Letters: March 2000

Mapcomm Morass
Your recent article on color map navcomms is a bit nutty. Youd think that pilots are having lots of difficulty with failed radios and with getting lost. I doubt that these are even on the pilot-killing top-ten list.

The attitude gyro is a much more important and deadly problem. The Bonanza panel you show would never be the choice of a pilot who had lots of simulator experience with failed gyros and night IFR experience. Whats wrong?

The nav and com frequencies and setting knobs on the Apollo and GNS 430 are way too small to see and use.

The moving maps are too far out of the sight line and too small to be useful on an approach. The giant turn coordinator and vertical velocity are taking up too much panel space.

What would be better?

Replace the 3- inch turn coordinator and vertical velocity with 2 1/2-inch units.

Put a 2 1/2 inch electric attitude indicator powered by a dedicated auto switching emergency battery where the turn coordinator is now.

Use a GPS moving map and two Bendix/King 196s instead of two GNS 430s.

Put all the engine gauges on theother side of the radio stack.

This would give you better IFR flyability, frequency usability and easy big-knob tuning. Youd have attitude gyro redundancy and reliability instead of a light wallet and IFR confusion from the too far away, too small display trap of the portrayed panel.

Because so few general aviation pilots practice partial panel or have simulator training, they don’t appreciate how potentially lethal it is to fly real IFR with just a turn coordinator.

If your spouse loved you and knew what you were doing, they wouldnt let you fly without a redundant attitude gyro.

John S. Brush
Colorado Springs, Colorado

If our spouse loved us-and would get a high paying job to prove it-we would be flying a Citation and not having this discussion.

You plan works for us, however. See the February, 2000 issue for our thoughts on gyro back-ups.

GNS 430 Fan
Because I am a regular reader of your magazine, I had major buyers remorse over my purchase of a Garmin GNS 430 for my 1985 Seneca. I assumed it would be money down a rat hole.

I spent $10,000 on the installation. This included moving the KNS 80 to the right side of the stack and removing a KX-155 and loran as we’ll as some other rearranging. Additionally, included was a voltage converter because 14-volt GNS 430s are unavailable.

I received $2000 credit for the KX-155. I got my loran back in a box, no credit for this jewel. I also installed a Shadin fuel computer slaved to the 430, this added another $3500 to the package.

I have had my plane back for a month now and after 30 hours of use, I continue to be impressed. I agree, the 430 is simply a stroke of brilliance. I had no idea how much was included in this small box. It will be a long time before I can learn all the features, but I will.

The Shadin is a no-brainer. I never want to run out of gas. This unit will pay for itself with fewer precautionary fuel stops just to be sure.

I have stopped for gas so many times just because of not knowing exactly what my fuel flow is on long trips. Also, when flying several legs with a full load of people, I can accurately determine the pounds of fuel onboard.

The only thing that would make this a better upgrade is two 430s. If the upgrade to my panel turns out to be money down a rat hole, I don’t care. I have no buyers remorse today.

Jim ODay
Fargo, North Dakota

Sooooo Negative
No question that you have a fine publication and that your staff does excellent research. I have subscribed since your very early days and each of my fellow employees reads every issue cover to cover.

However, its difficult to understand how you continue to print the opinions of a single insurance broker based in your backyard who obviously has no handle or concept on whats happening insurance wise around the rest of the country.

His recent feature pointed toward discouraging aircraft owners from upgrading to more sophisticated equipment is distorted, totally negative and, in many points, not factual.

He flatly states that there are only eight major domestic underwriters and if he is unaware of the three other majors, I suggest potential eastern clients seek other specialists. He describes a Baron ownership scenario with a low-time pilot being penalized with a premium of $15,000 to $20,000 annually.

Our quotes in the Midwest for such a pilot with $1 million liability and $900,000 hull would be considerably less if the pilot/owner attends a recognized training facility and continues regular instrument competency checks.

We carefully market our clients and potential clients to all of the insurance markets and as the oldest aviation insurance specialty house in the country, our companies trust that we will provide them with all the information and ammunition to generate a fair premium and broad form protection.

We encourage our clients to move forward into more complex aircraft when their experience level justifies it.

The negative article by your resident expert serves only to discourage them.

Chuck Wenk
Wenk Aviation Insurance Agencies
Highland Park, Illinois

Negative? You call that article negative? We can do negative, the kind of negative that causes libel attorneys to sit bolt upright at 2 a.m. for a swig of Maalox kept on the nightstand. By comparison, that piece was a sloppy wet kiss from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association press office.

We merely wished to point out that there are lots of dollars out there in the pockets of pilots not qualified to fly what they can afford to buy. The underwriters have figured out that maybe its not a good idea to insure a 200-hour VFR pilot in a Navajo. Just a thought.