Letters: September 1998

Yo Cessna Yourself
Heres my view on your Yo, Cessna commentary in the May issue of Aviation Consumer: The main reason Cessna wont build the WhizBang you propose is that there is no reason to. Why take a chance on something really new, incurring the expense, the liability, the logistics, etc?

They just dont need to. Cessna learned well from the Cardinal. There is no need for the WhizBang. Theyre selling bunches of 172s. There is minimal development cost in the redo of the old standby. The insurance liability is a known factor with which the insurers are comfortable. Production should be most efficient by now. The only real expense is the new production facility.

As for profit, figure the materials required for an all-metal homebuilt, bought in bulk, plus labor, amortize the new facility and there should be a nice profit in building a 50-year-old airplane. My guess is the modest proposal you suggest would cost much more, not offer as much value for the dollar as old reliable and would take resources away from the big iron where the real money is.

Short of some competitor coming out of nowhere with a real threat, what incentive does Cessna have to take a chance of that magnitude? The plains are littered with the sun-bleached bones and arrow-riddled remains of pioneering aviation designs.

R.B. Montague
Spruce Pine, North Carolina

Say What?
I have been using a Telex 4000 ANR headset for about five years and would not until now fly without them. The combination of comfort and effectiveness have added to the enjoyment of using my 172. However, I had always experienced a piercing squeal when descending from altitude that required my turning off the ANR. Knowing a little about electronics, I felt like it was the ringing of a high-Q circuit just before it entered feedback mode. As a result, whenever I begin a descent, I turn off the ANR circuitry before the feedback begins.

When I asked Telex about this, an engineer told me that the only relief he could offer would be the reduction of sensitivity in the ANR circuitry, which seems the antithesis of why you buy ANR. I decided to live with the problem and turn off the ANR when descending.

When Telex announced their ANR-1D, I called the company back and asked if the new digital technology would address this problem. Assure that it would, I bought the ANR-1D.

Even though the article by Doug Ritter suggested that the Telex ANR-1D is something of an also ran, I got a set for myself and the results have exceeded my hopes. As Ritter points out, the headset is comfortable and the passive noise rejection is among the best.

Frankly, I have to agree that virtually every criticism of the headset is correct. The audio is slightly tinny, although not really all that bad. I find music played through the intercom system does come off with less base response than in the ANR-4000s, but the difference is forgotten within a couple minutes. The adjustments for the individual pilot do not stay locked. And the control unit is a minor pain.

That said, I cant agree with his conclusion that the ANR-1D is a disappointment. I cant imagine any ANR headset working better than the ANR-1D.

The digital design is especially useful for eyeglass wearers. I think that even though the passage of the temples through the earcups allows an entrance for noise, the digital circuit compensates.

I am convinced of the truth of Telexs claims of a broader banded ANR effect and that it significantly surpasses analog technology. While I have not tried all the ANR headsets on the market, its hard to imagine anyone offering a set that will be significantly more effective.

I must wonder if Doug Ritters hearing is fully up to snuff? I have noticed that high-time pilots who havent always used ear protection have hearing damage in the range where an ANR headset performs best. A last thought: The digital design of the ANR-1D offers the possibility of upgrading the unit as new software becomes available.

Bob Locher
via e-mail

Doug Ritter replies: First, Im pleased to hear you think we nailed it on most accounts. Such feedback is gratifying. As to the issue of my hearing, Im pleased to note that the results of my most recent intensive hearing exam reveal that I still hear better than 95 percent of the population, according to the doctor (though my wife says otherwise).

In part because Ive always had acute hearing and I have always used hearing protection while flying. I generally avoided loud noises and loud music. In addition, our tests are conducted using multiple test subjects to ensure a wider range of exposure and opinions than that of a single person.

While there is no question that the performance of the new Telex is better than the old, thats not the criteria upon which we make our judgement. We compare to all the ANR headsets available and test in back-to-back, side-by-side tests with the leading headsets.

So, while you are obviously pleased with the performance improvement over the old Telex ANR , in the larger picture, which is what really counts, the ANR-1D fares worse than the others. We stand by our conclusions.

Acro Airplanes
Your recent article on affordable acro aircraft was well done and described the current situation well. A few additional details would better describe the Great Lakes.

I feel that lumping the Great Lakes in with Stearmans and Wacos doesnt put this fine aircraft in the proper category. I would put it between the Citabria and the Pitts. The Great Lakes was built from 1973 to 1983 and thats many years (20) after the Stearman or Waco.

As pointed out, 90 percent of these new Great Lakes are powered with 180 HP Lycoming AEIO-360-B1G6 engines and equipped with inverted oil and gas. That alone should separate them because a similar engine is used in the Decathlon. Ten Sport Trainers were manufactured with the Lycoming O-320. Its hugely fun to fly.

Finally, the Great Lakes is one of the few airplanes that has never had an AD issued against the structure since it was first made in 1929. Thats some record in itself.

Harvey Swack
Needham, Massachusetts

JPI Details
Perhaps I can help Peter Ver Lee and other owners of J.P. Instruments EDM-700. (Aviation Consumer, July 1998 letters). Ver Lee correctly states that the instrument reverts to the automatic mode after 15 minutes. But he will be happy to hear that he is incorrect in his statement that this feature is non-programmable.

It surely is programmable. In the pilot program mode, set the scan rate to 0. Then the instrument will remain in the manual mode indefinitely.

Jake Jacobs
J.P. Instruments
Huntington Beach, California

More on Lenses
Regarding Rod Dykhouses scathingly critical letter on progressive lenses in your May issue, this is a subjective thing. I, too read (and re-read) the October 1997 article about progressives and decided to take the plunge. My optometrist had a number of airline pilot patients who tried progressives, mostly with positive results.

It did take getting used to, but I adapted quickly. Theyre pretty much a point-your-nose set-up, but far superior to the executive-cut bi-focals Ive worn for years, having to constantly jerk my head to scan for traffic, the panel and charts.

My only complaint is that the peripheral vision is somewhat distorted, but its no big deal if you keep your head on a swivel, which you should be doing anyway. Love your publication. Keep up the good work.

Gordon Evans
via e-mail