Top Letters And Comments, November 11, 2022


John Raymond Barcus: A Destiny in Aviation

Thanks for another great article, Paul. It’s true, the people around us at the airport have some amazing life experiences, worthy of recording. I wish I had recorded more from my two aviation mentors. I heard plenty of stories, but I’m certain these were a fraction of the total. I’ll keep your article in mind, as a nudge to pay attention to, and maybe record, what I’m hearing from people like John Barcus. We owe it to the future.

KckC K.

My Dad survived a walking tour of northern Italy and both parents toughed out the Depression…long before Nike said “Just Do It” that generation did, not for glory but because someone had to. Many viewed that most everyone had a story, they didn’t need to embarrass those that didn’t, and that the heroes were the ones who didn’t return. A favorite generational story was shared by a friend who was a jumpmaster for the D-Day 50th, when the subject of # of jumps came up, the WWII vet was impressed by the 1000s of jumps, my friend was more impressed by the WWII vet’s handful…all combat jumps.

Let us remember that the glory of warbird flying was created by those who animated these aircraft when the odds were a helluva lot longer than an occasional sunny day flight in front of an unarmed crowd.

Rich R.

Missing The Miss

Are you instrument rated? Have you flown in actual IFR? Have you done it at night with some turbulence and rain in an ASEL aircraft?

You might say you wouldn’t do that and that could be a great choice, BUT you may somehow, at some time, get caught in such a situation.

The above article is worth reading for any serious IFR pilot and others in my opinion. An unwanted Missed approach after a longish flight is not always our wish but we need to be ready. It’s worth a read if you are not IFR rated, are not yet a pilot, but regardless of whether you have any intent on flying IFR (IMC), it is worth thinking about as an inadvertent flight into IMC is always waiting for us.

Safe single engine and single pilot IFR is very rewarding and enjoyable, but IFR flights are almost always a greater challenge and responsibility.

Tiger K.

One of the challenges of IFR training is to simulate missed approaches. If you are under the hood the transition is either nothing seen or instantaneous IMC to good VFR. The real world is often a lot more ambiguous.

The good news is modern flight training devices now can do a very realistic job of simulating marginal and variable weather conditions. But these have to be actively incorporated into initial and recurrent training which can be problematic if as is often the case, the instructor has never done any actual IFR flying in low IMC.

Finally, just like VFR go around[s], the aircraft handling part is often rarely practiced so the pilot is now put in the position of doing a demanding aircraft flight path and configuration change with rusty handling skills.

David G.

Poll: Have You Had Any Issues With Continental 520 Or 550 Cylinders?

  • Add on to no issues. My IO-520D went 31 years and 1550 hours before overhaul. I bought the 185 with 265 hours on the engine, installed GAMI’s and ran it lean of peak for the last 1300 hours and 21 years. If you control the temps, you control the problems.
  • Exhaust valve and guide wear.
  • Several IO-520 and O-470 cylinders not making it to TBO before top end overhauls with cylinders ground oversize to remedy.
  • Burnt valves.
  • I was affected by the EI cylinder AD in an IO520. Had to throw away 5 perfectly good cylinders. Went with Millenniums. Won’t buy Continental cylinders again unless forced to.
  • T-210 ignition missing. No big deal.
  • Worn exhaust guides, no cracks.
  • Valve failure, complete top overhaul required at 800 hours.
  • Exhaust valve seating or burning.
  • Rings did not seat on new cylinders of overhauled engine. Required top overhaul.
  • I’ve flown 270 hours on 550 cylinders without trouble. Previous owner chromed all 6 cylinders at 900 hours SN.
  • More valve guide problems than cracking.
  • Few loss of compression.
  • Yes, with only 300 hours on them, all were cone shaped.
  • IO 520C, Engine failure due to the #2 and #4 connecting rods puncturing the case in descent at 53 hours. SMOH. Successful off field landing.
  • Exhaust valve issues regularly.
  • Low compression.
  • Have maintained both and have had cylinder and crankcase failures in both.
  • Short exhaust valve life.
  • Valves only.
  • Yes. Had to have cylinder removed for inspection of brand new io550 with 10 hours.
  • Frequent burned valves.
  • No, but my 520s weren’t the models specified.
  • Unexpected short cylinder life for any number of reasons beyond your limited choices. That included premature (short of TBO) top overhaul.
  • Exhaust valves.
  • Losing a valve and a valve cover.

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