Letters: 10/06

Lightweight Headsets
I read your review of the LightSPEED Mach 1 in the August edition. I do not agree with the recommendation on this headset.  I tried this headset a few months ago and found it to be unusable.  While the construction and quality of the product matched your review, the design of the over-the-ear-piece is flawed.  The microphone was extremely sensi-tive to the placement of the boom and would only work when placed exactly in the corner of your mouth.  Every head movement would alter this placement and re-quire me to reposition the mic.  My experience was that if worn in the location your model used on the cover, I could not be heard over the mic.  I reluctantly had to return this otherwise excellent headset.  I received my money back, no questions.

Nathan Bard
Via e-mail

We did not experience these short-comings. But as noted in the article, lightweight headsets are an acquired preference and every head and set of ears is different. Thats why its so important that the in-the-ear headset companies offer a money-back guarantee. Weve heard from a few other readers who also re-turned lightweights, simply because they dont like the concept.

Retract That
While there is generally value in Aviation Consumer articles, your com-ment in the July 2006 issue regarding landing lights …. Any fool can land an airplane on a darkened runway without much risk …. displays a remarkable level of arrogance which indirectly encourages bravado in the face of mechanical failure.Have you ever crossed the thresh-old at night only to catch the retinal reflection of deer as they trot across your landing runway?  I have and was damn glad to have a pair of Whelen Q5596s (replaces: 4596) landing lights on my Baron lighting the way. They are brighter and whiter than standard incandescent lamps and offer substantially improved service life.As Im sure you can imagine, hitting a deer at 60 knots would be a losing ex-perience for everyone. Will illumi-nated landing lights pre-clude hitting a deer? Of course not. Will not having one ensure hitting one?  No, of course not. Can a safe landing be made without a landing light, yes, but please, use some common sense here. While your technical analysis may have merit, your editorial comment is reckless and irresponsible. I urge you to make a retraction in your next issue.

Ted Stanley
Via e-mail

We hardly think a retraction is neces-sary. We were merely making the point that landing without a landing light is a skill anyone who flies at night should have. Although not the ideal, it is-or should be-the sort of thing any pilot can handle. If the bulb fries inflight after dusk, youll have to deal with it; you wont have the luxury of canceling the flight.

Maule notes
As a Maule owner and Aviation Consumer subscriber, I would like to note three errors in the article on Maules in your August issue. Jeremys point about ground-loops is that they occur on pave-ment, which has much higher friction than grass.  It is the low friction of grass, not high friction, as you state, that prevents ground-loops.Lycoming is charging $2000 for parts for the O-540 enginecrankshaft replacement, not contrib-uting $2000, as you state. And the $7000 labor bill is all on the owner.  This is terrible irresponsibility on Lycomings part, in my view. Many of us will get 500 hours or less on an engine that was supposed to be good for 2000 hours.The Maule pilot who died with his wife and friend due to oil loss as he tried to return to Seward did not forget to raise his wheels.  He wasnt flying a floatplane and his gear wasnt retractable, obviously.

Allen Gillespie
via e-mail

Self Fueling
With reference to your editorial on self-fueling facilities, while I agree that fuel hose reels and ground wire reels are often a mess, I think the real problem is just having reels in the first place. Why do we even need them? Answer: We dont!They are dangerous and a waste of time. Just spiral or S-stack the hose and ground wire on the ground, hang up the nozzle and clip where theyll stay safe and clean. I have been doing this at my own operation for 40 years and have never had a problem.

Arthur Thompson
Hereford, Arizona