AVmail: April 10, 2003

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Reader mail this week about a Continental crankshaft failure, a proposal for a VFR corridor in Chicago and more.

Continental Crankshaft Failure

Just to let you know we have had a crankshaft failure on a Continental IO-520 factory rebuild with 230 hours on the engine. This could be something to watch as we wait results from Continental on cause.

Dan Klaes
Bettles Air

Chicago VFR Corridor

I'm sure that the FAA is not happy about being dissed by Mayor Daley and his tactics. My suggestion? I think Chicago's Class B airspace needs a VFR corridor. One that runs down the lakefront looks like a good place to me. Other Class B airspaces have them. The FAA should have a safety concern about pushing single-engine aircraft out miles into the lake to transit around the Class B on the east.

Barry Gardner

Try to Fly a Real Recovery

I couldn't agree more with the statement. "The best lessons are the one's the students teach themselves."

I have driven home the need to cross-check radio navigation with pilotage about once a year by ending up at the wrong airport on cross countries. It is always fun to stand there reading the "Welcome to XYZ Airport" sign when we should be at the ABC Airport.

As for unusual attitude recoveries, here are a couple senarios I really like. First, the relatively new requirement for night cross country is great and provides many opportunities to demonstrate unusual atittudes. My best demonstration is, on an overcast night, to make sudden turn in a direction for which there are not ground lights (something we are able to do out here in the west) and then give the airplane back the student. Suddenly the student realize there are no outside references to control the airplane by. A very odd feeling when you go to roll out of the turn and realize you have no idea when to stop turning.

My second favorite trick to to put them under the hood and let them fly for a few minutes. Then turn out the instruments lights and tell them maintain their previous heading. Also reinforces the importance of bringing a flashlight or two with you.

I have found that most people will circle under this scenario but seldom actually lose control. But, they are concentrating on controlling the airplane, which is not usually the case when an actual loss-of-control occurs. They are, however, surpised to find they have made a 520-degree turn while doing it. I always try to turn the lights back on when they are going the wrong direction.

Brian Case