Category Archives: News from the web

News from various sources around the web.

Picture of the day: Winter breakfast flight


Larry Mersek recently sent in this photo of his RV-6 taken on a breakfast flight to Bryant Field (O57) in Bridgeport, Calif., in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of Northern California on a beautiful winter day.



“It is a short 67 miles from my home airport of Calaveras County (KCPU), a climb up to 11,500 to Sonora Pass and a quick descent to Bryant Field,” he explained. “Now that we have snow in the Sierras, I’m looking forward to another breakfast flight there in December!”

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: Winter breakfast flight

I choose to fly

Madison and Me 2 2015

Over the course of my life I’ve had the opportunity to make a few million choices. There’s nothing unusual about that. We all make choices. Should we have red wine with dinner, or white? Should we have wine at all? Fish or chicken? You know the drill.

Of those many choices I’ve made over the last half century, I’ve chosen to fly. And I haven’t made that choice just once. I’ve made it over and over again.

Each opportunity to fly requires an entirely new set of answers to a well-established list of questions. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Either way, the desire is there and the will to get airborne persists.For many of the uninitiated, the core question isn’t whether we should fly or shouldn’t fly.

Like the ubiquitous availability of electricity, coffee shops, and Justin Bieber jokes, much of the population of earth just accepts that flight exists. Yet they don’t see themselves as participants.

For them, aviation is something other people do. It’s for the exceptionally wealthy and those who are willing to take monumental risks with their safety. Certainly it’s not for the average guy or girl next door, is it? After all, it’s scary and at least a little dangerous, or maybe a lot.

If general aviation is to grow and thrive, our industry is going to have to confront those erroneous thought patterns at some point. And not just in aviation publications, either. We’re going to have to go mainstream.

It’s incumbent upon us to share the message of why we fly with a larger audience, the general population of our planet, and let them see beyond the news coverage that seems intent on focusing on nothing but the fear factor.

dierks bentleyPerhaps the best recent example I can share of how we can spread the word of what aviation really is, and why we choose to fly, was made when Dierks Bentley stepped up to the podium at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention this year.

The country music sensation told a very personal story of why aviation works for him. In short, it allows him to play music to live audiences far and wide, yet still get home to spend time with his family. He sits in the front seat, handling the controls of the aircraft while at the same time taking an active role in directing his own life.

The three remaining seats are filled by his band members who see a personal benefit to the availability of point to point travel using general aviation.

In the flying club I belong to there are no celebrities, no recording stars, and no millionaires.

Yet fathers find an opportunity to expose their teenage sons to aviation and aviators in an environment that can expand their intellectual, creative, and professional horizons.

Husbands and wives belong and enjoy the tighter union they establish thanks to an activity they both find appealing, even if their reasons for participation differ slightly.

Young women belong and come to recognize themselves as valuable team members who are treated with respect and even admiration by their fellow club members.

I choose to fly. There’s something about being at the controls of an airplane in flight that appeals to me on an emotional level. The fact that I can share that experience with others, opening up their world in the process, and giving them at least a peek into the potential their life might hold — that provides me with a personal satisfaction I don’t get from anything else.

When my son was 8 years old I got the opportunity to put him in the left seat of a Cessna 152. We spent a couple hours flying around a substantial portion of Connecticut and Rhode Island on a beautiful fall afternoon. The memory I have of him wearing oversize sunglasses, with a pair of David Clarks balanced precariously on his little head, while he sat so erect to see over the panel, still warms my heart. He steered the airplane down the Connecticut River Valley toward Long Island Sound, flew out to Westerly, R.I., and came back again. It was a red letter day in this dad’s life.

My youngest daughter began washing airplanes to earn a flight lesson or two when she was 10. Because I’m a forward-thinking dad with a strong belief that role models matter, I arranged for her to fly with women exclusively in her younger years. She didn’t have to believe me when I said women could fly, or do anything else they wanted to do. She saw it up close, first hand, over and over again.

As you can imagine, it’s been particularly gratifying when we’ve been able to fly together now that she’s closing in on being an adult. Whether she sits in the left seat and flies, or the right seat and sight-sees, is entirely her choice.

Madison and Me 2 2015

She’s gained an understanding of the airplane, and of her options while she’s in it. If you see us flying together you may sense a slight swelling of pride from the old man while my youngest sits beside me. We’ve bonded a bit over aviation, in a way that I’ve discovered is beyond the comprehension of most father/daughter pairings.

I choose to fly and I choose to share that gift whenever I can with whomever is willing, or curious.

I accept the responsibility of planning, and briefing, and risk assessment that comes with the territory.

And I enjoy the benefits of being the guy who opens up a whole new world to people who never thought they’d do something as amazing as take the controls of an airplane in flight.

But they do, because they can, because somebody makes it possible.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comI choose to fly

Choosing the right iPad GPS – tips for pilots

Choosing the right GPS 3

External iPad GPSs were one of the first accessories to appear for the iPad. After the iPad was released in 2010, pilots quickly realized that the tablet was far more useful with an accurate position source – moving maps, terrain warnings and so much more come into play. Initially there were very few options for pilots, but the market has rapidly expanded and now there are more choices than ever. How do you pick the right one? Let’s survey the market.

Dual XGPS150A GPS for iPad

An iPad GPS is a powerful tool for your iPad, and a good backup if nothing else.

Do you need a GPS?

The first question some pilots may ask is whether you even need an external iPad GPS. If you own a WiFi-only model iPad, it’s simple – you have no built-in GPS so you definitely need one. However, LTE model iPads (ones with the cellular radio in it) have a built-in GPS receiver. Note that this GPS is completely separate from the cell service, so you don’t even have to have an active data plan for the GPS to work. You could buy an LTE model iPad, never activate your Verizon or AT&T service, and still have GPS data.

But while the on-board GPS does work with all popular aviation apps, it was really designed for ground use and it’s not always reliable in the air. It has a tendency to drop offline, especially when switching between apps or when the iPad goes to sleep. It’s not necessarily a question of accuracy, but of reliability. You don’t want the GPS to lose its signal right at the final approach fix in the clouds. For this reason, most iPad pilots – even those with an LTE iPad – opt for an external GPS. It’s pretty cheap insurance.

More recently, with the exploding popularity of portable ADS-B receivers like the Stratus and GDL 39, external iPad GPSs have faded in popularity just a bit. If you have an ADS-B receiver, you do not need a separate GPS, since all of them include one already. However, if you’re just getting started with the iPad and don’t want to spend $500-$1000 for an ADS-B receiver, a GPS represents a great way to get started. Some pilots who own an ADS-B receiver also keep an external GPS on hand for backup.

Note that GPSs are app-agnostic – that is, they work with almost any app because Apple builds “location services” into its core iOS functionality. Many of these GPSs are also compatible with Android devices.

Bad Elf GPS

The Bad Elf plugs directly into the iPad, so it never needs charging or pairing.

Plug in or wireless

If you’ve decided to buy an iPad GPS, the first question to consider is a pretty simple one: do you want a small GPS that plugs into the bottom of your iPad or do you want a wireless GPS that can be mounted remotely? The plug-in model wins for simplicity, since it runs off your iPad’s battery. Just plug it in and open your favorite app. There is no battery to charge, no wireless settings to adjust and not even a power button. The only downside is that it’s (by design) limited to one device and it does stick out of your iPad. That’s not a major problem – we recommend flipping the iPad around so that it sticks out the top – but some pilots don’t like this.

Bad Elf offers the only plug-in GPS model, and it’s available for older devices with Apple’s 30-pin connector as well as newer devices with the Lightning connector. Both are $99.99.

Wireless GPSs connect to your iPad via Bluetooth, so they do require some basic setup to pair the two devices. There’s also a battery to keep charged in the GPS, which means a little extra work. But there are plenty of advantages to a wireless GPS too, including the ability to mount it out of the way or in a better place for reception.

Wireless GPSs are available from Dual Electronics, Garmin and Bad Elf. The Bad Elf Pro even includes a small screen for status messages and basic GPS position data. Prices range from $99.95 to $149.99.

Bad Elf Pro+ GPS

The Bad Elf Pro+ is our top pick for deluxe GPSs.

Basic or deluxe

The next question is whether you want a basic, lower cost model or a deluxe model. The three main features of the higher end models are: longer battery life, data logging functions and the ability to connect to multiple iPads simultaneously – a nice feature for two pilot crews or for connecting to a phone for backup. None of these are necessarily must-have features, but if you’ll be flying regularly with a GPS, the longer battery life is worth it.

Two models are available in this deluxe class. Bad Elf offers their Pro+ GPS with all of these advanced features, plus an altimeter, for $249.99. Dual offers their XGPS160 model for $149.95.

Our picks

Which one is best for pilots? None of these GPSs is really a bad choice, but we’ll offer two picks. For a good performer at a good price, the Dual XGPS150A is hard to beat. At just $99.95, it offers good battery life, reliable performance and a handy dash mount. It has been one of the best-selling models for years, and gets good reviews from pilots.

For a deluxe model, or for pilots who fly with multiple devices in the cockpit, we like the new Bad Elf Pro+. At $249.99 it isn’t cheap, but it’s very well made and has a number of great features: an incredible 35 hour battery life, handy built-in screen, altimeter and connection to multiple devices.

You can see the entire selection of iPad GPSs at Sporty’s.

Source: Ipad appsChoosing the right iPad GPS – tips for pilots

What to do about a lean mixture setting

Q: I have a PA-25-260 ag plane. When I let it idle 640 rpm, it makes a popping noise, however after takeoff, when I reduce power (slowly), the loader says he can hear a popping noise.

Both mags check good and I recently replaced the spark plugs due to a drop in one mag. This fixed the mag problem. A day after I replaced the spark plugs, one mag sounded rough, which caused my mechanic and I to pull and look at the bottom plugs. Several already had lead forming. Cleaned, no problem.

The ag pilot I worked for read that it’s not good to idle Lycomings at low rpm (less than 1,000 rpm).

Any suggestions you can provide will be greatly helpful! Thanks!

In a second email, Herb noted that he “just read another article from you regarding an increase in rpm at idle cut-off. One other thing I’ve noticed is that there’s no increase in rpm at idle cut-off just prior to the engine quitting. Is this an indication of a lean mixture setting? If so, how would I adjust?”

Herb Maraman


Q: Herb you’ve presented me with an interesting question. After reading your first email, I was almost convinced that we were just looking at a lean mixture condition. This lean condition at low rpm is usually indicated by the popping out the exhaust stacks.

After reading your follow-up email where you mentioned that when checking the mixture at idle rpm you see no rise in rpm just prior to the engine quitting, this is also an indication of a lean mixture and may be the result of a misadjusted idle mixture on the carburetor or may be the result of an induction leak.

An easy way to confirm a suspected lean mixture, regardless of the cause, is to check the manifold pressure gauge reading at idle rpm, usually at 650 to 700 rpm. On a normally aspirated engine with a carburetor, we would expect to see something like 10 inches of manifold pressure. If the manifold pressure reading is, let’s say 12 inches, then I’d suspect we either have an induction leak or a need to readjust the idle mixture adjustment screw on the carburetor.

If an induction leak is suspected, the best troubleshooting method is begun with a very close visual inspection of the entire induction system. It may be something as simple as a bad, leaking intake gasket where the intake pipe flange attaches to the cylinder head.

On some occasions, if this gasket is leaking, you may see a slight fuel stain on the intake pipe, which will confirm the problem or at least part of the problem.

You should also check closely for the possibility of a cracked flange on all of the intake pipes at the cylinder heads. This problem does show up on occasion and is a result of improper installation of the intake pipe flange where both attaching bolts are not tightened equally during installation.

The next area that deserves a close look is the intake pipe rubber connectors between the intake pipe and the oil sump. Check for the integrity of the hose clamps and also the overall condition of the rubber hose. You should also look for any fuel stains in this area.

There is one more area to closely inspect, which is often overlooked when an induction leak is suspected, and that is the engine primer system. There is always a possibility that one or more of the engine fuel primer lines has cracked or broken. This is also a safety issue, so close inspection of this system is very important.

If you find that the induction system is sound, then the next hurdle to get over is making a proper adjustment to the idle mixture screw on the carburetor. This adjustment is rather easy and should always be done with the engine at normal operating temperature.

You will notice that the idle mixture screw is marked with the direction for rich indicated by an arrow. Adjusting this in small increments will allow you to achieve the proper idle mixture adjustment, assuming all else is as it should be. Your final adjustment should allow you to acquire about a 25 to 50 rise in engine rpm when moving the mixture control from full rich into idle cut-off at engine idle rpm mentioned previously.

Now, all this being said, I am a little confused about your statement that several of the spark plugs showed signs of lead fouling. Usually with a lean mixture this is not a condition I would expect, so I’m not sure how to comment about this.

I can’t argue with the ag pilot who mentioned not idling less than 1,000 rpm, but this may not be possible if you’re doing a “hot” reload, so I’d suggest you consider idling during a “hot” reload, then once the loading is complete and you are taxiing out, increase the engine rpm to 1,000 to 1,200 rpm and slightly lean the mixture so that the core nose temperature of the spark plug becomes hotter and self cleans the possible lead build up.

CAUTION: Always remember to return the mixture control to full rich prior to takeoff!!

Hopefully these suggestions will relieve you of the popping and may also provide some operating tips for better operation in the future.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comWhat to do about a lean mixture setting