Letters: 09/01

Bendix Dual Mags
Reference your report in the August issue on Bendix dual magnetos: Another reason to be wary of these mags wasnt mentioned in your article, possibly because this isn’t a problem in Mooneys.

In the Cardinal installation, both fixed gear and retractable, the prop governor on dual-mag equipped engines comes with a metal plate that goes between the engine and the governor, sandwiched between two gaskets.

This plate blocks some oil passages which arent needed for that application. About two or three times a year, someone will R&R a Cardinals prop governor, toss the metal plate in the trash with the old gaskets, install the new governor without the metal plate and an hour or two later-in a few lucky instances, during the post-maintenance run-up-the oil blows out the gaskets in flight, toasting the engine and frequently the airplane.

The Cardinal Flyers Online digest lost a couple of planes during the time I subscribed and had a couple more that landed successfully but with no oil aboard. There’s a Lycoming service bulletin about this metal plate, but many mechanics are ignorant of its existence.

Since quite a few Cardinals have the non-dual mag engine and many more have been converted, its possible for a mechanic to work for years on them and never have to deal with the situation. At any rate, its one more reason not to have a dual-mag engine, if you can avoid it.

-David T. Chuljian
Via e-mail


Better Pumps
I certainly hope that Champion has come up with a good new vacuum pump (A New Kind of Pump, May, 2001). As a conscientious pilot, I have always routinely replaced my vacuum pumps at about 400 to 500 hours, to pre-empt a failure in IMC. Nonetheless, I have had at least six vacuum failures over the years. Whats particularly galling is that three of these failures occurred in pumps that I had installed as replacements for pumps that were aged but working perfectly.

Even worse, these three brand new pumps failed at one, three and 50 hours!If I had a record like that in my medical practice, I would have no more patients.

-Brian Peck
Waterbury, Connecticut


Trip Kits
Your article on IFR trip kits (July 2001 Aviation Consumer) does an injustice to the many internet dealers of FAA/NACO and Jeppesen products who regularly offer customers discounts of as much as 25 percent off retail prices, as we’ll as discounted or actual shipping costs.

Sportys, although prominently mentioned, hardly discounts at all and their shipping prices are among the highest. While it may be easy to dial up Sportys and be put on hold, its even easier to order online, save money in the process, and support online operations looking to provide better service at better prices.

-Howard Steiner
Via e-mail


Your article on maps and approach plates missed the free alternative. AOPA members (membership costs $39/year and comes with lots of other benefits) can download approach plates and departure procedures for free. They don’t have enroute charts but it takes only a couple of minutes to download plates for five or six airports.

-Shaun Breidbart
Via e-mail


Get a 530
I recently traded in my Garmin 430 for a 530 and re-read your article on the 530 in the May 2000 Aviation Consumer. I agree with all the points you made.

Now that I have it, I absolutely love it. Much as I loved the 430, I cant imagine going back to it. I also cant see having two. In my opinion, all you need is one 530, an audio panel, transponder, autopilot and one Bendix/King KX155 or equivalent as back-up, plus a handheld GPS.

I gotthe 430 about two years ago. It was another case of spending too much time talking to an avionics manager. I began asking him about rearranging the radios in the panel of a Cessna 210 I had purchased six months earlier.

Next thing I knew, I had agreed to a Garmin 430 and a WX-500. (I had them remove a vintage WX-7A.) What eased the pain was the great deal on the trade-in for my old radios. I traded in a Bendix/King KLN89B, KX196, KNS81 and KR87 for $5000. The shop sold me the 430 just a little above wholesale and the installation was $2000.

I recently chatted with the same guy; he must have me marked as an easy target. I had called about an autopilot problem and after he called me back to tell me it was fixed, I casually asked about trading a 430 in for the 530. He offered me $4400 in trade for the 430 and the total cost was $6000. Installation was basically free because it was just moving a few trays around and reusing the same connectors. So instead of a $16,000 plus installation, I got a terrific upgrade for a reasonable six grand. It took two days.

Its amazing how important that big bright screen size is. I also have a Sandel HSI and although I used to think it was the cats pajamas, its very dim and small compared to the 530. Themap data, Stormscope strikes andnumbers/letters on the Sandelare also small and in bright sunlight, I find myself going back to the 530 every time. I wish Sandel would put a brighter bulb in the HSI. If I were redoing the panel today, Id skip the Sandel.

I do have some quibbles with the way I get my data for the GPS. Im using the Jeppesen Skybound Datawriter, which has been more trouble than its worth, in my view. Traffic avoidance is a little pricey for me but EchoFlight seems like a possibility if they ever deliver.

If you have a large central radio stack that would fit a 530 and have purchased a 430 in the past few years, its probably worthwhile seeing what kind of deal your avionics shop can give you to upgrade.

-Peter Ver Lee
Via e-mail


Our report on aircraft CD players in the July issue gave the misimpression that the player made by Avionics Innovations is not shipped with an installation kit that includes a tray.

If fact, the AICD is shipped with a tray, which is standard practice in the industry. Further, the PS Engineering unit had been equipped-at our concurrence-with an optional mated wiring harness, which made it easier to test on the bench. Normally, both players are shipped with standard trays.