June 2014- First off, let's get one Old Aviators Tale ("OAT") out of the way right now. It's safe to install retreaded aircraft tires on retractable gear airplanes.For decades a rumor has circulated that retreaded tires should never be installed on a retractable gear airplane because the retreads came out... Read more
I recalled from my days as a tech rep that the most common failure of a light airplane fuel bladder is age-related deterioration of the top surface due to long-term exposure to heat. So my first thought was to dig back into the airplane records to find out if the... Read more
March 2014- When I looked up at the all-glass attitude indicator, for a moment I wasn’t quite sure what I was staring at. Instead of a nice horizon line separating a blue sky and brown terrain, the PFD instrument was showing almost all brown.
A few seconds ago the airspeed indicator... Read more
Several months ago (“Heading Bug,” June 2012) columnist David Hipschman weighed in with his ideas about what to carry in your Piper for emergencies, and he shared what he carries:
“Here’s what is currently in my ditch case. But I need to point out that it changes often as I... Read more
Since its introduction in 1956, Cessna’s 172 had been dominating the single-engine market, both for personal use and flight training. The folks at Piper thought a version of its popular Cherokee line—with a higher useful load and minimum-four-place design—might give Cessna a run for its money.
Using the longer fuselage of... Read more
All pilots should visit the place where it all started.
I’ve been a pilot almost all of my adult life. I love machines that fly, the people who fly them fascinate me, and I am sort of an armchair historian of aviation. I’ve been to every major airshow on the... Read more
June 2014- Historians will tell us that a recession began at a particular time and ended on another. Economists will give us the reasons behind the recession: inflationary pressures, tight credit, and so on.
Those of us who have lived through recessions know that each industry, each company and each individual... Read more
July 2014- I have heard it said many times by many boat owners that the two greatest moments of boat ownership are when you purchase your boat, and when you sell it. I understand the message completely although I've never felt that way about any of the seven airplanes that... Read more
While other light twins have gone away, the PA-44 is still doing what it does so well—safely teaching pilots how to fly twins.
I've set my Wayback Machine for Feb. 21, 1978. The place: Dallas, Tex. The event: Piper Aircraft's annual meeting of the North American distributors. The... Read more
March 2014- Short of sitting in the front row of a Metallica concert for a few hours, there are few things that compare with the hearing damage a piston engine-powered airplane can cause.
In fact, until recently, you could spot a longtime pilot at a social gathering by homing in on... Read more
Ever since the dawn of the Computer Age, two engineering factions have regularly engaged in trench warfare. One group believes that hardware-centric devices are inherently more stable solutions for an engineering problem, while the other group—the software-centric crowd— believes that its approach offers greater flexibility for less money.
Garmin, arguably the... Read more
August 2014- It is most definitely not about speed: the 65 hp J-3 Cub is so slow it can barely get out of its own way. From the pilot's seat you can watch the landscape sliding by—or, if you are flying into wind, you can simply watch the landscape. I'm... Read more
April 2014- Propellers take a beating. During operations that range from the instant takeoff power is cranked on to power-off stalls and descents, blades continually flex due to changes in aerodynamic loading. Props endure years of light damage due to rock, ice and rain impacts.
In spite of being within degrees... Read more
June 2014- In our endless quest to find exciting places to point our airplanes, there are two undeniable factors that almost always dictate if any new destination is going to end up at the far end of a flight plan. And you'll be surprised to find out they have nothing... Read more
STC packages for your Cherokee
If the engine on your PA-28-140 or PA-28-151 is getting tired and it’s time to do something about it, you have a few options to consider. You can get a factory rebuilt engine from Lycoming, an overhaul from an engine shop or install a brand-new... Read more
In the first few decades of the aviation age, airplanes quickly became a part of Americans’ daily lives. In addition to providing invaluable service in World War II, aircraft also served in a war against six-legged pests.
The first known use of a heavier-than-air machine occurred in August 1921. A United... Read more
If you’ve never thought that your propeller will need an overhaul, think again.
Without a doubt they’re the hardest working, most underappreciated part of your airplane. I’m of course talking about your propeller.
Most of us just think of a propeller as a chunk of metal spinning around on the... Read more
All restoration projects seem to start the same way. There is this one little thing on your plane that doesn't look good, so you restore it... then everything around it looks bad and you start moving from one project to another....
I was admiring my newly restored throttle quadrant... Read more
In 1967, Piper Aircraft began marketing a six- to eight-seat cabin-class twin known as the PA-31 Navajo. Several variants were produced, including a T1000 series aimed at the commuter airline marketplace.Production of the Navajo ended in 1984 with 3,942 built. Piper had—and still has—the Seneca and Seminole light twins in... Read more
March 2014- For those of us that are Piper Flyer Association (PFA) members, we get it. For the cost of several gallons of Avgas each year, we’re members of this great organization. The value proposition is obvious; we get more out of the organization than it costs.
For those pilots and... Read more
September 2014- At the turn of the 20th century, George Hartzell and his son Robert were making rifle stocks from various hardwoods using a proprietary process they had developed that strengthened the wood and retarded the decay process inherent in hostile environments.
Robert Hartzell owned an airplane and dreamed of becoming... Read more
April 2014- It seems the articles I’m reading in aviation periodicals these days are all harbingers of doom: armed guards when we land; UAVs crowding us out of the skies; rising taxes, fuel costs and user fees; airports closing. Holy cow, where’d the fun go? Here’s a story about why... Read more
February 2014- Shell Oil issued the following press release on Dec. 1, 2013:
SHELL REMOVES LEAD FROM LIGHT AIRCRAFT FUEL
Shell today became the first major oil company to develop a lead-free replacement for Aviation Gasoline (Avgas 100 and 100LL), which will now begin a strict regulatory approvals process. Avgas is... Read more
June 2014- General Aviation is a homegrown American industry that is responsible for 1.2 million jobs and pumps more than $150 billion into our nation's economy. But it's also an industry that could do much more to create jobs, boost our economy and contribute to our national transportation system.
General Aviation... Read more