Letters 01/07

Cirrus and Lidle

Your First Word regarding survival instincts and pilot DNA was thought provoking. Looking over the 40 years since my first flight lesson, I can see how my own instincts were honed, beginning in very tired trainers with war surplus gyros, one scratchy radio, one whistle-stop nav, useless fuel gauges and a pervading aroma of charred insulation.

Ballistic Parachute

We had no autopilots, nor any illusions that our equipment could get us through weather or even all the way to our destination. (Remember carrying change for the pay phone?) Just as in the battered old cars we drove to the airport, we anticipated things going wrong. In my flying career, they have: with inflight alternator, instrument, avionics, vacuum, lighting, fuel line failures and more. But most important, precautionary landings. Lots of precautionary landings.

Todays more affluent Cirrus pilots may experience life and flying differently. Todays trainers with modern digital IFR-capable panels may create the false impression that flying is just like driving modern cars; a cruise-controlled, GPS-predictable freeway experience we’ll insulated from the worlds harsher realities. As you note, the BRS parachute handle may be the frosting on the cake, the “easy button” that suggests nothing out there is beyond control.

Perhaps all primary training should still be done in Cubs and Luscombes?

Ken Towl
Via e-mail

Im sure you’ll get more than your fair share of responses to your comments on “Cirrus, Success and the Lidle Crash” in the December issue of The Aviation Consumer.

Im reminded of one of the great movie quotes, “stupid is as stupid does,” where Forrest Gumps mother explains to her son that he isn’t stupid; its just that sometimes people do stupid things. I doubt we’ll ever find definitive evidence that a ballistic parachute attracts a higher degree of stupid pilots and I hope that Cirrus design features wont entice normal pilots to undertake missions that they wouldnt in, say, a C182. My own read is more basic. Stupid kills, BRS notwithstanding, and that applies to every aircraft.

Len Sherman
Via e-mail

Floor Paint Tip

With regard to your hangar floor paint test article (Aviation Consumer, October 2006) I have used Rust-Oleum Industrial Floor Coating, which is solvent-based. This differs from Rust-Oleum Garage Floor Coating, which is water-based.

I purchased this at Home Depot and I have found it to be nearly bulletproof. No discoloring, chipping or lifting in the Arizona heat. The only disadvantage (at the time) is that it was only available in gray. It now appears that this product is replaced by Epoxyshield Professional Floor Coating, which is available in four colors.

Mike Skrzecz
Phoenix, Arizona

Smoke Hoods Rejoinder

Thanks for your useful article on smoke hoods. As for having smoke hood for all occupants, you say “Our view is no. Unless you brief the occupant on using the mask unlikely helping them with it inflight is a non-starter and will distract you from your primary duty to get the airplane on the ground.”

But what about if Im flying and Mom is in the right seat, with two children in the back? Surely Mom can assist with her and the other two passengers hoods? One could even argue that not having hoods for them and watching them suffer in smoke would be a bigger distraction to my chief duty getting the airplane on the ground than getting them into the hoods.

Also, I notice you didnt review the LifeHood available from Magellan. Assuming the pilot is wearing a Parat C ($138 from Aircraft Spruce), would it be beneficial to have three LifeHoods available on board ($39 from Magellans) as well?

Brad Wolansky
Sunderland, Vermont

Whether to equip every seat with a smoke hood is a call each pilot will have to make for himself. As for the LifeHoods, these don’t offer carbon monoxide filtering, which we think a cockpit smoke hood should.

Thats Thurston

The designer of the Grumman Tadpole/Colonial Skimmer was Dave Thurston, not Dave Thrust, according to your Used Aircraft Guide on the Lake Amphibian in the November 2006 issue.

As far as I know, Dave still is alive and we’ll and living in Maine.

Thomas F. Norton
Easton, Maryland

Youre right and we should have caught that. We know Daves reputation and have spoken to him several times.

Throttle Locks

I enjoyed your article in the November issue about aircraft security products. We at Sportys are also very focused on offering reliable security products thats why we test every one we sell.

You mentioned that you havent seen a commercial product that would work for locking lever-style throttles. Id like to draw your attention to our Piper Throttle Lock. We offer small, large and twin-engine sizes and they effectively protect the throttle, prop and mixture controls. You can find it online at sportys.com.

John Zimmerman
Vice President/Catalog Division
Sportys Pilot Shop