Letters: October 1998

Air Sickess Retorts
I am an AME, family physician and IFR-rated pilot. My wife suffers with severe motion sickness. It was rendering my airplane useless ; she would get sick even in light chop.

Then I read about the Relief Band in Aviation Consumers first report on the subject some years ago. After reviewing the companys research, I ordered a Relief Band. To put it bluntly, it was amazing. On the first flight that my wife used it, we ran into moderate turbulence such that my usually resilient children began to feel sick. My wife was fine.

In the three to four years since she started using it, she has not once gotten sick. She has used it on the ground also, including bus rides through the mountains of Pennsylvania and Costa Rica.

We nearly divorced recently when during a preflight she realized that she needed a new battery holder (they frequently break) and I refused to drive 10 miles home to get it. A piece of duct tape from the FBO saved our marriage.

I also want to point out one mistake. Dr. Blue talks about using ephedrine in combination with promethazine. However, he gives Sudafed as the brand name of ephedrine. Sudafed is the brand name of pseudoephedrine, not ephedrine. Which drug is the correct one?

Phillip E. Stover, MD
via e-mail

Brent Blue replies: The correct medication is ephedrine. I have offered to sponsor our editors medical training so he would catch my blunders. But he just cant get past the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) due to his fear of polysyllabic words.

In your article on air sickness aids, Dr. Blue mentions that he believes that all air sickness is a learned phenomenon. Im not sure this is entirely correct. Extreme sensitivity to motion sickness is a characteristic in migraine patients. In fact, it is virtually one of the diagnostic criteria for migraine. This motion sickness often begins in early childhood.

In addition to experience with numerous patients in this regard, I have also had the opportunity to observe the phenomenon on numerous occasions in my own four children. I always make sure that the airplane is well-equipped with air sickness bags. I also fly as gently as possible and as high above the turbulence as possible.

I have not had the occasion yet to study whether appropriate preventative measures for treatment of migraine has any prophylactic use for preventing motion sickness. Just about everything else in the article has been tried in one way or another, by patients or family.

In any case, anyone suffering from extreme motion sickness should strongly consider the diagnosis of migraine and may not want to blame themselves. Incidentally, I thought that at one time the military had been studying the use of dilantin for treatment of motion sickness. We are now using anti-convulsants quite successfully to treat many migraine patients.

Robert Spitzer, MD
Southfield, Michigan

Dakota Duh
In your recent Used Aircraft Guide, you are a victim of the O-540 myth. The Dakota 235 HP engine is not a de-rated 350 HP powerplant. There are two major versions of the O-540 engine: angle-valve and parallel-valve. The 350 HP Navajos and others have the angle-valve version. The Dakota, 182RG, Aztec, TLS and so on have the parallel valve.

I think the highest power in the parallel-valve version is under 300 HP. This engine may be bulletproof in the Dakota, but in a turbo 182RG, turbo Aerospatiale and TLS, its prone to exhaust valve problems.

Lycoming SB388 applies to most of the parallel-valve engines but is usually only a problem on turbocharged iterations. On the TLS, this was corrected by routing an external oil line to each exhaust valve.

Daniel Herr
via e-mail

Warranty Kudos
I bought a used Lancair IV which has a Lycoming IO-540 engine rebuilt by Lycon in Visalia, California. I do not know the original warranty period on the engine. The engine had been rebuilt three years ago and had 140 hours SMOH.

Shortly after my purchase, my mechanic discovered ferrous filings in higher-than-usual amounts in the oil filter, although none were present during the pre-purchase inspection. The oil analysis produced no unusual readings. We suspected that the metal was being produced by the cam shaft.

After discussing the situation with Ken Tunnell at Lycon, we decided to run the engine for 25 more hours to confirm the indications. The prior findings were confirmed. The cam shaft installed in this engine was an Air Support International product. Apparently, Lycon has had several of these cams and related parts fail. In any case, I flew the airplane to Visalia where the engine was removed. Upon inspection, one lobe of the cam and the follower were found damaged.

The engine was torn down, inspected and rebuilt, a process that took about eight weeks. The engine was then reinstalled by Darren Tunnells shop. All costs were borne by Lycon as a warranty repair.

Although there werent many hours on the engine, a significant period of time had transpired since it was rebuilt. Although I would have appreciated shorter down time, I feel that Lycon dealt with the problem in an honorable manner. I am appreciative that they stood behind their work with no hesitation.

Mark A. Rosenthal
Pacific Palisades, CA

LASAR Marketing
Your article about the LASAR ignition systems slow start in the marketplace (April 1998 Aviation Consumer) was entertaining and a fine editorial for application of technology in light airplane engines. But I think you missed part of Unisons problem in marketing this innovation. The company must have the most absolutely inept marketing department I have ever run into.

I have been responding to LASAR advertisements in Flying and AOPA Pilot every time they appear, attempting to find more information. To date, I have a tremendous collection of brochures on SlickStart, including where to purchase them throughout the world. Once, I got a comprehensive catalog of automotive engine products.

Unison is spending thousands of dollars on attractive advertisements but is dropping the ball consistently when consumers respond to those ads. Ill bet they don’t know they have this problem.

Dan Kelly
New Braunfels, Texas