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Sun 'n Fun Report


Compiled by Paul Millner 

Aircraft Specialty Lubricants (ASL) Camguard’s Ed Kollin updated us on his progress. He’s planning introduction of a new aviation oil, ASL’s Advantage. It will contain the Camguard additive, as you might expect, as well as additional factors to increase the oil’s effective life, such as acid neutralizers. Research has shown that engine life is adversely affected by acid accumulation in the oil; Ed seeks to make longer oil life feasible while reducing engine corrosion experienced with even today’s shorter oil change intervals.

Ed also suggested that his research shows significant engine corrosion from break-in, due to the high rates of blowby gas until the rings seat. To avoid this corrosion, he’s working on a different initial oil change schedule which looks something like one hour on the initial fill, then ten hours on the refill – also change filter at the ten hour point. Then a 25 hour oil change interval, and thereafter your normal change intervals, though his data suggests running today’s oils much beyond 30 or 35 hours is unwise based on contamination levels.

Ed explained how conventional AD oils bind up deposit precursors, so that they stay in the oil instead of sticking together to form deposits in the engine.

Sporty's is passionate about helping more people learn how to fly. In the easy access department, they’ve introduced the first complete flight training app designed specifically for Apple TV. The Learn to Fly Course companion app for Apple TV allows you to watch Sporty's award-winning HD video training on the big screen in the comfort of your home. Viewers can study either the Private, Recreational or Sport Pilot training modules. Sporty’s Complete Learn to Fly Course App features more than 20 hours of video training enhanced with 3D motion graphics. Video progress is automatically synced amongst your Apple TV, iPhone and iPad using your Apple iCloud account. After completing the video training on your Apple TV app, you can use the test prep function on the Learn to Fly Course app for iPhone and iPad to take practice FAA tests and earn the official knowledge test endorsement.

Visit the App Store on your Apple TV and search for "Learn to Fly." The course App is $199. Hopefully, more pilots!

For the already established pilot, Sporty’s was celebrating the one year anniversary of their Takeoff App, which is designed to offer daily proficiency improvement to every pilot. As the second year dawn, Sporty’s added new contributors and features to the product. Launched at last year’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, Sporty’s Takeoff app offers flying tips for active pilots. With new features like a widget for quick access to the latest stories and 3D touch shortcuts, Takeoff is an easy way to get your daily aviation fix. Long-time flight instructor and ATP Amy Laboda will write articles on general proficiency topics as well as on the pain and pleasure of aircraft ownership. Matt Guthmiller was brought on to speak to younger pilots, as the youngest pilot to fly around the world solo. Patrick Carter is an A&P, ATP, former corporate pilot, former Cessna factory test pilot, and an Alaskan bush pilot. He’ll provide insight to Takeoff users from all those perspectives. Steve Thorne, aka Flight Chops, is likely the most popular YouTube pilot right now. He flies interesting airplanes and shares the lessons learned on his VLOG (video blog) which will be shared on the Takeoff app.

These four pilots join Takeoff’s existing list of contributors: Jason Miller from The Finer Points of Flying, Scott Dimmich, an on-air meteorologist and Takeoff’s weather expert, and the Sporty's team of Bret Koebbe, Eric Radtke, and John Zimmerman.

The Takeoff app is free, with in-app upgrades available. Both the free TakeOff and $60/year TakeOff Pro are available for download at the iTunes App Store; there’s currently a one month free get-acquainted offer for the Pro version.

The FAA seems quite insistent that BasicMed, the new, gentler alternative to a third class medical, will go live May 1, 2017 as planned. They had a slick handout, emblazoned “Starting May 1, 2017!” Kind of no wiggle room on that... from that handout:

How to Prepare
Print the checklist from
Complete the checklist with any state-licensed physician
Take the online education course at

I just checked there... and both the form and the training are live now, effective April 24, 2017! Cool!!

The OX5 Aviation Pioneers had their classic, at-the-time game-changing inline six cylinder engine up and running on a test stand... so we could better appreciate all the progress since the 1920’s. No longer do pilots have to worry about the exposed valve train peppering your face and goggles with oil; when castor oil was used, the gastric motility enhancing effects limited flight duration, as one might expect. Kind of cool to watch and hear these old engines run.

B&C Specialties continues work on their spline-driven (vacuum pump) alternator, BC462H. This is a nominally 60 amp rated alternator, but at Lycoming vacuum pump drive speeds, will generate 25 or 40 amps at cruise RPM at 28 or 14 volts respectively. The case is CNC machined from a billet, rather than cast and machined, for lightest weight and superior strength. The rotor is dynamically balanced, and the alternator is set up for safer external regulation. There are two internal cooling fans, and sealed ball bearings. Currently, the unit is not approved for certified airplanes, though some installations are in progress using the equivalency of B&C’s product quality control system for this alternator and the Cessna 210, Bonanza, and Piper Cherokee approved versions.

In other alternator news, with PlanePower’s offerings now being under the Hartzell Engine Technologies umbrella, and some transition pains being felt by users, Tempest announces their Ford-clone alternator that fits Cessnas, and particularly Cardinals. It’s a collaborative effort between Tempest and Aerospace Components, who also designed and manufacture Tempest’s PowerFlite starter. Available new and overhauled, though the unit comes stock at 28 volts (which works fine in 14 volt airplanes) and with the ribbed pulley, which is readily replaced by the V-belt pulley of earlier production. Tempest also overhauls both PlanePower and Ford-style alternators, if you’re seeking an alternative, and accepts both of those as cores for their new alternator.

I’ve always been impressed by the Uncommon USA line of flagpoles; they have internal winching poles, so that without the handle, bad guys can’t lower or steal your flag. They’ve now added a line of LED lights to their pole products, for area lighting. Solar options are available as well.

Levil Aviation introduced what are probably the neatest products of the show: a slip-stream powered, wing mounted BOM (broadcasting outer module) that looks, well, like a small bomb, less than 6” long, with a small prop on the aft end that provides power. The BOM provides GPS, ADS-B in, WiFi, Angle of Attack, Air Data, AHRS and data recording. NORSEE approval pending for use with a tablet for complete backup.

The second Levil product is a blade antenna that provides ADS-B out functionality all in the antenna footprint. It “sniffs” the conventional transponder output for squawk, ident, and altitude info. It has an internal WAAS GPS receiver, but either a GPS antenna must be attached on TOP of the aircraft to feed it, or an existing WAAS GPS data stream must be attached. It includes an altitude encoder, if you wish to use it, accepts 12 or 24 volts for power, has an RS232 interface to external devices, and includes a small LCD interface showing squawk and altitude. Again, NORSEE acceptance is pending. $750 or $995 depending on feature set.

Thierry Pouille’s Air Journey continues to offer intriguing group fly-out opportunities... the most recent a Panama Canal look-see.

AirGizmos continues to expand their line of plastic snap-in mounts to allow portable avionics and tablets to me mounted to the aircraft. Their iPad Mini product shows promise as a mount for a Cardinal yoke, with a properly bent piece of aluminum to mount to the yoke structure.

As reported earlier, we spent some time talking to TruTrak President Andrew Barker about the crossover of his uncertified autopilot projects into the NORSEE, FAA-acceptable world. The feature set is still somewhat up in the air, and the pilot interface is at present unconventional compared to the autopilots we’ve known for the past five decades. More to come on this topic, but TruTrak already has FAA approval for the $1,000 installation kit for the Cardinal and the 172, and they were selling those kits at Sun ‘n Fun. Premature to invest, IMHO, until we see what finally gets FAA approval, and understand the compromises involved in using such an autopilot. Still, the prospect of an installed autopilot for under $10,000 could be a significant safety advantage.

Some years ago, CFO’er Jeff Kauffman was seeking a lower cost way to generate a lofting diagram for the Cardinal... and exact description of aircraft dimensions to allow flow modeling of the base airframe, and contemplated speed mods. Now, Laser Aviation offers just that service, though not perhaps yet at the “doesn’t cost that much” price point. However, with sufficient participation, or perhaps using this service as a departure point, such approaches are becoming more affordable. Can the future of speed mods be at the keyboard instead of at the fiberglas cut and try bench?

An alternative service for lofting is Neometrix Technologies, 3D scanning, 3D printing, reverse engineering, rapid prototyping.

MyGoFlight offers a competitor line of portable mounts. But their really cool new product is a HUD display, the LCD180, with a combiner lens that hangs in front of the pilot. It includes an infrared camera for low vis enhancement. Price point over $10,000 at this point, but these are early days.

Had a conversation with Oasis Scientific about their line of borescopes and inspection cameras. The price point is reasonable, and the functionality good. Product support issues may exist, but manager Courtland West assured us he would do his level best to support any Cardinal user. $120 product:

Whelen introduced their Chroma series line of LED plug-and-play position lights. They claim these LED position lights are MUCH truer to the correct, true aviation colors than their low-cost competitors... and demonstrated that in their booth. These direct replacement for position light bulbs are not as yet FAA approved, but that is expected shortly. Contact Wilco for purchase! Hyperlink reference not valid. or for more info.

Quality Aircraft Accessories now offers colors!

Wilco continues to offer the Whelen Orion 650 LED wingtip kit: nav light and LED strobe. They’re holding an STC for 1972 and later Cessnas, including a custom plastic mount product to adapt the 650 footprint to the then-current Cessna wingtip light footprint. From $1350 including tail position light LED, 12 V or 24 V.

CFO member Doug Stewart has a new opportunity available, The Art of Flying IFR – Situational Awareness. This is the first course in a series focused on pilot proficiency, which includes lesson videos, detailed workbooks, resources, interactive forums, and scenario-based training. The flight training tools of PilotEdge and CloudAhoy are featured. $42.50; discount code SunFun.

Sun ‘n Fun site planning leads to some interesting booth proximities. The National Gay Pilots Association ( was adjacent to the Amish Bakery donut dispensary. But the NGPA reps reported that they were getting along fine with the neighbors, and enjoyed a gift of fresh donuts every morning. Heck, maybe we can learn to love and embrace the FAA as well!

Social Flight has long offered a place to share news of upcoming aviation get-togethers. They’ve now expanded their offerings to include Fly2Win rewards and an information exchange forum.

The innovators of SkyTec starters and PlanePower alternators, now having transitioned those products to Hartzell Engine Products, have two new ventures underway. iStart offers an automotive fuel injector to simplify hot or cold starting of fuel-injected aircraft engines. Certification expected soon.

The SureFly electronic ignition system is a form-and-fit of a magneto electronic ignition system, for separate mag engines (no D2000 product yet). The unit uses the existing Slick harness and attached sparkplugs, and with one-wire hookup installs, times, and fits like a mag, with a manifold pressure connection to enable vacuum advance at higher cruise altitudes (or reduced MP settings). From $1250 for the four-cylinder replacement unit. Currently STC’d for the BEllanca, with followup approvals expected shortly.

uAvionix has a line of uncertified ADS-B products. The $999 ADS-B transceiver is intriguing, but challenging regulatorily. Their pingBuddy2 product offers dual-channel ADS-B reception and WiFi rebroadcast to your tablet.

EarthX was showing their extremely lightweight battery collection with integral battery manager for the lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry. Their 25 AH unit costs $725 but weighs only 7.7 lbs. If you don’t need the reserve capacity (dual alatnerators? See above.) then their $379 battery offers 320 cold-cranking amps, and can accept 60 amp alternator charge rates, readily cranking engines of 400 cubic inches or less. Intriguing technology, legalities aside. As a supplemental battery, it’s pretty lightweight.

Jeppesen is proud of their Weather Clinic Confidential series of free webinars. One can NEVER know too much about weather. Series titles so far include:

Taming Turbulence - Encore Performance
Thunderstorms Hazards
Climate and Global Weather Patterns - How They Impact Your Flying
Icing Insights
Taming Turbulence
Thunderstorm Hazards

With the onset of Dynon D10A, Sandia Quattro, and Garmin G5 electronic attitude indicators, Aspen Avionics is responding with a $1,000 price reduction for their VFR Primary Flight Display (PFD). Be sure to examine CAREFULLY the functionality incremnets/decrements between the Aspen Avionics products.

Avidyne was showing off their recently released iPad functionality. It’s really pretty cool... creating a virtual instrument faceplate, with separate waypoint and display selection options on an iPad, driven by the guts of your Avidyne box. Downloadable now in the App store.

Tornado Alley’s Tim Roehl announced that they’d received FAA approval for the Hartzell Trailblazer composite swept-airfoil prop, on all Cardinal Rg variants, including IO390 and turbocharged. The composite prop saves from 7# to 12# over the two and lighter three blade aluminum designs, and saves up to 25# over heavier three blade designs. Price point $11,500. Ask for the CFO discount. Although the swept airfoils are promoted by Hartzell as being designed for high thrust at low airspeeds (like short ground runs on a Cub), Roehl reports comparable performance on the Cardinal. Pireps welcomed!

Avidyne’s Cardinal autopilot program never achieved the 50 letters-of-interest goal to launch the certification effort. However, Avidyne’s Mitch Biggs advised that a more recent deal that’s coming together on Cessna retrofits for a major company will drive an overall Cessna retrofit certification program for their autopilots. This is helped along by softening within the FAA occasioned by the several extensive NORSEE projects. And, it doesn’t hurt that their CEO recently bought a Cessna, and wants an Avidyne autopilot. Avidyne is hoping for certification by Oshkosh 2018. This same development effort is expected to result in a PFD (primary flight display for the pilot, think Aspen killer). There should be something to see by Sun ‘n Fun next year for the 172/182 and 206. If you’re a position holder on the stalled Cardinal autopilot program, you might be well served in negotiating a discount on this new effort as a reward for your past support.

PowerFlow offered an update... they have 13 models now, with 5,000 systems flying, based on their three patents. Tuned exhaust results in 18% more exhaust gas being scavenged from the cylinder per cycle, and thus 18% more fuel/air mixture being available to generate power. This results in 6 to 11 MPH greater airspeed, or at CONSTANT airspeed, a savings in fuel efficiency.

Sporty’s was touting their Takeoff App for smartphones and tablets as a good way to pursue daily recurrency training. or your favorite app store.

The folks that brought us SkyTec and PlanePower have two new companies. Surefly is their electronic ignition system in a box that looks like (and fits like) a magneto. In fact, the Surefly system takes the same (formerly-Unison, now CHampion) Slick ignition harness you may already have in your plane. Pull your mag, install Surefly, perform the simplified timing exercise, and fly electronic ignition for more HP and/or greater fuel efficiency. Spark advance is premised on reduced manifold pressure, offering VSA (vacuum spark advance). Currently no plan to offer a D2000 replacemnet.

iStart is their easy start system, currently certified for the Bellanca and Bonanza, but Cardinals coming soon. It consist of an automotive fuel injector plumbed between your fuel pump and the fuel distribution spider (sorry, injected engines only for now). On engine start, you turn on iStart, which monitors RPM, MP, CHT, OAT. You crank then engine with the throttle cracked open and mixture in idle cutoff. iStart calculates the necessary fuel flow for an instant start, and delivers it. Once the engine is running, you advance the mixture control. iStart recognizes that additional fuel is being introduced, and shuts itself off until the next start, leaving you in charge of fuel flow as per normal.

Brad Dement of eMag updated us on his D2000 electronic magneto replacement progress. He plans to begin selling into the uncertified market on May 17 this year, and begin testing of the certified version of his circuit board on or about that date. Then follows software testing. eMag has elected to address redundancy via duplicate crank position sensors internal to their unit, and a primitive, fixed-timing limp-home module (that would approximate or exceed performance of the current magneto, but not be as good as the variable timing ignition system). The control switchology will include an On/On switch, or no-panic safety switch as Brad described it.

See you next year at Sun 'n Fun!

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