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Sun 'n Fun Report
With notes from Winter Haven
    Changed date for next year! Sun ‘n Fun has rescheduled next year’s six day fly-in at the Lakeland FL airport to a later part of APril. The new date, for those of you planning ahead, is April 21 through 26, 2015. Plan on being there!

    Winter Haven Flyin

    We had a great fly-in in Winter Haven. Some Cardinals were delayed due to the weather, but 85 Cardinalers made it to some or all of the festivities, including the cocktail party, day on the airport, and the day at the Florida Southern College “Child of the Sun” campus learning about and appreciating Frank Lloyd Wright's work, resulting from the chutzpah of a certain small-college president in the midst of the Depression.

    Beyond the Saturday evening cocktail party and awesome food, we began Saturday with a continental breakfast (never sure just which continent that's meant to refer to, since Europe lacks Dunkin’ Donuts) in the grove on Winter Haven Airport. We progressed to a walk around of the assembled Cardinals, with each owner giving a brief overview of their aircraft, and Keith, Paul and the occasional CFO member contributor directing the crowd's attention to points of interest on the bevy of beautiful birds. We enjoyed a great southern BBQ lunch, followed by a round of door prizes, and brief updates from PowerFlow, SchemeDesigners, Guy Maher Cardinal training and Cardinal sourcing assistance, and Cardinal drag reduction and otherwise wonderful mods guru Roy Sobchuk of Brandon Manitoba.

    The group conversation then included:
  1. There are certain Cessna installed elements of most every Cardinal that can't be found in the parts catalog or service manual, because Cessna chose to cover them in the Avionics Manual. Cessna published an Avionics Manual to cover all 100-series aircraft roughly every three model years. Things like the phenolic block at the top of the tail that the cat whisker VOR antennae attach to are included there. It's a shame that information is not more regularly available, for as Keith pointed out, the phenolic block does fail from time to time, but new ones are available from Cessna for under $20 at last report. In touring the Cardinals assembled, we could see several innovative, and much more expensive than $20, modifications that folks had made to deal with this problem, lacking the proper replacement part number. Paul added to his list of things to do in retirement (what *is* the meaning of that word, anyway?) the preparation of a highlights document for the CFO website of Avionics Manual items, such as the alternator noise filters, comm antenna mounting plates, and of course the VOR antenna mounting block mentioned above.

  2. One member showed off his custom fabric glareshield cover, sourced from They apparently have the template for the Cardinal, and the product seemed to do a credible job concealing tired glareshield material.

  3. A folded and then re-straightened (mostly successfully) nosegear door raised the question of what those doors are going for these days. Anyone have a recent price quote? The walk around highlighted a couple of airplanes at some risk from a nosegear door event of their own, due to worn grommets, worn hinges, improper Zerk grease fittings on the nosegear scissors, bent nosegear link rods, and the like. An aftermarket supplier was rumored to be considering making a carbon fiber version of the door. Hopefully more will come to light of that option soon.

  4. One aircraft had serial number 1 of the LoPresti Cowlabunga installed. Both the engine cooling improvements and drag reduction speed increase were verified (14 knots, including addition of PowerFlow).

  5. Craig Barnett of SchemeDesigners announced a new website rollout by early May, making it easier to get ideas for a paint scheme, presumably to be very capably designed for excellence-in-implementation by SchemeDesigners.

  6. mention was made of a Cessna 182 gear well mod, which included a foam rolled-radius piece inside the leading edge of the well, to reduce turbulence and drag.

  7. Roy Sobchuk shared that Northwest Seat Covers in Vancouver BC offers a carbon fiber seat heater element for $35/seat. Convincing your mechanic and/or FSDO that it's either a minor mod or worthy of a simple field approval is left as an exercise for the aviator. For more info about the heaters themselves: More seat heater info here:

  8. Roy went on to discuss his drag reduction efforts, some available from The remainder are available from Roy directly. In addition to the mods on the website, Roy is selling his behind-the-spinner baffle, wingtips, and possibly arm rests.

  9. Roy is also investigating a silicone nanomaterial that might offer durable anti-ice coating of leading edge surfaces. Roy offers a door hinge pin repair kit, which he can assist with installing in Arizona in the winter or in Manitoba in the summer. This repairs the sag along the front door post, and sprung bottom door hinges.

  10. Roy also rebuilds the Sprague clutch style door latch, and offers a stainless steel striker cover plate to either conceal existing door slam damage, or prevent future damage. This is particularly important for the '68 through ’74 Cardinal, before Cessna saw fit to install a fuselage edge protection plate themselves.

  11. Roy's STC’d tail cone fairing has been upgraded, with water-jet cut ribs.

  12. The assembled Cardinalers weren't sure what to make of Roy’s toilet fan, designed to remove the smell before it exits the toilet bowl. This is not a Cardinal specific mod.

  13. Pat Selover of Aviation Plus was interviewed by Keith. AviationPlus will be installing the new LoPresti cowl, the first non-Florida-factory installer. That will occur in April, and they hope to be able to complete two per month going forward, and assist LoPresti is designing the kitting for remote installations.

  14. Pat discussed the Cardinal battery box cover. These are getting old and brittle, and failing. Cessna wants $800 for a replacement. AviationPlus is working with a fabricator to provide a carbon fiber cover repair. If you have as little as your metal clips remaining, they can effect a repair. The new cover won't require hair-dryer modification to accommodate the popular Concorde glass matt battery.

  15. AviationPlus is annualing fifty-five Cardinals per year, with as many as six in the shop at a time (for annuals and other repairs). They target one to two annuals per week, but be sure to schedule at least three months in advance to avoid disappointment.

  16. AviationPlus is happy to assist the Cardinal community by answering your mechanic's questions. But they prefer to speak directly to your mechanic (have your mechanic call, don't call yourself) to minimize the time spent communicating.

  17. The warning NOT to get your Cardinal serviced at a Cessna Service Center was repeated. Cessna has apparently imposed certain restrictions on their Service Centers as to how repairs can be accomplished. Certain of those restrictions can be VERY expensive for the Cardinal owner. And the Cessna Service Center, in general, seems to bring no Cardinal-specific expertise to the party. All downside, no upside, so instead use a good, Cardinal-familiar independent shop instead, it is recommended.

  18. Pat reported good success in finding what might seem like bizarre parts, and identifying new sources for parts that Cessna is either slow to provide or charging unreasonable premiums.

  19. AviationPlus has an extraordinarily capable flow control unit (fuel injection throttle body AKA FCU) maintainer or overhauler, but the owner/operator is extremely idiosyncratic. Keith and Pat both highly recommended routing FCU work through AviationPlus, who are maintaining a good relationship with the very capable but touchy shop.

  20. Pat summarized that AviationPlus is very good at door hinges and anything Cardinal specific.

  21. PowerFlow explained that their tuned exhaust system is available for every Cardinal except the turbocharged ones. They reminded all PowerFlow owners (which includes 25% of US fixed gear Cardinals, and over 10% of US Cardinal RGs) that there is an annual requirement for disassembly and application of anti-seize. See PowerFlow's website for information: It's now the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the RG PowerFlow. An issue has arisen with regard to variation in the positive clearance between the intermediate tube, from the heater to the exit, near the engine mount. The design was for 1/4 to 3/8 of separation from the engine mount tube and heat shield. In some installations, this clearance is diminished. Note that the exhaust is free floating, and can be “snugged up” to provide more or less clearance. Without adequate clearance, damage to the engine mount is possible, and cocking of the intermediate tube can cause exhaust leakage, possibly in the cabin heat area. Both are bad. PowerFlow's advice is to check for positive clearance; again, see the website for photos showing the four locations in question.

  22. PowerFlow is shortly expecting FAA approval to remove the language limiting the RG PowerFlow to the IO360. That language was an anomaly. Removing it makes it even easier for folks to retain their PowerFlow when installing the Lycoming IO390 on the RG.

  23. PowerFlow's Jim Schaffer outlined three different special pricing arrangements. Pick your lead time: the longer the lead time you allow PowerFlow, the lower your price, with as much as a $1000 discount. The Sun ‘n Fun Show Special is an up to $300 discount, depending on the total number of participants (sales at the show). AND, PowerFlow added an additional $300 door prize for CFO'rs at Winter Haven, redeemable as a discount, or a Challenger air filter, or as aviation oil.

  24. PowerFlow is considering a put-up-or-shut-up proposal to their internet gadflies. Try a PowerFlow system. If it works as advertised, make a $1000 donation to PF's choice of aviation charity. If it doesn’t, then PF makes a similar donation to the gadfly's choice of aviation charity. I guess they're getting tired of internet know-it-alls with nothing in the game, and opinions undeterred by facts.

  25. Sun ‘n Fun

  26. Keith and Paul met Bob Kramer, currently marketing engine upgrades for King Airs. But Bob, it turns out, began out of engineering school in 1977 as a Cessna flight test engineer on the Cardinal. Bob shared a few reminiscences, and asked what the Cardinal community has been able to do to improve the performance of the '68 177? I explained my personal pick as top two, the Maple Leaf fixed cowl flap to improve both climb (very important) and engine cooling. And the PowerFlow exhaust to improve available power. Then beyond that, there's a menu of improvements: Sobchuk wingtips for climb, Fancy Pants, both nosegear and main landing gear for drag reduction, vortex generators for low speed performance, and a host of engine upgrades from high compression pistons for 160 HP on board, to 180 HP solutions both fixed pitch and constant speed (unfortunately, no one's taken up the Avia integral constant speed propeller as yet). Bob was impressed it seemed. :-)

  27. Keith and Paul visited with Stuart Nichols at ElectroAir. As many know, ElectroAir has a certified electronic ignition available to replace one of two magnetos on the Cardinal. It's pretty easy on the non-D engines. On the D engine, ElectroAir takes their crank position signal from a ring mounted on the crankshaft right behind the propeller. However, FAA certification requires one magneto be kept operating. It's not clear what an airworthy solution looks like: keep the D2000 mag, but only connect half the plugs? Install an owner-selected single mag in the D2000 port on the accessory case? This is non-trivial, as the D2000 mag has a six-cylinder-engine-style base, so there aren't any commonly available four cylinder mags that mount right up. One could machine an adapter, but that's a new design part not eligible for anything short of FAA engineering review. ElectroAir hopes to have an approved solution in “six months or so” but be advised, FAA approval time lines can expand beyond all reasonable expectation.

  28. Pacific Oil Cooler's Jan Saurenman gave us an update on their now-in-La-Verne California operations (moved from their El Monte home of many, many years). POCS' now manufacturing an approved, high efficiency cooler to fit various Cardinals, including even the turbo Cardinal. These coolers have 60% more cooling fins, which improves heat transfer. What even POCS may not appreciate is that by increasing the number of fins, the pressure drop is increased, which actually preserves engine cooling air, reducing aircraft cooling drag, which might seem counterintuitive. This was a result identified by GAMI's Tornado Alley engineers in designing the enhanced Bonanza, Cirrus, and yes, even Cardinal intercooler systems. The new coolers are called Aero Classic HE (high efficiency) and their certification testing proves that they are better. Incidentally, Jan shared that Stewart Warner coolers, which they also sell, have a new name, as Meggett has acquired the brand, and renamed it Meggett-Troy after the Stewart Warner factory's location (a Meggett custom). One bystander observed that the hugely increased prices post acquisition may represent some effort by British Meggett to recoup the loss of the original 13 colonies. Jan wasn't sure about that, but did indicate that the large price increase (from say $400 for a Cardinal RG stock cooler to nearly $1000) did make it easier for POCS to justify bringing out their own improved-design line of coolers.

  29. Mooney held a press conference to discuss their return to manufacturing. Anyone building airplanes is a good thing for all of us, generally! Apparently the Mooney Museum in Kerrville, TX has been subject to the vagaries of the factory going out of business repeatedly. The new owners of Mooney are setting up a foundation to fund the museum going forward to avoid such upsets. They're planning to build two airplanes a month going forward, and are sold out for 2014 already. Best wishes to them!

  30. On March 25th, the FAA issued SAIB NE14-13 to alert regarding the possible failure of engine thru-studs, and/or cylinder mounting studs on Lycoming engines. It has been observed that cylinder mounting studs failed on Lycoming engines due to the absence of protective cadmium plating on the studs. Recommendations: 1. Inspect cylinder studs and thru-studs for corrosion pits and missing cadmium plating. 2. Follow the cylinder installation instructions in the Lycoming overhaul manual or Lycoming SI 1029D. 3. Use Lycoming special tools, or their equivalent, to torque the cylinder nuts. 4. When using the special wrenches to torque cylinder nuts, ensure the wrenches do not contact the cylinder or other parts of the engine. Wrench contact can result in a correct torque indicated by the torque wrench, but the actual torque applied to the nut, and the clamping force, will be lower than required. 5. When accessible, inspect the crankcase main bearing mating surfaces for fretting. Lycoming has advised that no fretting is allowed. The SAIB's full text is available on the FAA’s website:

  31. One supplier recommended contacting Power Packs Plus in Reno Nevada for RG gear power pack (electric motor and pump) parts. The Prestolite tooling was transferred to a new owner, but not without loss of some casting molds, etc. PPP's Brian is a resource as they have in depth stock, and will likely be aware of any reverse-engineering solutions to keep these power packs running.

  32. Do you need a mnemonic to remember the emergency squawks? I wasn't sure this was an itch that needed scratching, but apparently even airline pilots mess this up at times: 75 – taken alive 76 – technical glitch 77 – going to heaven Or, if you prefer: Hi Jack (75), can't talk now (76), on fire (77)! Ah, the human mind!

  33. Sporty's held a press conference, and served a very nice BBQ lunch too I might add, to address a number of issues: updates to the Stratus ADS-B portable (hint, it's even more functional, now offering weather data buffering when your iPad is otherwise busy, and only $895 for the hardware); a new partnering club with CFI's and flight schools to incent more pilots via training that involves Sporty's products; new flight gear designed for electronics instead of charts and binders; a new IPC (instrument proficiency check) online course for only $39.95 that looks to be spiffy. Sporty's also introduced a line of variable propeller digital camera filters for pilots flying with the GoPro or iPhone. These filters can be combined with headset audio cables to make complete cockpit video kits. Almost all video cameras suffer from the “rolling shutter effect,” which distorts the propeller and can ruin a good video.

  34. The annual Sporty's fly-in is Saturday May 17 from 10 AM to 3PM at Clermont County Airport; fly or drive in, free parking, free admission, free seminars, free lunch. Exhibitors include Cessna Aircraft, Aspen Avionics, Garmin, Bose, Lightspeed, SkyOx, ForeFlight, Sigtronics and others. Seminars will be hosted by Garmin, Bendix/King, Aspen Avionics, ForeFlight, Air Mod and more. Sporty's flight instructors will be on hand to offer introductory flights through Sporty's Academy, and tours will be available of Sandy's Airpark at Sporty’s.

  35. We caught up with Lightspeed at their press conference on the flight line, and they gave us an update on their new extra-extra quiet headsets, the PFX (personal flying ‘xperience). Paul and Keith's experience is that they're truly remarkably more quiet than all the very good ANR headsets that came before. But we heard one commenter that didn't notice a difference, so perhaps it pays to try before you buy, or buy with the money-back return period in mind. In any case, the September 30, 2013 delivery date was pushed back due to technical difficulties. We're now told that June 1 will be the initial delivery date. There are significant backlogs, so if you want to be an early adopter, get in the queue either at a Lightspeed dealer, or direct from the factory.

  36. We chatted with Brad Dement of E-Mag, which continues to progress his certified electronic magneto products, having been in the experimental business for years now. His six cylinder electronic is in certification now, and he hopes to have the D2000 clone available in a year. A bystander observed that he's been a year away for half a decade now, and Brad acknowledged that he may not have always made realistic projections of certification obstacles. Brad hopes to have further discussions with Lycoming regarding a joint certification effort.

  37. CFO Sponsor Wilco reminded us that they are a cost-effective supplier of aircraft batteries, and have lots of knowledge to share as well on making those batteries last.

  38. PSA Enterprises and AeroLEDs both offer certified and “standard electronic part replacement on a log book entry” solutions to LED lighting in aircraft.

  39. SiriusXM advised us of a change in their direction on weather providers. XM initiated the aviation weather service, using their preferred provider, Baron. Since Sirius acquire XM several years ago, they've been rationalizing their satellite business. SiriusXM now offers WSI weather via satellite at the same pricing and nearly the same service levels as the Baron product. For portable applications, the hockey puck antenna needs to be changed, though they promise this will be only a nominal charge (maybe $25 net). And they plan to offer both Baron and WSI for some indeterminate period of time. It's not clear what may be required to transition Garmin GDL91 weather receivers, if feasible. But, if both products are moving forward, then it's not a short term concern.

  40. CFO Sponsor Vantage PlanePlastics reported an uptick in sales volumes; the recession is over and folks are fixing up their airplanes? It's hard to say. CFO discounts still apply, so be sure to ask for them, and during Sun ‘n Fun and Oshkosh, there are show discounts as well, which may be available even if you're not at the show.

  41. CJAviation has an interesting new product on offer – in addition to overhauling both Weldon and Dukes fuel pumps used on the RG, they now have an FAA approved one of their own design and manufacture. The pump internals are very similar to Dukes, the motor is an electronically controlled unit of their own design, which will continue running down to even just a few volts (or two speed on the aircraft so requiring). Overhauling your RG's existing pump by CJA is $400; a new pump from CJA is $700.

  42. SkyTec, the starter folks, have a new neat idea to help a fuel injected Lycoming get started. It's called iSTART. It’s an electronic fuel injector connected to an aluminum “hockey puck” that installs between the fuel control unit (FCU or throttle body) on a Lycoming-style fuel injection system and the intake manifold/plenum. The injector connects to the fuel supply, of course, and the smart box senses RPM and ambient air temperature. At start, whether hot or cold, the pilot leaves the mixture at idle cut-off, and sets the throttle cracked slightly opened, as recommended by SkyTec, and then starts cranking. The iSTART system figures out how much fuel to introduce according to an algorithm. When the engine starts, the pilot advances the mixture control, which of course enrichens the mixture, causing the RPM to drop. When iSTART sees the RPM drop, it disengages. There's a CFO discount of $100 off between now and August 31, though the sales price is not definitive yet.

  43. Electronics International (EI) has introduced a new 3.125” instrument hole color engine monitor; kind of like the JPI 730/830/900 series, but a round presentation of the color display. Standard features are manifold pressure and tachometer, plus EGT/CHT engine monitor. The main screen offers seven functions from an inventory of 30; the secondary screen provides an additional six functions from that same list.

  44. FreeFlight was touting their all-in-one functionality ADS-B system. For $3,995, the unit provides ADS-B out, and thereby fully enabled ADS-B traffic and weather service. This is *not* a 2020 ADS-B mandate installation, but FreeFlight promises an upgrade path to meeting the mandate that will be affordable. The ADS-B display of weather and traffic can either be on an in-panel GNS430 or GNS530, or with the optional WiFi module, on your iPad. There are over 400 aircraft on their AML (approved model list) including, reportedly, all the Cardinal models.

  45. Three blade composite propeller for the Cardinal RG, better climb, slightly better cruise, all for $13,900 including spinner? It could happen. MT-Propeller is willing to certify their three bladed unit for the Cardinal RG if five RG owners place a $2,500 deposit against the full purchase price. According to their dealers, two of these props have already been installed on Cardinal RGs under field approvals. CFO Readers, if you have one, let us know how it works! The cruise speed improvement is estimated at 2 knots, the climb improvement more noticeable, on the order of 100 FPM? But taking 60 pounds off the nose would have a salutary effect on W&B, in fact, completely negating the weight impact of the Cardinal Cruiser turbo system, for instance. Let us know if you're interested and we can put you in touch with the MT engineer.

  46. We were able to touch base with Superior Air Parts at their press conference. They continue to offer their Lycoming-clone certified parallel valve cylinders, and Lycoming-clone experimental only angle valve cylinders. So the Cardinal O360 folks have a lower cost alternative, but as yet the Cardinal IO360 pilots do not. Given the backlog of opportunities, in response to our question, Superior opined it would be at least two years before the angle valve cylinder certification program resumed. Interestingly, they also have an experimental one-piece parallel valve cylinder, with integral cooling baffles. It looks different, to be sure, but you don't have to worry about the cylinder head and cylinder barrel coming apart.

  47. Kelly Aerospace's Neil Clark, VP of Sales, updated us on the parts status for the D2000 and D3000 magnetos. Kelly holds PMAs on every part of the dual mag, except the magnet and the housing. They are shipping overhauled magnetos, and parts, as required. If your preferred magneto shop says they can't get parts, tell them to call 334-517-0039 to talk to Neil, ‘cause he says the parts are available!

  48. AeroShell is pursuing continuous improvement, they tell us. AeroShell oils will now come in *red* containers, not to be confused with ConocoPhillips (66) red I suppose. They're also proud that the new labels are more informative, the packaging sizes will be more standardized, and “a streamlined, comprehensive range.” The nice young lady we spoke with at their display couldn't really tell us what all that meant. But when we see the red containers, I guess all will become apparent! They're also discontinuing AeroShell W 65, the straight-weight 30 weight oil that very few folks use anymore.

    See you next year at Sun 'n Fun!

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