Letters: 08/02

CO Sniffers
I enjoyed the article on the CO sensors in your July issue. I have had a Senco low-level monitor for eight months and have found it easy to use in my PA 28-180.

I have spoken to several other owners of CO monitors and we all get low levels of CO on taxi/ground operations. I have recently purchased one of the little air scoops that fold out of the pilots storm window and I have found that if I use it, there’s enough clean air from the propeller slipstream to keep my reading at zero or actually < 10 PPM based on the limitations of the sensor.

As an emergency physician, I realize that a short exposure to low-level CO is probably not a big issue, but it sure makes me feel better to see the zero reading.

-Dennis Plante
via e-mail


Some Deal
I read the article on fractional ownership in the June issue of Aviation Consumer with sticker shock! I agree completely with your price assessment of sole ownership but it seems to methis is not the correct comparison for the fractionals.

Wouldnt fractional ownership be much closer to simply renting from the local FBO thanownership?Sharing an airplane with seven others gives up the freedom of flying away for weekends, holidays, and vacations. The other major factor lost is the safety of knowing who flew the aircraft last and how they operate it.

Yes my airplane is older but I directly supervise my maintenance, I am the only one flying it and the wife and I can head for nicer weather at our convenience.

Yes my airplane is much older and while my costs are nowhere near what theirs are, my new interior does provide that new smell!

-Howard Swan
Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Actually, we don’t think fractionals compare to the FBO rental market. For one, a fractional owner shares a piece of the airplane and has an interest in taking care of it. For another, a fractional owners co-owners are similarly qualified by the same interest. It is true that you give up some scheduling flexibility.


Funny Numbers
I greatly enjoy Aviation Consumer and especially find the airplane safety comparisons (June, 2002) to be full of useful information. However, I feel that the way you present the accident summary statistics as percentages leads you, and the reader, to some inaccurate conclusions, especially when comparing airplanes.

While the bar graphs are nice, the numbers should be given as rates per 100,000 hours, as the overall accident rates are. What caught my eye was the statement that landing safety was the bugaboo of the Cessna 182RG. In fact, the 182RG appears to be right in the middle of the pack at .91 loss-of-control accidents per 100,000 hours, between the Bo at .85 and the Mooney at 1.19.

Since this is a fairly narrow range, my conclusion would be that this type of accident is primarily a matter of piloting proficiency and only slightly dependent on airplane type.

On the other hand, the percentage of accidents from engine failures are effectively equal between the Bonanza, Comanche and 182RG (13, 11, and 13 percent respectively), yet factoring in the respective overall accident rates it appears that one is actually twice as likely to lose the engine in the Comanche as the 182RG (.52 vs .25 per 100,000 hours).

Furthermore, while your conclusion that engine failures rank high in the Mooneys is correct, it hides the fact that one is no more likely to lose the engine in a Mooney than in a Comanche.

I wonder if you might have any explanation for the wild differences between rates for VFR-into-IMC between the different airplanes? This would seem to be a classic pilot error accident type and for airplanes flying roughly the same missions by roughly the same pilots it should be fairly constant between types.

Yet the numbers vary by nearly a factor of 10, from .08 for the 182RG to .76 for the 114. Even without these two, for which you say had very few accidents to do stats on, the range is more than a factor of four between the Mooneys (.11) and the Comanche (.52).

Does this mean that once in the soup, one is four times as likely to lose control in the latter or that there is a whole lot more error in the numbers being reported than you believe?

-David Newitt
via e-mail

Were inclined to believe there’s more error in the numbers than we can reasonably detect. Nonetheless, we still think its useful to know what kinds of accidents these particular models suffer.

Because of the doubtful nature of the hours-flown data, were reluctant to put too much stock in rate-based conclusions. Nonetheless, we’ll qualify the accident categories by hours flown next time around.


Heavy Indeed
As a Lance owner and pilot of over a dozen years, I was immediately intrigued by the title of the article referenced above but quite disappointed by the content.

Since when is a Mooney, a C182RG, a Comanche or any of the aircraft analyzed in your article a heavy single?

These are high performance retractables, certainly, but none are heavy in any way except price. What about the real heavy singles such as Cherokee Six, Lance/Saratoga, C-206, C-210 or the Bonanza 36 series?

I read the article anyway and was disappointed again. The data was inconclusive and the analysis thin. The only reason I can imagine why a normally excellent publication would print this: You must have paid the authors in advance! Please don’t waste your readers time again with fluff like this.

-Bill Amick
West Columbia, South Carolina

As we noted in the introduction to the article, we called these airplane heavy merely as an alternative to more high performance singles. It had nothing to do with weight. In retrospect, we should have thought of a better way to describe the second round of singles.


Cellphone Use
Ive been a subscriber to your publication for years and appreciate your articles.Heres my experience with phones in the air:

Having been nervous about the FCC regulations, I always landed at a local airport and made the call using my cellular phone and Cell Set. Over the years, all I had to do was buy an adaptor for any new phone. It worked we’ll without any problems.

As I started more long distance flying, I needed contact without landing. I tried Iridium phones and found the reception lacking. The 9500 Iridium does not adapt to the Cell Set, but the 9505 needs no adaptor.

They include an antenna with a 3-foot cable. This lays on the glareshield like a GPSportable antenna. No installation necessary.

It occasionally drops the conversation but what cell phone doesnt? I have not tried the datalink yet. The costs are as you reported. I only call out as incoming calls get long distance on their end plus your chargealso.

I don’t see the need to add an Icarus adaptor to the system. I have worked with GMPCS (gmpcs-us.com). They have allowed meto trade up until one actually worked in the airplane and with my system.

-Steve Brenneke
Portland, Oregon


Sweep Seconds
Youve probably been barraged with heated responses on this, but sweep-second hands are not required in and of themselves. The FAR in my FAR-AIM book reads (6) A clock displaying hours, minutes and seconds with a sweep-second pointer or digital presentation (emphasis added.)

You made me look it up since I replaced an inop wind-up clock with a Davtron digital one.

-M.K. Franklin
via e-mail

Actually, yours is the first letter. To be honest, we don’t expect a heated debate on the subject of clocks. we’ll admit that its one of the more esoteric topics weve explored in the pages of Aviation Consumer.

Note, however, that we quoted the regulation in the sidebar on page 12 of the July issue, explaining that a digital presentation would do.