Sun 'n Fun Report
By Paul Millner, Keith Peterson, Debbie Peterson
We always hear from Sun 'n Fun vendors about the high density of CFO members at Sun 'n Fun, partly because we come early for Winter Haven, and partly because you are so good at wearing your CFO gear. This makes a huge difference when we talk to vendors about supporting the Cardinal, because they have no doubt that we exist.
This year that seemed to be a little stronger than usual, perhaps because bad weather to the north kept many pilots away for the opening day or two.
We'd like to thank you for flying the CFO colors and increasingly doing a good job of letting vendors know of your personal interest, then guiding them to Keith, Debbie and Paul for discussion of how they might work together with CFO. Thanks to many of you for doing that well!
Darren Tilman from PowerFlow praised the wisdom of Cardinal owners, due to the high rate of PowerFlow equipage amongst us. He offered a CFO discount at the show. Hint: since the show closed early on Sunday, due to weather, you may be able to convince Darren to extend the show discount to you this week if you call. www.powerflowsystems.com
Mike Hattrup of WILCO pointed out his Concorde battery show special, with a CFO special price on top of that. Same advice as above! Mike also is excited about a couple of neat Cardinal-friendly offerings coming from Whelen very soon: an awesome landing light with over twice the output of the already fine offering, and a new, very low-profile tail beacon, again high output. www.wilcoaircraftparts.com
PlanePlastics' Mark Seaver commented on their ongoing efforts to improve the fit of Cardinal interior pieces, and the ongoing consideration of some new offerings (gear wheel wells for the RG, perhaps?) http://www.cardinalflyers.com/spon/planep.php
Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR)'s Joe Ruck commented on the tightening of aviation insurance markets, which means higher prices. So, return your renewal questionnaire early so Joe and company have time to find you the best deal. He also responded to a question about insurance for older pilots, and BasicMed. Some insurers are quite willing to insure older pilots, even in RGs, but they may want at least an annual "look-see" at the pilot's competency, whether that's an annual medical exam (it can still be BasicMed with all of the "no harm, no foul" benefits compared to Third Class medicals), an annual "BFR" or other demonstration (Instrument Competency Check, perhaps), or other recurrent training/examination. http://www.cardinalflyers.com/home/insure/_insure.php
AviationPlus' Bob Russell, our Cardinal mechanic extraordinaire, accompanied by AviationPlus general manager Pat Selover, spoke to Cardinal specific challenges and how those are being relatively easily and inexpensively met, *if you have the requisite knowledge!* Bob offers that if your mechanic has a problem, have him call Bob; Bob is willing to offer time and expertise to train your mechanic. Bob's not as keen on talking to owner/pilots, because all too often he ends up having the SAME discussion, then, with the associated mechanic. So, save Bob time and trouble, and have your mechanic call in the first place if you've reached a hard spot. Bob rejuvenates a number of Cardinal wear parts to avoid ruinously expensive replacement. http://www.cardinalflyers.com/spon/avplus.php
Craig Barnett of Scheme Designers shared that walking the Cardinals, he noted two or three that *some* FSDO inspectors might possibly feel merit a red tag, as being non-compliant and insufficiently contrasting N numbers. Craig had two recommendations:
At paint time, make sure your numbers meet the requirements of the FARs.
In the meantime, if there's ANY question, or if you have 3" or 2" numbers (legally), carry an inexpensive and very light-weight set of stick-on N numbers in your plane. If you ever encounter grief on the road, you can easily comply by sticking on the temporary numbers, and worry about the details later. This is far preferable to being grounded far from home at an inopportune time! http://www.cardinalflyers.com/spon/schemedesigners.php
Chrome Composite Spinners: This question was posed to several suppliers. GAMI/TATI reported having tried a process offered by a shop in Utah with very slow delivery and marginal results. After re-work and more delays, they got a workable spinner, but it was very heavy.
TCB had a composite chromed spinner at the show. It was done by a dipping process from an outside supplier. While it was indeed chromed, there were drips along the 'back' edge and it too was very heavy. There is reason to worry about the difference of flexibility between the composite and the very brittle chrome plating, so while it looked pretty good on the table, it wasn't something we would choose for our airplanes.
Hartzell reported having experimented with various processes, then working with an outside shop who promised a solution using a chrome-like painting process of several layers. The result looked promising, but it turned out that substantial hand filling and processing was required between layers, keeping this solution from being economical.
MT is said to offer a chromed composite spinner for the Cirrus, although in internet searches is shows up along with words like 'flaked off' and 'faux chrome finish' along with reports of these spinners being repainted to other colors.
In summary, it does not appear that any consistent solution is currently available.
Quality Aircraft Accessories is offering rebuilds of Dukes RG high pressure electric fuel pumps for around $1100, and say they can repair gear pumps (through an outside vendor in Wichita) for around $900 exchange, with a $1200 core charge. They report having 25 in stock, and suggest calling to get fresh pricing. http://www.QAA.com 877.833.6948
True-Blue Power, a division of Mid-Continent Instrument CO, is now supporting the C type USB connection (the new reversible type cable/connector) in their aircraft certified USB power cubes for panel mount. Their standard 'blue brick' has two ports and you can choose different types for each port. Pricing varies with the port types selected.
They also have a new single-port option also available in various USB types. They output up to 3 amps per port, enough to keep up with even in-flight tablet usage. Pricing ranges from the mid $200's and up depending on configuration.
They also have a nice 2 1/4 inch round digital clock with two USB ports (Type A), a tidy way to add power and upgrade your clock. http://www.truebluepower.com 800-821-1212
uAvionics was pitching a range of ADS-B solutions which will replace your nav or beacon lights. They plan to offer various functions. They have out-only for around $1500, and an in option (with WiFi to talk to your devices) which they say is coming soon. The beacon replacement model is also in their future. They also have blind transponders for internal installation, and a WASS GNSS sensor with RAIM to add compliant position to your ADS-B, and a clever little GPS / transponder module for drones as well.
All of these are for the experimental market, but they are hoping to certify their wingtip SkyBeacon (out only) in Q2 2018. They say it feels close, which is a clue, but not an answer to when. They are shooting for AirVenture as their target for certifying the tail beacon version. http:\\uavionix.com (844) 827-2372
B&C Specialty Products is known for their line of primarily experimental starters, alternators, regulators, low voltage annunciators, and oil filter adapters. Old man Bainbridge has resigned the presidency, though he continues working special projects part time. His 30-something son Nathan Bainbridge, an electrical engineer in his own right, is now president.
The reason this is salient to Cardinal owners is that Nathan is very excited about certification projects, including a vacuum pad backup alternator for the Cardinal, particularly those of us who have removed our vacuum systems, and now would like to make our electrical systems more robust.
They have STC-PMAs for several aircraft and are willing to help with field approvals. They seem to be early in the process for this new wave of certification, but were asking questions and seemed very open to learning from others. We spent some time with them and hope to see the Cardinal high on their list for the future. http://bandc.aero 316-283-8000
As discussed in the CFO Digest, several of us are pursuing field approvals for B&C's 462H pad-mounted alternator, rated at 60 amps, but loafing at 42 amps on the Lycoming vacuum pad, due to reduced RPM available from accessory case gearing. Nathan is enthusiastically supporting those pursuing field approvals, and is interested in how many Cardinal folks might want an STC'd solution. B&C has a couple STCs already, but none for the Cardinal. www.bandc.aero
Alpha Systems gladly reported the completion of their flap deployment sensor, already installed on a Cardinal thanks to the help of a local CFO member. This will give additional input to their angle of attack indicator and enhance the utility of that system. They offer several display modes, and CFO members report finding comfort in the perspective this system provides. www.alphasystemsaoa.com 763.506.9990
Aspen Avionics reports that their new low cost Primary Flight Display, the E5, has software which solves the problem we have seen with losing the PFD if the pitot system gets plugged or frozen over. They have a system which uses accelerometers and a process of 'best estimation' to keep your display alive although with degraded accuracy. [Similar to Sandia's approach, but Sandia has deliverability issues.]
This new capability is said to be in certification now with high hopes that the new 'safety first' FAA will approve. Once that is successful, they plan to provide a software update for their other products to bring this functionality across their product line. They are hoping, but not promising, for an end of year delivery for their existing products.
The director of field customer service said that software updates are always free from Aspen, although there may be a charge from your avionics shop for doing the upgrade. They also have a new processor board to speed up your existing model Aspens, especially useful when using synthetic vision.
A software release is expected in the June/July timeframe which will update their ability to sync the data on the PFD with additional autopilots. Currently only the Avidyne DFC90 and the STEC 55X can be controlled from the PFD. The future release will add the 3100 along with implementing a system making it easier to add other autopilots.
As we know, S-TEC/Genysys has a Cardinal in the shop to complete certification of the 3100. Keith got a demo of the 3100 in their booth, and was pleased to learn that once the Aspen interface is completed, the systems will be synced, so that a selected altitude change on the autopilot will show on the Aspen and vice versa.
There is also some discussion underway about the proliferation of ADAHRS in the cockpit. Many devices now have some form of ADAHRS... some devices output the resulting signal, and some don't. S-TEC is pondering ways in which the 3100 can watch all available sources, and provide functionality even if one of the ADAHRS sources flags off. They are hopeful of implementing such a feature in the future.
Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems continues to market their electric air conditioning for the Cirrus, 172, and 182. They were interested in exploring extension to the Cardinal, but no one could bring a Cardinal by their location in Cleveland for evaluation, which kind of delivered a message about market interest. The system can drop cabin temperature 20 degrees F in about five minutes, while drawing 45 amps at 28 volts. The installed system weights 52 pounds. Thermal capacity is 11,500 BTU. 12 volt installations are possible, but at reduced cooling capacity.
This forms the baseline for cooling... compare this to the Arctic Air system which some of us plan to install as a portable, or a newer system mentioned below (Sofie). www.kellyaerospace.com
Camguard continues to innovate, seeking solutions to the Lycoming exhaust valve guide wear problem. Several users have noted significant improvement using Camguard's as-yet-still-unapproved Special Anti Wear, with both oil analysis measured wear metals dropping significantly (by two thirds) and actual measured valve guide dimensions stabilizing in aircraft historically subject to accelerated wear. Camguard might entertain a certification partner for this technology. www.aslcamguard.com
GripLockTies continue to promote their intriguing solution. You know and we know that zip ties are bad news in the engine compartment... the plastic stretches with heat and applied pressure, leading to loose plastic ties that can expensively wear and damage your engine mounts. But, have you been effective at convincing your mechanics that zipties are unacceptable? Hmmm. The Grip Lock Tie is a zip tie with a rubber lining, which they claim both protects the underlying equipment from erosion by plastic ties, and has resilience to maintain snugness even as the plastic tie heats and stretches. So buy a handful, and ask your mechanic to use THESE instead... Adel clamps are slow and pricey by comparison. LockRight Brand.
SureFly gave us an update on their electronic magneto replacement. The form factor and simplicity of installation are huge pluses. Unfortunately, the FAA pressed SureFly to certify a double-magneto installation from the get go. Once they got to the FMEA (failure mode effects analysis) the FAA recognized the product couldn't support a dual installation. So, the effort has fallen back to a single mag replacement implementation, as originally envisioned by the SureFly folks. The dual installation may come later, but corralling the FAA around the single mag solution has been time consuming. Hopefully by Oshkosh, they say.
The electronic system replaces the magneto, with only a swap of the existing Slick harness required onto the new SureFly "mag." Benefit confirmation and scheduling remain. www.surefly.aero
Paul was a bit disappointed, as he typically stops in at each show and top off his supply of aircraft hardware: nosebowl fasteners, Southco 120s and 140s, and the like. Neither B&B nor Airparts had Southcos at the show this year, and some of B&B's hardware was rusty. "Heck, I've got rusty hardware in my hangar, I don't need to buy more!" www.airpartsinc.com http://www.BandBAircraftSupplies.com
Whelen announced their latest generation of landing/taxi lights, the third generation G3 Parmetheus series. Due to the advancement of silicone optics, still protected behind the historic polycarbonate lens, these new lights boast almost 50% more light output than the second generation bulbs, while current consumption remains about the same. The PAR36 (4") version outputs 85,000 candlepower, while the PAR46 version (you lucky early Cardinal owners) outputs 155,000 candlepower. They hope to have these bulbs certified by Oshkosh, and be able to offer them for less than $300. www.whelen.com Wilco will no doubt continue to be CFO members' preferred supplier, with special CFO pricing.
Wilco's Mike Hattrup discussed the new low-profile OR36 beacons from Whelen. For a CFO price of $490, these are a good way to move away from the factory halogen bulb and power supply, while improving visibility, while reducing both drag and current draw. Folks can even opt to conceal the base within the tip fairing, reducing (small) drag even further. www.wilcoaircraftparts.com/
Peter Schiff presented on his Sofie portable air conditioning. While similar in concept to the Arctic Air offering, Peter has optimized efficiency considerably, so that up to 14,000 BTU of cooling is available from his portable unit. He uses a glycol heat transfer medium between the luggable cabin unit, only 24 pounds, and the tail located cooling unit, rather than the hot air exhaust of the Arctic Air design. His secret is a carefully controlled three phase inverter that drives the compressor motor, rather than the rather more lossy DC units used by others. $4,750 for portable 12 volt cooling, 7,000 BTU. $5,750 for portable 24 volt cooling, 14,000 BTU. www.peterschiffaero.com
Stars and Stripes invites us all to check out their online tools and supplies store, www.sastool.com Harbor Freight for the rest of us?
We checked in with Continental/ECi on their Titan line of Lycoming-cloned engines. The rep pointed out that the IO370, parallel valve engine is 195 HP (equivalent to the rounded-up 200 HP of the IO360A angle valve engine installed in Cardinal RGs by Cessna), and is a certified engine. Field approval installation in a FG anyone? We also discussed their IO340 line of modified O320 engines, ala '68 Cardinal. The IO340 outputs 180 HP, but doesn't weigh much more than the factory O320 in a '68 Cardinal. The IO340 is ASTM certified, but technically also eligible for field-approval installations, or STC, respecting the 10% HP limit of the FSDO guidance. For a '68 177, this would mean limiting output to 165 HP of the 180 HP available via a manifold pressure redline, sort of a poor man's turbonormalizer. Of course, in an emergency, one could disrespect that MP redline. Yes, Bob H, we know your wife considers every flight an emergency! :-)
He also reminded us that the certified Continental version of the Lycoming angle valve cylinders are now available, including both short and long reach plug versions for us turbo'd folks. www.continental.aero
AeroLEDs shared that they still offer a mix of certified and non-certified product, though some are installing non-certified lighting either as a minor or major mod, by observing that the lighting sometimes meets the TSO requirements, even if not TSO'd itself. AeroLED offers certified recognition lights integrated into Cessna wingtips, certified drop-in landing light replacements, and a variety of beacon and nav light replacements shown to meet certification standards. www.aeroleds.com
GAMI's president Tim Roehl reported that they had nailed down the FAA's requirements for their first GAMI 100UL STC. Detonation testing will be completed by mid-June, and the first STC is expected in the Oshkosh time frame through end of summer. This will be a single airframe/engine STC, preparatory to assembling a AML (authorized model list) for the entire fleet. However, this first STC will allow beginning of fleet testing of the fuel, which will be critical in developing the dataset required to appease naysayers in the ASTM standardization process. There are 1000 aircraft in the initially targeted group.
Additional engine testing will be required for approval for turbocharged aircraft, though this testing will be less complex; essentially a 150-hour endurance run on an overboosted Continental turbo'd IO550, developing 350 HP. Additional testing for carbureted 172s will follow. This will allow adding 40 aircraft types by end of year, with additional testing planned through June of 2019.
GAMI 100UL is a drop-in replacement fuel, which unfortunately it appears the FAA's two PAFI fuels are not. G100UL features good materials compatibility, full intermixability with 100LL during the industry transition phase, and promises comparable pricing. G100UL has slightly less energy per pound than the 100LL specification's minimum. However, it's slightly heavier, at 6.2 pounds per gallon versus 6 pounds per gallon for 100LL, so the energy and range per gallon is actually slightly greater.
This is the seventh year of the G100UL approval process: the FAA PAFI (piston aviation fuel initiative) has been a distraction of the concerned FAA approval personnel. However, GAMI still expects approval for all engines and all airframes by end of year 2019. Once approved, plans are already in place to produce and distribute G100UL, so that it will be available. The production partners are not currently 100LL blenders. GAMI anticipates industry transition will take about 3 years, during which time aircraft will operate on whichever fuel is available at a given airport, 100LL or G100UL.
In regulatory news, the Trump administration has stopped the EPA's endangerment process to declare 100LL fuel's lead content a hazard. This, however, has empowered the states, including Oregon, Washington, California and Massachusetts, to consider their own administrative approach to discouraging leaded fuel.
In response to questions, Tim explained:
- The unleaded avgas currently available in Sweden in Hjelmco 91/96, which does not meet the needs of about 2/3 of the avgas demand for octane.
- G100UL vapor pressure is the same as 100LL.
- PAFI phase one was 14 fuels; PAFI phase two was 2 fuels. GAMI did not choose to participate in PAFI, as their own approved STC effort was already underway.
- The FAA's newly requested power to blanket approve fuels would be available to any comer, not just PAFI.
- PAFI's end-of-2018 target has now slipped to Spring of 2019, and the two candidate fuels (Swift and Shell) both require significant mitigations, which means they don't work with the entire fleet.
- The Swift 94UL being marketed at a select number of airports is simply today's 100LL without the lead: it is NOT Swift's PAFI fuel, it does not meet the specification demand for 2/3 of the avgas demand, it is not an industry solution, and it does not contain Swift's "magic juice" trimethylbenzene.
Ed Kollin from Camguard made several observations on engine lubrication. In industry studies, engine wear rates were monitored after cylinder overhaul. The break-in oil was changed alternatively at 5, 10, and 15 hours after cylinder overhaul. The phenomenon they were seeking to observe is depletion of buffers in the oil that passivate acids. One of the most destructive sources of acids and free radicals (highly reactive molecular species) is engine blowby. Whenever a cylinder is changed, and new rings must break-in, blowby amounts at least briefly sky rocket. Kollin's thesis was that the first hour of blowby/break-in largely depletes the oils protective buffers.
Kollin's conclusions from the study work is that break-in oil must be changed after 10 hours run time, or internal engine corrosion rates increase dramatically as oil buffers are consumed.
The takeaway: change your oil ten hours after engine work, or imperil your camshaft and other surfaces. www.aslcamguard.com
Dave Ehrick of Battery Minder explained the differences between automotive battery maintainers, and the various aviation-style maintainers (flooded cell versus absorbent glass matt). Dave offered to extend the show special 25% off price for CFO members through the end of May: Davide@batteryminders.com 800-379-5579 128CEC1-AA-S5. For those desiring an easy way to connect/disconnect the battery minder, consider www.audioauthority.com's BM-A1K2 installation kit, available directly from Audio Authority.
Paul Babcock, a semi-retired IA in South Weymouth MA, gave a talk on getting field approvals done right. He pointed out that one of the excuses FSDOs sometimes give, "we're too busy to take that on!" can actually be an opportunity for the aircraft owner, as the FAA's rules-of-engagement on field approvals provide for a non-local FSDO to take over the approval if your FSDO is too busy. Note: the opportunity is to choose a FSDO that's already comfortable with the type of modification you want to make, so the mountain to climb can be substantially less steep.
Paul is willing to give general advice, or if you want to hire him, to assist you in getting the paperwork for your desired mod approved, if it is approvable. 781-337-2453
AerOx was showing off their new oxygen mask for dogs. Woof!
Trystyn Clark, who is planning a round-the-world trip in a Cirrus after he turns 18 in late 2019, interviewed Jeff Owne of Mooney Marketing. Jeff has developed an interesting analysis of what's happening in the GA aircraft marketplace, based on shifts in pilot demographics, and what effect that has on airplane demand. He theorizes that the affluent under 40 crowd looks at aircraft choices very differently than the more mature crowd. He shared that in his opinion, Mooney not only has to approach the two populations differently (which is conventional marketing) but has to offer different products entirely.
See you next year at Sun 'n Fun!
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