When in doubt, panic

Last week news organizations gleefully trumpeted the near collision of two airliners. Their coverage was spotty at best, with few, if any, first hand accounts from anyone with actual knowledge of the event, other than the description of a passenger.

Fortunately for editors and news producers who are too busy or disinterested to assign actual reporters to what is purported to be an earth-shattering story of epic proportions, one passenger seated aboard one of those aircraft sidelines was a writer, or a blogger at least. He wrote a first-person account of his experience that appears to have fueled the media frenzy over the near-event. He titled that expose, “Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever.”

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Webinar to discuss effects of aviation noise

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The potential effects of aviation noise will be explored in a webinar May 29 conducted by the Transportation Research Board. An hour-and-a-half program will discuss noise concerns at airports.

Issues include possible effects of aviation noise on hearing, sleep, health, annoyance, and learning environment.

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Pointless poll or marketing ploy?

In the May 15, 2014 EAA Hotline email there was an interesting article in the Member Benefit Spotlight section. It reported the results of a Fuel Survey purportedly taken in March by the Experimental Aircraft Association with 13,000 replies by members. The findings were rather interesting: 87% of members are using primarily 100LL and 12% are using autogas.

As I digested this finding, a pertinent question came to mind: If 12% of members are tenacious enough to use mogas when only 3% of our airports carry mogas, why didn’t EAA ask the membership: “How many members would use mogas if it was as available at the 3,000+ airports that carry 100LL?”

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Ask Paul: How should I handle chromed cylinder removal?

Q: When an engine with chromed cylinders comes into a shop with oil leaks and the source has been identified as thru bolts and cylinder base o-rings, how should the cylinder removal and reinstallation be handled? Also, is there any wisdom in turning the oil scraper ring upside down in chromed cylinder to help control oil consumption?

JAMES FINLAYSON, via email

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Was that cheering?

Rice2

I’ve been a long-time skeptic about most General Aviation record-setting or publicity flights. Especially in this latter day of aviation, who is impressed? In any case, there’s a distinction between a flight purposefully pushing technology and the risky publicity stunt or ego exercise.

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Renting vs. owning

For many private pilots, renting makes more sense than buying an airplane. The ongoing costs of compliance, maintenance, and storage — added to the rising costs of fuel — can bring the hourly cost of flying your own aircraft within the range of renting one.

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Ask Paul: What is causing mag drop?

Q: I work on a IO-360-MIA Lycoming engine. My problem is that the right mag has a drop of 220 rpm. I have done internal timings, engine to mag timings, ignition leads check and cleaned the plugs. I have done nothing to the left mag, and now the left mag is dropping to 210 rpm.

ANGI LISA CHAMBERS, via email

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GA loses a champion

Jim_Oberstar_Official

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Widespread dissatisfaction with politics is feeding a movement to promote limits on the length of time an elected federal politician may serve. Stripped of all its meaningless rhetoric, that movement boils down to one point: Limit the terms of those with whom I disagree, but don’t touch the ones I admire.

Whatever one’s political persuasion might be, general aviation recently lost a friend who served a long time in the House of Representatives: James Oberstar. Passionate about the need for proper transportation of all types throughout the United States, Oberstar knew well the value of general aviation.

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Endings, beginnings, and opportunities

Regular readers of this column may notice a small change to the bio blurb that runs below. It’s shorter. The line about being the founder and president of the Polk Aviation Alliance has been removed, because although I remain the founder, I am no longer the president. I’ve resigned.

My local newspaper, which seems to be struggling to decide whether it wants to be more of a National Enquirer sort of sensationalist rag or a TMZ sort of sensationalist rag, ran my resignation as a front page story.

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