Using physics to fuel safely

A few weeks ago I received an email with a cartoon of a mature lady sitting back with a glass of wine. The caption read, “Another perfect day, and I never had to use algebra once.”

I smiled a little, but then got to thinking about how much we use math and science in our everyday life. And I started to wonder why people look down on their time in school taking these courses as a waste of time, because, in actuality, we use math and science many times every day. [Read more...]

Getting GA’s story out to the public

I am a creature of habit. I have been watching the national and local evening news on TV most every evening for more than 50 years. The local news informs me about the weather and other things, and the national news keeps me informed on some of the things that are going on in the world.

In the past, the national news was more or less factual and informative. But now with several cable all-news networks, the news business has become more theater than informative.

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Grease is the word

Whenever I give talks I usually put in a few slides about grease. In discussions on this topic, questions mainly fall into three areas.

The first is why is it so critical to use only the grease that is approved for a certain application. A lot of people think grease is grease, so they should be able to use whatever is available.

An important point to remember is that grease is not really thick oil. It is base oil that has a thickening agent mixed in, much like my mother would mix corn starch into thicken the gravy.

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Is there a benefit to using fuel additives?

I have recently received several inquiries concerning the use of aviation fuel and lubricant additives. To start a discussion on additives, I’ve looked into any and all approved additives.

In the ASTM D-910 spec for 100/130 low-lead avgas, there are only two fuel additives approved for aircraft owner addition to the fuel: Isopropyl Alcohol and Di-ethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether. Both are fuel system icing inhibitors.

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Confusion surrounds Motor octane rating

Earlier this year I gave several state IA renewal seminars. I always enjoy these because I get to greet many old friends and find out what is going on in the industry. I also get a lot of excellent information from people who are actually doing the work, along with some great questions.

One of the questions was a version of one I receive at almost every session: “Why can a Rotax with 9:1 compression ratio run knock free on 91 R+M/2 auto gas and a 8:1 compression ratio Lycoming need 100LL with an R+M/2 of around 104+?”

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Dealing with the gray areas

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a gentleman who was overhauling an antique propeller. He needed to know what lubricant to use in the prop.

The company that manufactured the prop was no longer in business, so all he had was an obsolete spec. I told him I would see what I could find and get back to him.

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What we can learn from funny looking birds

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Over the holidays, we took our family on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands. It was one of the greatest trips that I have had.

On one of the islands, we were waiting to be ferried back to the ship, and I observed a bird flying a few hundred feet above the water and then just fold its wings and dive into the water.

It did this over and over, so I asked the naturalist what the bird was doing. She explained that this was a young blue-footed boobie [Read more...]

Liability vs. profits

A recent story by Michael Mooney, who is an aviation fuels supplier, states that the reason that no major oil company is supplying mogas to end users is because of liability.

When it was posted, several people commented that the liability issue is a myth and that they have been selling mogas in Europe with no liability problems. Well, it is not a myth and comparing European liability laws to the US system is like comparing basketball to football. They are both sports played with a ball, but there are significant differences, like contingency cases.

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Preparing your plane for winter

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I headed south to look at a classic car. As I was driving, I noticed a lot of pickups pulling campers heading south. Since several of the campers had stickers from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) on them, it led me to wonder what the pilots had done to preserve their aircraft before leaving?

The airframe and engine manufacturers have a list of items to do before parking an aircraft, so each pilot should check them out. I would like to address just the fuels and lubricant issues.

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Our expert’s take on the future of fuel

Every fall I help local farmers haul grain to the elevator. This year we had a very good harvest and the lines at the elevator were long. To pass the time, I brought along magazines from this summer to read and reread. I noted that every magazine had at least one article about the future of aviation gasoline. Since my byline in General Aviation News says I am an aviation fuels expert, I thought maybe I should address the subject and shed some light on it.

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