What’s in a name?

We live in a rural community and I have been elected to the township board for the last few years. A couple of years ago, the board applied for a grant to replace all of the traffic signs in our township. We won the grant and received the new signs.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a representative from the company that has the contract to install the new signs, and they wanted to set up an appointment for us to select new signs for our township.  I tried to explain that our township had already received the new signs.  The representative said that was ok — they would just go ahead and replace all of our new signs because it would not cost our township a cent.

I did not handle this reasoning well and immediately called several county and state officials and got it changed.  I am old fashioned and believe that wasting even federal government money is still a waste.

This immediately brought to mind the program to replace 100LL with an unleaded product.  Here the federal government and others are spending large sums of money to solve a problem that does not exist except in their minds, but will create real problems in general aviation with their “solution.”

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Search for 100LL replacement raises many questions

When I started to write this post on unleaded avgas, I sat down to read about the upcoming evaluation program for four candidate fuels. The more I read the more questions it raised.

For instance, why does Swift Fuels have two candidates?

But the biggest question concerned the percentage of the piston aviation fleet that the new candidate fuels will satisfy. A few questions arise, like which engines are the most critical, under what conditions will they knock, which airframe, propeller, operating conditions are most critical, and on and on.

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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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