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 airplane’s right bladder had ever been changed.
Then I remembe... 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 of separation ... 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 front of our ai... Read more
July 2014- Flight simulators have been around in one form or another for the better part of aviation's history. The earliest units were typically built from plywood. They sported vacuum tubes, were mostly pneumatic driven, and had rudimentary gauges and functionality. The cockpits were cramped and the capabilities were limited... Read more
If you hit rain or turbulence, you can deviate; if it's hot, you can just keep climbing untilyou find cool air. But when it's cold, it's cold everywhere. Here are some simple steps tokeep your combustion cabin heater providing maximum performance.
For those pilots who operate in colder... 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 experiences t... Read more
From understanding splash lubrication to reduced braking action, winter flying is just… different.
Ready or not, winter is in full effect across the northern United States. Several important operational considerations will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable winter flying season. It’s important f... 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 fl... 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 my wife and I fly, a... Read more
July 2013 -
April 21, 2013 1340Z: "Columbus Clearance, Shane 1. Through the Warren County RCO requesting VFR Flight Following to South Bend Regional at six thousand, five hundred."
"Shane 1, Columbus Approach. Good morning, squawk 6666; maintain VFR and contact Columbus Approach on 118.55 when airborne."
"Columbus Approach... 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 last... Read more
Freshening up your aircraft’s interior can be an important update for many reasons. In addition to looking good, it increases your and your passengers’ comfort. New carpet and seat coverings often add value to your aircraft while reducing cockpit noise and vibration.
Many pilots dream of the day their airplane’s cock... Read more
A Piper Vagabond finds it's way home.
No matter where it landed, a yellow Vagabond with "North Florida Motor Co." and "Lincoln Mercury Dealer" in bold blue lettering on the fuselage attracted quite a bit of attention this past year. Curious, I sought out the owner, Vaughn Lovley, to ge... Read more
Nearly 35 years since it was last produced, Piper's Turbo Aztec continues to prove that it's a true heavyweight among light twins.
Once upon a time, piston engine aircraft manufacturers actually tried to one-up each other. When Cessna would come out with a new model, the other two members of GA's Big Three wou... Read more
Aviation is big—really big—in Colorado, but only one destination calls itself "Colorado's official air and space museum," and has a bill passed in the state legislature to prove it.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (often called "Wings" by museum staff as well as visitors) in Denver's Lowry neighbo... 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 the... Read more
A clear understanding of FAR 91.207 is just the beginning for pilots looking at installing a new ELT.
“ELTs are specialized radio transmitters that sit in the aircraft and are designed to do nothing,” says Joan Goodman, president of Emergency Beacon Corp. based in New Rochelle, N.Y. “And they sh... Read more
With four years of flying experience at age 21, the sky is the limit for Mitchell Miller.
Instrument-rated pilot Mitchell Miller is a native of Riverside, Calif. who attained his private pilot certificate at age 17 (with just 41 hours!) and his instrument rating in 2012. Miller might be a newer pilot, but he&r... Read more
In buying or selling, as in flying, you can minimize your risk by following the rules.
If there ever was an endeavor to which the phrase caveat emptor applies, it would be purchasing an aircraft. Even as a seller, you are still at great risk. We’ve all heard horror stories about both sides of an aircraft sa... Read more
March 2014- Alaska is called The Last Frontier for good reason. The state has over 500,000 acres of uninhabited land (about 94 percent of its total acreage). It’s home to about 30,000 brown bears (grizzlies included), as many as 100,000 black bears and a far smaller number of (estimates say under 5,000) polar bears. Cari... 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 not kidding. There's a story of one intrepid pilot who wheeled a Cub out du... Read more
Buying and maintaining a Saratoga doesn’t have to be confusing, provided you have all the facts.
As Jennifer Dellenbusch writes in her model history “Saratoga Tale: PA-32 tangents” featured in the October 2013 issue of this magazine, the Saratoga has a confusing history. It evolved from two othe... Read more
Active Noise Reduction UpgradeYou can install ANR electronics intoan existing passive headset, and youcan do it by yourself.
Several months ago I explained the mechanics of human hearing and the physics of passive and Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headsets ("How it works: Noise Reduction Headsets," Leading Edg... 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 on... Read more
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 bigger or would... Read more
Don’t discount the PA-22/20; it can serve well as a family aircraft.
Both my husband, Owen, and I are pilots who fly for fun. We met over Unicom: I was working at an FBO and Owen made a call in for 100LL. One of our first dates was a flight out to a grass strip to visit mutual friends.
Early in our marriag... 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 backst... 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 becomin... Read more
Start flight planning today to point your Piper at these destinations, where an awesome meal awaits.
In part one of the “Best of the Best” Airport Restaurant series that ran last month in this magazine, I told you about steakhouses, bistros, laid-back cafes and white-tablecloth dining rooms.All of the... 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 States Army Air Servi... Read more
The choices may seem bewildering (and they can be!), but at least prices seem to be settling down.
In 2014, EAA AirVenture's exhibit halls were filled with ADS-B vendors who have viable products for the FAA mandate that's coming sooner than we think—January 2020. The infrastructure is already in place, so why n... 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 planet, and visited most every significant aviation ... 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 to do with hundred-dollar hamburgers.
Frankly, the Holy Gr... 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 is being h... Read more
Here we are again!
Things surely didn't start out this way. I'd retired in March of this year and was looking for a simple project to consume a week or two in the summer and allow me and my dog to hang out at the airport with a purpose. The result of that simple goal was a restored throttle quadrant, and it lo... 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 I've owned over the decades. I've enjoyed every moment... Read more
April 2014- Flying over Kansas can seem like a never-ending view of wheat fields from horizon to horizon. That is a good situation if you are looking for an emergency landing place… but many of you may wonder what is down there.
The city of Hutchinson is just 30 miles northwest of Wichita on the northeast side of the Arkansas... Read more