January 2019

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Subscribers Only - Essentially, ADS-B already is considered mandatory for a traveling aircraft, and sellers marketing one without it must be prepared to settle for less than they could have received a year or so ago. This will be especially true for turbine-powered airplanes which operate more efficiently in Class A airspace. Some of them may simply be parked or sold overseas as their owners decide the ADS-B investment—which may not be the only major expense they face—isn’t worth it.

Twelve Months

According to panelists at a recent Miami, Fla., conference geared to the business jet community and reported by Aviation International News (AIN), not all of the in-service fleet is expected to be compliant by the deadline. (Full disclosure: I often perform freelance work for AIN, for which I am compensated.) In fact, data cited by AIN show compliance is far from universal, with 17.5 percent of the piston-powered general aviation fleet (35,791 of 204,191) currently equipped.

Don’t Be Upset

David Jack Kenny’s article on upset training (“Undoing An Upset,” November) was excellent. A year or so ago, my son and I spent a day with Patty Wagstaff in St. Augustine, Fla. We took ground school and two flights each. Not inexpensive, but not outrageous either. We got unbelievable training and spent much of the day in spins and inverted. Back at the hotel that night, we just looked at each other and said, “Wow!” We’re both much better pilots following the experience.

Geographic Risks

Subscribers Only - The Pacific Northwest, for the purposes of this article, includes the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming. That’s a huge hunk of territory and comprises more than 250,000 square miles for Washington, Oregon and Idaho alone. The region includes two major mountain ranges—the Cascades and the Northern Rockies—and many smaller ones, as well as several major river basins. There are major cities in the region, such as Seattle, Portland and Boise, but also thousands of square miles of largely empty land and wilderness.

Shock And Yaw

Subscribers Only - If you spend much time hanging around a traditional FBO, chatting with its denizens, it won’t be long before the topic rolls around to using an airplane’s rudder. The discussion will evolve to include how pilots trained on tricycle gear airplanes—i.e., most of them—don’t use the rudder enough. An old-timer will chuckle and tell a sad tale about some hapless pilot who ran over a runway light during a crosswind landing. Others will earnestly caution that flying a taildragger without a thorough understanding of how to use the rudder will quickly result in a groundloop. An instructor will dish about a student whose every stall demonstration almost turned into a spin.

EFB Dependence

Subscribers Only - There I was, all strapped in with the engine running, sitting on the ramp at Class B International. I’d flown in a few minutes earlier for a stop, drop and hop, and my passenger was well on his way to the airline terminal for his human mailing tube home. I was looking forward to getting back to my own home after a couple of days on the road. With the big, front-mounted fan cooling me off, I hit the home button on my yoke-mounted iPad mini 2 to pull up its ForeFlight installation and look up the ATIS. I was greeted by a BSD (black screen of death): My iPad had overheated, sitting in its mount on a warm September afternoon. Oh joy.

No Checklist For This

Subscribers Only - I was flying a 2002-model A36 Bonanza (yeah, with me it’s always a Bonanza) home to Wichita from Thanksgiving in Ohio with my wife and our son aboard. Somewhere over Indiana, the Bonanza’s attitude indicator (AI) began to tumble. The failure announced itself slowly, but very soon the instrument was pitching up and down in very distracting oscillations. It then displayed a range of indications—from off-scale nose-up pitch excursions to slightly below 20 degrees nose-down—in a roughly two-second cycle, while indicating bank angles between wings-level and about 10 degrees left.

Fresh Out Of The Paint Shop

A few years ago, an engineer, friend and pilot shared a story about retrieving his Cessna 182RG from the paint shop. Before he took the plane out for a run-up and test flight, he asked his even more meticulous engineer-spouse do the preflight. When she did, she discovered something rather important. The bolts and nuts that connected the elevators were just hand-tightened, unsecured by cotter pins. The bolts and nuts securing the primary pitch control surfaces were essentially ready to fall out. Not good. My friend managed a major nuclear facility in Idaho, and he shared the story with his workforce as an example why operators should “trust, but verify” others’ work.

Fixing The Fisk Arrival

If you’ve ever flown into Oshkosh, Wis., for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture Fly-in, you may have used the Fisk Arrival, a set of VFR fixes and procedures that helps organize and standardize landing at what is, for one week each year, the world’s busiest airport. Poor weather in advance of the 2018 event resulted in a surge of arrivals on the Sunday before the show’s Monday opening. According to Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety, “That brought a huge wave of inbound flights to Oshkosh in a short six-hour period that afternoon. While the controllers and ground personnel did yeomen’s work to park 3000 aircraft within a six-hour period, there are ways to do it better.”

Negligent Maintenance

Subscribers Only - Vintage aircraft often have vintage owners. Familiarity being a source of contempt, long-time owners of aircraft seeing little activity may also see little need to perform preventive maintenance or conduct regular inspections. “It was just fine when I parked it; what could possibly have broken while it was sitting in a hangar?” can be a familiar refrain to pilots who have owned the same airplane for a significant time. After a while, the pilot/owner is so familiar with the aircraft, he or she can tell something’s wrong just by the slipstream noise.

NTSB Reports

According to the pilot, he was delayed about 10 minutes by traffic before completing the engine run-up and takeoff roll with no anomalies noted. After the pilot lifted off and retracted the landing gear, the engine stopped producing power about 300 feet above the runway. There was no time to perform remedial actions to restore power, so the pilot lowered the landing gear and touched down on the remaining runway. The airplane went off the departure end of the runway, down an embankment and across a road before coming to rest upright 384 feet beyond the runway’s departure end in low brush.

Shortly After Takeoff

Subscribers Only - My background as a crewmember aboard military aircraft gave me a strong appreciation for practicing emergencies. Thirty-two years after earning my private certificate, I had my first one. The early September evening started out like most other cross-country flights my wife and I had taken in the 18 months since we bought our Piper Archer II. Our plan was take off around 1600 local, get a good night’s sleep at our destination, then I was to take my instrument-rating checkride the next morning.

Brake Master Cylinders

After a brake master cylinder was installed, the technician was unable to bleed the brake system. Fluid pulled from reservoir would return to reservoir through the same line as the internal bypass was not functioning properly. Master cylinder was disassembled and bypass was found stuck and unable to move. Metal shavings were found inside, and an O-ring was torn, with black specks mixed in with the shavings. Part replaced with new master cylinder.