Your glass panel flyoff article in the March 2006 Aviation Consumer was interesting, but only helpful to the handful of individuals who will be purchasing new equipment in which these systems are offered. Even then, it looks like few will have a choice in which system they can order in a given aircraft.
What would be more interesting to most aircraft owners and pilots is a comparison of available certified retrofit EFIS systems for GA aircraft. It would be of great value to find out more about the capabilities of the Chelton system and its novel highway in the sky approach and compare it to Meggitt, Honeywell and Avidyne.
I believe that the Chelton is flying in quite a few aircraft, so it would be fairly easy to get pilot feedback and reliability comments.
Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
I have been debating between upgrading my PA 28-180 or buying a new airplane. My two candidates were the Cirrus SR20 and the Diamond DA40. A friend who owns a Cirrus SR22 called me 18 months ago explaining that his PFD had gone bad and was being replaced under warranty. He felt lucky when he learned that a new unit was worth in the range of $45,000.
Last spring, I visited Diamond Aircraft in London, Ontario. Avoiding the high replacement cost of the Avidyne PFD was the main argument that Diamond Aircraft used when explaining to us why they chose to use Garmin LRUs, although we were not provided with hard numbers. I would love to have a comparison or projection of replacement cost of both systems, five years down the road when all warranties have expired.
So would we. Theres just not enough operational or warranty repair data to make that judgment yet. However, refer to our coverage of projected repair costs in the January 2006 issue. This is our current best estimate on ongoing costs for glass panels.
I enjoyed the piece on survival kits in the March 2006 issue, although I was surprised to see Exploration Products (www.epcamps.com) missing from the vendor list. This Bellingham, Washington-based company has some excellent products that would likely be of interest to your readers. The owner is willing to send a list to customers that allows them to specify alternate components from the companys stock. The alternate components might cost a little extra, but it allows pilots to customize kits to better suit their personal requirements.
Mark T. Masciarotte
I have a Beech Sierra C24R with a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 that missed the first few crankshaft ADs. It was a factory overhauled engine I bought via Air Power about two-and-a-half years and 300 hours ago. I traded in my old core at that time and received full credit.
I discovered via AVweb that the AD was expanded sometime in January 2006. I called Lycoming and gave them my engine serial number and sure enough, my crank was in the group which required replacement in six months or 50 hours.
An interesting note is that I was not contacted by Air Power or Lycoming about the AD. Maybe I beat them to it by calling as soon as the news came out, but I thought that someone was supposed to get hold of me.
Here is how it went: I called Lycoming early and we picked a date for delivery to Williamsport. Lycoming shipped a crate to my shop a week before the ship date. My shop removed and crated the engine. In three weeks, as promised, my engine was back to my shop and a week later it was ready to fly. Shipping and R&R ($1500) were paid by Lycoming.
I was out four weeks, the cost of oil and filter (not an original part on these engines) and $500 for Lord engine mount cushions.
While the crank was replaced, they also honed the cylinders, replaced idler gears, bearings, piston rings, tappets, piston-pin plugs, oil pump shaft, vacuum pump adapter and drive gear. I dont know why that was all done. No explanation, but I figure it sounds like a good thing for free.
This was probably one of the better experiences out there. I had time to schedule the work, parts and labor were available, costs were taken care of.
I can write off the cost of a month of downtime as experience. But maybe a local overhaul would have avoided the extra teardown and lost time as well as the cost and argument with Lord.