Letters: July 2001

Dear Philistines
I read your review of aluminum polishes with disbelief. Who advised you on what products to evaluate, Martha Stewart? What were you thinking? Were you sissies afraid to try a real mans/womans polish?

Im talking about Nuvite of course, the finest aluminum polish available at any price for those who are amongst the true illuminati of shine.Not only is Nuvite the best aluminum polish ever invented,its also nicely scented with afull-bodiedaroma of volatile aromatics delicately balanced by a hint of chlorofluorocarbons and tert-butyl ethers. Its bouquet isreminiscent of the finest jock itch ointments.

I must admit to a certain feeling of resignation upon reading the article. I mean, you guys don’t even run Victorias Secret ads in your pathetic magazine. Or ads for John Deere lawn tractors. How can you expect your readers to take you seriously?

Extrapolating from your results with polishes, I presume that if you were advising Antonio Stradavari on what finish to use on his fiddles, you might suggest Magic Markers for their ease of application.

Enzo Ferrarimight have his grease monkey mechanicspour a can of red Rustoleum paint over their cars and it would look almost as good as a real paint job. Hey, from 10 yards it would look okay, right?

Perhaps Boeing could get an acceptable finish on their jetsusing water balloons filled with latex house paint. A little Bondo on the dings and dents and that B-737 would look almost as good as Aunt Mildreds chicken coop!

You didnt even use any power equipment, for Gods sake! That alone will invalidate your findings. Anything worth doing requires an expensive power tool. Jeez…this is basic stuff!

Go get yourselfsome Nuvite. Then buy some Cyclo power buffers. don’t even think about doing a review of these bad boys… they are for real studs and studettes only… and you guys aint.

And get an airplane that has more than a stinkin spinner that needs polishing. don’t embarrass yourselves.

One more suggestion for your magazine. If you did a swimsuit issue once a year, you might get moresubscribers. Im talkin really basicstuff here…

-Dan McNeill
Via e-mail

Martha Stewart informs us that her Global Express has no spinner and she has her assistants deal with the silver, thank you.

Further, she asks that you keep your crummy polished Ercoupe clear of the taxiways. She has places to be and people to see.


WAAS Woes?
Ref your report on the Garmin 295 software with WAAS. Yes, their 2.20 and 2.21 software has WAAS. Can I notice it in the land mode? No. What they did do however was to screw up their software. Now one has to not only know the exact city name to enter a Go To address, one also has to know the zip code. (This strikes me as one step forward and two steps backward). I have informed them so Garmin is at least aware of the problem.

-Frank M. Singer
Via e-mail

We checked with Garmins technical rep, Matthew Harrah, who told us that the company has been unable to reproduce this error in the 295, using software version 2.21.

However, Harrah noted that with WAAS engaged-something we had no trouble doing-the GPSs accuracy is actually better than the underlying map base and some errors may be noticeable.


Tiedown Redux
I think you did an injustice to the folks at Oshkosh who sell the tie-down stake, which you referred to as too wimpy.

I am assuming you did not install the stakes as illustrated in the instructions. These are relatively easily pounded into the ground with a mallet unless you hit a rock dead on.

I use a lightweight plastic mallet obtained from most camping supply stores. When following the installation instructions as illustrated, these stakes will hold in all but sand. When its time to leave, you simply pull the stake straight out.

I have used them from coast to coast over the years and have faith in their ability to securely hold my 1952 Cessna 170B. My experience is that these stakes are inexpensive, lightweight and easy to remove but have tremendous holding power when properly installed.

-Julius Salinas
Ely, Minnesota

We don’t agree. We used an inline dynamometer to measure pull out strength and the stakes-installed as you describe-couldnt hold 100 pounds in moist soil, compared to 600 pounds for the K-9 design.

We simply wouldnt trust them in a blow and we think you may have been lucky thus far.


No to Air Charts
I tried a years subscription to Air Charts and discontinued using it we’ll before the year was out. If you find the insertion of Jepp revisions tedious, Air Chart corrections are a hundred times more so.

Youre not going to do the revisons and you stand a good chance of being embarrassed and unprofessional in flight. The simplest way to avoid the tedium is to subscribe to the complete NOS package of high and low altitude enroutes and all the U.S. approach plates bound.

For about $600 a year you’ll always be prepared to begin a trip on short notice. The proper spring-loaded knee board avoids disrupting the bound approach books.

-William S. Lyons
Via e-mail

We think you missed the point of our evaluation. The simple way of handling Air Charts revisions is to ignore them unless theyre specifically needed for a trip or an approach, then refer the appropriate revision.

Even at that, in the real world, we wonder how many pilots really do this? We still think the chances of getting caught short due to a missing revision are not worth $600 a year to avoid.


Trainer Safety
With reference to the trainer safety article in your June issue, its inappropriate to give an article that simple title and be serious about it.

What do you mean by safest trainer?Are you implying that one aircraft is safer than another for the student pilots becauseitseasier to fly than another? And if so, what are the characteristics that make it easier to fly? Is it better visibility over the nose; lower landing speeds; more positive control at low speeds?

In my opinion, an article that is to enlighten the reader as to the ultimate safety features of various training aircraft must take intoconsideration basic design. In this connection, its a well-known fact that when considering a multitude of what ifs, a high-wing aircraft has more inherent safety features than a low-wing aircraft.

So your article would have been more to the point had you compared several high-wing trainers with several low-wing trainers. In my 10,000 flying hours spread over 55 years, which includes instructing, I have witnessed several accidents.

In one case, a low-wing aircraft stalled because of insufficient airspeed during a sharp turn at low altitude. The aicraft went inverted as it hit the ground at a 45-degree angle killing the two pilots. A similar high-wing aircraft under the same circumstances would have also stalled and begun to spin but it would not have gone inverted.

Also, all low-wing aircraft must have an engine driven fuel pump which can fail and stop the engine. But aircraft such as Cessna 150s and 172s have a gravity flow fuel system that doesnt require a fuel pump to keep the engine going.

So there are two points which givehigh-wing trainers a competitive edge over low wing-trainerswhen debating the safety pros and cons of various aircraft.

If I send a student pilot out for his first cross-country training flight, I would have greater faith in a safe return if the aircraft is a high-wing because when all the possible hazards are contemplated, the high-wing trainer has more on the plus side than a low winger.

-Bill Peppler
Via e-mail

Absent any convincing data-and we mean analytical data, not just opinion-we think the argument that high-wings are safer than low-wings is completely unsubstantiated.

As for the point of the article, we merely based our conclusion on a review of the accident statistics for each model, independent of the aircraft design factors.