AVmail: November 7, 2002

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Ryan Mactaggart: Prop Spinner Problems

I work for an aviation college in Canada that operates 4 C172s. In the last year we have had 3 spinners crack, of which one completely failed during a run up. The failure and cracks occured on the spinner back plate, a very hard place to inspect on a walk around.

I was wondering if AVweb could start a poll and find out just how many spinner failures there have been lately. I have a feeling Cessna knows about this manufacturing defect, yet has not done anything about giving their customers any satisfaction.

p.s. One of the cracked back plates was a replacement for a cracked back plate and had less than 50 hours on it.

AVweb responds ...

Actually, as Cessna told us earlier this week, they are aware of the spinner cracking problem and are working on a fix. A service bulletin is expected to address the issue, according to Cessna spokesperson Jessica Myers.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director

John Dolan: Cirrus Crash Third In Five Weeks

Today's news flash states that the Cirrus accident was the third in the last five weeks. This comment, while true, would lead one to believe that the Cirrus aircraft is either dangerous or prone to accidents. It would have been more appropriate for an aviation reporter to further state that one accident was apparently due to maintenance error and the second to a deer strike upon landing.

Steve Culp: Oberstar Promotes Recorders For Small Aircraft

After reading Mr. Oberstar's comments (about data recorders in GA aircraft) I would like to suggest an idea.

Mr. Oberstar should have a data recorder on his person so people can figure what was happening moments before he makes a catastrophic decision.

I even have an idea where he can put it! And if he would put it there, he would even be able to see that it was working, as that is where his head is!

p.s. Where can I get flight data recorders for my Experimental aircraft?

Jake Brodsky: Oberstar Promotes Recorders For Small Aircraft

I'm not sure that an onboard recorder could have told the world much more about Wellstone's unfortunate demise than the NTSB has determined from other sources.

It wouldn't bother me if future avionics such as moving map displays, digital EGT gauges and possibly even intercoms were forced to include some sort of recording features as part of the certification process. The incremental cost would probably be quite small and it may prove useful for crash investigations of aircraft flying outside of radar coverage, not to mention normal flight training operations.

While features like these might help in determining a few accident causes, I don't think there is enough need for such features to force operators to retrofit existing installations. We are about to reach a price/performance point where this would happen anyway. Haven't most of us drooled over ads for cool intercoms and recording multi-probe EGT/CHT gauges?

I think Oberstar's efforts are redundant and possibly counter-productive. This is one area where the market will answer the need faster than any legislator can get his act together.

Robert Barton: Oberstar Promotes Recorders For Small Aircraft

Yes! We MUST have flight recorders on all small aircraft! Why? Because when an important person goes down in a small airplane, the media want to know all the gory details. It has NOTHING to do with safety. It's just that "the people want to know".

AVweb responds ...

Whether cockpit voice recorders are a safety enhancer or not is debatable. But one thing isn't: When investigators arrive to start kicking tin around, a CVR can prove indispensable for quickly pinning down the cause of a crash.

We're not in favor of requiring them for all GA aircraft but we would still like to see someone develop a cheap, easy-to-use model that could be installed voluntarily. Such a product could dramatically improve the outcome of small aicraft accident investigations.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director

Rob Staib: Internet As Official Source of Weather

In todays AVweb I read about the Flight Service Stations possible closure and pilots get their weather from the Internet. I believe this would be a big mistake for aviation. FSSs offer a large amount of personal information from the briefer experience working in his/her location. I also believe this will be the start of GA paying user fees and less people will receive a briefing and just take the chance. This side of the story needs to be told to your subscribers for a honest debate.

AVweb responds ...

On the other hand, GA as an industry has to wake up and smell the coffee. Having a live person read weather data over the telephone is the least effective and least efficient way to obtain a weather briefing. While it's true that telephone briefings still have their place, as dissemination of weather via the internet and eventually airborne datalink improves, the phone briefing will eventually fade into history.

We think as the government ramps down what it spends on FSS, the remaing funds ought to be funneled to where they're most needed: Flight Watch-type services and critical information delivered to pilots who are airborne.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director