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Sun 'n Fun Report



  1. Roy Sobchuk recommended Acme nanotechnology wax. It appears to be a silicon dioxide product, but they claim due to the much smaller (nano) treatment particles to do a better job of smoothing the aircraft surface. Contact Kevin Sweeney,

  2. Kelly Aerospace is proud to share that the last major component of the D2000/D3000 magnetos that they don't have PMA approval on, the magneto housing itself, is nearing approval. Instead of cast magnesium like the stock cases, this one will be machined aluminum. They plan to have test articles in two months, and hope for FAA approval by year end. The only remaining component is the magnet itself, but magnets are not in short supply, and existing ones can readily be remagnetized as part of the overhaul process.

    a. We asked Kelly about their return rate, and the industry perception that their quality control could be better. Jeff Kelly, president, shared that a few years ago, their return rate was about 5%; of those, about a third were tested, no fault found, upon arrival at the factory. That return rate is now down to about 3%.

    b. Kelly is offering an improved design ignition points for Slick 4300 and 6300 magnetos. Current Slick production includes a plastic piece in the torque path for these points. The plastic deforms with time and tension to adversely affect point performance. Kelly offers an all-metal torque path for improved reliability.

    c. Kelly is offering a 500 hour magneto inspection & certification service, with over 30 parts included in every inspection, and a 72 hour turn time. $675 for the D2000/D3000, D20/200/1200 non-impulse $350; add $25 for impulse coupled mags. There's a $25 off coupon available.

    d. Kelly is also bringing forth a Cool City autopilot. Details to come. They're doing the work in Mineral Wells, with the original owner of S-Tec, when it split off from Century, decades ago. All three companies are in the same town, now.


  3. JPI reported that the new software upgrade that includes digital gallon readouts for fuel levels that may today be lacking them, and their new comparator alarm which compares totalizer volume to sum of tank volumes (and alarms if the deviation is 5 gallons or more) is now available. JPI has relented on the $125 fee for this software, and agreed to install it for free for the next year. Get an RMA from JPI, ship your EDM as quickly as you like, and JPI will return it second-day air.

  4. Skywriter has a portable heads-up display; intriguing, if not completely ready for prime time just yet.

  5. The folks that brought us Sky-Tec starters and PlanePower alternators (both lines since sold to Hartzell Engine Technology, the SkyTec sale just announced the first day of the show) were showing two new products.

    a. iStart is going through the STC process now, initially for the Bellanca, but they expect other approvals to follow quickly, or of course, field approvals may be available. iStart is a smart box and an automotive fuel injector. On engine start of fuel injected aircraft, it carefully matches fuel flow to requirements, resulting in automotive-style "varoom!" style engine starting. After a few seconds, one can then push the red knob forward from its idle cutoff rest, and the standard fuel system takes over from iStart, which then shuts down and waits for the next engine start.

    b. The SkyTec/PlanePower alumni's second project is an electronic ignition system that looks like, and replaces, a magneto. Fairly conventional operation is intended for this somewhat neater-toinstall form factor. www.surefly

  6. Electroair's Darrell Pool updated us on their certified ignition systems. They have a single mag under development that will fit the D2000/D3000 spot, and provide the conventional mag backup by firing the top plugs. Their electronic system is firewall mounted, and senses crank position from a sensor mounted to the crankshaft just behind the starter ring gear on our Lycomings. They hope to have a mag to show at Oshkosh. Remember that no other conventional four-cylinder mag will fit where the D2000 is today, because the D2000 mounts to a six-cylinder magneto sized hole. CFO members who have installed the system report easier starts, smoother engine operation, and improved HP and/or fuel efficiency, especially at manifold pressures below 24" Hg.

  7. Avidyne and Globalstar announced a product scheduled to emerge this summer... a GPS- antenna sized widget that will allow 20 kbps to 50 kbps data communication via satellite at reasonable pricing, $50 to $100/month. In addition to specially formatted (for efficiency) data up and down, including texting, emails, weather, etc. they will support voice over IP for phone calls to and from the air.

  8. Steve Hunter confirms that they can provide the side baffles for the Cardinal engine with or without the sparkplug wire routing holes; just ask!

  9. Superior Valve Guides Are! Based on a tip from GAMI, I spoke with Keith Chatten at Superior. He confirmed that their exhaust valve guides are 6 to 8 Rockwell C hardness #s harder than Lycoming. So next cylinder overhaul, I'll make sure we specify Superior!

  10. PSA suggests that their 1777 bulb LED replacement is bright enough that it doesn't matter which orientation the bulb socket is in: the traditional vertical orientation (depicted) or the horizontal orientation Cessna chose for the Cardinal.

  11. Millner Tools not only has superb branding... but they offer an intriguing combination sheet metal nibbler/jigsaw tool. The outrigger handler either covers the nibbler or the jigsaw, so handle integrity is pretty darn important (though the cutting bits can be removed by the squeamish).

  12. Keith and I presented a session on Cardinals in one of the education forums at Sun 'n Fun. The forums are now hosted in the Aviation High School on campus at the field. The room we were assigned had some great turbo component drawings displayed on the walls, which lead to a discussion of turbo bearing lubrication. Here you go, just like you were there!

  13. iStart laid out! Here's the system overview for automotive-ease starting of injected aircraft engines. A very cool concept, and perhaps of use in augmenting fuel flow for turbo'd engines that sometimes want just a little bit more...

  14. From the people that brought us Sky-Tec starters, and PlanePower alternators, an electronic ignition system contained in the magneto envelope.

  15. Our most gracious hosts at Winter Haven, enjoying a well-deserved moment of rest. Thanks again, Palmer and Faye!

  16. Pat Selover from AviationPlus in Kenosha Wisconsin, a renowned Cardinal shop, came for show and tell with a number of parts they can repair or source:

    a. New FG shimmy damper end plugs, to replace those lost in over pressure incidents.

    b. Reworked gear leg brake fluid swivel fittings; Cessna wants over $1,000 for new, but they can readily be reworked to work like new.

    c. Cessna wants $1,000's for a new switch; but the casing doesn't wear or fail, only the reed switch inside does. A+ can repair the assembly by replacing the reed switch.

    d. No need to source new interior door handle shaft assemblies when the old ones can be reconditioned as good as new.

    e. Cessna wants thousands for new RG gear saddles, but here's before and after reconditioning: the metal cradle doesn't wear, but the soft material needs to be replaced, but adhered very well, and with just the right clearance all the way around. AviationPlus has worked out the process, and can either exchange or repair your saddles.

  17. Lots of Cardinal anti-collision beacon solutions out there.

    a Here's the Whelen solution:

    b. Here's a tall, somewhat draggy contender: c. Here's another tall one, this time in red:

    d. Here's the Aveo Baron; pricey, but nice features:

  18. Inogen's in-cockpit oxygen concentrator, in place of bottled oxygen, is now approved for two users, at least up to 15,000'. Actual performance will vary with you and your passenger's breathing rates. The mod is easy; just some tubing plumbing.

  19. CFO Member Gilbert Hamilton of Waterford VA was showing off his Cardinal Cowl Caddy, for assisting in lower cowling removal without the pain and strain.

  20. Don't forget: Precise Flight is back in the Cardinal speed brake business; look how satisfied that onlooker appears with their deployment!

  21. Where are static wicks supposed to be installed? We continue to see both good and poor placement, often on the same airframe! In general, the static wick's effectiveness is maximized if it's at the furthest aft edge of a control surface, as the airplane flys through the air. In this example, the flap static wick is just there; the aileron wick, however, is inboard, when it should be at the outboard edge of the control surface. Note, too, that generally flaps don't require static wicks, as they're well-grounded to the airframe by the attachment hardware.

  22. RMD's wingtips, with integral recognition light mounting, fit the Cardinal well, though they're STC'd only for the similar-winged 210. Installation thus requires FSDO approval. There's some hope, in that Knots2U in Burlington, WI has purchased the line from the epoynymous Bob of "R" in RMD; perhaps we can convince them the Cardinal is worthy of being added to the STC.

  23. CFO Sponsor Wilco is now delivering their adapter plate to mount Whelen's certified LED position/anti-collision lights to the stock position on the Cessna wingtip.

  24. The Lycoming 210 HP IO390 comes with SlickStart, a modern answer to the shower-of-sparks solution to ease engine starting. The implementation on any Cardinal engine (except D2000) is easy.

  25. Since ElectroAir's electronic ignition is certified, we saw some Cardinals at Winter Haven that were so equipped. Advantages include easier starting, more vigorous combustion with claimed efficiency improvements, and power increases and fuel savings associated with timing advance at altitudes above ~8,000'. Installation on an IO390:

  26. So, how come we had over 100 folks at the Cardinal Flyers Winter Haven lunch, but only 29 airplanes on the grass? Well, it was a small matter of weather:

  27. Dynon and EAA announced that they've worked together with the FAA to gain STC approval to install the non-certified EFIS D10A in certified airplanes.

    a. Only the attitude indicator is considered primary. You can look at the digitally created airspeed, altimeter, slip and AOA indications, but the original instruments, if so equipped, must remain.

    b. The internal magnetometer and VOR head are disabled. An external magnetometer may be installed ($100 parts cost) if you wish to have advisory-only heading information. The external magnetometer also allows you to add an OAT probe if you want density altitude and true airspeed readouts.

    c. No pickoffs for attitude dependent autopilots.

    d. Only new production D10As can be used, after some yet-to-be-determined serial number.

    e. EAA will sell the STC for about $99; the initial STC, just granted this week, covers the 172, 182, Cherokee and Comanche. The EAA plans to *both* add additional aircraft models, and to add other experimental instrument systems to this STC. Crazy times.

    f. There's a "add my airplane to the STC please!" website:

    g. Sufficiently motivated IA's and FSDOs will see their way clear to include Cardinals even under the initial STC, as sufficiently similar under the vintage aircraft advisory circular. There are 110 FSDOs in the world; chose the one you work with on any given project very carefully...


  28. Navworx confirmed their plan to add/enable 1090 ADS-B in on their boxes in addition to the native 983 MHz ADS-B in. Principal Bill Moffitt shared that more recent hardware already has the receiver installed, but disabled by software. Older boxes will have to be returned to NavWorx for the upgrade. But this summer's software release will enable dual mode in all dual receiver equipped boxes.

  29. has added point of interest mapping

  30. Had a chance to speak briefly with PS Engineering's owner, Mark Scheuer. They've added a somewhat intriguing nuance to their PMA8000 audio panel line, Bluetooth streaming. The pilot can select what sources are streamed, all audio, only ATC, etc. and the audio panel will wirelessly connect to any Bluetooth device, such as a GoPro camera or phone. The BT audio can then be recorded along with whatever video one may or may not be capturing. The Streamer module lists for $199.95.

  31. Swift Fuels was understandably proud of their selection as one of the two possible 100 unleaded fuels that the FAA's PAFI (piston aircraft fuel initiative) is moving forward on to more complete testing. The FAA has a target date of 2018 to identify feasible fuels from among the two; the other contestant is Shell. Swift made much of their fuel being entirely petroleum based, having abandoned their earlier claims of biomass based renewable sourcing. The rumor mill at Sun 'n Fun was alleging that Shell's fuel contains some relatively small concentration of oxygenates (for instance, ethanol) and that, for some reason, that then made that fuel non-fungible with 100LL (meaning that the fuels can't be used in combination). Non-fungibility makes transition from 100LL to 100UL very difficult, as one can only fuel with ONE of the two, presumably, during the transition period, without draining tanks in-between. Swift also is proud that they're currently blending 94 UL, which is comparable to today's 100LL without the lead, and selling it via at least three airports in at least three states. Swift is also offering STCs for lower compression engines currently certified on 100LL that can operate on 94UL.

  32. GAMI gave an update on their 100UL development program.

    a. They've submitted their test plan to the FAA three times over the past year, and feel that they've been burdened with educating a sometimes resistant-to-education FAA on the differences in detonation characteristics of leaded and unleaded fuels. The problem in part stems from advances in instrumentation that give researchers much more insight into combustion event dynamics inside the cylinder than was available in the 1930's when 100 octane aviation fuels were initially certified. The FAA, then, has to sort out what aspects of fuel certification are significant, and which are not; otherwise, with today's vastly superior instrumentation, it may appear that many current engines are not certifiable even on the current 100LL offering, even though objectively their performance and detonation margins are more than adequate. In any case, GAMI is confident that the FAA is about to certify their revised test plan for the GAMI 100UL fuel, and the actual testing can begin.

    b. GAMI elected to NOT participate in the PAFI process, as they were already well established on the STC route. They've shared that they have several significant-sized fleets of aircraft lined up to fly their fuel, and these aircraft are relatively modern and equipped with engine monitoring and historization. A year or so of such operation under GAMI's sought-after STC will generate *huge* amounts of data, which I speculate GAMI hopes to be able to use to counter any misgivings, whether technically or anti-competition motivated, at the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) specification acceptance process. With that in hand, GAMI's 100UL would be able to compete in the marketplace with other certified fuels, and be judged on performance and price.

  33. AOPA announced a soon-to-be-available state tax guide, covering sales and use tax on airplanes, including requirements for buy-and-fly-away (if available in a given state) to avoid paying sales or use tax. The site will also address taxation of parts, maintenance, and fuel, since many states have aviation-specific provisions in these taxes. Hopefully the site will eventually expand to include the various states' flavor of property taxation of aircraft and hangars (whether owned or rented), as there are opportunities in some jurisdictions to overpay or save depending on fine distinctions.

    a. In general, AOPA's ASN program (Airport Support Network) is attempting to transition from reactive (an airport is threatened, what do we do?) to proactive, supporting initiatives that improve the future viability of our airports in the public sphere. b. AOPA also gave an update on the PBOR2, Pilots' Bill of Rights #2. The Bill has passed the US Senate, unanimously (!) in two different forms: as a stand-alone bill, and incorporated into an 18 month FAA reauthorization bill. In the House, House leadership would like to tie privatization of ATC into the 18 month reauthorization, but it's widely believed that the House leadership does NOT have the support of their rank and file for this initiative. What remains to be seen is whether the House will pass just a short continuing authorization for the FAA, so they can take another bite of the apple after the presidential (and House) elections, or whether PBOR2 will move ahead there on its own. AOPA is strongly opposed to a private ATC controlled by the airlines, but is cautiously optimistic that one form of PBOR2 or another will make it through the House this year.

    c. AOPA has launched a "You can fly!" Facebook page in an effort to lower barriers-to-entry for those considering taking up flying. AOPA is also working with FBOs and flight schools to suggest that the stale coffee, WWII surplus furniture, carpet with holes in it look coupled with dowdy or poorly maintained aircraft may not appeal broadly to prospective pilots. AOPA's had good success with their Rusty Pilot initiative; so far, they've given flight-review ground training to 7,500 pilots who hadn't flown in as many as 20 years. At this point, 2,500 or one third have returned to the sky, at least for now. AOPA is also pushing flying clubs as a viability enhancer; they have an online directory to 2,500 flying clubs, "Flying Club Finder," and in September will be giving away a restored Cessna 150 to one lucky startup flying club. It's not too late to put together a flying club (AOPA will help) and enter the giveaway contest.

    d. AOPA is also working on the next generation of pilots with a STEM program, expanded to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, AVIATION, and math). AOPA has hired a highly decorated young educator to assemble and share curriculum, as well as identifying existing programs and attempting to leverage off their successes to help other schools.

    e. AOPA's President, Mark Baker, gave an initiatives update.

    i. 30 states have laws enabling recreational use of grass strips on private land; all 50 need to!

    ii. Moving technology into flying; even the FAA sees the need for gas gauges that actually work, and a $3,000 autopilot with a blue "level" button; EAA and AOPA are working with FAA on implementation plans.

    iii. There are 400,000 pilots under age 75 in the US that *once* had medicals but no longer do. PBOR2 is meant to remove the barrier of $300 class 3's and $3,000/year special issuance compliance for an effective ten-month medical. Congress agrees that a pilot should be able to confer with his personal doctor, and if as in one case a pilot is running marathons, maybe he doesn't need expensive and extensive coronary testing every year. Interestingly, from 1948 to 1958, one's personal physician was the guy who did the class 3 medical exam. The PBOR2 non- medical requires that you have held a medical at least once in the ten years prior to the bill's becoming effective, or obtain one, and then confer every four years with your personal physician to fill out a questionnaire that you will then retain in your logbook; no report to the FAA. For that, you can pilot any aircraft under 6,000#, up to five passengers, no limitation on equipment, and flight up to 18,000'.

  34. AOPA hosted Arlo Gilbert, a retired meteorologist formerly involved with SiriusXM's weather offerings, gave a talk on details behind weather in the cockpit that could affect pilot survival. He noted that there's an 8 to 13 minute delay between the NEXRAD scan of the sky and the arrival of the weather in the cockpit; the time stamp on the weather image is NOT the scan time, but rather the arrival time... So if the time stamp is five minutes old, then the weather is actually 13 to 18 minutes old. With fast moving systems, it's VERY important to look at the animation of the weather to project where it might be now... now being almost 20 minutes after scanning in some cases. As part of the processing, there is a minute or two for a meteorologist to clean up the images... Removing ground clutter (including mountains) and other anomalous propagation effects. Arlo noted that Canada's radar images are not cleaned up, making them much more difficult for the pilot to interpret, in Arlo's estimation. Arlo explained that NEXRAD scans the sky 14 times, each time at a different angle to the horizon, in an effort to capture weather both at the surface and up to 60,000'. The Base scan, along the surface, is the one used by TV weather, on the assumption that most viewers are terrestrial and not that concerned with weather aloft that doesn't manifest (rain, etc.) on the surface. Some commenters have shared that ADS-B is using that less-useful-to-pilots Base scan, but Arlo said he'd be shocked if that was true. Seems like we ought to figure that out!

    a. The NEXRAD system, in addition to delivering images, delivers a storm data attribute table, which is where cockpit weather divines things such as direction and speed of weather system movement.

  35. Also had a chat with a couple of contractors working on the FAA's PEGASAS program on weather in the cockpit, Barrett Caldwell and Mel Futrell. The FAA is attempting to determine how pilots use in-flight weather products, and what the FAA should be doing in terms of training and support (modification of the products?) to improve weather encounter outcomes. PEGASAS has a pilot-oriented survey to learn more about what weather you have in the cockpit, even if it's just the image you downloaded from the web before takeoff. Take the survey: wxsurvey For more info,

  36. Miguel Soto at San Antonio-based Titan Engines (now owned by Continental) gave an update on their IO340 "180 horsepower O320" engine. As you may recall, Titan certified the IO340 to ASTM rather than Part 23 standards, and is in the process of getting that engine STC'd on the 172. We discussed why the 177 might be a good follow-on candidate for the STC, though it was pointed out that under the Vintage Aircraft advisory circular, the 172 STC could well be applied to the 177.

    a. In addition to the IO340, Titan is type certificating (FAA not ASTM) an IO370 engine, which is parallel valve, 9+:1 compression ratio, but rated at 200 HP. That could be a sweet upgrade for all FG Cardinal owners. One of the effects of Continental ownership is that these certification projects are now much more schedule driven, according to Miguel, rather than the flight test guys just doing stuff 'cause it seems like it might be fun to do. Although we regret the loss of fun in flight test, perhaps, it's to the Cardinal owners' benefit that these two engines are moving forward more vigorously, perhaps even to have FAA approval (for the STC and the type certificate, respectively) this year.

    b. Miguel also updated us on their experimental only IO360A angle valve cylinder projects. The cylinders were developed in 2008, and were briefly sold into the experimental market. Production is currently on hold (two cylinders in stock) while Titan works with the FAA to certify the cylinder and the counter-weighted IO360 crankshaft. Again, certification maybe later this year Miguel opined. Miguel projects that Titan's IO360 cylinders will list for $1800, versus Lycoming's current list price of $2500 for that cylinder. Both short reach and long reach plugs versions will be available. The long reach cylinders are approved on the IO360A1F6 and could be installed on the D with a field approval. Long reach plugs can run much cooler than short reach plugs, for those whose short reach plugs look like they've been running a little warm.

  37. Hartzell Acquires Sky-Tec... SkyTec's and PlanePower's personnel now focused on iStart and SureFly. The folks behind PlanePower and SkyTec, now that both of those lines have been sold to Hartzell, are rapidly advancing their next generation projects.

    a. iStart is a control module and automotive style fuel injector designed to make fuel-injected aircraft start like a car, on a single prop bump. Experimental versions are being sold now, certified coming in a year. Cool stuff, especially for flight schools. Googling around, I found a pretty good description here:

    b. SureFly is an all-in-one electronic magneto. Instead of finding places to mount coils, the SureFly module replaces one magneto, and provides hotter spark to larger gapped plugs, while advancing timing once manifold pressure drops below 24". 38) PSA Enterprises, makers of non-certified LED lighting for aircraft, have put out a thought sheet on how their non-certified lighting for beacons and position lights might be legally installed on certified aircraft (not to say some owners haven't done so anyway, rising above the legalities). PSA shares that their lighting meets certain standards, though not certified to do so; under the new, friendlier FAA and the voluntary standard initiative, PSA believes this allows legal installation. In discussing the horizontal versus vertical orientation of the aft-facing position light, PSA volunteered that their light is excessively bright in every direction, so that compliance is not an issue.

  38. Avidyne Update:

    a. 40% year-over-year growth

    b. WiFi for the GA cockpit, $50 to $100/month, Globalstar (the SPOT folks)

    c. SDK, Synthetic Vision, supporting four iPad apps including FF, IFD100 for iPad instance this gives you a functional extra GPS navigator, using the Avidyne's backend, but with its own iPad front end.

  39. Kelly is offering an improved design ignition points for Slick 4300 and 6300 magnetos. Current Slick production includes a plastic piece in the torque path for these points. The plastic deforms with time and tension to adversely affect point performance. Kelly offers an all-metal torque path for improved reliability.

  40. Aviation+ in Kenosha WI is offering reconditioned mounting point (technically, support assembly 2041060) for the main gear downlocks. The design changed from year to year, primarily in the size and length of the posts which hold this in place. The key attribute is the V grooved front face, which is facing down here. The issue is that one of the posts can break off, and there are none of these parts around. Figure 35 item 17 in the parts book. As we see this one was welded, a pretty good trick.

  41. Aspen's obtained STC approval for a software module that will allow their PFD and MFD to interface with the GDL88 ADS-B receiver. Cost is $795 for the software. We'd heard about this roughly a year ago, and it's finally happened. STC approval for an interface with GTX 345 is expected by the end of the year.

See you next year at Sun 'n Fun!

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