AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 15d

April 10, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.

» Try out the Headset X™ and other Bose Corporation products at booth SNF-009 at Sun 'n Fun
NBAA Announces Hot Destination for 2009 back to top 

NBAA Unveils New Annual Event For Light Airplane Operators

The usual conception of business aviation may be that it is all about big corporations with flight departments, but in fact, NBAA President Ed Bolen said Wednesday at Sun 'n Fun, fully 60 percent of NBAA's 8,000 members operate just a single airplane to help advance their business. "We've been talking to those members about how we can better serve their needs," he said, and from those conversations arose the concept of the Light Airplane Conference & Exhibition, a new three-day annual event that will be held in San Diego, Calif., starting next March. The show will feature forums and workshops about safety for the single pilot, regulatory issues, taxes, and more, that will focus on business owners and other operators of light jets, turboprops, and piston airplanes. "We are confident that the Light Airplane Conference & Exhibition will be well received by our light airplane operators, who will now benefit from a show filled with exhibits and educational information sessions focused on their unique interests, and a static display that showcases their aircraft," Bolen said. The show will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, with room for up to 1,000 exhibitors. A static display for up to 50 aircraft will be located at the nearby San Diego International Airport. Next year's show is set for March 12, 13, and 14.

"Perhaps the best part about this show," Bolen said, "is that light airplane operators are going to help guide our planning for it. Throughout the rest of Sun 'n Fun, and in the months to come, NBAA wants to hear from the light aircraft operators in our industry about how to make the event as valuable an experience as possible." To submit suggestions and ideas, Bolen provided a toll-free phone number 1-800-928-4283 (1-800-9-AVIATE), and an email address, ideas@nbaa.org.

Discover the Thrill
You are here when you discover that the thrill of hanging 10 has nothing on hanging around Cloud 9. In a brand-new Cessna Skyhawk, you too will discover life in a brand-new way, whether you're learning to fly or fulfilling the lifelong dream of owning a new Cessna. Call 1 (316) 517-6056, or visit CessnaYouAreHere.com.

» Be there with Cessna Single-Engine at booths SNF-001-005 at Sun 'n Fun
Comp Air 9 Ready for Oshkosh, CA11 on the Slate back to top 

Comp Air Adds Two New Designs

Comp Air, a manufacturer of composite aircraft kits based in Merritt Island, Fla., has added two new designs to its lineup. The Comp Air 9 is a high-wing, fixed-gear six-place turboprop. "We saw an empty spot in the market that this aircraft would fit," Comp Air spokesman Bill Fedorko told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun on Wednesday. "It will haul a lot of weight, it's easy to fly, fuel-efficient and low-maintenance, a good family aircraft." The other new design is the Comp Air 11, a slightly smaller version of the Comp Air 12, but with the same turbine engine, which Fedorko said will drive it at speeds up to 360 knots. It will be a low-wing airplane with retractable gear. The first copies of both aircraft are now under construction. The Comp Air 9 should be ready to fly to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this summer, and the Comp Air 11 should be flying by next January, Fedorko said.

The company has delivered about 200 airplanes from its build center that are now being flown by customers, according to Fedorko.

Avidyne Introduces FMS900w Flight Management System
Avidyne's new Entegra FMS900w WAAS-enabled GPS/NAV/COM Flight Management System (FMS) is designed to reduce single-pilot IFR workload. The FMS900w provides fully-redundant, state-of-the-VHF and TSO C146b Gamma 3-compliant turbine-class FMS capability for all general aviation aircraft. Utilizing a fully-modular architecture, the FMS900w is an enhancement to Avidyne's Entegra Integrated Flight Deck platform and designed specifically to take advantage of Entegra's large-format displays and Byteflight peer-to-peer databus architecture. Click here for more information.

Sign up to be an Avidyne Insider.

» See Avidyne technologies in action at booths D-069-070 and N-028 at Sun 'n Fun
Glass Cockpit, New Cabin for TBM 850 back to top 

Socata Upgrades The TBM 850 For 2008

Socata has added a series of enhancements to its TBM 850 for the 2008 model, the company said this week at Sun 'n Fun. Upgrades include an integrated all-glass three-display flight deck based on the Garmin G1000 system, a digitally controlled cabin temperature system with two-zone control, and a new "European-style" cabin design by Catherineau. The seat cushions and backrests have been re-designed to maximize comfort. An extra inch of cabin height, plus the new seats, make it easier for the pilot to access the cockpit. The company also redesigned the logo and the paint scheme for the airplane. "Sun 'n Fun traditionally heralds the start-up of a year's aviation gatherings, and it is the best venue to introduce our new 2008 TBM 850 to the general public," said Nicolas Chabbert, the president of EADS Socata North America.

The new version of the 850 sells for about $3 million. The company said it delivered 46 of the airplanes last year and has 60 on order.

Inflight. Every Flight.
XM WX Satellite Weather has quickly become the leading way to fly for pilots across the country. With flexible display solutions from aviation's biggest names and the accuracy-assured data of WxWorx onboard, datalink weather from XM WX has been embraced by pilots and the industry alike. It's simply the best way to soar with confidence — inflight and every flight. Click here to learn more about XM WX Satellite Weather.

» See why XM WX Satellite Weather is the official weather provider of Sun 'n Fun
when you visit WxWorx at booths C-024-025 and N-036 at the show
Dominican Republic at SnF (Yes, You Read It Right) back to top 

No User Fees -- In Dominican Republic

The user fee issue is an internal issue in the U.S. aviation community, but that doesn't mean other countries aren't listening. The Dominican Republic sent a 19-member government delegation to Sun 'n Fun to bring the news that all six of the smaller GA-oriented airports and at least one international airport (Santiago) have banned parking, landing and all other fees for aircraft under 30,000 lbs. with a capacity of 12 passengers or fewer. "Tourism is very important to us," the country's Secretary of State Jose Thomas Garcia told reporters at a Sun 'n Fun news conference. The thrust behind the country's remarkable PR exercise at the show is to offer tourists who fly themselves an alternative to other countries in the region that have already captured a thriving GA clientele. And according to the government officials, it's modern, well-equipped flight destination.

In 2007, the Dominican Republic regained its FAA Category One rating for air carriers and infrastructure after 14 years in the doghouse. The revival of the air transportation system came from new pavement, new air traffic control facilities and proper oversight of air carriers. The side benefit for GA is lots of new pavement, new terminals and FBOs and even new airports.

Zulu Time ... From Lightspeed
The new Zulu headset looks different because it is different. Made with magnesium, stainless steel, and four types of composite plastics, it's extremely durable and yet weighs just over 13 ounces. Rather than concentrating purely on cutting decibels, Lightspeed engineers looked at how pilots perceive noise at different frequencies. You get broader noise attenuation over the entire audible range. Zulu has more total noise cancellation than any headset on the market. Click here for a dealer near you.

» Try Lightspeed's Zulu and compare it to other premium brands at booth D-053 at Sun 'n Fun
Phenom 100 and 300 Update back to top 

Embraer Provides An Update On Its Jet Programs

There are now four Phenom 100s flying in the Embraer flight-test program, CEO Frederico Fleury Curado said at Sun 'n Fun on Wednesday, and the jet is on track for certification and first deliveries by the end of this year. Also, the first Phenom 300 is under construction in Brazil. The fuselage and wing have been mated together, and final assembly is near completion. First flight for the 300 is expected later this year. Curado confirmed that the company has over 700 orders for the two aircraft, from 44 countries. He also talked about the company's two new jets, which were recently announced as definite programs. The mid-size jet is scheduled for deliveries in 2012, and the mid-light jet for 2013. Both will be powered by the latest generation of the Honeywell HTF7000 turbofan engine. Final names and prices for the two new clean-sheet designs will be announced at EBACE in Geneva this May, Curado said.

The new jets will require a two-pilot crew, he said, but will have a high degree of commonality. The company hopes that one type rating will apply to both aircraft.

Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Sponsor of the 34th Annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In
Join Aircraft Spruce in Lakeland, Florida at Sun 'n Fun (Hangar B, Booths 4-9) April 8-13th, 2008, 9am to 5pm. Sun 'n Fun brings together those from all around the world and from all segments of the aviation community. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products), and Aircraft Spruce's helpful staff to answer questions. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.

» Ask about Aircraft Spruce's show specials at booths B-004-009 at Sun 'n Fun
New on AVweb back to top 

The Savvy Aviator #56: Before You Yank That Jug ...

Your aircraft is undergoing its annual inspection, and your IA tells you that a cylinder has weak compression and has to come off. Here are some things to consider before you tell him to go ahead.

Click here for the full story.

I last wrote about this subject about 18 months ago (Savvy Aviator #37), but it seems as if jugs are still coming off needlessly, so perhaps it's time to revisit the subject. Each week, I receive dozens of emails from aircraft owners seeking advice on maintenance. I really enjoy helping fellow aircraft owners, but I often get frustrated by some of the poor advice they get from their mechanics. Take this one, for example:

"Mike, I really enjoy reading your column. I'm having a problem and need some advice. My airplane is in for annual and for the second year in a row my TCM IO-520 engine has some low compressions. The compression test was done hot (or at least that's what I'm told). The IA is going to do another compression check today, cold, but I don't think that is going to change anything.

"He said the leaks seem to be from the exhaust valves. I looked at the exhaust valve of the lowest-compression cylinder through a borescope, and the valve was red in color. The IA said that is because it's run too hot, and suggested that the culprit was my use of lean-of-peak mixture settings in cruise.

"I fly about 100 hours a year. Most of my trips are about four hours long. I usually cruise between 8000 and 9000 feet. My power settings, at 8,000 feet, are about 22 inches at about 2400 RPM. I lean to peak on my JPI 700, then go about 15 degrees F lean of peak. My hottest CHT is never above 380 degrees F. What am I doing wrong when flying this airplane?"

Flawed Advice

I told this owner that he's getting flawed advice from his IA.

For one thing, the owner isn't doing anything wrong. Fifteen degrees F lean of peak and CHTs below 380 degrees F are exactly where this normally-aspirated engine should be operated at 8000 to 9000 feet. He's doing a great job of powerplant management.

For another, an exhaust valve is supposed to be red! The red color is from exhaust deposits on the face of the valve, and such deposits are perfectly normal. In fact, the cooler the valve is operating, the thicker the deposits and the more intensely red the valve appears. It's actually the absence of red deposits that tells us the valve is heat-damaged and leaking.

The key to whether or not the valve is burned is the appearance of those red deposits. On a normal valve, when viewed with the borescope (see photo at right), the red deposits have a relatively symmetrical appearance, with the redness most pronounced in the center of the valve face and less pronounced toward the edges of the valve face. That's because the valve face runs coolest at the center (where it's thickest and its heat is well-sinked by the valve stem), and hottest at the edges (where it's thinnest and not so well heat-sinked). The hotter the valve, the less red deposits there are; the cooler the valve, the more red deposits there are. In other words, red means cool and the absence of red means hot! (I know this sounds counterintuitive, because we're used to thinking of red and hot as being associated, but in this case it's /i>non-red and hot that are associated!)

If the valve is leaking, there will be one (or sometimes two) hot-spots around the circumference of the valve face where almost all the red deposits are gone and you see gray metal. The red exhaust deposits will have an asymmetrical appearance (see photo at right), with the hot-spots identified as being where the valve is least red.

Don't Yank That Jug!

If the borescope inspection shows a valve with a normal-looking, symmetrical pattern of red deposits and no obvious hot spots, I would not authorize the mechanic to remove the cylinder. I would go fly it for a few hours and then repeat the compression test. (Preferably have another mechanic do the test.) To be on the safe side, I would continue to inspect the valve with a borescope every 50 hours (at each oil change).

Since the aircraft has a digital engine monitor, I would also suggest keeping a close eye on the EGTs. Always place your engine monitor in its "normalize mode" when in cruise flight. This will level all the EGT bars at mid-scale and increase the sensitivity, so that small EGT variations become very obvious. If the exhaust valve is leaking in flight, you will see it on the engine monitor (provided it is in normalize mode). The classic signature of a leaking exhaust valve is a slow EGT oscillation of 30 degrees F to 60 degrees F that occurs about once or twice a minute (see graphic at right). Any time you see something like this, immediately borescope the cylinder and check the valve.

In my experience, a burned valve becomes detectable under the borescope (via asymmetrical exhaust-deposits revealing a well-defined hot-spot or two) at least 100 hours before the valve actually reaches the point of failure. The engine monitor will also detect the problem, but with somewhat less lead time -- perhaps 10 to 25 hours before failure. Consequently, I believe that regular borescope inspections should be the first line of defense in detecting incipient exhaust-valve problems, with the engine monitor used as a backup.

The use of regular boroscopy in piston-aircraft engine maintenance is relatively new, and many mechanics don't really understand what to look for. They almost certainly received no training on this in A&P school. Consequently, before authorizing a mechanic to pull a cylinder off your engine, you would be wise to do what this owner did: Seek a second opinion.

Compression Limits

The same owner emailed me a follow-up question:

"Is there any regulation as to the minimum compression on a cylinder in order to pass an annual? My IA tells me the engine should not have passed the last annual because of low compressions."

Excellent question! Yes, there sure is.

The applicable regulation -- 14 CFR Part 43 Appendix D (Scope and Detail of Annual and 100-Hour Inspections) -- states that an IA is required to perform a compression check at each annual and 100-hour inspection. It goes on to say that if "weak compression" is found, the IA must perform an internal cylinder inspection to ascertain the reason for the weak compression.

The FARs do not define the term "weak compression." FAA Advisory Circular AC43.13-1B (Acceptable Methods, Techniques and Practices -- Aircraft Inspection and Repair) suggests that compression readings below 60/80 are considered "weak," but this default FAA guidance is superseded by any specific guidance offered by the engine manufacturer. Because both Lycoming and TCM do offer specific guidance, AC43.13-1B is moot.

Lycoming's guidance is that the inspecting mechanic should "consider" removing the cylinder if its compression is below 60/80, or if there is more than a 10-point spread between the highest and lowest cylinder. Lycoming also encourages (but does not require) mechanics to use borescope inspections to help assess cylinder condition. Lycoming's use of the word "consider" appears to give the IA some wiggle room, but most IAs will take the position that a Lycoming cylinder with compression below 60/80 has to come off.

TCM's guidance is very different from Lycoming's. TCM's guidance appears in Service Bulletin SB03-3, which in my opinion is the best guidance ever written on the subject of determining cylinder condition. Every TCM owner should download a copy (by clicking on that link) and read it carefully. If you do that, you'll find that TCM says that the minimum acceptable compression reading is to be established using a "master-orifice tool" hooked up to the mechanic's compression test gauges. For most compression test gauges we've checked, the master-orifice tool sets the no-go limit between 41/80 and 43/80. However, each gauge is supposed to be calibrated with the tool prior to each compression test. (Nowadays, many compression test gauges come with the master-orifice tool built right in, so calibration is done simply by flipping a valve.)

SB03-3 goes on to say that even if a cylinder indicates a compression reading lower than the no-go limit, the IA is supposed to inspect the cylinder with a borescope to determine the cause of the problem. If the borescope inspection fails to reveal a problem, then the cylinder should not be removed. Instead, the engine should be flown for at least 45 minutes (preferably a lot longer) and then the compression test repeated.

Have No Fear

Armed with my advice and a copy of TCM service bulletin SB03-3, the owner had a heart-to-heart conversation with his IA, and then reported back to me with the following:

"The IA just called and said that he has completed the annual, and agreed not to pull the cylinder. He said to fly the airplane for 25 hours and he will then recheck the compressions. I feel half afraid to fly the thing."

I advised the owner not to be scared to fly the airplane. Low compression never made anyone fall out of the sky. In fact, before issuing SB03-3, TCM actually ran some dynamometer tests in its test cell that showed an engine with all cylinders having 40/80 compression will make full-rated power. An engine with such low compression will also blow lots of oil out the breather and onto the belly of the aircraft, and will make what's left of the oil in the crankcase filthy in short order, but there will be little or no perceptible difference in performance, and certainly no safety-of-flight issues.

An in-flight failure of an exhaust valve is no laughing matter. But as long as the exhaust valve looks normal under the borescope, you can be confident that it's not in imminent danger of failing. Regular borescope inspections, backed up by a digital engine monitor, will reliably detect exhaust-valve problems before they pose a safety hazard.

I'm not suggesting that compression readings in the 40s are fine, nor that they should be ignored. Such low compressions are often associated with excessive blow-by that contaminates the oil with combustion byproducts and turns it acidic and corrosive -- not exactly the ideal environment for your expensive crankshaft and camshaft to live in. But such compressions will not cause any perceptible change in engine power or performance, and certainly won't make you fall out of the sky. So it's something to be concerned about, not something to be scared of.

With such low compressions, it would certainly be prudent to re-check the compression and re-borescope the cylinder in 25 hours. If the compression continues to deteriorate or the borescope reveals the obvious visual signature of a burned valve or worn barrel, then the jug probably does need to come off for repair or replacement. In the meantime, however, the owner should have no qualms about continuing to fly the aircraft.

See you next month.

Want to read more from Mike Busch? Check out the rest of his Savvy Aviator columns.
And use this link to send questions to Mike.

// -->

Got Cylinders? Tell Us About Your Service History

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on aircraft engine cylinder products. If you've done an overhaul during the past several years, the magazine's editors would like to hear from you on how the cylinders have performed.

Just click on this link to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Piper Matrix — Piper Compelling
Click here for more information on the new Matrix, Piper's next generation of cabin-class sophistication. Compellingly priced at $757,000.

» Discover the Matrix and other Piper Aircraft at booths MD-018C and MD-019B at Sun 'n Fun
AVweb Media: Kitplanes Reports from SnF back to top 

Exclusive Video from Sun 'n Fun 2008:
Kitplanes Magazine Previews Advanced Flight Systems' New EFIS Deck

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

AVweb's sister publication, Kitplanes magazine, interviews Advanced Flight Systems president Robert Hickman to learn about his company's latest EFIS, engine monitor, and angle-of-attack systems available for experimental aircraft.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

This video brought to you by WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather and Bose Corporation.

(Video by AVweb's Glenn Pew and Kitplanes editor-in-chief Marc Cook.)

Piper Owners & Pilots — Gain Knowledge, Have Fun
Join the fastest-growing and best association for Piper Flyers — the Piper Flyer Association (PFA), since 2004 providing same-day parts locating, faster answers to technical questions, an informative monthly magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual gathering, seminars, member discounts, and more for only $40 yearly. The PFA is located in the Blue Hangar on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ) in Waupaca, Wisconsin, 35 nm NW of Oshkosh. For more information, visit PiperFlyer.org.
"Live" from Sun 'n Fun 2008 — Exclusive Audio back to top 

GPS in Your Pocket: Control Vision Is Hard at Work Making the Dream a Reality
(Recorded Live at Sun 'n Fun 2008)

File Size 10.6 MB / Running Time 11:38

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Control Vision is well known for its extensive and flexible line of PDA-based GPS navigators. Although these products are flexible, buyers have asked for solutions that require fewer wires and individual components. This week at Sun 'n Fun, Control Vision responded with a new product based on HP's diminutive iPaq Travel Companion. At $695, it combines both turn-by-turn ground navigation and a rich moving map for aviation use in a single package, with Bluetooth capability to reduce the wiring clutter. In this podcast, Control Vision's Jay Humbard gives AVweb the details.

Click here to listen. (10.6 MB, 11:38)

This podcast brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

Cessna's Next-Gen Airplane Is Still on Track, But It'll Be a While
(Recorded Live at Sun 'n Fun 2008)

File Size 15.7 MB / Running Time 17:11

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Cessna's VP of sales and marketing, Roger Whyte, told AVWeb this week that even though it's focusing much of its attention on the recently acquired Columbia composite line, Cessna is still on track to build the so-called next-generation single. It will occupy a narrow niche between the 182/206 and the 350 and 400 from Columbia. Whyte also updated us on the Skycatcher project, which is soon to begin production in China.

Click here to listen. (15.7 MB, 17:11)

This podcast brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

Grab You Bag and Let's Go — More SnF Photos! back to top 

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun 2008 Galleries: The Show Is Underway!

gallery ONE | gallery TWO


John Kaminskas in the DC-3

Taxiing Out for DC-3 Flight

RVs in the Homebuilt Lot

Ah, the Crowds!

Julie Clark

Leza Lockwood Air Cam

Gary Ward

Kingsford Elementary Students Touring C-54 Skymaster

GoBOSH Display

GoBOSH Instrument Panel

Kolb Firefly

Kolb Mark III Extra

B&B Aircraft Parts

Dave LoPresti
(LoPresti Speed Pants?)

N2 Turbines - Free Turbine Design (100 shp)

B-25 Panchito

Radial Engines Limited - Engine Tables!

Red Thunder During DC-3 Flight


Vintage Parking Slowly Filling Up

gallery ONE | gallery TWO

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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