How extensive an inspection does my engine need?

PaulMcBride

Q: I have 210 hours on my engine, which was overhauled in November 2009 at 3,288 hours. Five of the eight studs are now broken on cylinder #3.

The motor had only a slight vibration during the last 3/10ths of an hour before discovering the broken studs.

I would appreciate your input as to how extensive an inspection should be made. Have you had experience with such an occurrence? [Read more…]

General aviation goes clubbing

For some time now I’ve been singing the praises of the flying club. Not any particular flying club, mind you — although there are some excellent examples out there — just flying clubs in general. They work. ‘Nuff said.

Don’t believe me? Read on. [Read more…]

The devil is in the details with unleaded avgas

In the 1970s, the automotive world switched from leaded to unleaded fuels and the oil companies did a lot of research on knocking and how to prevent it. One of the big projects involved octane requirement increase (ORI).

In this program, cars were rated for octane requirement when new and then every 2,000 miles. The octane requirement increased until it leveled off at about 20,000 miles. [Read more…]

Aviation gets its cool back

For the past week I have been acting in a very non-Floridian fashion. While the typical Sunstate dweller seeks shade and close proximity to a pool, I have been standing beside large expanses of pavement soaking up the sun with gusto. My excuse is a good one, however.

I was at SUN ‘n FUN, the kick-off event of the aviation season that attracts people from near and far to sample the delights of aviation from Remotely Piloted Aircraft, also known as drones,  to homebuilts, Warbirds, Light-Sport Aircraft, helicopters, biplanes, the Thunderbirds, the Breitling Jet team, and pretty much anything else that flies or can be installed in an aircraft. [Read more…]

SUN ‘n FUN an absolute blast

benable

The 41st annual SUN ‘n FUN fly-in is the books. It was hot, humid and an absolute blast. I’d say that even if I hadn’t gotten a ride on a B-25 — with four T-6s and four CJ-6s in tow —as part of a My MacDill Air Force Base support flight.

No longer just “Spring Break for Pilots,” SUN ‘n FUN is “Building a Better Future through Aviation.”

Everything the 20-person full-time team does at SUN ‘n FUN is with an eye on adding pilots to our rolls. SUN ‘n FUN is really just a big fundraiser that supports education opportunities — an effort made easier by recently retiring more than $2 million of debt over the past three years. Today, SUN ‘n FUN is debt free. [Read more…]

Frugal pilots KISS: Keep it safe and simple

It is great to be a part of the general aviation community where pilots share their ideas to help each other with knowledge and kindness. I especially like to see the many helpful frugal tips offered online from readers of my column. They add their own proven experiences that helped them fly more while spending less.

For example, many readers have responded with information on their own tax laws after last month’s tip on Reducing Taxes. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Keep your frugal tips coming. Email me at dan@frugalpilot.com. [Read more…]

Navigating a box canyon

Cessna 210

I once flew into a box canyon on purpose.

A friend of mine lived in a canyon between Pacific Palisades and Malibu on the southern California coast. He’d introduced me to a powerful men’s weekend retreat and it course corrected my life. That one retreat helped me achieve the dream of becoming a pilot, and so when I got my helicopter license, I decided to give him a view of his home like he’d never seen it.

He accepted the gift. That day, we departed Torrance Airport to the east instead of to the west due to strong easterly winds. Temperatures were also unusually high for December. [Read more…]

A niche of a niche

Dave Hensch taking off from a dolly.

Do you hold an Israeli pilot certificate? If so, are you looking to add a seaplane rating? Well, I’ve found the guy. Probably, the only guy – in the world – who can help you. How’s that for a niche market? [Read more…]