost efficient and adequate climb rates.

-Jerry Eichenberger
Columbus, Ohio


I read your article on the relative merits of the two anti-collision gadgets and have these comments: I regularly fly my C-152 in the busy Chicago airspace (14 airports, Class B, C, D and numerous un-controlled fields) and cant say enough about how much I value my Surecheck TPAS, which I received as a Christmas present this past year.

I researched both the Monroy ATD-200 and TPAS and selected the TPAS as gift of choice, not only for its cost, but also for its size, its range display and dual power sources, battery or aircraft power.

I have not experienced any of the problems described in the article with my internal transponder nor has size been of any significance, since it fits quite nicely on the glareshield and its display is visible even on the brightest of days.

As to false alarms, there have been some, I think. I cant quite tell due to the numerous commercial aircraft landing at OHare, which sets the unit off on a regular basis when Im landing at Schaumburg.

However, what is surprising is the sheer number of targets that were missed previously without the unit. Its certainly more comforting for me to know that traffic is present and its presence makes me do what we should all be doing: getting our heads out of the cockpit. I think these kinds of units should be mandatory equipment for all GA aircraft.

-Don J. Martin
Via e-mail


Cougar Spars
I continue to receive calls regarding concern over the wing spar life limit of the GA-7 Cougar thats published in several Aviation Consumer articles.The articles say that the life limit for the wing spar is 5500 hours.That was revised in 1983 to 47,674 hours.

The airplane was initially certified and the first manuals were published with the 5500-hour limit.The type certificate data sheet and the revised manuals all show 47,674 hours.

I contacted your publishing department several times over the past 10 years to get this error corrected. It must still be there because I received two calls this week asking for an explanation.

Please correct as soon as possible and keep up the good work. If you have any questions call me at 800-329-4647

-David Fletcher
FletchAir Inc.
Product Support GA-7
Socata Groupe Aerospatiale


Excellent article by Coy Jacob concerning zero-time engines. The aviation buyer will benefit if the confusing terminology associated with engine overhauls is eliminated.

We filed a petition for rule change in June 2000 to delete the terms zero-time and rebuilt from the FARs. Until the FAA acts on this petition, Continental and Lycoming could more accurately represent their rebuilt engines by dropping the zero-time engine and substituting the term zero-time logbook. Further, they could stop advertising or allowing their distributors to use the terms remanufactured to describe their re-built engines.

In our petition to the FAA, we also suggested that they consider dropping the requirement to continue total time on an engine following overhaul. Each time an engine is overhauled, new parts with different times are installed. After a couple of overhauls, the total time accurately reflects the time on the data plate only. It no longer reflects total time on the engine.

-Bill Schmidt
Signature Engines, Inc.
Cincinnati, Ohio


I am a first-time subscriber to Aviation Consumer and am very pleased so far.

The reason I am writing is to compliment Coy Jacob on his fine article on engine rebuilding. Its right on the mark. I didnt learn very much new out of it simply because back in the mid-1990s, a Lycoming factory person took great pains to explain most of this to me during a slow period at a little trade show.

However, one thing the Lycoming guy told me that Coy didnt mention is that some European countries require that run-out (based on time) engines be replaced with zero-time engines.

If the factories (or somebody) were not permitted to officially call their engines zero-time and provide a new logbook starting at zero, then the European operators would be forced to buy factory-new engines at considerably increased cost over zero-time rebuilt ones. An important factor in the field overhaul vs. factory overhaul vs. factory zero-time buying decision is what sort of specials or incentives the factories are running at any given time.

When faced with an overhaul on a Lycoming O-320-H2AD back in 1996, I discovered that Lycoming was offering not only a 5 percent discount off the regular overhaul price, but they were including brand-new cylinders as well. The local overhaul shops just couldnt compete; the decision was easy.

And that engine-in a flying club C-172-has since gone to TBO and beyond. We didnt care about zero-time; we were looking for the best value for our engine dollar spent. I think we got it.

-Larry Bothe
Manager, Pardieck Aviation
Seymour, Indiana


Ultravisor Source
Just a quick note to thank you for the mention of Ultravisor visors in your best products review. The article has already generated sales for us and we are appreciative of it.

A couple of quick notes. Ultravisor no longer distributes through Sportys Pilot Shop. Ultravisors sole distributor is now Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. Further, our phone number has been changed to 928-681-1000.

-Bob Walker
Ultravisor Aircraft Sunvisors
Kingman, Arizona