Letters: 06/07


Garmin WAAS products are exciting, but their pricing and restrictive install rules are not! I was quoted $12,000 to install a WAAS GPS in my aircraft, plus another $1000 to make the Shadin fuel computer work with the 400W.

Aircraft Vacuum Pumps

Please publish reviews of the Garmin WAAS products and also tell us if anyone else-Honeywell, for example-will offer competitive products. For now, Im going to use my NMS 2001 and my GPSmap396 as usual and go 30 miles extra to the nearest ILS with ALS and a 150-foot wide runway when the weather is down.

Nelson Quigley

This is a belated comment on your excellent article on Garmins WAAS upgrade in the March issue of Aviation Consumer. Not mentioned in your article is “complete” FAA compliance. While Garmin has STCs for a lot of aircraft, that doesnt seem to be enough.

I wanted to upgrade my two-year-old Garmin GNS530 in my King Air. No can do without a field approval by the local FSDO office. Since my anal retentive FSDO office doesnt like to do field approvals, I had to put my old antenna and my old Garmin back in again. Somehow, even though my King Air has standard factory installed avionics, my avionics shop said the autopilot interface still needed the FAAs field approval. The WAAS upgrade would work perfectly but the approval is needed anyway.

Now I don’t know if Garmin dropped the ball by not being more thorough or the FAA is being overly cautious, but I do know my shop has yet to be able to do a Garmin WAAS upgrade. Please don’t publish this letter using my name. The local FSDO office is bad enough without making them look even worse (if thats possible).

Name withheld by request


I would like to make a couple of points which were either omitted or incorrectly stated in your article on vacuum pumps in the April issue. First, based on the general tone of the article, that of determining the pump which provides the greatest value, I was disappointed that there was no real discussion about historical service life. You alluded to this, but only based it on the stated warranty of five years and 2000 hours for the Aeon piston pump.

However, nothing was provided to your readership that was based on actual historical service life. We believe service life is a critical and a major factor in assessing the value of a product. We further believe the service history of the Tempest Tornado exceeds that of our competitors. We will be happy to provide the names of flight schools that can support our claims, one of which reports average life of 1500 to 1800 hours.

A second critical factor in determining value is price. Tempest has never been the cheapest pump on the market, nor will we be. We believe in providing an innovative, high-quality product backed by uncompromising customer service, for a fair price.

Although we are not the cheapest, you unfairly misquoted our prices in your article. Using your source, Aircraft Spruce, the discounted price on the Tornado (AA3215CC/AA3216CW) is $356.95. The price you quoted in your article was $615 to $652. Please refer to www.aircraftspruce.com and verify the pricing, but be sure you are looking at the correct part. It appears your article is referring to the price of the 241 series pump, which is a higher volume pressure pump.

The other inaccuracy in the article was the omission of Tempest overhaul pumps as a lower cost alternative to the Tornado. Tempest overhaul pumps meet our high standard for service life and quality as our process specifies virtually all new parts. The end caps are the only parts re-used in a Tempest overhaul. Also, every Tempest overhaul includes the wear indicator port, something our competitors do not include.

We believe the combination of actual service life and the correct pricing makes the Tempest pump the best overall value, but your readers should certainly decide for themselves. I do appreciate the fine job your publication does in educating the aviation consumer and therefore feel you desire the correct information for your publication and readership.

John C. Herman

Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Tempest Plus Marketing Group

We plan to conduct a survey on vacuum pump durability for a future issue. Manufacturer claims are a piece of this puzzle, but we also want to hear from users and shops.

As for price, Herman is correct. However, at the time our article was published and, indeed, even when he e-mailed us, only the prices for the high volume pumps were published on Aircraft Spruce and Specialty site. The site has since added the additional prices.