Letters: 10/03

Turbo Touts
Your articles in the August issue on turbocharging settled once and for all that if you fly short missions and/or stay low, turbocharging doesnt make sense. Five years ago, I was faced with traveling from the Nashville area to the Oklahoma City area on a regular basis. The Mooney 252 was my choice and I have never regretted it.

First, measuring speed at the non-turbos altitude makes no sense, as you did for the Ovation and Bravo. I only fly the 252, so I cant speak to the others, but I get 187 knots TAS out of the 252.Thats a 25-knot advantage plus tailwindsof over 80 knots consistently in winter. My best time for the trip was 2:32. Try that at 15,000 feet.

The real question would be is the average of two legs significantly different. My logbook says yes, since westbound I probably never gave up much time over the 201, but westbound I frequently gained almost an hour. I also was able to deal easily with a lot of weather that I would not have enjoyed slogging through. In addition, at those altitudes, direct is almost always available from Center.

My local welding supply shop was able to get ABO for me at a reasonable price, and the built-in system always lets me get in a roundtrip on one fill, so I don’t have to pay FBOs to do it.Whether or not you have passengers willing to wear oxygen would also affect the decision. Also, some turbos arent certifiedabove 20,000 feet, notably the Pipers, and that would be a consideration. The 252, uniquely, iscertified to FL270, although FL250 has been my limit. My 252is still climbing at 600 FPM when I level off at those altitudes.

On short trips, the turbo does very little. Everyone must look at their needs to make the decision, but I think you should look at both longer trips and higher altitudes to make a comparison.

-Ernie Betancourt
via e-mail


As the owner of a turbocharged Mooney 252, I found your recent article To Turbo or Not?most interesting. In this piece, you essentially argue that while turbocharging is nice for getting over bad weather and for flying out of high-altitude airports, in many instances one does notget much speed advantage for the additional costs.

Why is this interesting? Tell me: If economic considerations form a significant factor in why we do or do not fly, why do we fly?Economicsisone determinant in our behavior. If it were a major determinant, wed never strap on a headset and yell clear prop.

-Bob Motta
Melville, New York

Yeah, but … even though money may not be the major determinant in aircraft ownership, there’s no point in making decisions that waste it.


CG Squabbles
I read the August 2003 article, Loading with Abandon and I agree that loading an aircraft without calculating the CG can be disastrous. At a minimum, it can result in a pitch problem, as I found out when I was solo-weighing 140 pounds-in a Cessna 152. The CG will be at the forward limit with less than half tanks and no added weight in the baggage areas.

I found that by taking the sample loading problem page from the Cessna POH and making a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, it was obvious that I needed at least 100 pounds in baggage area number 1 to get the CG near the mid-point. Ive attached a spreadsheet with sample cases for the Cessna172 and the Cessna 152.

The American Aeronautics plotters look to be useful, but someone with a PC would find it easier to fill in data offline in a spreadsheet rather than pay for an online service.

-Jim Hughes
via e-mail


Attached is an Excel spreadsheet analysis of a forward and an aft CG loading of a very typical Columbia 300 aircraft…taken from an actual delivery. I would love to see your analysis that puts the Columbia loading at the tendency to an aft CG loading problem.

-Bing Lantis
Lancair Certified Aircraft

Although the data is too voluminous to reproduce here, we did provide Lantis with our calculations and the source of our data. What we actually said in our review was be careful of the aft CG limit when loading good-sized people in the rear. We used an empty CG of 105 inches, which differs significantly from the number Lantis recently provided us. Our value, along with those for other aircraft, was provided by American Aeronautics. To review and using our numbers, our heavy lesson profile with a pair of 200 pounders up front and no baggage yielded no CG issues for the Lancair 300.

The same was true of this loading with 100 pounds of baggage. But with the seats occupied with our family profile, anything more than 30 gallons of fuel put the CG aft of the rear limit.

Using the CG Lantis provided-102.7-and our plotter and graphs, the heavy lesson profile produced an out-of-forward CG for any fuel load. Adding 100 pounds of baggage brings the CG back into the envelope while our scenario with the family and heavier teenagers puts the CG out of the aft limit with anything more than 50 gallons aboard.

The key, of course, is what the CG actually is for delivered aircraft. It obviously varies somewhat. When we visited the Lancair factory in 1999 and flew the Columbia, we noted an aft-tending CG in the Columbia, something that Lancair didnt dispute at the time.

Note also that the American Aeronautics system uses plotting graphs and the one faxed to us introduced minor distortion in the values.

The data Lancair recently provided to us indicates that CGs on current production aircraft range between 102 and 104 inches. Only the latter value would crowd the aft CG at some loadings. The more forward values don’t. Therefore, we agree with Lancair: on current production aircraft, the CG is more center or forward tending than aft tending.


Belly Cleaners
I have been using Dry Wash, a polymer that wipes on and off without the need to wash my aircraft. I have been pleased with it. Tom Jackson at 650-330-0550 is the distributor. It costs $39.95, plus shipping.

Taking it off is easy; application needs some elbow grease when remocing exhaust stains on the belly. I was disappointed after having spent $350 on Wing Waxers.

My insurance broker told me about Dry Wash and it did as we’ll as the expensive application and I am able to touch up from time to time at a very modest cost.

I hired a kid to help me clean the plane with Dry Wash. Total cost was about $100 and provided an option other than Wing Waxers.

-Steve Gorman
via e-mail

We reviewed the Wing Waxers service in the March 2002 issue of Aviation Consumer.


Fire Protection
In the late 1980s, I was walking the ramp at a local airfield when I saw someone painting over a dark stripe on the fuselage ofa towplane.He told me he had just survived an in-flight fire and was covering the burn marks. He said he had just installed a fire extinguisher and he believed it saved his life. It was a Halon bottle mounted in the engine compartment with a heat-sensitive valve that blew if the temperature exceeded the release valve specs.

I bought two, installed one in my T210 (subsequently sold) and I still have the other. The product was distributed by Universal Fire Safety Products Inc, 1045 West Katella, Suite 250 Orange, California 92667. I have no idea if they remain in business.

-Mike Hennessy
via e-mail

If theyre still in business, we couldnt find them. We welcome reader help locating the company.


The source we gave for Crazy Clean, a belly degreaser, in the July issue of Aviation Consumer, no longer carries the product. But you can obtain it from Sanchez Solutions, Inc., P.O. Box 9, Franklin Park, IL 60131, phone 847-361-1489; e-mail at [email protected]