Oil analysis saved the day


Re: Paul McBride’s column, “TBO: 2,000 hour or 12 years,” in the June 23 issue: This is absolutely the best article I have ever seen on the subject.

I started oil analysis every 25 hours the day I bought my used C-180. The original engine (which had a “log cabin overhaul” by a very reputable mechanic) went to TBO with no problems.

My “factory reman” replacement from Continental was making a bit more metal from day one, but the reports were quite stable. My mechanic son insisted on cutting each filter open and examining it with a magnifying glass and magnet, in addition to the oil analysis. I always kept the last five used filters for comparison.

At 500 hours, with the plane fueled and loaded for a flight in the morning, I got a call from my analytical service stating the Nitraloy had spiked and to do a compression check. The engine had been running fine with absolutely no indication of a problem. Mag checks were perfect. It was smooth and the power was normal.

We found one drastically low cylinder and pulled it. The exhaust valve stem was found to be shaved down to one half normal diameter by the Nitraloy guide, obviously primed for a catastrophic failure. Oil analysis saved the day, in my opinion.

Now the good part: There was no accident and Continental only charged me for the time flown, although the engine was out of “calendar” time, so I got another “reman” for $10,000 rather than the going $15,000.

DOUG MILLARD, Wasilla, Alaska

Time to end TFRs


I totally agree that it is time to end TFRs. It is time general aviation and its airports are removed from the ridiculous so-called security rules that have been imposed.

Also, there is no need for any more restrictions placed on GA aircraft and passengers departing and entering the USA than there are restrictions placed on automobiles and auto passengers.

Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said, paraphrased, “If freedoms are given up in the name of security, soon there will be no freedom AND no security.”

HARRY BLADOW, Independence, Ore.

BFR: Does nothing for safety


The original reason for the BFR was to reduce accidents. Where is the data that shows that it has done that? It don’t exist.

It is nothing but a pain in the butt. It does nothing for safety. It’s like the helmet law for motorcycle riders. In California it was pushed through to save money because there were supposed to be less victims of motorcycle accidents, consequently less burden on the taxpayers to fix their cracked skulls. Where is the data that shows it did that? It don’t exist.

The BFR every two years only guarantees that a pilot fly every two years. That’s plain stupid. All a BFR does is add another government restriction. It does nothing.

The thinking behind it is that pilots forget how to fly. Well, if you don’t fly, then you will forget a lot of the details. It is sort of like the idea of recurrent training. “Wow, here I am flying almost every day, I think I’m forgetting how to fly this damn airplane, guess I’d better get me a CFI to re-teach me how to fly.” I assemble propeller hubs and make blades. I do this every day. Am I forgetting how to assemble hubs? Hell no, I’m getting better at it every day.

I am beginning to think that the people who run aviation — FAA, flight schools and all the aviation academia — don’t know the nitty gritty about flying.

KENT TARVER, via e-mail

Archaic system to blame for midair


According to news reports, FAA tower controllers were warned about the midair collision over the Hudson River but were unable to alert either of the pilots. This failure of communication cost two aircraft, nine lives, and unmeasurable bad publicity for GA.

The blame for this failure belongs on the archaic simplex FM voice radio system used since World War II to communicate between aircraft and controllers. Each of the people involved probably did what he was supposed to do, but the system let them down. Now that we are firmly in the Information Age we must ask why a system developed relatively early in the Industrial Age is still used to control air traffic.

You might think the new “NextGen” National Airspace System scheduled to be implemented over the next two decades would fix this. Unfortunately, NextGen only addresses the surveillance upgrade needed to replace Radar systems that are nearly impossible to maintain since their underlying technology is so old. The FAA plan seems to be to continue to use human voices transmitted over archaic radio channels forever.

NextGen technology includes bidirectional digital communication channels between each airplane and every other airplane, as well as ground stations. So why doesn’t the FAA use this same path for basic flight control purposes? Perhaps the answer is the FAA just isn’t willing to take any chances on new-fangled technology like digital communications networks for ATC.

PAUL MULWITZ, Camas, Wash.

Quilt to benefit Henley



At the 2009 Cecil Field (Florida) Airshow, a quilt was displayed as an auction item to benefit the Alan Henley Foundation. The quilt was made from donated airshow T-shirts of past and present airshow stars and events. It was auctioned at the Cecil Field airshow for a bid of $5,000. It all turned out so nicely that Devan Norris is coordinating the creation of two more quilts. If you have any performer or airshow T-shirts and wish to donate to this project, send them to Devan Norris, 1908 Whisperwood Way, Port Orange, FL 32128.

Flight & Flyers fan

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy Dennis Parks’ Flight & Flyers column in GANews. I look forward to them with each issue. I am a regular advertiser in GANews (Aircraft Magneto Service-Boeing Field).

Parks’ columns give the sense of perspective that is often missing from aviation publications. A lot of water has gone under the bridge and a lot of people have gone before us.

Keep up the excellent work.

via email

Economic Stimulus?

President Obama’s recent trip to Chicago cost American taxpayers millions, but locally, the Temporary Flight Restrictions for Chicago’s airspace were responsible for a loss of business to the aviation community.

It’s ironic that a president who talks about economic stimulus should cause a great need for economic stimulus for a local industry. According to the president, this trip is only the start of many.


What a ride

To Deb McFarland: Thank you for the wonderful stories you send to GAN for your Short Final column. The story published Sept. 26, 2008, “Yearning,” really got to me. I had to start that article three or four times before I could get my eyes dry enough to finish it.

It was 55 years or more ago, and yes, I was there and did that. Of course I have long before now sat in both seats.
I was 27 and over 300 hours before I got a ride in a Stearman. It was a graduation present to myself – graduating from Parks College with an A&P – so I took a checkout ride in a newly rebuilt Stearman. What a ride!

Thanks again for the stories. I really enjoy them. Keep writing.

via email

Words are important

I received the following from Neil Cosentino over the weekend. Interesting food for thought…

Dear Friends of Flying,

As a proud, long time member of AOPA, I am disappointed that no one at HQ/AOPA/ASF has explained to me the merits or demerits of my terminology recommendations to AOPA, the FAA and the industry.

The recommendation is to change the term Uncontrolled Airports [one w/out a tower or an airport with a tower that is closed] to read PILOT CONTROLLED Airports .

And change Uncontrolled Airspace [Class G airspace] from Uncontrolled Airspace to PILOT CONTROLLED airspace.

Please notice, all I have asked for – is why the terms “Uncontrolled Airport and Uncontrolled Air Space” are better than what I believe is more correct and better terminology, i.e., “PILOT CONTROLLED”

The words we use in aviation are important and should best represent what we are about…


Neil Cosentino, AOPA #00707100
Director of Communications
Florida Aviation Historical Society [FAHS]
FAHS Program Manager for www.Flight2014.org
Tampa, Florida