Official Publication of the Cessna Owner Organization Since 1975
CESSNA OWNER MAGAZINE
g n i z a m A
1953 CESSNA 170
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All About Your Stationary Panel www.cessnaowner.org www.facebook.com/ CessnaOwnerOrganization Est. 1975
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11 C-172 A, B, C, D, E, F FAA-PMA 1) Dome ........................... U0550228-28 .....$705.39 All aluminum to replace original “plastic” dome 2) Front Plate...................... U0550228-3 .....$580.72 3) Rear Plate..................... U0550228-26 .....$413.17
C-150 F, G, H, J, K 6) Dome (FAA-PMA) .......... U0450027-12 .....$423.76 7) Rear Plate (FAA-PMA) ..... U0450040-1 .....$509.25 8) Front Plate* (OEM) .... 0450039-1-791 .....$576.15 *Original Cessna “plastic”
C-170 and Early C-172 FAA-PMA For Continental 8 hole flanges 4) Bulkhead......................... U0550162-3 .....$179.55 5) Dome .............................. U0550162-7 .....$674.10 Assembly ................................U0550162 .....$892.50
C-172 I, K, L, M, N, P FAA-PMA 9) Dome .............................. U0550236-8 .....$530.25 10) Front Plate .................... U0550321-4 .....$346.50 11) Back Plate ................. U0550321-010 .....$472.50
C-182 H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R FAA-PMA For McCauley constant speed propeller. Dome includes four U0752620-3 plastic spacer rings. 12) Spinner Dome ...........U0752637K200 .....$923.95 Small Skull Cap Spinners FAA-PMA For wood or metal propellers on A-65, A-75, C-85, and C-90 Continental engines. 13) Small Skull Cap AssemblySM-SPIN-ASY ....$83.49 13) Dome ................................U0450279 .......$71.50 13) Bracket..............................U0450281 .......$21.35 May not fit all taper shaft installations
Parts & Service Manuals
See our website for Owners Manuals
Parts Catalogs 120/140 1946-1949 ................ UP104-12 .......$32.59 140A, 1949-1951 .......................P105-12 .......$83.00 150, 1959-1969 .........................P438-12 .....$172.30 150, 1970-1977 .........................P691-12 .....$233.00 152, 1978-1985 (P657-1-12) .....P692-12 .....$213.02 170, 1948 ................................ UP106-12 .......$65.59 170A, 1949-1951 .................... UP107-12 .......$65.59 170B, 1952-1956 .................... UP108-12 .......$65.59 172 and 175, 1956-1962 ............P257-12 .....$233.00 172, 1963-1974 .........................P529-12 .....$202.07 172/172Q, 1975-1986 ................P696-12 .....$233.00 172RG, 1980-1985 .....................P693-12 .....$233.00 177, 1968-1978 .........................P695-12 .....$189.76 177, 1971-1978 .........................P695-12 .....$189.76 180-185, 1974-1985 ..................P699-12 .....$233.00
180, 1953-1962 and 182, 1956-1961...............P259-12 .....$233.00 180, 1963-1973 and 185, 1961-1973...............P527-12 .....$233.00 182, 1962-1973 .........................P515-12 .....$215.68 182, 1974-1986 .........................P690-12 .....$233.00 R182/TR182, 1986-1987 ............P701-12 .....$193.33 188, 1966-1975 .........................P545-12 .....$209.25 188, 1976-1984 .........................P694-12 .....$209.25 190-195, 1948-1953 ..................P112-12 .....$209.25 Service Manuals 100 Series, 1953-1962 (for 150, 172, 175, 180, 182, and 185)* ............UD138-13 .......$71.95 100 Series,1963-1968 .............UD637-13 .......$75.13 * Also useful for the 120, 140 or 170 series
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150 Series,1969-1976 ............D971-3-13 .....$215.46 150 Series, 1977 ...................D2011-1-13 .....$193.00 152 Series, 1978-1985 .........D2064-1-13 .....$208.58 172 Series,1969-1976 ............D972-4-13 .....$202.07 172/172Q, 1977-1986 ..........D2065-3-13 .....$233.00 172, 1977-1981 ...................D2027-1-13 .....$215.46 FR172, 1968-1976..................D849-5-13 .....$220.00 172RG, 1980-1985 ...............D2066-1-13 .....$198.15 177, 1968-1978 .....................D841-8-13 .....$197.00 177RG, 1971-1975 .................D991-3-13 .....$217.46 177RG, 1976-1978 ...............D2009-4-13 .....$221.92 180/185, 1969-1980 ............D2000-9-13 .....$246.33 180/185, 1981-1985 ............D2067-1-13 .....$205.00 182, 1969-1976 ...................D2006-3-13 .....$205.00 182/T182,1977-1986 ...........D2068-3-13 .....$215.46 R182/TR182, 1978-86 ..........D2069-3-13 .....$215.46
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Vol. 48 No. 3
Featured Plane Practically Amazing 1953 Cessna 170 By Rocky Landsverk
Avionics Trio Pro Pilot: Affordable, Digital Co-Pilot By Bob Hart
Sky Talk How to Find a Good Deal By Scott “Sky” Smith
Stationary Panels & Their Structural Role By Elizabeth Gibbs & Lyle Jansma
Crewchief Systems App Review
Hangar Tip How to Fix Fuel Gauge Accuracy Problems for $20
By Scott Sherer
By Scott Sherer
40 Member Q&A 42 Member Photos
DEPARTMENTS 6 45
From the Publisher Advertiser Index & Website Directory
On the cover Donn Hopkins was the pilot of the photo-shoot flight, while friend and student pilot Erin Clancy helped in the right seat. Cessna the dog played the critical role of backseat driver. Photo by Jack Fleetwood (www.JackFleetwood.com). Learn more about this plane starting on Page 8.
The information presented in CESSNA OWNER Magazine is from many sources for which there can be no warranty or responsibility by the publisher as to accuracy, originality or completeness. The magazine is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering product endorsements or providing instruction as a substitute for appropriate training by qualified sources. CESSNA OWNER Magazine and JP Media LLC will not assume responsibility for any actions arising from any information published in CESSNA OWNER Magazine. We invite comments and welcome any report of inferior products obtained through our advertising, so corrective action may be taken. 4 CESSNA OWNER
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FROM THE PUBLISHER
CESSNA OWNER MAGAZINE
Vol. 48 • No. 3 The Official Publication of the
Cessna Owner Organization
www.CessnaOwner.org MEMBER SERVICES Account & Renewal Inquiries Cessna Owner Organization PO Box 8551 Big Sandy, TX 75755-9766 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Aviation Director Scott Sherer
Scott Sellers’ Cessna 182RG.
Paul New Live Event: In-Depth Maintenance Advice It started with a call from Scott Sellers, who is not only a member but also a writer for our magazine and a power user in our forum. Scott has attended Paul New events in the past, and learned so much from them that he wanted to rekindle them and bring them to other Cessna Owner Organization members. A few discussions and a few emails later, you have what is shown on Page 31 — a live event featuring not only Paul New but also Scott Sellers. “Common Cessna Maintenance Issues” will be a Saturday morning, half-day live tutorial on some of the most-pressing maintenance topics for vintage Cessna owners. We’re scheduling it for April 9 and have set the price at $300 for COO members. “Paul’s 182RG course saved me thousands of dollars on maintenance and made me aware of many key safety items that I believe were priceless,” Sellers told me. In case you don’t know, Paul New is the owner (along with his wife Helen) of Tennessee Aircraft Services, which was founded by Paul’s parents, Joseph and Mary New. Paul is not only an A&P/IA, he’s also a writer, podcaster, and teacher who has presented both online and at shows including AirVenture. Paul, Mike Busch, and Colleen Sterling are the experts in the AOPA podcast entitled “Ask the A&Ps.” Sellers, meanwhile, has a history of creating educational programming in his professional career and is a Cessna owner who is writing a series about restoring and upgrading his 182RG. “This event is going to help you engage in the maintenance of your aircraft in a meaningful way,” Sellers said. “Even if you’re not hands-on like most of us are, your knowledge of what can and should be done will be greatly improved.” The detailed agenda, available at CessnaOwner.org/webinars, is 839 words long! This is going to be an in-depth, meaty presentation, and you’re going to be glad you attended. If you can’t be there live that morning, we’ll have ways for you to ask questions and download the event later. Tailwinds,
Rocky Landsverk Publisher 6 CESSNA OWNER
Organization A&P/IA Erich Rempert
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ADMINISTRATION Cessna Owner Organization N7528 Aanstad Rd. - P.O. Box 5000 Iola, Wisconsin 54945
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CESSNA OWNER Magazine (ISSN 0745-3523) is the official publication of the Cessna Owner Organization. CESSNA OWNER Magazine is published monthly by the Aircraft Owners Group, P.O. Box 5000, N7528 Aanstad Rd., Iola, WI 54945. Periodicals postage paid at Iola, WI 54945 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CESSNA OWNER Magazine, P.O. Box 8551, Big Sandy, TX 75755-9766. Address all Membership/ Subscription Questions and/or Address Changes to: CESSNA OWNER Magazine, P.O. Box 8551, Big Sandy, TX 75755-9766. Phone: 1-888-692-3776. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Annual Dues: $59.00 per year in the USA. Foreign orders, please add $20 Canada/Mexico, $30 Overseas. Publications Agreement No. 40049720. Eighty percent (80%) of annual dues is designated for your magazine subscription.
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CESSNA OWNER 7
g n i z a Am
1953 Cessna 170 Just Keeps Flying By Rocky Landsverk
ometimes when you look back at 70-plus years of improvements in general aviation, you wind up asking yourself “where exactly was the progress?” The 1953 Cessna 170 owned by Daniel Hopkins of the Phoenix, Arizona, area is a great example. This month’s cover plane lives in Texas with Dan’s brother, Donn, who flies it the most now that Daniel is retired in Phoenix. Both brothers said it’s such a remarkable machine that they really haven’t had to do much upgrading or fixing during its 30 years in the family. “We haven’t done a whole lot to the airplane other than just flying,” Donn said. No, this plane isn’t perfect — it could use a VHF omni-directional range (VOR) receiver and some upgrades here and there. 8 CESSNA OWNER
But if your mission is to easily and enjoyably get from Point A to Point B, including across the country, you’re not flying over mountains too often, and you don’t need to carry four adults plus baggage, then Cessna had your problem solved in 1953.
The Origin Story
This plane was made in December 1953. Daniel was a pilot for Southwest Airlines for more than 30 years, retiring a few years ago. He bought this plane in April 1991 and flew it himself for many years when he still lived in Texas. “This airplane had been in Dallas for years and years, but it hadn’t been flown in many years,” Daniel said. “It had maybe 800 hours on it.” MARCH 2022
Daniel flew it about 100 hours a year for about five years before it started running rough, so it got an engine overhaul from a local company (it isn’t around anymore) in the mid-’90s. So that overhaul was more than 20 years ago, and it’s run great ever since. The engine is mostly original. “It had a bad cylinder a few years back, a low-compression cylinder that we had to change out,” Donn said. “That’s about the most major thing we’ve done.”
Not Just Age but Mileage
Left: Donn Hopkins was the pilot of the photo-shoot flight, while friend and student pilot Erin Clancy helped in the right seat. Cessna the dog played the critical role of backseat driver. (Photos by Jack Fleetwood, www.JackFleetwood.com) Below: Daniel Hopkins also owns a 170 at his retirement home in Arizona. He says his 170s have never met.
Most pilots wish they flew their planes more often and got it across the country now and then. That is not the case with this 170, which has been all over the country, including Alaska. It is certainly not a hangar queen. “I fly it at least a few times a week,” Donn said. “It’s a fun plane to fly. We’ve taken it to Oshkosh four or five times.” “We” in this case includes not only Donn and his brother Dan, but also Cessna Owner Organization photographer Jack Fleetwood. Donn and Jack typically make three stops if they bring it to Oshkosh from Texas. “We’ve been all over the country and it’s a great-flying airplane,” Fleetwood said. “I can tell you I just bought a 182 and my second choice was a 170. It’s a good go-somewhere airplane. It’s good for off-field because it’s a tailwheel; we’ve flown into 2,000-foot strips with no issues, with just Donn and I in there.” Daniel has flown it to the 170 association’s annual event in Missouri on the way to Oshkosh. He’s also had it to Anchorage.
You can have 10 airplanes out there on a ramp and the taildragger is going to catch your attention. Daniel Hopkins
CESSNA OWNER 9
Above: The Narco units in the lower left are what are currently used for radios. Below: The original Narco Omnigator is unpowered, though it looks cool in the panel anyway.
Mostly Original Panel
Scanning across the photos of the panel, you’ll notice that it’s mostly original, with little evidence that anything has been done to it. There have been a few modern improvements, with a few more upgrades on the way. “The panel is not original, but that’s the way it was when we got it,” Donn said. One of the first things you’ll see is that “it has the original radio, which is a cool touch, a Narco Omnigator” Fleetwood said. However, the Omnigator has an “inop” sticker on it, and its power source is removed. Daniel said the Omnigator wouldn’t be legal for operation even if it were working, and the Narco comm and transponder in the lower left are the operative avionics. The exception in the upgrade department is the new uAvionix tailBeacon. It isn’t used for ADS-B In, it only kicks out ADS-B, so there’s no evidence of it in the panel. 10 CESSNA OWNER
The simplicity offered by this panel is great for learning or for flying with ease for a veteran pilot. Fleetwood said it would be better if this plane had VOR, but other than that, he thinks this is a great plane in which to learn. “Donn did most of his training in this plane,” Fleetwood said. “And I think a tailwheel makes you a better pilot.”
This plane isn’t perfect on the outside, if you look closely enough, but it’s impressive for sure and certainly striking in its shininess. “That is the original paint scheme,” Donn said. “We’ve done a lot of polishing on it, and we keep it in a hangar.” Their secret to polishing is called Nuvite (Aircraft Spruce sells Nuvite Nushine II Metal Polish). Jack points out that Donn has spent many hours polishing this plane, and noted that at Oshkosh, there are a few perfect 170s, but this is certainly one of the nicer-looking planes of its age. CESSNAOWNER.ORG
CESSNA OWNER 11
SPECIFICATIONS & DIMENSIONS 1952-56 Cessna 170B Specs
Every vintage airplane is different. Do not use these specs to plan a flight. All data taken from the Standard Catalog of Cessna Single Engine Aircraft (JP Media LLC) Engine: Top Speed: Cruise Speed: Fuel Capacity: Range: Gross Weight:
Continental C-145-2 136 mph (118 knots) 126 mph (109 knots) 42 gallons 511 miles 2,200 lbs
Empty Weight: Avg. Useful Load: Takeoff Ground Roll: Takeoff Over 50 ft Obstacle: Landing Ground Roll: Landing Over 50 ft Obstacle: Rate Of Climb: Ceiling: Doors: Seats:
1,220 lbs 980 lbs 618 feet 1,625 feet 458 feet 1,145 feet 690 fpm 15,500 feet 2 4
Dimensions Cabin Width (at shoulder) Fuselage Length (approx.) Fuselage Height (approx.) Total Wingspan (approx.)
12 CESSNA OWNER
40 inches 24.9 feet 6.9 feet 36 feet
CESSNA OWNER 13
As you would expect, this plane is not expensive to run (relative to other planes). Donn said he typically flies about 115 mph and averages roughly 9 gallons per hour of fuel burn. For a ceiling, he likes to get to 8,500 feet or so for longer flights. “You get 110 to 120 mph, 9 gallons an hour, you can put three people in there comfortably, four if you watch the weight,” Fleetwood said. The specs chart in this article shows a top speed of 136 mph for 170 planes of this era, and a service ceiling of 15,500 feet, though most 170 owners wouldn’t take their planes up that high.
Daniel owns a few airplanes in Arizona, including a 100-horsepower Aeronca Champion, a 2009 RV8, and another 170, which he’s owned about a year. “A friend of mine had a beautiful 170 down here at Stellar Airpark (in Chandler, Arizona, stellarairpark.org) and he ended up selling it to me,” Daniel said. That plane was also made in 1953, so both of his 170s were “born” the same year. But the Arizona plane (photo on Page 9) was made in the spring and has a 1953 paint scheme and layout, whereas the Texas cover plane was built in December 1953 but has the 1954 paint scheme. “[The Texas plane] came out Dec. 10 and has the 1954 paint scheme,” Daniel said. “Also, the batteries are on the other side. It’s basically a 1954 airplane. The 1953 plane is also polished aluminum, but it’s got a darker blue.” The Hopkins 170 airplanes have never met, Daniel added.
When a 170 Might Be for You
If you often need to carry four people plus baggage, with an average useful load of 980 pounds including fuel, this is not the plane for you. And if 125 mph (108 knots) aren’t going to cut it, look elsewhere. Otherwise, if you know you’d like a tailwheel airplane, this is one of your better options. “These airplanes are kind of classic,” Daniel said. “This is basically a Cessna 172, but it’s a taildragger. “You can have 10 airplanes out there on a ramp and the taildragger is going to catch your attention. I used to work at a Cessna dealership in Austin, when I was in high school, and there would be 60 planes there, and two of them were taildraggers. “When I went to Alaska, I went up to Fort Yukon above the Arctic Circle, and I went down to Homer, and down to the Kenai Peninsula, and halibut fishing, and out of 60 airplanes you see up there, two of them are nose-wheels.” It’s not often that something so effective and reliable can also be called classy and classic. “It’s like a 1956 Chevrolet,” Daniel said. “It goes fast enough that we can actually go cross-country, and it goes slow enough that you can see stuff and enjoy the trip. You can put three people in it and be in good shape.” 14 CESSNA OWNER
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CESSNA OWNER 15
AVIONICS by Bob Hart - www.AvionixHelp.com
Trio Pro Pilot
Affordable, Digital Co-Pilot for your Cessna
f you’ve been following my articles, you know one of my repeated mantras is that any aircraft flown in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) should have an autopilot. Actually, a basic autopilot was what I said. Basic meant the ability to keep the wings level, tracking a VOR. ILS or GPS and tracking a heading is always a plus, especially if you get vectored a lot. Many of the factory-installed autopilots found in legacy Cessnas, if trustworthy, still meet that criterion. In 2015, I wrote an article in this magazine called “Everything You Want to Know About Cessna Legacy Autopilots.” It is still No. 1 on Google, so it is still seeing a lot of readership. The premise of that article was that the Cessna/ARC autopilot that you have in your legacy Cessna can actually fly your aircraft better than many of the aftermarket autopilots available at that time (in 2015), assuming it is healthy. The second premise was that you could totally rebuild that factory installed autopilot for one-third to one-half the cost of a comparable S-TEC or Century upgrade. In 2017, that premise expired. S-TEC/Genesys, Garmin, TruTrak, and Trio all came to market with a digital autopilot, none of which are anywhere near basic.
Beyond Basic Autopilots
The Garmin GFC 500, at about $26,000 installed with dual G5s and desirable autotrim, seems to be leading the pack. The STEC/Genesys 3100 (about $23,000 installed) — which, frankly, better resembles Garmin’s GFC 600 autopilots for higher-performance aircraft — isn’t getting quite the same buzz as the Garmin. These are both state-of-the-art GA autopilots for the serious true IFR pilot, and the price (and some advanced features) reflect that. If you are flying approaches to minimums and upgrading your autopilot, you should be looking here. Meanwhile, in 2019, the TruTrak Vizion in 2019 became the Bendix King AeroCruze 100. 16 CESSNA OWNER
In this article, we’re going to talk about another option — the Trio Pro Pilot.
Straight and Level
Trio’s heritage comes from the experimental/light sport market. In this market, technology is able to flourish with less FAA oversight. Trio answers more to its customers than to the FAA. The best example is the infamous straight-and-level button that we see in all four of the autopilots that were new in 2017. A button you can push that takes the aircraft to straight-and-level flight is monstrous! The GFC 500 is Garmin’s first autopilot for aftermarket (not factory-installed), and it has The Button. The G1000 autopilot did not. The upgraded G1000 NXi (2017) added it. S-TEC has certainly owned the aftermarket autopilot business for 25 years, but the 3100 is the first of their autopilots to have The Button. Yet owners of Trio autopilots have had the ability to stabilize the aircraft in pitch and roll by simply engaging the autopilot and could also command it to fly either a left or right controlled 180-degree turn. So, not only has Trio brought this technology to GA, but it has also done it at a price that fits into a reasonable light IFR — and even VFR — legacy panel. MARCH 2022
195 Panel with Trio.
The Trio Pro Pilot Autopilot
The Trio Pro Pilot is a digital, two-axis autopilot with built-in inertial sensors, and features and benefits typically only found on high-end autopilots. To get basic altitude hold in an S-TEC/Genesys autopilot (the leader in aftermarket autopilots) prior to 2017, you had to spend about $14,000 on equipment and another $4,000-plus in labor — $18k for a System 30 analog autopilot with basic altitude hold. The Pro Pilot gives you altitude hold, altitude pre-select, plus vertical speed and airspeed control on climb and descent for under $10,000, fully installed. Most modern autopilots, even the more basic legacy autopilots, have good capability on the horizontal axis; wings level, tracking of a VOR, ILS, or GPS, and (with external input) will track a heading. The Pro Pilot has GPS-based course track and does not require an external heading source. Where the real benefits come, especially for the IFR pilot, is in the vertical capability. The Trio Pro Pilot puts these features at the fingertips of the light IFR pilot at a price point that even meets the needs and budget of the VFR pilot who wants the added benefit and safety of an autopilot. Fact is, the Trio Pro Pilot was designed to meet the needs and budget of the light IFR community. Four years ago, if you had no autopilot or an untrustworthy legacy autopilot in your legacy plane and were planning a panel upgrade with an autopilot (with light IFR in mind) in the mix, it was hard to justify and not exceed a reasonable budget. The Trio Pro Pilot makes this possible. CESSNAOWNER.ORG
The Trio Pro Pilot uses a combination of GPS-derived data and inertial rate sensors for stabilization and navigation. There is no GPS in the Pro Pilot; it requires an interface to an external GPS. When interfaced to an IFR GPS with ARINC 429 interface, the autopilot is legal for WAAS GPS approaches, including the desirable LPV approach with vertical guidance. VFR pilots can actually install the Pro Pilot and interface it to a portable GPS through a NEMA 0183 interface that is common in portable GPS units. This autopilot does not track a VOR or ILS, but the full menu of GPS approaches is available. There are considerably more GPS approaches than ILS approaches in this country today. You’ll fly GPS for all your long-range navigation today, and GPS approaches at small airports, even GPS approaches to Class B airports, will become more common as time goes on. Here’s a shopping list of the features and benefits you get with the Trio Pro Pilot. In the Horizontal Axis (H NAV): • Track Mode* (TRK) tracks a GPS-directed flight plan course line. • Course Mode (CRS) tracks a pilot-directed vector. • Intercept Mode (INT) flies the airplane back to a previously entered flight plan (magenta line). o Note: The Pro Pilot will intercept a track up to 30 degrees. o The BK AeroCruze does not have this capability. • When directed, the Pro Pilot will execute a 180-degree course reversal or a straight-ahead Recover function. CESSNA OWNER 17
Recover Button: Certainly, the addition of a straight-and-level button on an autopilot is a significant improvement in design and safety. S-TEC (Genesys), the leader in aftermarket autopilots, first added this capability in their 3100, introduced in 2017, but pilots flying behind Trio’s experimental autopilots have had the auto 180 capability for years. S-TEC’s previous models were devoid of the S&L button. Envelope Protection: The Pro Pilot is customized to the specifics of your aircraft and your personal preferences, including maximum/minimum airspeed and max turn rate. When the autopilot is on, it will take control if these parameters are exceeded. The pilot can override. Airspeed Envelope Protection: Pro Pilot won’t allow the pilot to exceed maximum airspeed. Roll Envelope Protection: Pro Pilot won’t allow the pilot to exceed maximum roll rate. Pilot Control Steering: Center encoder knob allows in-flight adjustments of preset altitude, v-speed and rate, barometric pressure (etc.), and initiate turns. Nav Data display: Waypoint or approach data from the GPS is displayed on the Pro Pilot display, with distance and deviation. (The AeroCruze does not do this.) Track Offset: Allows you to run parallel (up to 3 miles) to busy routes and airways.
Pro Pilot in a 182Q (above) and a 172 (right).
Note: BK’s AeroCruze can also go to straight-and-level flight with a push of a button, but the Pro Pilot can perform a balanced left or right 180-degree turn at the push of a button! This feature will aid a VFR pilot who inadvertently flies into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). * The Pro Pilot allows you to offset your track up to 3 miles and run parallel on busy airways. The BK AeroCruze does not have this capability. In the Vertical Axis (V NAV): • Altitude hold • Vertical climb and descent rates, and airspeed capture and control o Note: The BK AeroCruze controls vertical speed (fpm). The Pro Pilot allows you to also control airspeed in climb or descent. This capability allows you to address engine cooling on climb or descent when FPM alone may not be doing the job. • Altitude pre-select, which can be used in conjunction with vertical modes The Pro Pilot displays both vertical and horizontal nav data on the face of the controller in approach mode. Essentially a backup to your CDI or HSI. The BK AeroCruze does not. 18 CESSNA OWNER
Auto 180: Performs an automatic, coordinated 180-degree turn. Servo Disconnect on Takeoff: Taking off with the autopilot on is a no-no. The Pro Pilot senses the servos are engaged and disconnects servos on takeoff. Pause function: A tap of the center encoder knob pauses climb or descent.
Pro Pilot Servos
Trio uses what they call Gold Standard Servos. They are not just motors with capstans or control arms. An internal microprocessor governs operation and automatically disconnects if a fault is detected. Trio uses a DC brushed motor with a servo clutch. Key element is internal fault-sensing and automatic disconnect. The Pro Pilot also offers the option of a remote autopilot disconnect switch, so the pilot has immediate access to disconnect the autopilot at any time.
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placard, STC kit hardware, and STC paperwork. Trio offers a 3-inch control head that fits a standard 3 1/8-inch instrument hole (popular with experimental builders), or a 2 ¼ inch by 6 ¼ inch control head that fits a standard radio stack. Cessna 172 Series Price: $5,595 STCs: C172, C172A, C172B, C172C, C172D, C172E, C172F (USAF T-41A), C172G, C172H (USAF T-41A), C172I, C172K, C172L, C172M, C172N, C172P, C172Q, C172R, C172S, C172RG, P172D, R172E (USAF T-41B-D), R172F (USAF T41D), R172G (USAF T-41C or D) R172H (USAF T-41D), R172J, R172K Note: The Cessna 175 comes in at the same price. Cessna 177 Series Price: $5,595 STCs: C177, C177A, C177B, and C177RG Cessna 180 Series Price $5,995 STCs: C180, C180A, C180B, C180C, C180D, C180E, C180F, C180G, C180H, C180J, and C180K Cessna 182 Series Price: $5,595 STCs: C182, C182A, C182B, C182C, C182D, C182E, 182F, C182G, C182H, C182J, C182K, C182L, C182M, C182N, C182P, C182Q, C182R, R182, TR182, 182S, 182T, T182, T182T Cessna 185 Series Price: $5,595 STCs: C185, C185A, C185B, C185C, C185D, C185E, and C185F, A185E, A185F Cessna 190 Series Price: $6,300 STC: C190 Cessna 195 Series Price: $6,300 STCs: C195, C195A, C195B Cessna LC126 Series: $6,300 STC: LC126 A & B
The factory estimates about 40 hours, but your installer’s firstever installation, or your specific model, may require a bit more. Complete, installed price should be under $10,000.
Acronyms in this article
VOR: VHF omni-directional range ILS: Instrument Landing System WAAS: Wide Area Augmentation System AGL: Above Ground Level VFR: Visual Flight Rules CDI: Course Deviation Indicators HSI: Horizontal Situation Indicators 20 CESSNA OWNER
“But — the STC says that I have to disconnect the Pro Pilot at 500 feet AGL?” (The AeroCruze STC requires a 700-foot AGL disconnect!) So what? I’ve been writing these articles and independently advising aircraft owners since 2013, the majority of whom define themselves as light IFR. Personal minimums are something we discuss. In those nine years, I have had maybe two clients whose light IFR personal minimums were below 500 AGL, most with closer to 1,000 feet personal minimums, before they would consider flying an approach to that airport. Fact is, light IFR pilots have no interest in flying approaches to minimums, although many Trio owners have flown their Pro Pilots down to the deck in VFR conditions just to prove the point. Bottom line: The Trio Pro Pilot is an autopilot designed to meet the needs of VFR or light IFR pilots and is priced accordingly. If you plan to fly deeper into IFR than a 500-foot ceiling, then you should be looking at an autopilot designed for true IFR, and you’ll need about $23,000 to $26,000 to do this.
For my light IFR clients who are planning an avionics upgrade that includes an addition or upgrade to their autopilots, I recommend the Trio Pro Pilot. The performance, features, and price of the Trio Pro Pilot allow aircraft owners who previously could not justify the expense of including an autopilot in their upgrade budget. Light IFR calls for, at minimum, a basic autopilot. The Trio Pro Pilot gives you a modern, digital co-pilot that approaches the capability that we only saw in the best autopilots prior to 2016. Note that Trio makes the autopilots and the STC Group handles STCs, kit engineering, marketing, and sales for Trio. What you can expect from both is excellent customer support. Trio has been manufacturing excellent autopilots for over 20 years, the majority of which went to hands-on, experimental builders who depend on a hands-on supplier with a culture of customer support. For the last four years Trio has brought this culture to the light IFR pilot who is flying an affordable, legacy, certified aircraft. Looking to upgrade an autopilot in your legacy Cessna? I think you need to take a serious look at the Trio Pro Pilot. Thanks for Reading! Until next time — Safe and Happy Flying! Bob Hart purchased his first airplane in 1971 at age 21. He’s owned five others since. As a Senior Avionics Consultant at Eastern Avionics, Bob has personally sold over $20 million in Avionics. Bob now offers avionics advice through many online forums and consults avionics clients through his website www.AvionixHelp.com. He is semi-retired. After living in Colombia, South America, for a few years, he is now back in sunny Florida. Editor’s Note: Bob Hart is a regular participant on the Cessna Owner Organization’s forums and is available to answer your avionicsrelated questions. To contact him, visit www. CessnaOwner.org, click the Forums tab, and scroll down to the “Avionics” forum. COO membership is required. MARCH 2022
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SKY TALK by Scott “Sky” Smith
How to Find a Good Deal
A Checklist to Use if you Want to go Shopping
ver hear the great story about the $5,000 dollar Learjet? Or the Cessna 172 for $1,000? Or how about the aircraft some person inherited and sold for a few hundred dollars just to get it out of the barn? I have. Many times! And usually that’s all they are — great stories. They could be the urban legends of aviation. Good deals that are too good to be true! They should be selling them on midnight cable TV. The fact is most are too good to be true, but there are good deals to be found all around the country if you know where to look. Many are hangar queens and ramp ornaments that haven’t been flown for years. It takes time to find them, and time and money to get them flying.
22 CESSNA OWNER
Be Ready to Be Patient
After selecting the right type or model of aircraft for your situation, the next step in keeping your flying affordable is finding that good deal. It’s not easy, of course. You can call after seeing an ad, over and over again, and it can be frustrating looking for that affordable aircraft. Don’t give up. There is hope, and a great aircraft is waiting for you at an affordable price. Finding that good deal can take a few days or a few years. Be persistent and prepared. With today’s prices, you need to spend a lot of time looking for the right plane. MARCH 2022
sifieds is the inability to see the aircraft easily. Usually, the aircraft are located at airports that are far, far away in another galaxy. Even the photo ads often say “file photo” and leave a lot to be desired. One of the biggest complaints from buyers today is that “the aircraft is never as represented.” The regularly used term is “it’s a piece of junk.” And this is after the buyer has traveled all the way across the U.S. to look at the airplane. Another frequent complaint is that, “if it’s a good aircraft, it’s always sold to a local by the time I get across the country to look at it.”
Hangar Shopping Programs
Another fun way to locate the aircraft of your dreams is to participate in a “hangar shopping” (like window shopping) program. This is the search method of renting or borrowing someone’s aircraft and flying around to different airports looking for aircraft that might be for sale. The advantages are that you can get a visual impression of the aircraft, you get flying time, and you visit a number of different airports. The disadvantages are you can’t cover as much territory as with the classifieds, and, unless you have a lot of time and money, you can’t cover as much territory. I once heard of a good deal found by hangar shopping. It was a ’65 Cessna 210 that was chained to a pole inside a hangar at an airport that no longer existed. The runway had been plowed up for years and everyone who knew of the aircraft said it could not be bought and that the owner couldn’t get a clear title. After meeting with the owner, a price was set. For $5,500, he guaranteed that the chain would be unlocked, and we would get a clear title. Of course, we had to get it out of the area on a truck! That aircraft had 500 hours on a chrome overhaul, no radios, and a good airframe. The resale price was $7,500. One of the reasons the aircraft was finally sold: The owner felt that “everyone always wanted to steal my aircraft, but we offered him a fair price!” A little elbow grease and negotiating, and it was a done deal. Still thinking urban legend?
Dealers and Brokers
Be Ready to Move Fast
Once you start the search, it’s important that you are ready to take the step when the aircraft presents itself. Being prepared means having your hangar deposit paid and key to the hangar door, your insurance agent ready to bind coverage, your financing approved, the banker’s phone number, and your instructor’s cell phone number. With all those things in place, you’re ready to start your quest. But where to look? You can always start with the national classified papers and magazines, or you can start hangar shopping yourself. Traditionally, searching through the classifieds covers the most territory in the quickest amount of time. The problem with the clasCESSNAOWNER.ORG
Don’t forget the use of dealers and brokers as another option for buying an aircraft. Many times, the brokers/dealers can take a lot of the headaches out of the process. They have the purchase agreements, the FAA forms, and the knowledge to put the deals altogether. Of course, the broker needs to make money. That’s their job. If you are on a budget and are trying to keep this aircraft purchasing cost to a minimum, and have the time to do this yourself, do it without a broker. If time is important to you or you’re not comfortable with the search-and-buy process, sign up now with a good aircraft broker or visit a dealer. [Ed. Note: See “One-Stop Shopping” in the November 2020 issue, Page 31, for an example of how this works with Van Bortel.] When you call an ad, make a note to ask the person if they are a broker or dealer. If they are, find out if they specialize in any aircraft. Some broker/dealers don’t like to deal in certain models of aircraft. Many times, they will pass on a good deal or potential trade-in to someone that wants that specific model of aircraft. As a buyer and owner of custom aircraft, it is not unusual for a broker to call and see if I’m interested in a certain model that they don’t want, usually at a low trade-in price that can make his deal work, and I can get a good buy. CESSNA OWNER 23
Of course, this means that you have to contact the brokers and dealers and tell them what you are looking for and see if they deal in them. Be careful, you don’t want to be listed on every salesman’s list as a prospect without setting up the ground rules. If you are they’ll be calling you every day with a great deal they don’t want you to miss.
Local newspaper want ads, or ads on online classified websites, have worked for a few buyers. The wording in the ad should ask for a good aircraft and explain that you are an individual willing to pay a fair price. That’s a major point: “A fair price.” For years, aircraft brokers have been sending postcards to owners trying to buy their aircraft, sight unseen. That usually means cheap. This is the owner’s pride and joy. Almost no one will just give away their aircraft! If you can explain that you are a private buyer and you are willing to pay a fair price, that can have much better results.
What to Ask
Good interviewing skills can eliminate a large percentage of the aircraft. Like flying, use a checklist (you do use a checklist, don’t you?) with a series of questions for the seller. These questions need to cover specifications, equipment, logbooks, and more. Any detail that you can think of. You can eliminate nine out of 10 aircraft with a good round of questioning, and you never spend more than the price of a phone call. When you find that one ad about that one aircraft, that special plane, the one that sounds like the one to buy, you’ll be better informed, experienced, and ready to commit to the pre-purchase trip. It is a difficult and time-consuming process, but don’t skip any ad that looks like your type of aircraft. Sometimes ads only tell a small portion of the story. Talking to the owner is the best way to find out the details about how the aircraft was maintained, owned, and flown. That could take numerous calls and many hours of discussion, but remember, phone calls are cheaper than airline tickets!
CHECKLIST FOR AIRPLANE DEAL SHOPPING 1. Prepare to be patient 2. Be ready to move quickly (hangar paid for, financing approved, etc.) 3. Be prepared to be diligent and not give up 4. Consider a hangar shopping trip 5. Consider a want ad in newspapers and online 6. Prepare a seller-interview checklist 7. Consider buying a cheaper model 8. Utilize a dealer or broker if you can’t stomach the above 24 CESSNA OWNER
If you are going to use the classifieds, expect to call lots of sellers and ask lots of questions. Don’t hesitate to call the dealers and brokers, but make sure that they have access to the aircraft or can get you access to the aircraft. If they can’t get you pictures, will they let you talk to the owner? And can the owner get you pictures? As a buyer, you need to get as much preliminary information before you ever go to look at the aircraft.
If Necessary, Buy Less Airplane
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a cheap aircraft is cheap for a reason. If your only concern is price, you might be better off picking a different model that costs less to operate and buy. Many people want to buy more than they can afford but figure they can cut corners and make it work somehow. They rationalize that if they can get one that has been sitting around and buy it cheap, they’ll have an affordable plane. That’s not always the case. One example was a 1960s era Cessna 337 Skymaster. This is Cessna’s much-maligned push-pull twin. The aircraft sold for $6,500. It was flyable, but (here comes the “good deal” part) at this point the aircraft was about $15,000 less than the used book value. The aircraft was resold for $9,500 to a salvage company. Here’s where things went bad. The $9,500 buyer resold the aircraft to a local buyer, who had it worked on. When the mechanic was done with the first round of parts, the bill was just over $26,000. That wasn’t all; the owner decided not to finish the project and put it up for sale. The aircraft was resold for $24,000, then refurbished. Can you see where this is going? Final costs with new paint, interior, radios, etc. were over $80,000.
That example is just one of many. Yes, there are good, cheap aircraft out there. But you get what you pay for, and often you get less than you pay for. There is a reason many are sitting on the ramps growing grass in the fuel tanks (like a ’65 C310 I looked at) — they’d cost too much for the owner to fix. How does the average buyer know if the aircraft with the flat tires at the end of the tie-down area is a good deal? That is an extremely difficult question. Education and research (and a good mechanic) are the only things that protect the buyer from buying a flightless bird. If you do all the research, look at the logbooks, and ask all the questions, you still might get a problem aircraft. But if you take a few extra precautions, you can reduce the risk and possibly save some money at the same time. Scott “Sky” Smith is a nationally recognized writer and speaker. He is the author of “How to Buy a Single-Engine Airplane,” “How to Buy a Skymaster,” “Ultimate Boat Maintenance Projects” and “How to Build a Hot Tuner,” (published by Motorbooks International). Smith’s background includes: aircraft and avionics sales, boat dealership and fiberglass manufacturer. He is a single and multi-engine pilot with over 30 years’ experience. Smith is also owner of Sky Smith Insurance Agency, a nationally recognized specialty insurance agency, insuring boats, custom vehicles, and aircraft since 1985. MARCH 2022
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The Importance of Knowing Their Structural Role By Elizabeth Gibbs
hen was the last time you thought about why your instruments are arranged the way they are? Often the only time it is thought about is when a pilot is looking to upgrade their instruments or rearrange them to a more pleasing layout. Modern Cessna 172s are equipped with impressive G1000 “glass cockpit” screens, but it is more likely that many pilots who learned in the Cessna 172 learned with “steam gauges” in a standard six-pack layout with a center radio stack. When compared to the 172N, P, R, and early S models, older models have nonstandard layouts that seem to lack symmetry and purpose. When older models are purchased, owners often look at their jumbled instrument layout and consider how they can re-create that six-pack layout that they trained on. But the reason for these nonstandard layouts might be more complex than some owners realize. The original instrument panel came in three parts. The first was a plastic overlay, which revealed only the faces of the instruments and presented the pilot with a relatively pleasing and uncluttered view. Once the plastic overlay was pulled off (or broken off due to age and wear), most of the instruments are contained in an aluminum panel known as the shock panel. The shock panel is attached to the structure behind it using a set of rubber mounts, meant to isolate the sensitive instruments from the vibration of the aircraft. Instruments typically considered less sensitive, such as engine and temperature gauges, were often mounted directly to the structure behind the plastic. That structural piece is called the stationary panel. It is a part of the aircraft’s structure and, according to the Cessna 172 service manual, considered not ordinarily removable due to being directly secured to engine mount stringers and a forward fuselage bulkhead. Over the many years of Cessna 172 production, the stationary panel has been redesigned several times, which created many different nonstandard layouts through the early years. It is the stationary panel that defines the layout of the instruments, not the outer layers of the instrument panel. A redesign of the aluminum shock panel can sometimes yield slightly better results, but owners will often find it nearly impossible to achieve the look they want without running into the stationary panel structure behind.
An Overview of Models
Early models of 172, from 1956 to 1958, took the design from earlier Cessna models, similar to the 170. The stationary panel was designed to be open around and above the yokes to allow for the various-sized instruments. Most of the instruments were positioned above the control wheels, while radios were below the control yokes in the lower panel, and both the shock panel and plastic overlay were one piece and contained all instruments. 26 CESSNA OWNER
DA Diagram A: Example of typical stationary panel available area for Cessna 172 models from 1964 through 1976, with outlines of commonly requested avionics configurations.
The 1959 172 and the 1960 172A panels held the same general shape, but most of the instruments were shifted to a shock panel that extended only from the left side to near the center. From there, the stationary panel housed most of the engine instruments. In all models 1960 and prior, instruments and radios were limited on placement due to the T shape of the control column, with a bar directly connecting the two control yokes behind the panel (see Images 1 & 2). MARCH 2022
A Cessna 1959/1960 172A stationary panel, front side.
A Cessna 1959/1960 172A stationary panel, rear side.
A Cessna 172B through 172D stationary panel, front side.
A Cessna 172B through 172D stationary panel, rear side.
In 1961, with the introduction of the 172B, and continuing on through 1963 with the 172C and 172D, the stationary panel changed significantly and began to take on a more familiar shape. By moving the radio location from below the yokes to the two small bays in the center of the stationary panel, space below the control yoke was now utilized for flight instruments. This design change allowed for three standard 3.125-inch instruments to be placed below the pilot-side yoke and the remainder of the flight instruments to be positioned directly to the left and right of the yoke. Engine instruments were laid out throughout the remainder of the stationary panel, positioned around the radios. The radios were confined to two smaller stacks due to the continued use of the T bar for the control yokes (see Images 3 & 4). The 1964 172E changed the T bar into a U shape welded to a center column. This opened up the space needed for the center radio stack. The pilot-side shock panel was slightly redesigned again to move the three 3.125-inch instruments above the yoke in a column, and the other instruments were shifted to cluster around the control yoke to compensate. Switches, fuses, cabin air, and heat controls were moved to the area below the pilot’s control yoke after giving up their previous positions to accommodate the radio stack. To create space for this, the solution was to build up the control yoke support into a tapered area that created room for the displaced switches and controls. All engine instruments were clustered on the right-side panel, built into the stationary panel. Additionally, an area was added to the far right of the panel for more radio equipment to be installed (see Diagram B). Between 1965 and 1970, minimal changes were made to the panel design. Fuses, switches, and air controls were shuffled around until they found their home solely in the lower panel. By 1967 the tapered control yoke support was empty, and Cessna opted to cover that empty area completely with a plastic panel on these models, hiding what is essentially unusable space (see Image 5). A big jump in panel design came with the 1971 172L (see Diagram E, Images 6 & 7). In an attempt to do away with as much unusable space as possible, the stationary panel was built with CESSNAOWNER.ORG
Note: In Diagrams B through I, the structural stationary panel is depicted in light gray, with dark gray representing the outline of the traditional plastic overlay. Red instruments depict a conflict that requires removal of a portion of the stationary panel to fit. Green instruments represent no conflict.
Diagram B :Top two images depict the Cessna 172E through 172K stock configuration. Bottom two images depict conflicts created by attempting to create the standard six-pack configuration. CESSNA OWNER 27
DC 5 Above: Typical Cessna 172K model with original instrument layout with some updates. Many similar 172s are prime candidates for modern avionics upgrades. Diagram C: Cessna 172E through 172K stationary panel depicted with dual Garmin G5 installation positioned in the center above the yoke. Diagram D: Cessna 172E through 172K stationary panel depicted with a 10-inch Garmin G3X screen above the pilot’s side yoke, as well as two commonly requested positions for the accompanying 7-inch vertical display. The G5 instrument is required equipment in this installation.
an open area for the pilot’s side panel with the control yoke support narrowed. The panel could now accommodate four rows of three instruments, however, due to the curve of the panel, the far-left row could only accommodate two 3.125-inch instruments and one 2.25-inch instrument. The center area above the yoke was still too small at this point to house two 3.125-inch instruments, so this became the home of built-in marker beacon lights and a suction gauge. The right side of the stationary panel has an open top section, where a plate screws on that houses fuel and temperature gauges. On the far-right side, the area was enlarged to allow for more auxiliary radio space. This was the last iteration of the nonstandard layouts, and it lasted until late 1975, when a fundamental change began with the 172M, serial number 17265685. At this time, Cessna opted to lower the control yokes to gain more space within the panel area. Lowering the yokes nearly 1.5 inches, along with narrowing the outer edges of the stationary panel slightly, finally allowed for the clearance needed to fit two full-sized 3.125-inch instruments above the controls. At last, after 19 years, the Cessna 172 was able to fit a standard six-pack layout. Taking the time to understand the structure behind the plastic overlay is an important first step in understanding which of the many avionics upgrade solutions are right for your model of Cessna.
Remember that the stationary panel is a structural part, attached to engine mount stringers and a forward fuselage bulkhead.
Faced With a Problem
One of, if not the most tantalizing of modern avionics upgrades available today is the glass cockpit. There are many versions on the market, but the current most popular two are the Garmin G3X Touch and the Dynon Skyview HDX. Both offer smaller 7-inch displays depending on the system, but the larger 10-inch primary flight displays (PFDs) are often the more desirable of the two options. These screens can be integrated with GPS units, radios, transponders, and autopilots to create a seamless user experience. Both systems are STCed and include all models of Cessna 172 in their approved models list. 28 CESSNA OWNER
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6 Above: Stock 172M instrument panel layout, shown as it would have looked leaving the factory in the early 1970s. (Cessna Promotional Photo) Below: A typical, unaltered stationary panel of a 1974 Cessna 172M, stripped of all instruments and wiring, preparing for a major upgrade.
Diagram E: Top two images depict Cessna 172L through late-1975 172M stationary panel with stock configuration. Bottom two images depict conflicts created by attempting to create standard six-pack configuration.
However, there is a problem when it comes to installing these larger 10-inch screens in older models. Prior to pulling apart any part of the instrument panel, the owner of a pre-late-1975 Cessna 172 could print out the manufacturer-provided templates, hold them up to the plastic overlay, and find that the larger screens appear to fit with minimal adjustments. Once the plastic overlay and shock panel are both removed, another story becomes evident. In Cessna 172 models without the standard six pack, in which the stationary panel does not allow for two 3.125-inch instruments above the control yoke, the larger screens will not fit. In order to make them fit, significant portions of the stationary panel must be cut away. In some models, metal must be completely removed all the way to the glare shield (see Diagrams D, F, G, and H). Other common modifications that involve removal of a significant amount stationary panel material also include any additional Multi Function Display (MFD) screens or iPads on the right side of the panel. Remember that the stationary panel is a structural part, attached to engine mount stringers and a forward fuselage bulkhead. The stationary panel’s primary job is to carry the load of your instruments and avionics in all phases of flight, including straight-and-level cruise flight and during all flight maneuvers including stalls, stall recovery, steep turns, etc. It is difficult to ascertain exactly how much additional load the stationary panel bears beyond the instruments, but it is likely that it bears at least some fuselage load and possibly even forward landing-gear load. Considerations must be taken during any new avionics or instrument installations to minimize any actions that could compromise structural integrity. 30 CESSNA OWNER
7 Section 1.3 of Dynon’s Skyview HDX installation manual reads: “Airplanes identified on the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) Approved Model List (AML) have been determined to meet a minimum required configuration for applicability of the STC. However, as some airplanes may have been modified over the years, it may be difficult to use the information in this manual to completely substantiate the installation in compliance with the STC. It is the installer’s responsibility to make the final determination of applicability for each individual aircraft.” Dynon, as well as other avionics manufactures, have taken care to ensure their products will be able to perform all the intended functions in each model on the approved model list. However, they have also acknowledged that over the years, many different modifications may have occurred, making it difficult to know if their system will fit or not. Keep in mind that the Dynon Skyview STC covers not only their 10-inch screen but also their 7-inch screen, which performs all the same functions and will fit in many older models that the larger screen will not. The avionics shop that is installing the system has the final say as to whether the systems will fit in the aircraft, but take caution MARCH 2022
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Diagram F: Cessna 172L through late-1975 172M stationary panel depicted with Dynon Skyview HDX 1100 10-inch display with HDX 800 7-inch display on right side. Accompanying Dynon D10A is required equipment in this installation.
Diagram G: Cessna 172L through late-1975 172M stationary panel depicted with dual Dynon Skyview HDX 1100 10-inch displays. Accompanying Dynon D10A is required equipment in this installation.
when speaking to a shop that appears to have little regard for the stationary panel as a structural part. In recent conversations with FAA representatives from my local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), I was astonished to hear that there are shops that operate under the belief that the stationary panel is not a structural part. In some aircraft this may be true, but it is not so in the case of the Cessna 172, especially not in the eyes of the FAA.
It is not impossible for owners to install their dream avionics in their legacy airplane. It is likely that the only way to keep the aging fleet of 172s going is to update them and maintain them. However, by perpetuating these misunderstandings about how to deal with modifying the stationary panel, the future airworthiness of these airplanes may be at risk. It is not impossible to install a 10-inch screen in an older model of 172, but a few extra steps may need to be taken to ensure that the structural integrity remains intact. Usually, a few extra steps equal a few extra dollars, but why cut corners when it comes to the structure of your airplane? The FAA has outlined regulations for how to deal with making modifications to stationary panels. AC 43.12-2B, Section 203, Subsection A states the following: “The stationary instrument panel in some aircraft is part of the primary structure. Prior to making any additional ‘cutouts’ or enlargements of an existing ‘cutout,’ determine if the panel is part of the primary structure. If the panel is structural, make additional ‘cutouts’ or the enlargement of existing ‘cutouts’ in accordance with the aircraft manufacturers’ instructions, or substantiate the structural integrity of the altered panel in a manner acceptable to the Administrator.” If the stationary panel needs to be altered to install a larger display or to accommodate that six pack, then those alterations can be made if done in a manner that maintains the structural integrity to the same standards and is documented in the log32 CESSNA OWNER
Diagrams H and I: Cessna 172L through late-1975 172M stationary panel depicted with a 10-inch Garmin G3X screen above the pilot’s side yoke as well as two commonly requested positions for the accompanying 7-inch vertical display. The G5 instrument is required equipment in this installation.
To download or print high-resolution versions of the diagrams in this article, visit cessnaowner.org/stationary-panels books. These are considered major alterations, which may require the need to involve a Designated Engineering Representative (DER). The DER can assist in determining what additional supports and modifications are needed to ensure structural integrity of the airframe is maintained. Once modifications are approved by the DER, they will issue a form 8110-3 detailing the modification, and it will be added to your aircraft’s logbook along with a 337. Looking forward, the FAA is working to provide STCed solutions that could allow for the installation of avionics that require a larger area within the stationary panel. These products are under careful consideration to ensure they provide the same or better structural integrity to the airframe while allowing for 10-inch displays or standard six-pack instrument layouts. If you have any further questions prior to installing new avionics in your aircraft, do not hesitate to contact your local FSDO and ask to speak with someone regarding this matter. Also, read AC 43.13-2 to gain further understanding of the recommended considerations for structural parts as well as avionics installations. Beware when you see aircraft owners on social media and YouTube advertising installations of larger primary flight display screens in Cessna 172 models prior to late 1975. Make sure that you do your own research to know the proper measures which can be taken to ensure that the structural integrity of your aircraft is maintained. Elizabeth Gibbs (writer) and Lyle Jansma (photographer) are private pilots and co-owners of a Cessna 172. When they’re not flying above the beautiful Pacific Northwest, they are working hard designing instrument panels for other Cessna owners. To learn more about upgrading your instrument panel, email firstname.lastname@example.org. MARCH 2022
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Record-Keeping in the New World Crewchief Systems App Digitizes and Automates Your Maintenance Logs by Scott Sherer - FAA Master Pilot, author and COO Aviation Director
’ve owned eight aircraft over the last six decades, four singles and four twins, and I’ve absolutely loathed the record-keeping requirements that come with aircraft ownership. In fact, three years ago I created a webinar on this topic to help make other aircraft owners’ lives a little better in this area (it will be updated this year and available at cessnaowner.org/ webinars). It’s very challenging for many owners to understand and implement the tasks needed for maintenance record keeping that comes with aircraft ownership. • Service Bulletins: Your shop doesn’t do these during your annual unless you ask for them. • ADs: They do those automatically. • Routine maintenance: Can I do that? How do I log it? When is maintenance due? • Annual Inspection: One year. • 100-hour Inspection: Do I need that? • Individual AD dates, batteries, ELTs, 337s, TSOs, and STCs. Ugh! On our online forums, I get the same questions from our members over and over again as they struggle to put it all together. And for me, even though I’ve been doing this for decades, I don’t enjoy it and it certainly doesn’t get any easier. So what to do? There’s a new option: A cloud-based digital platform called Crewchief Systems.
Cloud-based, in this case, means that your aircraft data is kept very securely in “the cloud.” This application has two 34 CESSNA OWNER
front ends for your use. In my personal case, even though I carry a cellphone, I use the web mostly from my PC with its large screen. I enjoy that experience, and Crewchief Systems (CCS) has an excellent interface. For those of you who have and enjoy using smaller mobile screens, CCS is totally optimized for an excellent mobile experience with apps for both Android and iOS.
OK, got it, what does it do?
Some of you might remember an old V-8 tomato juice commercial where the person slaps themselves on the forehead and says, “I could have had a V-8!” This is one of those kinds of moments. This web-based database application takes over the record-keeping and tracking of all the data needed to manage your aircraft. It stores your aircraft, engine, and prop logbooks; ADs, Service Bulletins, squawk lists, VOR synchronization logging, nav and other computer database tracking, and if you have more than one aircraft, fleet management. All of this sounds simple, but if you have an airplane, you know how hard this really is. And when you have your data loaded, your shop is in the loop, too. For example, if you end your flight and your wingtip lights are flickering, you bring up the app on your phone and store that as a squawk. If you’ve added your shop to your account and taught them how to run the program, they can be notified and respond to the squawk with:
B. We’ll put it on the list for the next annual inspection. C. Make an appointment, there’s nothing urgent to worry about. You don’t have to contact your shop if you’ve added them to the account; this is done for you. And what if you have an AD come due next month? You and your shop are automatically notified. Your annual inspection? Same thing. The key thing is that you don’t have to remember — the system does it all for you and coordinates you and your shop!
A. Bring the plane in and we’ll get that fixed ASAP. MARCH 2022
The Inputting Work
So how does all this data get into the program? None of us wants to sit and type in all your logbooks. You will need to have your logbooks in front of you when you load data, but you don’t type anything. With your CCS app installed on your cellphone, you take a photo of each page of your logbooks, and the application and CCS does the rest. Your maintenance database entries are loaded by the application scanning the logbook photos. CCS’s team of A&Ps and industry professionals will also thoroughly review the maintenance history of your plane, identifying any gaps and making recommendations on items that may have been missed. This is a great benefit. At this point it would be helpful to see what this application looks like from the owner’s point of view. I’m going to do this from a PC’s larger screen, but all the data is the same on a mobile device.
Logging In & My Profile Page Start by visiting their website at www. crewchiefsystems.com. There’s a large quan-
tity of excellent information on that site that you will find useful. If you wish to sign up, click on the yellow “Enroll Now” box in the upper right corner. Note that Cessna Owner Organization has secured a 15%-off coupon code if you pay up front for a year. Please use code JPM15 under Step 3 in the COUPON field. For the purposes of this article’s photos, CCS set me up with a username called “Scott@Crewchief Demo.” The photos are not my real information. Aircraft Profile Page Feeling empowered by the ease of my first experience with CCS, I went to the blue menu on the left side of the screen and clicked on “Aircraft Profile.” There’s a variety of information to fill in on this page, such as: • Aircraft make, model, serial number, tail number, total time since new. • Engine make, model, serial number, and total times (several). • Propeller make, hub model and serial number, blade make, blade model, number of blades, blade serial numbers.
Optional but interesting: There is a spot for installed equipment where you can load just about anything, including their serial numbers. This may be useful in the future should you be unfortunate enough to have a theft. Equipment serial numbers would be readily available for reporting to appropriate authorities. Aircraft Records Page For our members who don’t like paperwork and record keeping, I get it. Paperwork and record keeping, as tedious and time-consuming as they are, are still necessary, and that’s the whole point of the software system. When you first set up your system using the app on your iPhone or Android, you photograph your logbooks and records and they are auto-magically stored in the cloud, totally secure and accessible on your aircraft records page. When you access this page, you will see a banner across the top with your tail number, and the make and model of your aircraft. While this may seem obvious, there are flight schools and members with multiple aircraft who will appreciate this. Underneath the banner is a line with total airframe time, appropriate engine times, and appropriate prop times. Listed underneath is a vertical listing of scanned file topics. Those topics are: Aircraft, Propeller, Engine, AD Compliance Report, Weight and Balance, 337 forms, STCs, Oil Analysis, and
CESSNA OWNER 35
8130 forms. When you click on them, they open scanned, summary PDF files of your logbooks and other printed records. All your records are available to you or your mechanic on your computer browser, cellphone, or laptop computer. Dashboard The next item is your Dashboard. This is a very cool one-stop page to let you know how your aircraft is doing. They list many aircraft topics, which I will list shortly. Each is color-coded in green for OK, orange for “look at this soon,” and red for “high priority, look at this now.” Here is a list of the items being tracked. • Annual Inspection • 100 Hour • ELT Service • Oil • Aircraft Battery • Magnetos • Airworthiness Directives • Service Bulletins • Fire Extinguisher • Inspect Tread Depth on Gear 36 CESSNA OWNER
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
S-Bearing Thrush Bearing Wash and Wax Airplane Wash Engine Nav DB VOR Check Pitot Static Transponder Altimeter Pilot Medical Flight Review Registration Insurance If any of these are coming up for review, they change from green to orange. If they are past due, they switch to red. AD/SB List On the AD/SB page, you will find the usual status banner at the top of the screen which we discussed earlier. Below there are two round graphs. The left graph shows ADs by type: Aircraft, Propeller, Engine, and Appliance. In our example case, 39% of the ADs are for my airframe, 0% for my prop, 43% for my engine, and 17% for appliances (e.g., avionics).
The second graph shows the status of all ADs. In my case, there are 23 ADs being followed. The system says that 1 (green, of course) is being tracked, 6 are terminated (one time only) and are blue, 1 is due soon (and orange), and none are deferred (gray). One is overdue and therefore is red. Underneath the two graphs is an itemized listing of each AD and all the appropriate information about each one. Maintenance Management This is where it gets exciting and all your work pays off. When you go to the Maintenance Management page, you get the total number of maintenance items in the system above a circular graph that shows each of the categories that your maintenance items fall in. They are: • Core • Configurable • Custom On the right side are three small boxes that show the number of items tracked as “Due” in the color green, followed by the number “Due Soon” in yellow (caution), and finally the number “Overdue” in red. MARCH 2022
When you scroll down a little, you get the Core items: • 100-hour • Altimeter • Annual • ELT Service • Pitot/Static • Transponder These are your core maintenance items that the system is tracking. You can then select between Core, Configurable and Custom. I’m choosing Configurable at this time. On Configurable (which you can configure, obviously) I entered: • Aircraft Battery • Fire Extinguisher • Insurance • Magnetos • Oil • Registration Finally, I click on the Custom tab, and it comes up with: • Inspect Tread Depth on Tires • Thrush Bearing • Wash and Wax Plane • Wash Engine
And like the main Maintenance Management screen, they come up in green, yellow, and red. A quick glance at the colors and you can see if you have anything needing attention. It couldn’t be easier, quicker, or more error-free. The Flight Log screen has tabs for: • Flight Logs • Navigation Date • VOR Check Flight Logs and More Crewchief Systems’ flight log updates are quick and easy, taking only seconds to enter. Entering each flight in the system is an important step in accurately tracking maintenance items related to flight hours/aircraft usage. I have chosen not to use this, as I keep my log in book form. Also, many folks use the logbook in Foreflight and other systems, and having multiple logbooks can do more harm than good. If you want to track your subscription dates for your GPS, EFIS, or other nav systems, this can be used. Also, this area will track any device that you may have. I use it to track my Aspen PFD and my Avidyne 540 GPS.
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Finally, this system will track your VOR checks, if you wish it to. It’s a legal requirement, and this is a good way to get a reminder to do this. Squawk List The final item is tracking your Squawks. The Squawk list is usually given to your shop at annual inspection time or if the problem is serious enough to have work done sooner. You can also use it to track projects that you do yourself, and it works perfectly for scheduling restoration projects. Again, there is a circular graph that shows your squawk totals by category and quantity. The categories are: • Opened • Scheduled • Deferred • Closed On the right side of the screen is a pictorial image of the same thing, based on a calendar schedule. It gives you a timeline of all the squawks and how they’re progressing through to completion. On the right side is a red exclamation point indicating any squawks that are overdue. Again, when you scroll down you get an itemized list of each squawk: • Reported date • Author • Status • Comments Each of these is categorized by: • Engine • Avionics • Airframe • Landing Gear • (More)
Data Security and Privacy
One of the concerns about remote server-based data storage is security and privacy. After all, we hear about big companies being hacked from time to time on the news, with millions of users’ identities being stolen. This should be of great concern to everyone. So how safe is our data on CCS? First, CCS does not sell or otherwise make your data available to any other person, company, or governmental authority (without a court order, which has never happened). Second, they use the corner of the cloud managed by Google, which is 38 CESSNA OWNER
CREWCHIEF SYSTEMS www.crewchiefsystems.com email@example.com 1-800-242-4925
Aaron de Zafra is a pilot and aircraft owner who has spent much of his career developing next-generation digital solutions for a diverse set of industries as a partner in leading global consulting firms. His experience in implementing these technologies allowed him to see how underserved the general aviation industry has been. That insight, together with a lifelong passion for flight, drove Aaron to give up his successful tech career in 2018, creating Crewchief Systems. Crewchief is headquartered in Mill Valley, California.
What Crewchief Says
We asked Crewchief if they could describe what they do. Here’s what they said: “Crewchief Systems is a comprehensive platform that makes aircraft maintenance intuitive and much simpler overall for the vast majority of GA pilots. For all of us who have decades of log records, one or two engines, one or more aircraft, and seemingly countless ADs and Service Bulletins to track, this easyto-use system will take care of all your aircraft record storage and all the legal requirements of getting things done on time. This system tracks and notifies you and (if you want) your shop when maintenance and legal items are due.”
one of the most secure storage structures on the planet. Three, you should never get complacent with your logon credentials and should make sure that you have a very strong password. Four, the data that you have chosen to store on this platform is your data. The CCS system allows you to download it, and you should once or twice each year for safety’s sake.
What It Can Do for You
If you’re having trouble compiling information about your airplane and then getting it organized, this product will fulfill that need. It will provide you with the discipline, structure, and reminders that you need to keep your plane legal and, more importantly, safe. If you have multiple airplanes, either personally or in a club or flight school, this will keep them all organized. When you log in, it will ask you which plane you wish to update.
Another outstanding feature is that you can give your shop access to your data. More specifically, for example, if you load a squawk and it’s important, your shop will be notified via email to log in and check it out. This keeps you and your shop coordinated in the maintenance of your aircraft. In my case, my shop is 30 miles from my home airport, and this keeps my mechanic in sync with my needs and his work schedule. In the final analysis, this product may take away a significant amount of ownership pain. If you don’t like paperwork, or if you appreciate the finer points of aircraft ownership, you may find that there is no better solution. An example is that business owners don’t like managing numbers. Instead, they hire accountants and CPA firms to do that for them. In our industry there has been no such solution. Now there is. I recommend this product for those with the need to manage the records for their aircraft. MARCH 2022
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MEMBER ACTIVITY - FORUM Q&A Power Flow Systems Exhaust Reviews
Need reviews on Power Flow Exhaust, please and thanks. — Member
I have this on my 172 with O-320-E2D engine. I like it; it does everything they claim. I have to watch rpms now, as it’s easy to over-rev the engine. The only issue I have: It sits right against the carb temp probe for my JPI EDM 900, almost no clearance. I discussed the issue with Power Flow, and the fix is to mark the location with a marker, remove the Power Flow, and hit it with ball-peen hammer head or rubber mallet to put a slight dent/dimple in the Power Flow sheet metal, to give the probe sensor some clearance. — MVBoland
Installed Power Flow exhaust on my 1970 177B, with help from my A&P. He was very skeptical, saying I would feel very little difference. He also flies a 177RG. He took the initial flight and came back amazed! Much stronger takeoff roll, and I cruise at 120 kts at 65%, usually around 22 squared! — vconnor
Chart #1: Test results on a 172N.
I’ve had a Power Flow on my 172N since the early 2000s. When I installed it, I did a test flight comparison, and also tested with an Air Plains Conversion 180 hp modified 172. The first test results are the 172N without wheel pants before and after the installation of the exhaust system. The second test was done a few days later, comparing the Air Plains 180 hp conversion plane (no wheel pants) and the 172N with the Power Flow and the wheel pants installed. You can see that the 172N lagged a little below 6,500 feet but outclimbed the 180-hp version at 7,000 feet and above. I can’t vouch for the comparability of the two airspeed indicators or tachometers, as I did not have a portable PropTach or GPS at the time, but the time-to-climb numbers don’t lie [see charts at right]. — Egonfrech
I put the Power Flow (short stack) on my 170B with the Lycoming O-360 A1A conversion and was very impressed in every area. To me, an a/c engine (especially with a constant-speed prop) is the perfect candidate for tuned exhaust because we will generally run in a fairly specific rpm range, where an exhaust system can be designed to scavenge gases the best. I would have chosen the longer tailpipe option, but I hated the look. — mtsteve
When I purchased my first 172N with Power Flow exhaust, I was skeptical of the system providing more power and saving fuel. After two years and 250 hours of flying, I had no reference point to say it was a factor. Then I acquired another and nearly identical 172N without Power Flow. Both planes have the identical 160 hp, H2AD Lycoming engine, and in the first month of flying the new non-PF 172, it felt underpowered on every takeoff, and it felt as if the engine was not quite right (definitely less power). Finally, one day it occurred to me, the only difference between the two planes was the Power Flow exhaust, and what a difference 40 CESSNA OWNER
Chart #2: Test results of a 172N vs. a 172P with the 180 hp conversion.
it makes in nearly every way. I am now a believer and supporter of Power Flow. Also, a few friends have now purchased Power Flow for their planes as a result. — pschumi23
I have a short stack Power Flow on an older C172E with a constant-speed prop, a Lycoming O-360-A1A, and a high flow K&N air filter. I installed the Power Flow and the K&N high flow filter about 18 years ago. The O-360 with CS prop were installed in 1978 under the Williams AvCon STC. Both the prop and engine have been rebuilt, with about 1,100 hours on both since their most recent overhaul. The 180 hp 0-360 has a lot of power that really shines in the low thousands MSL altitudes. I didn’t see much boost in takeoff performance on takeoff or initial climb from airports at SL, 1,000 feet, or 2,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) after I added the Power Flow. What I did see was about 200 to 300 fpm climb improvement with WOT beginning above 5,000 feet and continuing through at least 9,000 feet. About 12 years ago, I packed up my Power Flow and flew commercial with it as my checked luggage to the Power Flow factory in Daytona, Florida. While I was at the shop, I spoke with the chief engineer, Daren Tillman, about my observations of my Power Flow’s performance. He told me two key points: MARCH 2022
Take Your Communication To A Higher Level.
1) The short stack produces about 70% of increased power compared to the “classic” exhaust (the original product with the long skinny pipe that points back toward the tail). 2) The peak of the increased performance for the short stack was about 7,000 feet MSL. — Curio-averse
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Steering Bungee Needed (Maybe)
My 1972 B Cardinal needs a new steering rod assembly, aka steering bungee, Cessna part # 1767039-2. If you think you have one for me, please make sure it’s a “dash-2” and not a -1 from earlier years. Seems as if the internal spring is jammed/broken — I can make sweet rudder pedal left turns but am reliving the Tiger years of brake/ castoring the nose turning right. Because of the interconnect, this also negates having right rudder trim. I understand these are not rebuildable — if you open the tube, it’s toast. — Flightdeck
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I think McFarlane recently started selling replacement bungee units, though I’m not certain they have your specific P/N. Other Cessna owners, you can prevent the sadness associated with bungie failure by occasionally (at annual?) oiling your bungee. It’s a nuisance to get to — I use an 18-inch oil straw positioned using a borescope to get oil to the bungie slot — but you may be amazed at the difference it makes on steering and rudder trim. — hessaero
Update: Thankfully, I don’t need a new steering bungee. My issue was caused by the nose strut just being low on nitrogen charge. As a result, the in-flight centering lockout was partially engaging/ disengaging on the ground. I have the Fancy Pants fairings, which make it difficult to assess on preflight. My mechanic was searching for a 1767039-2 just in case we needed it, and he located one through Cessna for $32,999! I guess Cessna is willing to make one for that insane price. — Flightdeck
CESSNA OWNER 41
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Ty Ashe and his plane at KAUO in Auburn, Alabama. He’s holding a “first solo” T-shirt.
Ty Ashe 1985 Cessna 172P
Special or Unique Features 180 hp Air Plains Conversion, TAAequipped. “It’s a check-ride-ready old CAP aircraft named the General Lee,” Ashe said. What was your most-recent upgrade? Just put in the new Garmin 500 autopilot and it works fantastic! What is the biggest ongoing challenge with this aircraft? Trying to fix the nose-wheel shimmy. 42 CESSNA OWNER
Eduardo Valdes 1986 Cessna P210N Valdes’s pressurized Centurion II is based in Mexico, but he flies into the United States as well. MARCH 2022
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MEMBER ACTIVITY - MEMBER PHOTOS
Resting comfortably in historic (circa 1935) Hangar #5 at KBIS, operated by Bismarck (North Dakota) Aero Center. (Photos by Grace Persico)
Jim Christianson 1980 Cessna 182RG Special or Unique Features Horton STOL, glass panel (Garmin 750 GTN, Aspen Pro 1000), updated paint and interior. What are your three top tips for people who own, or are considering buying, your plane model? 1. Get a pre-purchase inspection. 2. Don’t let prior damage scare you off. 3. Fly similar make/model with an experienced owner before making the buying decision. What was your most-recent upgrade? Garmin GTN 750 (love it!), GTX 330 extended squatter for ADS-B Out, G-2 Insight (love it), digital tach. What is the biggest ongoing challenge with this aircraft? Flying in North Dakota weather! (Extreme temps, T-storms, winds.) Not the airplane’s fault …
What is the best reason to fly this model? It’s like my SUV (Chevy Tahoe) — easily carries four people plus full fuel (and farther than my bladder). It climbs out at 1,000-plus feet per minute. It’s very stable and solid, and decent speed with the legs up (155 knots true, or more). The reliable Lycoming O-540 is dialed back to 235 hp and should run well past its 2,000-hour TBO if maintained properly. 44 CESSNA OWNER
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Advertisers Index & Web Directory Advantage Aviation Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aero-Mach Wilco, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AEROX Aviation Oxygen System . . . . . . . . . . . . Air Capitol Dial, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aircraft Belts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Co. . . . . . . . . . . . Aircraft Tugs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aircraft Window Repairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Airforms, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alpha Aviation, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Aircraft, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CiES, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Colombia Avionics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commodore Aerospace Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crewchief Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eagle Fuel Cells, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Electronics International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Factory Direct Models. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Floats & Fuel Cells. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . General Aviation Modification (GAMI). . . . . . . JP Instruments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . K&K Precision Welding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CESSNAOWNER.ORG
www.iflyaai.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 www.wilcoaircraftparts.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 www.aerox.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 aircapitoldial.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 aircraftbelts.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 www.aircraftspruce.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 aircraft-tugs.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 www.aircraftwindowrepairs.com . . . . . . . . . . 43 www.airforms.biz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 www.alphaaviation.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 www.chiefaircraft.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 www.ciescorp.net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 www.AvionixHelp.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 www.o2-337parts.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 www.crewchiefsystems.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 www.eaglefuelcells.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 www.iflyei.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 factorydirectmodels.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 www.ffcfuelcells.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 www.gami.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 www.jpinstruments.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 www.precision-welding.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Kelly Aero / Thermal Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Knots 2U, Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Maple Leaf Aviation, Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Micro Aerodynamics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mountain High Oxygen Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . Niagara Air Parts, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oregon Aero. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Poplar Grove Airmotive, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Precision Hose Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R & M Steel Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rare Aviation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarasota Avionics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Selkirk Aviation, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skymaster Parts LLC (Aviation Enterprises) . . SkyOx, Ltd. (Aircraft Industries) . . . . . . . . . . . . Skysmith Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stene Aviation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Univair Aircraft Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Van Bortel Aircraft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wingx Stol Conversion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yaesu USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
kellyaero.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 www.knots2u.net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 www.aircraftspeedmods.ca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 www.microaero.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 www.mhoxygen.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 www.niagaraairparts.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 oregonaero.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 www.poplargroveairmotive.com . . . . . . . . . . 29 www.aircrafthose.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 aviationbuildingsystem.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 www.rareaviation.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 www.sarasotaavionics.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 www.selkirk-aviation.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 www.cessnaskymaster.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 www.skyox.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 www.skysmith.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 www.steneaviation.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 www.univair.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 www.vanbortel.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 www.wingxstol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 www.yaesu.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 CESSNA OWNER 45
HANGAR TIP by Scott Sherer FAA Master Pilot, author and COO Aviation Director
HOW TO FIX FUEL-GAUGE ACCURACY PROBLEMS FOR $20
on Hall is one of our members, and he has a fuel measurement accuracy problem. Like most owners of older aircraft, his fuel sensors and gauges aren’t very accurate. In fact, the only times they’re accurate are when the tanks are full and when they’re empty. Anything in between doesn’t measure correctly. Don gave us his method for solving this problem, and while it’s not fancy, it works and costs almost nothing.
Find Level Ground
Let’s start by putting your aircraft on level ground. Finding absolutely level ground is not very easy; Don said that any ramp or hangar floor with less than a 2-degree slope in any direction is good enough. That’s good to know. “So your airplane is as level as you can make it,” Hall said. “Drain the right tank into a very clean container. You’ll need to fly the plane and get your fuel level as low as possible before doing this. Next, drain your left tank. Do not drain through the gascolator, that’s not needed. “Next, if you have a tricycle-gear airplane, your plane is level enough. However, if you have a taildragger, the airplane needs to be in cruise attitude. You will likely have to raise the tail until the aircraft is in cruise attitude, and then put a ladder or a piece of hangar furniture (like a chair or table) under the tail to keep it in cruise attitude.”
Fill the Tanks (Slowly)
“Next we fill the fuel tanks, two gallons at a time on each side. You’re going to need to put a clean stick in your tank. Remove the stick and make a permanent mark on the stick for each two gallons. After you’ve done this in two-gallon increments, you can ‘stick’ your fuel tank and know exactly how much fuel you have in each tank. Of course, this won’t help you in flight, but at least you will know accurately how much fuel you started with. Then, knowing how much fuel per hour you burn, you can do a simple computation to know how long your fuel will last. “Also, if you would like a pre-measured stick, they are available from Aircraft Spruce for less than $20. Additionally, there are other, modern ways to measure fuel, too.” 46 CESSNA OWNER
There are obviously more modern alternatives to “sticking” your fuel tanks. At your next annual inspection, you could have your shop remove your fuel sensors (floats) and either send them out for overhaul or purchase new, all-digital sensors from CiES. Then replace your gauges with new digital gauges from Aerospace Logic. This is the modern solution used in many new production aircraft, and this will get you very accurate fuel tank readings in flight. Also, if you get an engine monitor, most of them come with a fuel-flow computer that accurately displays fuel quantity digitally in real time any time you look at it. My reasonably priced JP Instruments EDM-830 engine monitor sends my fuel information to my Avidyne GPS, and the GPS displays a fuel range ring on my GPS map. You get two rings: The first ring is the range with reserves and the second ring shows absolute range. As you change power and mixture settings, the ring moves, and you can adjust your range that way. If you’re on a barebones budget, then Don Hall’s approach may do the job for you!
SOURCES CIES Aerospace Logic Avidyne JP Instruments Electronics International Aircraft Spruce
www.ciescorp.net www.Aerospacelogic.com www.Avidyne.com www.JPInstruments.com www.IFlyEI.com www.AircraftSpruce.com
Scott Sherer is the Cessna Owner Organization’s Aviation Director and an FAA Master Pilot who brings more than 50 years of aviation experience flying everything from the smallest Cessna 150 to mid-size Cessna Citations. As a contributing author his specialty is restoration, avionics and product review. Additionally, Mr. Sherer is our online forum moderator. To contact Mr. Sherer, please access our member website forums at www.CessnaOwner.org. MARCH 2022
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