Letters: August 2010

iJoy, iGrief…I Am

I enjoyed your article on the iPad. I had been planning to write to tell you how good it is for an approach plate solution. If you buy the SkyCharts Pro app for $20 per year, you can wirelessly download all the enroute, sectional, terminal area charts and approach plates, along with STARs, SIDs and AFD.


Current charts seamlessly delivered for $20 per year and you get an iPad for free, if you figure the cost of the Jepp or NOS subscription that you save will pay for it. Do your flight planning on DUATs or some other Website.

Couple this with a Garmin aera 560 with XM WX weather and you are done. Put up with the cables in the cockpit and you have an extremely versatile, easy-to-use solution which is inexpensive, has the reliability of satellite data inflight and which can be updated in three years when the next new thing comes out, unlike a panel mount.

If you want to have a backup for the paperless approach plates, which my FSDO told me they want, then simply put another version of SkyCharts on your Touch or iPhone and you have two complete copies of all the maps and charts at flight time. Its a small screen, but it would work in an emergency.

Robert Grace,
Via e-mail

I think you understated how bad the iPads GPS receiver is. I tried using it with SkyCharts Pro and it had no clue where I was unless I was on the ground. This was on a round-trip flight ABQ-CNM-ABQ at altitudes of up to 12,500 MSL. Speaking of SkyCharts Pro, I did not see it mentioned in your review of apps. I really like the ability to pan and zoom the charts. It was even usable in turbulence, which surprised me. I was disappointed that they claim it cannot legally replace paper charts-this was one of the primary reasons I bought an iPad. I am tired of spending hundreds of dollars on paper every year. Are there any iPad apps that can legally replace paper?

Kenneth Ingham,
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Glider IFR

Read the article on the Diamond HK36 with interest. Im an SEL private pilot who recently got a glider rating with self-launch endorsement. I also have an instrument airplane rating.

I noted that you indicated that the HK36 can be equipped with a GNS430. My questions are: Can the HK36 be IFR certified? Are you aware of any currently available motor gliders in which a properly rated pilot can fly up through a solid overcast, for example?

It seems that at least some gliders are IFR certified, since there are special instrument currency maintenance rules for gliders.

Allen Inks,
Via e-mail

No, the HK36 cannot be instrument certified. Its limitations call for day or night VFR, if youve got the necessary lights. Recall that for lack of required lightning protection, Diamonds DA20 is also not certifiable for IFR.

You Tell Em

Excellent thoughts in the Tyranny of One More Thing in the June 2010 First Word column. Im struck by the growing risk adversity that seems rampant in our country.

Burt Rutan talks about it in terms of NASAs approach to experimentation. How are we to achieve anything in space without trying a lot of approaches? No one wants astronauts to fail or worse, to die, but how else is there experimentation? (Thats me, paraphrasing, not Burt specifically.)

Congressmen (eager for their moment in the limelight) effectively talk to it in critiquing BP. How are we to get at oil reserves if we dont have someone willing to take the risk to drill at 5000 feet of depth? S$#^ happens! Doesnt mean that BP couldnt have done a better job or there werent mistakes made, but how do we find out what works if we dont try?

Compare all this to the golden age of aviation-1903 to 1943 to cite some dates. From 0 to P-51s (or thereabouts) in that time. From 0 to over 500 MPH in that time. Did we lose anyone? You can bet your bippy we did. Did we want to lose anyone? Of course not. What is the cost of advancement? Answer: Mistakes along the way. The list goes on. You can think of five other instances as demonstration, Im sure.

Ed Story,
Via e-mail

LSA Right On

Its about time someone dared tell the truth about LSAs. Ed Fogle (Letters, July 2010) is correct. The biggest problem isnt cost, its utility. The 1320-pound weight limit doesnt allow for a durable airframe, two average guys and enough fuel to go anywhere.

The Kitfox, for example, has a design gross weight of 1550 pounds. As the LSA Kitfox Sport, it has to leave behind more than 200 pounds of useful load. Thats the passenger or fuel that would make it a useful airplane.

Lets just admit that 1320 pounds was a foolish mistake, fix it and release Light Sport to realize its potential. Until that happens, for most of us, theyre not worth the money.

Gary Miedema,
Via e-mail