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Sun 'n Fun Report

From: Paul (and Keith)
Subject: Sun 'n Fun Report 2013

1. Changed date for next year! Sun ‘n Fun has rescheduled next year’s six day fly-in at the Lakeland FL airport to one week later than earlier planned. The new date, for those of you planning ahead, is April 1 through 6, 2014.



2. Quality Aircraft Accessories www.qaa.com in Tulsa OK reports that they are now the exclusive factory authorized overhauler of the Dukes electric fuel pump found in Cardinal RGs and the two turbo Cardinal FG aircraft. Unfortunately, the overhaul price remains very high, due to Duke’s very large increase in parts prices of a few years back.

To replace the pump impeller, seals, motor bearings and brushes, QAA charges $1100 to overhaul your unit, or $1300 to exchange your unit for an overhauled one. If you still have a Dukes pump with a carbon impeller, strongly consider replacing it with a Nylatron (Nylon) impeller pump per Dukes’ service bulletin. Upon failure, the carbon impellers can break apart and plug the fuel line leading to the engine. There are alternatives available in the marketplace to in-kind replacement or overhaul of your Dukes pump.



3. EMU Transportation, www.emutrikes.com in the US, offers an electric scooter tricycle suitable for transport in your Cardinal and then for local transportation at your destination. The 48 volt Lithium-ion battery is said to offer a 20 mile range at speeds up to 20 MPH.



4. Air Management Technology of Englewood CO www.amt-aero.com offers a Flycool™ electrically driven air conditioning system in modular form, from 3,000 BTU to 19,000 BTU. They opine that their 3,000 BTU 5”x5”x5” unit could be mounted behind the instrument panel of a Cardinal, providing cold air via panel mounted gulper vents to the pilot and co-pilot while consuming only 12 amps at 12 volts (24 volt units are also available). The “5x5x5” area might be liberated by installation of a glass panel unit, for instance. They also offer portable units that could ride in the baggage compartment and provide summertime cooling, while being removed in favor of useful load in the cooler months. Expected ~$2500 and up.



5. Concorde Battery of scenic West Covina CA www.concordebattery.com announced that their AGM (absorptive glass matt) batteries have been so successful in the marketplace that they are discontinuing their conventional wet cell batteries effective July 2013. That’s quite the transition, but apparently aircraft owners are voting with their buying decisions.

Remember that AGM batteries are NOT the same as gel cell, though I heard numerous Cardinal Flyers mis-reference them as such. In the AGM battery, the sulfuric acid electrolyte is sponged up in a woven glass mat. It can move fairly freely between electrodes as necessary. In the gel cell battery, gelling agents are added to turn the water in the electrolyte into a very high viscosity (jelly-like) fluid which moves less freely, thereby limiting the battery somewhat.

Both batteries have the advantage over wet cells of not readily leaking electrolyte, and the disadvantage over wet cells that abused batteries cannot have the electrolyte readily replaced. So it is very important that charging system voltages AT THE BATTERY meet the specified voltages. Any voltage regulator laziness, or voltage drop across the contactor or any of a number of terminal connections between the battery and the alternator, which is unfortunately common in our aging aircraft, can result in undercharging and short battery life. Good maintenance of the charging system including the electrical connections is key.



6. Airborne Sensor www.airbornesensor.com of Boston MA introduced their Eagle 360 GoPro camera mounting system for nearly all Cessnas and other common GA aircraft. The roughly 10.5” diameter plastic pod has an aluminum mounting plate that can be match drilled to mount to any convenient inspection plate or other location on the bottom (or top?) of a wing or the fuselage. The ~4” high pod can then mount to the plate with quarter turn fasteners. Inside the pod is room for up to four Hero3 GoPro cameras, peering out through GoPro provided lenses in the pod. Provision is made for providing power, sound, and eventually control connections to the up to four cameras.

In flight video is truly stunning, and the standard GoPro software tools support compositing the up to four images into one screen. The GoPro cameras support lower resolution progress-monitoring video via WiFi. For $1600, one receives the described system including one GoPro Hero3 camera. Future development is underway to enhance the existing WiFi wireless control in flight to wired control with greater capability. Seems like a great tool for in flight video.



7. WingX gave us an update on their feature development plan. They currently support eleven ADS-B receivers from DUAL, FreeFlight Systems, Levil Technology, Radenna, Sagetech, SkyGuardTWX and Zaon. The historic NavWorx interface may still work, depending on software revisions (see NavWorx discussion below), but future support is not planned. Appareo and Garmin have declined to cooperate with WingX on ADS-B support. All but the Zaon system provide 978 MHz traffic support.

Five of the ADS-B receivers also provide direct 1090 MHz (Mode S transponder) receive, typically for airliners, so relaying from the FAA ground stations is not required to sense the target/threat. Three of the units also offer AHRS (heading reference system) support.



8. NavWorx continues to make progress toward certification later this year. They are working with Anywhere Education to support their layered iPad traffic and navigation application that should be in the iPad APP store by the time you read this. www.navworx.com



9. XM Weather – The Baron folks that provide the Nexrad weather radar feed to the XM/Sirius satellites for onboard gave us an ad hoc discussion of their concerns for those using ADS-B based weather. True, the ADS-B related weather service product is currently free, but there have been difficulties expressed regarding coverage availability.

Other concerns:

  a. ADS-B weather is lower resolution, leading to greater probability of significant weather being not displayed due to its not occupying enough of the sort boxes used in the resolving algorithm.

  b. ADS-B weather does not display areas of non-NEXRAD coverage, misleading pilots to fly into “clear” zones that are only clear because the NEXRAD signal is blocked by a mountain. [I heard a Mooney pilot and his family screaming on the radio when they had such an encounter over the Nevada desert. They survived, but goodness!]

  c. ADS-B weather’s ground based signal is typically not available on the ground before takeoff for use in initial routing decision making. [This is somewhat mitigated by WiFi or cell system available radar updates just prior to takeoff for this purpose.]

  d. There are still areas of non-coverage aloft for ADS-B, and at lower altitudes will continue to be areas of non-coverage.

  e. Baron spoke of areas of intentional non-coverage by FAA program administrators for aircraft ABOVE certain altitudes, 18,000’ and 24,000’. I don’t understand the intention or technical artifact this derives from, unless perhaps the directionality of the FAA ground stations is implicated.

  f. There is no system problem reporting system for ADS-B weather. If you encounter anomalies, there is no way to let the FAA know they have an operational problem. Presumably, this could lead to lower system availability and reliability.

  g. ADS-B weather NEXRAD data processing is significantly less sophisticated, relying only on base reflectivity, instead of taking advantage of the full capability of the NEXRAD system. This results in less accurate depictions of weather under certain given conditions, and is regularly observed according to Baron.

The upshot of all this is that there are valid concerns about ADS-B weather versus XM weather. However, given the relative price points (free, today at least, ADS-B weather versus $30 to $60/month for XM) the good news is that ADS-B weather is likely to make in cockpit weather available to more pilots than today. Those who have and use XM weather, however, may want to be cautious. I plan to fly with both for a couple years to compare the fidelity of what both systems report to what I can see out the window.



10. K9 (canine) ear muffs and oxygen hoods. 4 Paws Aviation of Warsaw IN www.4pawsaviation.com announced an update of their line of doggie ear muffs. The Mutt Muffs are now equipped with non-toxic gel ear cups, Nylon webbing, breakaway safety clips, and aircraft approved sound deadening foam. They report an improvement in sound reduction for Fido from their previous 25 dBHL to over 40 dBHL, which is a huge improvement given the logarithmic nature of the noise scale. The new muffs fit inside 4 Paws’ supplemental oxygen hood for pups that now come in six sizes for better match to your dog.



11. Levil www.aviation.levil.com, the Oviedo FL maker of a portable AHRS (attitude heading reference system, pronounced A-hars) for use with portable display devices like the iPad, has come out with a new unit that includes an ADS-B receiver, and given its common placement on the glareshield, takes advantage of that positioning by recharging its batteries from solar cells on the face of the case. In addition to solar or not solar, the various models can integrate pitot/static information, import engine data from an engine monitoring system for iPad display, and mix in serial data from other external devices. You and your iPad can rival state of the art from 20 years ago.

Please note the later reference to Levil in the Sagetech report.



12. E-Mag at last report was working on certifying a D2000 version of their electronic magneto replacement. They didn’t have their display unit on their booth counter, and we weren’t able to get an update from booth personnel. We’ll be calling the factory to follow up. www.emagair.com


13. Kelly Aerospace reported some interesting developments. Apparently when Kelly sold most of their engine technology division to Hartzell to create Hartzell Engine Technology (HET), Kelly received some minority ownership position in HET.

That position was liquidated late last year in exchange for Kelly receiving back the D2000/D3000 magneto business, the oil filter business, and the carburetor/fuel injection parts business. Kelly now has FAA approval to make EVERY component of the D2000 and D3000 magnetos, and has migrated one of the significant improvements of the 3000 over the 2000 to the 2000... the four point distributor block attachment, as seen to the right.

So if you’re planning to keep your D mag running, there’s a comprehensive parts source available. Kelly is interested in overhauling the units for you as well, a service they report they’re providing Lycoming for overhauled and reman’d engines.

However, we haven’t had field reports yet showing any improvement in QC at Kelly; in fact, to the contrary, one Cardinal Flyer reported his Kelly mag on his Lycoming factory overhauled engine packed it in at three hours in service. So our recommendation will likely remain, at least for now, to consider the D2000 expert shops like the folks in Rockford IL.



14. PlanePower of Granbury TX www.planepower.com announced imminent availability (within 30 days) of their FLX alternator for all Cardinals and most Lycoming and Continental installations on other aircraft.

The FLX alternator is designed to replace either 12 volt or 24 volt alternators with one unit, for easy stocking, or other purposes (see below). In addition, the FAA approved unit can generate 100 amps at 12 volts, or 150 amps at 24 volts.

According to PlanePower, it’s the pilot’s responsibility to keep the ammeter breaker from popping by controlling loading, or alternatively, by logbook entry, upgrading the current path (power and ground wires, alternator breaker, and bus wiring) to allow a higher current. Sounds pretty liberal, eh?

The other purpose is a dual voltage unit as originally introduced by Kelly for support of air conditioning and/or electric wing de-icing. On the Cardinal, if your vacuum pump is replaced by a certified vacuum pump pad mounted alternator, you could use the FLX alternator in 24 volt mode by switching the regulator (and the output connection) to support air conditioning or electric cabin heat (think heated seats front and rear). Or, at 100 amps, maybe 12 volts is enough for just about any application. Interesting outside the box thinking, and giving credit where due, by the FAA as well.



15. Guardian Avionics of Tucson AZ www.guardianavionics.com announced further enhancements to their Aero 454 CO (carbon monoxide) detector. This is the unit that serially conveys its cabin air quality data to a variety of panel mounted electronics. In addition, it now reverses the favor by broadcasting GPS and waypoint information from the GPS via Bluetooth to up to three handheld devices such as iPads and iPhones.



16. Sagetech of Hood River OR www.sagetechcorp.com expanded their line of ADS-B and weather receiver with AHRS (attitude and heading reference system). The units support not only direct reception of both 978 and 1090 MHz threat aircraft traffic information, and ADS-B weather, but also provide support for synthetic vision on the iPad or other display device. The unit even buffers data if the iPad is not currently receiving. The most capable unit has a list price of $1400.

Keith adds: I watched a person wearing a Levil polo shirt checking out a Sage AHRS and in the process learned how to test devices like this. He held the unit flat, no tilt, and gave it several side to side motions, creating a yaw only acceleration. The display showed that the sensor was sending a 'bank' signal. After several cycles he stopped and the display continued to show a tilt to one side which stayed for some time.

In discussions with the vendor who's software was reading this sensor he commented that Levil had put a lot of time into the auto-erection routines and damping the bank artifacts of a yaw event. If you plan to purchase an AHRS system it might be good to learn more about this style of testing to check out the various suppliers for their performance, since a yaw only input looks a lot like normal turbulance."


17. FireWall Forward (FWF) gave us an update on their progress. They realize they’ve had some bad press recently, and want to assure folks they have a robust path forward. To reassure folks, they’re offering a financial penalty guarantee against their promised delivery dates. If they say you’ll have your drilled camshaft in three weeks, they’ll pay you a daily penalty for every day they might be late.

Tom and Zach talked about their altitude chamber for testing magnetos, particularly for those aircraft that are high flyers or turbocharged. A mag that will test fine at sea level (or at FWF’s 5,000 elevation shop) may misfire violently at 20,000 or 30,000 feet. Now they can test the magnetos at those conditions. Tom observed that on teardown, they’re finding about 25% of IO360A cases cracked, most often at the pilot side cheek (near the starter).



18. Tim Roehl at Tornado Alley Turbo and GAMI www.gami.com www.taturbo.com reported that they have an IO390 equipped Cardinal RG in the shop right now, getting the Cardinal Cruiser turbo system installed. They expect FAA approval to extend their STC to the IO390 by the end of the month.

Tim further predicted that the “World Peace” electronically controlled wastegate would be available by end of year. This is more than a control change, from oil hydraulic to electrical. The new wastegate system is smart, so that it allows MORE boost when fuel flow is outside the Advanced Pilot Seminar “red box”; in other words, if the mixture is sufficiently rich for MP/RPM, or sufficiently lean, then more manifold pressure can be made available to deliver more power without compromising detonation margins. This allows more power on takeoff, and compensates for high temperature days, and allows for more economical cruise.

The Supplenator alternator is around 18 months away, with the PRISM electronic ignition system to follow that. Number 1 priority has been GAMI unleaded avgas.



19. PSA, the lighting supplier, has an LED version of the Cessna flashing beacon bulb. Unfortunately, it requires a socket change, which is a bit more complex than just changing the bulb.



20. Wilco gave us the lowdown on the certified and uncertified Whelen position light/strobe light assemblies. There are a number of different form factors, some of which are replacements for the AeroFlash or Grimes position/strobe light assemblies found on our Cardinals. By Oshkosh, Whelen plans to announce a certified Grimes/AeroFlash form factor light that has BOTH an LED position light, and LED strobe replacements in a lower profile package. Sounds like a nice package.



21. Free from Trade A Plane! Now through April 28th, log in with SNF2013 as both username and password to enjoy a free preview of Trade A Plane’s premium features. Trade-A-Plane.com You can also get the fastest weather on the web free, they say, by going to weathertap.com and click on the “Get a Free Trial” for the preview.



22. In other fuel pump news, CJAviation pointed out that they have their own clone of the Dukes fuel pump that fits the Cardinal RG. www.cjaviation.com in Tulsa OK.



23. One company missing from the sponsor's area was Air Charts, who sent out a letter just 3 weeks before the show announcing the termination of their charting services. Their web site does not yet reflect the change, but all indications are that the electronic age has caught up with them.

This leaves only Tri-Nav as an alternative to the NOS or Jeppesen sets which are both bulky and expensive. The Tri-Nav system is a newer charting approach created by Howie Keefe, the quintessential creator of mapping options, and puts VFR data on an IFR chart to give you all in one. It appears that they don't do approach charts, however, and were also not at the show, leaving some of us chartless. If you're seeking charts, it looks like time to start reviewing the electronic options.



24. Seattle Avionics was showing their flight planning, weather and in-flight systems, as distributed through AOPA. Their system includes a server-calculated 'best altitude' system based on current winds aloft along with portable planning across all types of devices.

They also report that a single charting subscription may be used across your PC, iPad and phone, a better deal than many systems which require a new subscription for each.

Seattle has an Android weather system, but development of an Android version of the navigation and in-flight system (their 'EFB' app) is dependent on AOPA's decision to fund the program. If you'd like to see AOPA include Android phones and tablets in their supported platforms, please let Chris Anderberg know of your interest at chris.anderberg@aopa.org.



See you next year at Sun 'n Fun!


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