Letters From Readers: October 2019

Which IFR Navigator?

I read the IFR GPS navigator article in the September 2019 Aviation Consumer and think you missed an option: upgrading a Garmin GNS 430 to a GNS 430W, which has WAAS.

At AirVenture I was looking at the new Garmin GPS 175 to replace my old GNS 430. The Garmin rep told me there was a nice rebate available if I traded my GNS 430 for a new GTN-series navigator-something like $4000 toward the GTN. I asked what they were doing with the trade-ins and he said they refurbished them and sold them, but I’m guessing not in the U.S. I asked if that meant that Garmin was continuing to support the GNS 430W and he said absolutely.

As a result, I’m upgrading the GNS 430 in my experimental Europa. There is no rewiring required; just install the new antenna. The box fits in the same tray. I understand how to operate my GNS 430, so there is no new learning necessary, plus the interface to my GRT EFIS does not change.

Jim Butcher

via email

We asked Garmin about this and were told it often offers rebate incentives on these discontinued units so customers can send them back. But, Garmin doesn’t resell the units. Instead, it uses them for spare parts (displays, in particular) to help support the fleet of units still in the field. But you’re correct in that upgrading a legacy GNS 430 to WAAS offers decent utility with a fairly easy mechanical installation.

Who Needs Insurance?

Larry Anglisano’s First Word commentary on the “hardening” of the insurance market (August 2019 Aviation Consumer) reminded me of what a hot topic this has become. Most older pilots live in abject fear of the day the insurance company cuts them off. I’ve read many helpful articles about how to forestall the inevitable (like more training and simply flying more hours), but I’ve never seen mentioned an easy alternative. There is no requirement that you insure your aircraft.

2 GNS430W

I’m in my mid-70s, brutally healthy and haven’t heard a peep from my insurance company yet, but if or when I do and they cancel me, I’ll just continue to fly. I’ve owned my airplane for 42 years and if I prang it tomorrow, so what? It’s been a good run. I happen to be in the happy position that I can afford to fix my airplane or just buy a new one outright, but even if I weren’t, that’s fine. Either I’m dead and it doesn’t matter, or I survived and can look back on many happy decades flying. The ability to insure my plane is not the determinant on whether I fly or not. The fact is I’ve paid over $150,000 in insurance over the years and never once made a claim. I should have self-insured.

I know there is a liability issue, and no one would want to hurt someone and have the victim left without recourse. But one can minimize risks. My usual passenger is my wife. Uninsured, I would rarely fly others and never any children (including Young Eagles), but I would fly.

Carlos Diaz

Pensacola, Florida

Pilatus Versus TBM

In the September 2019 Used Aircraft Guide where you compared the Pilatus PC-12 to the TBM850 in the max cruise speed data block, you show the 2006 TBM850 as having a max cruise speed of 290 knots. This is not correct. At normal cruise I routinely get 305 knots in my TBM, and the POH value of 315 knots is not unreasonable. I usually fly at FL260 to FL280, where 305 knots is pretty typical.

A. Davidson

via email


I can’t see any articles where you’ve written about superchargers, such as the ones made by Forced Aeromotive. Have you considered a report on them? If so, here’s another vote for one. Love the magazine.

Jack Downey

via email

We’ll add it to the list. In the meantime, if anyone has real-world experience with aircraft supercharging, we want to hear about it.