AVmail: January 13, 2014

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Letter of the Week:
Affordable Avionics

Garmin's comments are just silly.  They don't want to use open standards because then they would have to admit there are things that might be better than what they have.  A bunch of years ago, some large computer manufacturer said, "Don't get locked into open systems," and that large computer manufacturer doesn't make much hardware anymore.

Buying an all-in-one system is a way to make sure you spend $50,000 or more every 10-15 years on your airplane.  The new systems are rarely slide-in replacements for old avionics.  Garmin's recent comment about the GNS 430 going obsolete will now get people who put two of them in their panel to have to spend at least $50,000 to replace them both.  If one fails, they need a Band-Aid until they get a big chunk of the panel reworked.

Open standards are the only way the consumers can hope to keep flying affordable.  You should be able to buy black boxes (GPS, FMS, etc.) from anyone, put them on a standard bus, and put your favorite display on the panel.  As technology changes, then you get to update the one thing that needs updating without redoing your whole panel.  Want a bigger display?  No problem; take out the old one and replace it with minor tweaks to the panel.  If some new GPS technology (like LAAS) comes along, replace just the GPS (or add on a box to the bus).  All the displays stay the same.  Maybe some new software is required, but that will be no problem.

Yes, we all will be spending more on avionics to stay up on the latest stuff, but it has to be more flexible than it is today, or it'll be too expensive to keep any of it working.

Tom Brusehaver

Not-That-Impossible Turn

Great presentation of the issues about the not-that-impossible-turn.

I have done a lot of practice and playing with the same issues in various aircraft, a lot of it in Cessna 180s and 185s.  When I was more proficient, I would use a 60-degree bank initially, shallowing out later as necessary.  This gave a minimum of altitude loss plus a very tight diameter of turn (about 500' diameter of turn for a 185).  The issue also was applied to turn-out from a tight terrain situation in order to get going downslope.

Obviously, practice and proficiency are critical.  I once checked out an instructor who wanted to rent our Warrior to instruct others.  I asked him to show me a 60-degree turn at minimum speed and then continue the turn at the edge of the buffet, shallowing the bank as required but continuing for 180 degrees of turn.  He refused at first because that was not an FAA requirement.  I made it clear that, given the mountainous area here, if he gave an emergency landing practice to a student and allowed himself to get trapped in a valley, he certainly would not like the results of just rolling wings level at the buffet and flying straight into the rocks.

I love busting myths, but common sense does have to rule.

Ian Hollingsworth

DER Flight Test Pilot (But Not Steely-Eyed)

I would take exception to his comment that this subject is a "dead horse"!

As glider instructors, we typically teach these areas of concern on take-off:

  • an issue at the beginning of take-off where you can land straight ahead;
  • an issue at a point where landing on the airport straight ahead is not a good option (30-degree off heading);
  • a point where a 180 can be performed;
  • when an issue happens at pattern altitude.

To my knowledge, all glider pilots demonstrate the reverse turn.  We typically start thinking about performing the turn above 200 feet.  As mentioned in the video, that depends on the circumstances.

Tom Rudolf

Bearcat Memories

In his fine feature, John Deakin left out one of the most important happenings with a Bearcat.  Darryl Greenamyer's Bearcat, which he raced in many Reno races and then set the world piston speed record in in 1968, now sits front row center at the Dulles Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air Museum.  It is a beautiful Bearcat painted in yellow with an American Eagle painted from nose to tail with the eagle talons on the gear doors.

Dick Welsh

Simulator Rules

Regarding the FAA's move to reduce the number of hours of simulator time counted, the problem with most of the light duty general aviation simulators is the lack of motion, which is important in actual flight.  Having said that, they are a great help in practicing instrument approaches, both before and after flying the actual approach.  I believe that the FAA is wrong to rescind approval of simulator training.

Harvey Hirning