I read your article on sunglasses in the April issue and I look forward to the next installment discussing brands. My wife is a USAF- trained flight optometrist. I met her when I was converting from flying F-16s to C-130s. The vision enhancement requirements were significantly different between those two cockpits! I suggest finding an optometrist with aviation-specific training to determine your vision enhancement requirements if youre able.
Just like your windscreen, never clean your glasses with paper products. Paper is made from wood; its like very fine sandpaper and using it will scratch your lenses and remove coatings. Also, dont use tissues as suggested, not only will they scratch, many contain softening lotion that blur your lenses and is hard to remove. Glass cleaner cleans glass and removes coatings.
Use dish soap with no additives to clean your lenses and blot them dry with cotton towels. Hand soap usually has hand lotion additives and is to be avoided. There are specific cleaners for lenses that work well in the cockpit, but keep a cotton cloth handy or use your shirt tail, but not paper.
If you need prescription glasses, take your optometrist to your cockpit or have someone measure the distance from your eyes to the instrument panel. Also, measure the distance to anything you need to see thats closer, such as approach plates or a GPS attached to the yoke.
If you need bifocals, while sitting in a normal position, use an erasable felt tip pen and draw a line across your lenses where the top of the instrument panel divides your vision from inside to outside so the optometrist knows how high to have your bi-focal made. Take those measurements to your optometrist so the prescription can be made to fit your cockpit-specific requirements.
If you only need near vision help, consider using Optx static cling stick-on reading lenses. They come in multiple powers and are less expensive than having bi-focals cut into your Serengetis. Ive worn them inside a helmet visor while flying F-16s and A-10s.
Theyre handy because they can be trimmed and adjusted to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right height. In fighters, I could lower my visor and position them below my line of sight when I didnt need near vision enhancement.
Clip-on sunglass lenses are also a great alternative to buying prescription sunglasses. They have the added benefit of making your glasses easily adaptable when the sun sets.
My current flying glasses are prescription lenses with a bi-focal that is aligned with the top of the instrument panel so its virtually invisible in the cockpit.
They have transition lenses that darken in bright light. I wear clip-ons over them. Theyre great for driving as well. My preferred flying sunglasses are a set of prescription Serengetis with stick-on bifocals.
I know you havent discussed brand names yet, but heres my two cents worth: Buy sunglasses with glass lenses. The optics in Serengetis are second to none, but the company doesnt provide very good frame warranty or product support, in my view.
Dont buy a style with a brow bar, they will break off and Serengeti wont replace them for you. Ive been through several pairs. If you have access to Randolph Extreme or American Optical, the company who makes the military issue glasses, theyre an exceptional value for glass lenses with great optics.
If you buy cheap glasses and think youre doing alright, try taking them to your optometrist and getting your vision checked while wearing them; count on a 30 percent loss of acuity. Theyre okay at the beach, but in the cockpit youll be lucky to see a 747 before the flight attendants begin to yell.
-Ron Moore, Col., USAF (Ret)
Relative to the Mooney Missile, I would like to present a comparison to my 1961 Beechcraft Bonanza N35. At 9000 feet with 21 inches MAP and 2450 RPM, about 65 percent power, I can true 170 knots on 12 GPH or less.
The only speed enhancements my airplane has are a speed slope windshield-maybe worth one knot-and aileron/flap gap seals, another 3 to 4 knots at altitude. This airplane has a useful load of 1307 pounds and with the tip tanks has 10 hours of gas.
Its not a stripped airplane, either, being equipped with an S-TEC 50 A/P, Garmin 430 and Stormscope, plus many other necessities in todays world. Yes, you have to watch the CG, but its not as severe as some would have you believe. What else will do this today and this for a 1940s design. Maybe Beech did get it right!
Garmin 330 Query
I have very much enjoyed my subscription to your excellent publication. One question on your Garmin 330 article in the April issue.
I fly a Malibu from Baltimore up to Bar Harbor most summer weekends at 17,000 to 21,000 feet. Will I get traffic info from the terminal radar even though I am at Center altitudes? Does this box fit the mid to high-altitude mission?
As long as youre within the service volume of the Mode-S terminal radar, you should have TIS coverage. Generally, the higher you are the better. The fact that youre squawking a code from a Center radar doesnt affect the equation in any way.
In reference to the article on Mooneys future by Coy Jacob in Aviation Consumers April 2003 issue, I was introduced to the factory service center last Fall when I dented the leading edge of a wing panel and needed it rebuilt. That was just after Mooney got back in business.
They provided a quote immediately, it was the best quote I got and they did a faultless repair job with a new skin, including perfectly matched paint, for the amount quoted. They were not able to meet schedule because during my repair, a new airplane buyer hit a buzzard on his first flight, so they dropped everything to fix the new airplane.
Since then I have returned to fix a persistent brake fluid leak and for other odd jobs. They have scheduled me in on each day I asked for and hopped on the job immediately. They always have all the parts on hand. In the case of the brake leak where their first repair attempt failed, they provided parts and labor free of charge on my return visit.
The factory has a friendly and upbeat atmosphere. These guys are motivated and they like the airplane business. With steady management and the Ovation anchoring the line, theyll do well.
I followed your advice in the April 2003 Aviation Consumer regarding the use of RejeX on acrylic windows. I applied it to the windscreen of a Mooney Ovation. It is a disaster. I cannot remove it. It has resulted in a glazed windscreen.
I called Corrosion Technologies; I am waiting to hear from them. You need to get the message out not to use it on acrylic.
We contacted both Corrosion Technologies and the chemist who developed the RejeX formula. As noted on the product label, RejeX is appropriate for acrylic windshields but its critical that it be wiped off just after application.
If it remains on the surface too long-in this case several hours-it will polymerize, creating an opaque film. Should this happen, you can remove the film with 210 Plus Scratch Remover from from LP Aero Plastics. (800-957-2376.)