When are you guys going to test that new landing light Roy LoPresti is selling? wrote a reader from the Midwest.
She was referring to the Boom Beam HID system being sold by LoPresti Speed Merchants. Weve had the system on the company Mooney for about a year-and-a-half and reported on its performance in the April 2000 issue of Aviation Consumer.
A progress report: The system continues to perform as advertised but weve had some trouble with it. Last summer, due to a wire routing problem, heat from the exhaust system fried the wiring from the firewall-mounted ballast to the lamp. The Boom Beams starter also appeared cooked but was apparently okay.
LoPresti sent us new wiring and another starter, which we placed farther away from the hot exhaust. We also installed a small aluminum heat shield over the wiring where its closest to the exhaust. LoPresti tells us this problem is unique to 201s, because of the tight engine cowling.
Peformance wise, were pleased with the system, although were not convinced its dramatically brighter than the stock landing light. Thus far, the lamp has endured more than 300 hours of flying, if not continuous use. Contact LoPresti at 800-859-4757.
Air/oil separators, those little gadgets that purportedly filter out oil mist from the engine breather and dump it back into the crankcase, seem to come and go.
As we reported in the September 2000 issue, the latest comes from M-20 Oil Separators of Boca Raton, Florida. This company has made some tall claims, boasting that its device was given the largest blanket STC in FAA history.
Of course, a multi-model STC doesnt mean a gadget works, just that it wont harm anything. Our initial trial revealed mixed results. Yes, the belly was cleaner but hardly bone-dry, as the company claimed it would be. M-20s Bill Sandman recommended elevating the separator and installing a welded Y-coupler in the drain line in place of the T-fitting we originally used. (M-20 recommended the Y in the first place.)
These minor mods did improve the separators performance noticeably. Where we once had a thin film of oil, we now have only the vaguest smudge after 50 hours of flight. We cant tell if thats coming from an oil leak or the breather.
Conclusion: We think the device performs generally as claimed, but it may take some tweaking to get good results. Contact M-20 at 800-421-1316.
You didnt have to read our report on tiedowns in the May 2001 issue to know that those cheesy kits they sell at OSH wont hold in a real blow.
For portable ties, we like the FlyTies system (contact 831-688-6951) but at Sun n Fun, we saw a similar system based on the same principle. Deal Associates tiedown kit consists of ordinary angle irons drilled to accept steel rods driven into the soil at an angle, as with the FlyTies system. You then lash the airplane through holes bored in the angle, using hook-terminated webbing provided with the kit.
What we found most clever is that the angles double as chocks. Very nice. The kit comes complete with three tiedowns, a carrying case and the straps for $124.
Although were not fond of the strapping and we didnt do any ground pullout tests, this product looks like a good value to us. Contact Deal at 866-599-3325.
Yeah, were ingrates and no, we dont rave very often about products. We came close in our review of Exxon Elite oil in the August 2000 issue.
Nearly a year later, however, its still hard to get the stuff. We switched over to Elite in February and thus far havent found it at a single FBO while traveling. Exxon says theyre on the case and distribution is improving. If youre having trouble, contact Valley Oil LLC, which is setting up FBOs around the country. Phone 888-387-7244 and ask for a source. Theyll find one.