WEIGHING IN ON UNLEADED AVGAS
After reading your commentary on unleaded avgas in the April 2023 Aviation Consumer, I can only say, as we did in the sixties, “right on!” It’s hard to even tell who’s on our side in this fiasco. I recently read Mark Baker’s editorial in AOPA’s magazine to the effect that it was a great thing that GAMI now had an STC for their unleaded fuel, and that others were working toward the same. He hoped to see more STC approvals so competition would bring down prices.
I sent an email to AOPA begging to differ. As I pointed out, in a nutshell, if there were multiple fuels with STCs, only large airports with multiple FBOs would give you a choice. Otherwise, finding an airport with fuel matching your STC would complicate your flight planning. Unless, of course, you bought multiple STCs. The reply I received did not justify his opinion. Doing this by STC only seems to kick this can further down the road and maintain the current snafu indefinitely until the EPA bans all leaded fuel and those of us who require 100 octane have to stop flying.
Doing this by STC is insane. There should be blanket approval for any fuel that is developed that meets the needs of higher compression. An STC makes sense for a one-time modification, not for a product which is going to be purchased continually. This makes about as much sense as saying if you want to buy brand-A aspirin, you have to pay a fee to the company and you can’t buy brand-B aspirin without paying them the fee. Recovering development costs would come in the price of the fuel like it does with every other product purchased on an ongoing basis.
John Worsley – Lenoir, North Carolina
I read the article on dealing with ramp checks in the March 2023 Aviation Consumer and have a question about carrying your medical certificate. Do you have to provide the original physical medical certificate or can you provide a photo of it?
Byron Givens – Warner Robins, Georgia
We’ve actually been getting this question a lot. The regs say that a pilot has to have the certificate on hand, not a copy.
ROTAX 916 IS
Is there any potential path (maybe an STC) for installing the new 160-HP-for-takeoff Rotax 916 iS in a Cessna 172 or Piper PA-28-161?
Michael Seitz – via email
It is not. If we were to guess, this Rotax 916 iS engine that will power the CubCrafters Carbon Cub UL (and recently for the in-development Flight Design F4) probably won’t be a player in the aftermarket for mainstream models. But it actually might be a good choice and we suspect there would be buyers for it.
DON’T FORGET BACKUPS
For Larry Anglisano’s Panel Planner 101 column, don’t forget that it’s critical to consider backup flight instruments in the planning.
Recently, I was surprised when a friend bought a round-gauge Mooney J model, and he wanted to upgrade his panel with new flight instruments and avionics. He chose the single-unit Aspen PFD, resulting in a potential single point of failure. My surprise was that an attitude indicator backup was not required. The backup instruments for this unit required are a mechanical turn coordinator, airspeed indicator and altimeter. It is legal, but potentially unsafe.
Luca Bencini – via email
We’ll cover this worthy topic in detail in a dedicated article in an upcoming issue of Aviation Consumer.
BETTER BEECH BARONS
I noticed a small mistake in the Lock & Key Baron article in the May 2023 Aviation Consumer. You say Barons (prior to 1983) can upgrade to the IO-550 engines. Actually, the IO-550 factory Barons started with the 1984 model year. So the article should have said “prior to 1984.” No big deal, but that 1984 model was a significant improvement over the 1983—with the new panel and yoke arrangement, never mind the new engines.
Larry Weitzman – Hurricane, Utah