Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lecture Series

The first lecture of the series was held last Tuesday.
Future dates will be posted on this site.

Please contact Frank if you wish to be informed of future dates and times.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What is Owner Maintenance?

The owner is now totally responsible for managing the maintenance for the aircraft.

What does management mean?
a) Create a repair budget;
b) Prioritize necessary work;
c) Prepare a snag list;
d) Make parts available;
e) Inform yourself about how repair/maintenance for the component is to be done.

You have been taught how to fly. You have likely not had a maintenance course.

Maintenance is a daunting task for the neophyte. Even if you do not perform the tasks, you are at least likely interested that it be done properly. That judgement requires a level of knowledge. How are you going about acquiring that knowledge and skill?

Kitplanes September 2006 –Homebuilts – How safe are they? – Of the accidents not related to pilot error, 12.4% of accidents are builder/maintainer related with another 18% fuel/engine related.

Of the systems affected by the builder/maintainer, a good 2/3 rds of the accidents are Fuel system/engine and accessories related.

Builder error accidents are 1/3 installation errors, 1/3 design changes, and 1/3 workmanship and adjustment errors.

Of the types of errors committed, almost 50% is workmanship, 25% inadequate inspection, and 40% installation.

Are you reporting engine problems to the manufacturer so that they can issue SDRs?

What are you doing to inform yourself about maintenance issues? Do you encourage others to inspect your aircraft? Group inspections? Pooling tools?

A good source of what to do, and how to do it, can be found in various books, including Annex A.

Free journals such as AMT, Aircraft Maintenance Technology give you news about practices, tools, regulations.

Get your type club to arrange for maintenance seminars.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lecture Series

The date of the first lecture in this series is on Tuesday December 11, as advertised.
I misspoke about it being on Thursday. I had forgotten that I have a previous engagement for Thursday.

Although my intent was to hold these lectures on Thursdays, this first one will be on Tuesday the 11th, at Laurentide, 7pm, as advertised on this blog and on the handout.

If you plan to attend, please send me an email so that I can easily communicate with everyone participating.

Hope to see you there.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Aviation Lecture Series

  • Lecture Series

    A series of seminars is planned which are aimed at pilots and/or aircraft owners and potential owners. They are designed to de-mystify and to add depth to the training curriculum followed by student pilots and those generally interested in aviation matters.

    The duration of each session is planned for 3 hours.
    The location of the lectures will be at Laurentide Aviation’s classroom and hangars.
    The time will be evenings 7-10 pm or alternatively on weekends 10 am – 1pm
    Starting date is December 11. Future dates to be published.
    Cost is $25.00 / session

    Please e-mail Frank Hofmann at with your contact information if you intend to participate. Visit for a course outline of some of these seminars.

    Planned seminars are:

    1) To Buy/own your own airplane. Choices of type, costs, operations
    2) Owner Responsibilities regarding maintenance.
    3) Owner Performed Maintenance. CARs 625 App. A. Portions are hands-on.
    4) The Annual Inspection. Hands-on
    5) Equipage. Modern Requirements and Equipment. ELT, ADS-B, Autopilot, Engine monitor, Ballistic Parachute, Transponder, Collision Avoidance.
    6) Airplane Design. The steps in designing an airplane.
    7) Making your own short and long-range weather forecasts for flying and holidays. Applied Meteorology.

    Frank Hofmann

Monday, November 12, 2007

Airbus 380 arrives in Montreal

While doing my runup at Cedars airport today I looked up and saw what I thought was a low flying airliner flying downwind ready to turn on to final approach on runway 6R in Montreal. I finally realized that it was the 380 doing a tour of Montreal. I qualifies being named an Aluminum Overcast. Being as big as it is it looked very slow - too slow to be lifting all that weight. Even from the ground one can tell that the fuselage is very big. I wondered how big the vortices were and for how long they would be sustained.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bad news from Precision Carburetors

The following appeared on the web today. Insurance, its costs and the ability to obtain it is a constant influence on aviation to continue to exist.

"November 1, 2007
Precision Airmotive LLC has discontinued sales of all float carburetors and component parts as of November 1, 2007. This unfortunate situation is a result of our inability to obtain product liability insurance for the product line. Precision Airmotive LLC and its 43 employees currently manufacture and support the float carburetors used in nearly all carbureted general aviation aircraft flying today. Precision has been the manufacturers of these carburetors since 1990. These FAA-approved carburetors were designed as early as the 1930s and continue to fly over a million flight hours a year. After decades of service, the reliability of these carburetors speaks for itself. Nonetheless, Precision has seen its liability insurance premiums rise dramatically, to the point that the premium now exceeds the total sales dollars for this entire product line. In the past, we have absorbed that cost, with the hope that the aviation industry as a whole would be able to help address this issue faced by Precision Airmotive, as well as many other small aviation companies. Our efforts have been unsuccessful. This year, despite the decades of reliable service and despite the design approval by the Federal Aviation Administration, Precision Airmotive has been unable to obtain product liability insurance for the carburetor productl ine. While we firmly believe that the product is safe, as does the FAA,and well-supported by dedicated people both at Precision and at our independent product support centers, unfortunately the litigation costs for defending the carburetor in court are unsustainable for a small business such as Precision. Therefore, as of November 1, 2007, Precision Airmotive LLC has been leftwith no choice but to cease production and support of its float carburetor line.We are working with the engine manufacturers and others in the industry in an attempt to minimize the impact on general aviation and to provide future support for this product line. There is a substantial quantity of parts and carburetors stocked at our distributors, which should be sufficient to support the industry for a short time."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spark Plug rotation

Owner maintenance rules permit owners to remove, clean and reinstall spark plugs. Plugs are expensive at $25+ each, and they need to be treated with care. They also should be rotated in their firing positions to prevent eroding the electrodes in an irregular fashion.
You need to exchange the # 1 cylinder plug with the # 4 cylinder plug and the # 2 with the # 3 if you want to make sure of the change in polarity. It is also a good idea to exchange positions - top to bottom - to ensure that a minimum of lead fouling accumulates.

Also, idle at less than 1200 RPM tends to lower the plug's nose temperature below 900 F causing the fuel's lead scavenging agents to be ineffective in preventing lead fouling. Remember, idle mixtures are overly rich anyway, adding to the problem of lead-fouling.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What will VLJ's change?

Other than General Aviation aircraft appearing in terminal areas, airlines have not worried much about the airspace GA aircraft demand.

Now that VLJs are a growing reality, will airlines change the rules by which we have access to the airways? Will they demand that VLJs pay the same user fees as large airliners, using the argument that the same piece of sky has to be set aside for a VLJ as for a 737? Or will the service providers have a pay scale that only airlines can afford? Will VLJs be required to operate at inefficient altitudes? Will service providers change the "first call, first served" procedures for air traffic control where size will matter?

How will we know if the rules are going to be changed?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is the future of VFR flying?

What has to happen for VFr flying as we have known it to no longer be possible?

Pressure by service providers to charge for airspace?
Regulators requiring increasingly complex equipment? Transponders, ADS-B, Radios
Increasing class A, B, C, airspace at the loss of E, F, G?
Increased training requirements?Is any of this happening currently?

English Language Proficiency - ICAO

ICAO today passed the Level 4 language standard to apply to all pilots wishing to fly internationally.
States have until 2011 to fully implement and document pilots.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Language proficiency

The ICAO 36th triennial Assembly is meeting this week. In today's technical commission IAOPA and FAI presented its joint paper to ask for lower language proficiency standards for VFR pilots.

That request was refused by a vote of 15 for and 23 against. Only 38 States voted out of a possible 192. Most of the countries voting against the proposal appeared to be countries which do not have any VFR General Aviation operations going on in the first place. Among the countries voting against the resolution were Sudan, Samoa, Viet Nam.

It turns out that in this case rules were made for about 1 million licence holders, decided by a majority of 8 States, many of whom may not even really know how VFR flights are conducted.

One has to wonder why 150 States did not bother to express their views on the matter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reno Air Races Day 5

The final day of races. Due to the cancellation of the afternoon races on Thursday, Sunday's crowd was offered a full day of racing.

Pull-ups due to engine problems were common, and several dead-stick landings were made. The most notable and event-thrilling one occurred at the end of the supreme race, the Unlimited class, when "Rare Bear", the winning Bearcat, after a scotching near 500 mph pass over the finish pylon, could not reduce power on his engine! He pulled up, was joined by a T-33 to look over the aircraft, flew it almost out of fuel, shut the engine down and 'glided' to a successful landing on the runway.

The races are a 'must see' event - much different from what one witnesses at shows such as Oshkosh. Reno is not an air show. It is a series of very tight low level races around a series of pylons.

Although marred by several fatal accidents this year, the fact that races were clearly flown more safely following the last crash and subsequent afternoon off, shows that such racing can be thrilling and safe.

Plan to go. Arrive by 7 AM and visit the Pit Row where preparations for races are made. Watch your favorite class of aircraft in a race. Visit the winning team's booths/parking area, and spend some time after the show talking to pilots and crew. Bring a friend with a good telephoto lens. Bring sunscreen - these races had 5 continuous days of great weather. And watch the development of the new Super Sport class where anything up to 1000HP goes. I believe these new racers will achieve speeds equal to or greater than the Jet or Unlimited classes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reno Air Races - Day 4

The 'cool-down' period imposed yesterday on the racers had a positive effect. Racers kept better separation and altitude.

Speeds were high- some new circuit speeds were set.

Engine problems were prevalent - in one biplane heat of 8 aircraft 3 had to retire from the race before the end. The 'Relentless' aircraft a super sport category, had to pull up just before the finish line with engine problems. Because of the new rule of anything goes he had installed and injection system which might have caused the engine failure. He carried out a successfl dead stick landing.

Crowds swelled today with long lineups to buy tickets for pit access.

The most thrilling of the races is still the roar and over 400 mph speeds of the unlimited class.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reno Air Races - Day 3

Day 3 at the Reno Air Races saw another fatal accident, this time involving a Formula 1 racer, last year's winner. This race, the silver medal race, had 6 very qualified pilots participating. At the first turn two aircraft collided. One crashed with fatal results and the othe raircraft made a succesful forced landing. Because the course is flown with left hand turns and because the winds required the aircraft to take off in a direction opposite to the course, the aircraft took off and did a scatter turn around a pylon and came back more or less as a group. That caused bunching at the first turn. Wreckage injured some of the judges at the first pylon.

Racing was cancelled for the remainder of the day. Presumably the FAA intervened, there not having been a fatality since 2003. However, although many people were disappointed by the cancellation at noon, the Canadian Snowbirds saved the day by performing an excellent air show. Hopefully racing will resume tomorrow.

Safety briefings in the morning were very thorough. The firefighters and the rescue teams were briefed on the operation of each participating aircraft in the hangars before flying started. Briefings included fuel systems and ways in which canopies are opened.

The unlimited class preparations were underway. I found it interesting that he big radial engines have their engine oil cooled with water, which drips out continuously from the aircraft, starting right after start-up. Some of them run engine boost anywhere from 56 inches to over 120. Their performance is impressive and worth a visit.

The Reno Air Races have a completely different atmosphere about them compared to the likes of Oshkosh. Even Garmin does not have a display. Aircraft are accompanied by very fancy tarilers which house complete machine shops. There is very little other aircraft associated advertising - except Lycoming, a sponsor of the race. T-shirts etc, are over-abundant.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reno Air Races - Day 2

The Unlimited Class of racers took to the air today. The heavy iron included Sea Fury aircraft, Mustangs, Bear Cats and a Tigercat. Their speeds were well over 400 mph.

The Sport aircraft category saw speeds close to 400 mph by the likes of the Nemesis and Relentless, purpose-designed airplanes, Lancair Iv's and Glasairs. Their engines sung and action was thrilling.

The Formula 1 aircraft keep surprising as their speeds are approaching 300 mph on their 200 cubic inch engines. In many ways I find their race most spectacular, knowing that they achieve these speeds on engines which powered Cessna 150's.

First time at Reno was the Super Sport class. These aircraft, including the NXT, Lancair IV's, are able to use up to 1000 cubic inch engines and any fuel available on the field. They achieved over 400 mph and could have raced with the unlimited class of aircraft.

The races have been marred by two fatal accidents - one a take-off accident by a biplane and today by a spectacular fiery crash in front of the grandstands of a L-39 jet. It appears that the aircraft lost control in a turn, likely caught in the wake of a preceding aircraft, and caught a wing tip in the ground.

Other mishaps have occurred - ground loop due to a frozen brake and a pre-takeoff accident during a T-6 race start when a T-6-s tail was chewed by the propeller of another aircraft behing. Neither event caused injury.

Weather promises to remain excellent throughout the races, although winds were gusty today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reno Air Races

The first day of the Reno air races has shown that the world does not yet belong completely to the composite aircraft. In the Sport Class a Swearingen SX 300 won with a speed of close to 300 mph against a field which included Lancairs and Glasairs. Of course the contest was a closed course race where pilot skill is a feature.

The event is well attended. During the show Epic landed 3 of its variants - the propjet and the two pure jets. The VLJ's are here!

Tomorrow the Unlimited class aircraft will race - the most popular aircraft.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Way forward in India

Dear members of the IndusAv Group:

I sympathize with the aviation enthusiasts in India. And I understand why many would be frustrated with the state of development of General Aviation in India.

However the solution to the problem is in positive action.

If it is true that the DGCA folks in India have little or no understanding of the gamut of GA, from hang gliders on up, then it is no wonder that they are reluctant to take any action. It is therefore incumbent upon the GA group, which is supposedly knowledgeable, to show the way forward.

In a recent post by Sham Kumar a long list of specialized GA activities is mentioned. What a wonderful opportunity for AOPA India, or some other group with depth, to write a series of proposed regulations governing these activities. Coming up with a reasoned and sensible set of operating procedures and standards for each of these groups would go a long way to help the bureaucrats take some initiative. Perhaps if there are enough members, perhaps groups of 2 can tackle one of the activities and develop definitions, training, licensing, operating and maintenance recommendations to propose to the DGCA. Doing so would surely gain respect and likely move the powers that be to take some action.

I speak from experience. About 1995 the Canadian Recreational Aviation Group met with government official. At that meeting we (GA) were accused of not knowing what we wanted. I accepted the challenge and over a 2 month period wrote a paper, entitled “Freedom To Fly”, which outlined the changes required to have Rec Av thrive in Canada. The paper multiplied like rabbits in government circles, and 10 years later Canadians had all the privileges asked for in that paper. The only exception so far is the use of a driver’s licence as the acceptable medical standard.

If you are interested in the details of that paper it is posted on my website

I welcome your comments on this subject on my blog at

Frank Hofmann

Sunday, August 12, 2007

User Fees for General Aviation

General Aviation User Fees

Are they equitable? Are they wise? Are they necessary?

Those organizations involved with General Aviation matters generally consider user fees to be inappropriate.

Governments and service providers world-wide are advocating and implementing user fees for access to the world’s airspace and airports. Should all users pay? On what basis should their charges be assessed? Should there be exceptions to these fees? What guidance exists related to economic oversight and regulation?

User groups in the USA – AOPA and EAA among them – have had a modicum of success at, as a minimum, delaying the application of fees to General Aviation aircraft. In Canada, COPA has had only limited success by achieving agreement that such fees should not be “unreasonable” and in negotiating a relatively nominal amount for private aircraft owners’ fees.

On a world-wide basis the airlines, through the International Airline Transport Association, IATA, is attempting to have a flat charge apply to airways users, regardless of aircraft weight and size. They claim it is unfair that airlines alone should carry the financial burden of maintaining the air navigation systems alone. Airlines infer that particularly the business jets, and likely more recently the specter of Very Light Jets, VLJs, while taking up ‘their’ airspace, do not pay equally for the same airspace an airliner occupies. This, they claim, is not equitable. Their argument implies that the airline corporations actually pay for the services, and that GA operations do not.

On the surface the public can accept IATA’s logic. However, although the airlines claim that user charges cost them money (implying they should therefore enjoy preferential treatment), we must all remember that, unlike private aircraft owners, the airlines don’t actually pay the charges. Their user charges are passed on to the passengers when they buy tickets. It may even be argued that the user charges passed on to the passengers don’t all find their way back into paying the user charge, but rather end up as a dividend for the airline’s shareholders.

Private operators pay charges with after-tax dollars. By contrast, airlines sell tickets (including the user fees surcharge) way before they deliver the pre-paid service to the passenger – sometimes up to 6 months ahead of the flight. Then the airplane flies and incurs the charges. Then an invoice is sent to the airline some 30 days later. Then the invoice is finally paid, perhaps 2 months later. In other words, the airlines are in a business where they can collect user charges (and the interest they earn) up to 9 months before the charges -- already paid for by the passengers -- are actually paid out in the form of their own ‘user fee’. It seems unreasonable that the airlines would claim they single-handedly pay for the air navigation system when in fact it is their passengers who are paying the user charges, often through a specific surcharge for the flight. Given that the airlines collect user charges so much in advance, it can be argued that user charges are in fact a money maker for the airlines.

General aviation uses the air navigation system – simply because it exists. However, the air navigation system does not exist because of a need generated by GA. It exists for the benefit of the airlines. Should pedestrians have to pay for traffic lights in a city through the taxes citizens pay? Or should the cost of that kind of traffic control system be borne totally by the vehicle owners? Should every such vehicle – large, small, commercial, public service – pay the same amount toward the installation and maintenance of a city’s traffic light system? As far as the pedestrian (taxpayer) is concerned, each type of vehicle poses the same risk and congests equally. As a user of the traffic light system should the pedestrian be required to pay a portion of the cost decided by the commercial users’ requirements for the road? GA finds itself in an analogous situation with regards to user charges.

Ham radio operators do not pay a user fee for using the airwaves because we have long recognized their contributions to public need and safety. Although in some parts of the world they provide a daily service, their services in developed countries are required only in times of emergency. Yet they use up available spectrum, a range of frequencies coveted by potential commercial users. Similarly GA provides such services in times of need, be it crop spraying in times of insect infestations, search and rescue operations, medevac flights, aerial survey, supply and communications to remote areas.

We need to value our transportation infrastructure more. It is not until a bridge collapses somewhere, or an ice storm, flood or forest fire closes access to communities that suddenly we learn to understand the potential value and benefit of having an alternate way of travel. Since the road infrastructure has become so complete (and incredibly we have dismantled the railway system) we have adopted the motor vehicle as our only means of transport.

User fees are yet another imposed financial burden to the significant regulatory financial burden faced by aircraft owners and operators. By themselves GA’s contributions to user fees offer little if any cost benefit to the maintenance of the air navigation system. Adding further cost to GA aircraft operations will serve to limit the growth of the GA sector and possibly threaten its continued existence. We need only look at Europe to see the degrading effect high user fees have had on pilot currency/safety and access to this mode of transport by other than the wealthy. Is confining ourselves to an eventual single mode of transport a wise move, given that we will face periodic disasters?

If any of us feel that we should retain not only our freedom to choose personal flying as a means of transport but also be capable of affording it, we must speak out. Given the number and diversity of our GA sector, it should not and cannot pay for what airlines consider GA’s fair share of the costs. The air navigation system costs are neither controlled by the GA sector nor are they incurred because of the GA sector. Rather, let us apply the appropriate foresight and work together (governments, industry and GA) to assure the continued availability of alternate means of travel. GA pays indirectly for airport and air navigation services through fuels taxes, aircraft sales taxes, parts and services purchases. Airlines pay user fees. Governments have devolved their responsibilities toward the air transportation infrastructure and need to step in again as a partner. It is not right that a government by the people for the people will not help assure the continued existence of the total air transportation infrastructure which is to the benefit of its citizens.

Let us continue to monitor arguments for and applications of user fees. Let us ensure that users who can acquire the funds from outside their shareholders’ bank accounts do not succeed in their attempt to convince regulators that they are paying fees in the same way private operators do. Nor should those ‘paying’ user fees end up ‘buying’ access to airspace at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

Frank Hofmann

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Aviation in India

Aviation in India

AOPA India was formally launched recently in Delhi at a ceremony attended by the Indian Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pratap Rudy. In his capacity as a representative of 59 States that now make up the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations, IAOPA, Frank Hofmann was honoured to be invited to attend and to give the inaugural address.

India, despite a population of slightly more than 1 Billion, has only about 350 flying GA aircraft – 6 balloons and 40 Ultralights included – of the 1100 aircraft on its Civil Aviation register. Moreover, India records only about 2000 registered GA pilots.

In essence, Frank’s comments raised the issue of why a nation which has harnessed nuclear power, developed communication satellite technology and supercomputers has an airplane population only 1/1000th that of Canada’s and has no airplane manufacturers.

In his opening address Frank Hofmann noted that, "With a population of more than one billion people and only 400 operational General Aviation aircraft the possibilities for India are enormous. These possibilities can be released by creating a regulatory structure that favours general aviation. This structure should be based on evidence and not on conjecture. India has everything required to have an active general aviation sector except the regulations permitting it." Mr. Hofmann pledged the support of IAOPA in achieving these goals.

The Minister, speaking after Frank, used Frank’s remarks as the opportunity to openly chastise his bureaucrats, challenging them to develop regulations which would foster flying in India, and thus reap the economic benefits of a healthy General Aviation industry.

While in India Frank also had the pleasure to be introduced to the students, staff and facilities of the Ahmedabad Aviation Academy, an aviation college whose organization is exemplary, even by North American standards. Its founder, Dr. Rakesh Bhandari of London, Ontario is a GA enthusiast whose fondest dream is to have India opened up to GA. Upon arriving at the school Frank and his wife were greeted by a parade of 25 uniformed, bright and clearly eager young student pilots. Just like their counterparts in North America, they were filled with hopes for bright futures in the skies. He was pleased to address the group, to answer questions, and to wish them good luck.

Although their directorship is in a fledgling state, AOPA India has significant industrial support and has managed to establish credible offices and a secretariat. One of their first orders of business was to take Frank to a 900 foot strip, far into the country, where one of the AOPA directors had carved out an UL strip, erected a hangar, put an Indian-made UL into it, and posted a 24-7 guard to watch it all. Frank was privileged to be given a flight – one of few people in India to have flown an UL over India. Operations of this aircraft are restricted to a 3 mile radius and under 700 feet. However minimal the liberty, this in fact represents a significant victory for GA in a country operating on rules, as the Transport Minister pointed out, essentially unchanged since 1937. Illustrating the true spirit of what people really want, though, was the group of about 25 people, mostly youngsters, that materialized suddenly at the end of his flight. They had run from hither and yon at the first sights and sounds of the aircraft. Now they sat mesmerized, in awe of this machine which moments earlier flew over them.

There is scope for tremendous growth in aviation in India. There is the same sense of awe at the notion of flight that gripped our nation in the past century. And it appears there is now the will – both political and social (the will of the people) – to develop the dream. As he looked at the eager group that had gathered to see the bright yellow Ultralight as it flew above them, Frank thought that he was looking at the future direction of aviation in India at that moment.

AOPA India is now one of the 59 affiliates in the IAOPA and it has already begun to work on behalf of its members to promote General Aviation. This task is particularly formidable in a number of countries, India included.

The total Inaugural Address can be viewed on under ‘ICAO’.

Frank Hofmann is a COPA Director for Quebec, COPA Secretary and IAOPA Representative to ICAO

Monday, August 6, 2007

What is a Lycoming 0-320 Really?

Will The Real 0-320 Please Stand Up!
Frank Hofmann - EAA Technical Counselor # 3013

Your Homebuilt is now far enough along that you are contemplating the other 50% of your airplane's cost - an engine purchase.
Statistically, for homebuilders a Lycoming 0-320 is the most popular choice. After all, the 150-160 HP they produce is good power to fly one or two people around the sky. Decision: let's find us an 0-320.
You see an ad in your favourite publication: " 0-320 for sale - $3000". That is your engine! You call the vendor and are told it is an -H1AD model. That doesn't mean anything to you, and you are satisfied that as long as it is an 0-320 at a good price you will worry about the details later. But hold on: what are you buying? Better still, what did you want to buy?
What do the dash numbers mean anyway?
First, the '0' in the 0-320 means horizontally opposed, and not an injected engine or else it would have been labelled IO-320. An AIO-320 is an aerobatic injected version. An LIO is a left hand rotation injected engine. The '320' is the displacement in cubic inches. Then things get complicated, and there is no easy pattern to follow for all the dash numbers.
The first letter after the '320' gives the Power Rating. The '-A' is 150 HP, the '-B' is 160 HP, the '-C' is 150 HP, the '-D' is 160 HP, the '-E' is 150 HP, and the '-H' is 160 HP.
The 0-320-A1A is a 150 Hp engine, using controllable prop and designed for 80/87 gas, has 7.00:1 compression and Bendix mags with the spark advance set at 25 degrees.
The 0-320-B1A is a 160 HP engine, otherwise the same as the A1A but using 100 octane gas and has a compression ratio of 8.5:1.
The 0-320 C1A is the same as the B1A except that it is a 150 HP field conversion to low compression and 80/87 gas.
The 0-320 D1A is the same as the B1A (160 HP), except that it has 7/16" propeller bolts, a straight riser in the oil sump, a -32 carb, and Type 1 Dynafocal mounts. Whew!
The 0-320 E1A is the same as the A1A (150 HP) except that it has 7/16"" propeller bolts, a straight riser in the oil sump, a -32 carb, and Type 1 Dynafocal mounts.
There were no -F's made, so don't buy one. The only -F was an IO-320 F1A, in other words a fuel injected engine, a development from the -C1A engine.
Nor buy a 'G' for the same reason.
The 0-320 H1AD was a 160 HP engine, designed for 100 octane, had 9.00 : 1 compression, an integral accessory case, front mounted fuel pump, external mounted oil pump and an impulse coupled dual magneto.
When you inspect a list of these engines it appears that the numbers in the group after the first letter following the dash, e.g. A2A, refer to the propeller data, or the nose section. A '1' indicates constant speed propeller capability, a '2' indicates fixed pitch, and a '3' 7/16" prop bolts.
The last letter in the group of three gives details about the accessory section and riser tubes in the sumps; an `A' indicates a 'Z' shaped riser tube, a 'B' a straight riser as well as a -32 carb, and a 'C' Retard Breaker points. A 'D' can indicate conical mounts, different sumps and intake pipes, horizontal carburation, `Slick' mags and an assortment of other features. An 'F' indicates that the prop governor drive is on the left front crankcase, a 'G' has 0-320-A intake pipes, the 'H' is the same as the -E2D but has 'Bendix' mags, and finally the 'J' is the same as the E1F but with 'Slick' 4000 series mags. Are you with me.
Numbers after the last letter in the group of three give details about the Counterweights, and a letter after that number details about the magnetos. An "A" on the end of the engine serial number designates a "wide deck" engine, so check the serial number on the engine in addition to the model number.
Do you still want to just buy that engine over the phone without asking further questions about the model engine? Probably not.
Nor should you as a homebuilder say that the variations are unimportant because the engine is going on a homebuilt. You should not interchange parts, even though they may fit. Piper had problems with very early magneto failures on some installations. The cure ultimately was to go to a solid crankshaft, i.e. from an -A3A to an -A4A engine. Vibration, fatigue, thermal stresses etc. cause havoc. Engines are shaky things! (Excuse the pun.)
Also, remember that not all models manufactured by Lycoming were successful - i.e. maintenance free - some require the timing to be checked every 25 hours. The 0-320-H2AD engine was known for cam follower failures. Talk to a mechanic to get a feel for which models to avoid.
If you are hunting for an engine, best get the Lycoming guide to establish the details of a particular model,(Certificated Aircraft Engines, SSP-289, July 1989) and also find out for which airplane installation that dash number was originally meant. It may give you a clue what the engineers were addressing in choosing that particular dash number. Remember: it is not a question of will it run, but rather for how long will it run!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Electrical Maintenance

If you have radio problems, the following checks and procedures may save you a pile of money and ease your frustrations.

· Alternator – The idle voltage should be higher than 12V (24V). Higher RPM should yield 14.27V (28.5V). Check with VOM at cigarette lighter if Bus Bar is not accessible.
· Check battery fluid levels once a month.
· Listen to radio for alternator whine while landing lights are on. Radio Squelch 'off' and squelch 'on'.
· Listen to radio for Magneto noise – You will hear a whine if shielding is poor. If a grinding sound is heard, the capacitor is shot.
· Check dimmer functions on lights and on radios (night).
· If ADF doesn’t point, check sense antenna. Check pins at the antenna connector. The female portion receptors sometimes get pushed back, something you can’t see.
· When connectors are removed, use a soft pink eraser to clean pins. Check the pins are parallel and not bent. Any green color indicates corrosion and ensures poor performance.
· Put vaseline on sides of radios so they slide in and out of racks more easily.
· If contact cleaner helps make a device work better, it is close to death already and should be replaced.
· Clean volume controls using contact cleaner (lighter fluid) and air pressure to blow clean.
· Every 500 hours or 2 years all screw contacts at switches, breakers and grounds should be tightened.
· Jacks – If the plug being wriggled in and out produces a crackling sound in the speakers, the jack is no longer good.
· No ground wire from a radio should be longer than 6”.
· The Transponder antenna coax should be no longer than 4 feet.
· All antennas should be clean and free of grime and paint.
· If the Transponder is using the wire type DME antenna, the wire must not be bent.
· If the coax cable is stiff, it should be replaced.
· If the Encoder appears not to be working, check to see if it feels warm after 10 minutes of operation. If cool, it is not working.
· Use NOALOX* on pins before installing connectors, using a small brush to apply.
· If copper-aluminum contact is made at some connector, use PENETROX E-13*.
· If copper-copper contact is made, use PENETROX A-13*. e.g. battery connectors and contactors.
· Obtain a can of BLOW-IT* air cleaner to blow out possible dust in connectors and sliding contacts.
· If you want to measure voltages in wires without undoing the connectors, get a ‘Pin Prick Probe’ for your VOM.
· If you have a radio problem, change earphones and push to talk switch first. Don’t plug into the intercom connectors but instead into the emergency connectors. They are direct to the radio.

Frank Hofmann, AME
Retired Professor of Aircraft maintenance

Globalization of Aviation Regulations

Globalization and Canada’s Aviation Regulations

With the advent of ‘Globalization’, a term generally interpreted as a positive thing, it is likely that those with more to lose will indeed lose more than those with nothing to lose. As aviation procedures are ‘harmonized’ by regulators in their effort to attain a world-wide standard, it is always easier to achieve consensus by lessening expectations and associated freedoms.

To understand what is currently happening to aviation in Canada it is interesting to speculate on the effect foreign cultures are having and will continue to have on Canada’s owners and pilots.

My recent work at ICAO and my visits to other parts of the world have led me to the conclusion that there are in fact three basic cultures in the world as regards aviation. The choice of three may at first appear to be an over-simplification, but think about it. These conceptual models can be summarized and in their essence their perspective is:

Model 1): People are not permitted to fly; Model 2): Everyone is permitted to fly; Model 3): If we have enough rules, then people may fly.

Model 1 is found in the majority of the world, particularly in dictatorial, dogmatic or paternalistic cultures. Leaders in these cultures generally discourage that people communicate – be it by good roads, good telephone system, permitting ham radio, television (electric power), free print media, or travel by air. The argument that there is no flying in such countries due to economics does not wash because these countries always have a segment of their population that can afford flight, and furthermore, in these same countries even ultralights often are not permitted. I have observed at ICAO that the most constrictive proposals against aviation tend to come from States which do not have a healthy General Aviation industry. “Of course you may not fly.”

Model 2 is operational here in North America. Our young history is one of freedom and of individualism. We are prone to accept, and to be responsible for, our own individual state and actions. Traditionally we tend not to point first to the law when trying to decide if we may or may not carry out a reasonable activity. As well, we have had a pragmatic need for our aviation activity. The result has been that we have enjoyed significant liberties in our aviation activities, not found elsewhere, and looked upon with some envy by most others. “Everyone has the right to fly.”

Model 3 is in general use throughout Europe. As are their forests and landscape, their airspace and its operating procedures are cultivated, organized and enforced in great detail. An example is that of Germany where you may not fly to or from an airport which is unattended. The airport manager must be present. Another example is that of a national authority closing all General Aviation airports in order to assure the public’s security during a major international event. This is a case of security at any price. Such decisions to close down all General Aviation during major events have in fact been taken without proper justification, without prior risk analysis. Such a broad brush approach appears to North American eyes to be the expedient way out for officials charged with ensuring national security. Such an approach, no matter how well intentioned, is not sustainable – not for airlines nor for General Aviation. Further, there are those European States who typically have not accepted American STCs, even on American-produced aircraft. Instead, the Europeans demand the generation of their own paperwork. “You may fly if we, the authorities, have very detailed regulations to ensure a high degree of control over what you do”.

Canadian aviators no longer live uninfluenced by the rest of the world. As migration moves people about, so are attitudes imported and exported. Some of this exchange is unintentional, but much of it is intentional – as in the case of ‘harmonization’ of aviation regulations. Much of what is imported is beneficial to our country; however there is some which is not. For example, we must remain vigilant that as we come under the influence of the international community, the freedoms we as a nation have so carefully cultivated -- freedoms won at great cost -- remain intact. Our freedom to fly is but one example of an attitude inherent in the Canadian psyche. We consider our idea of individual freedom to be one of the great ideas of modern civilization. We cannot allow this powerful idea to erode. It must not erode, because we believe that with freedom comes increased potential for peace and prosperity. Rather than allowing less free nations to dilute our freedoms, it behooves us as a free people to encourage the growth of freedoms elsewhere. Because we prize freedom, influences from outside our own country that impact on our freedoms should first be challenged and proven in our own context before they are assimilated.

IAOPA (The International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations) is the only international organization devoted to fostering freedom to fly within the world-wide General Aviation community. It is privileged to have a voice at ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, where world-wide aviation regulations (and the harmonizing of) are hammered out. For this reason, COPA – Canada’s Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association – is happy to actively participate in IAOPA. COPA believes in supporting and nurturing freedom of flight globally and in encouraging other nations to be accountable for their actions concerning aviation. By increasing freedoms internationally, we ensure that we in Canada are protected from the blight of over-regulation as it often is practiced elsewhere.

Let us be vigilant of our Canadian acquired rights, our freedom to fly, and guard these freedoms jealously and aggressively. Support your respective pilot organizations as they attempt to ensure that our own aviation bureaucrats and administrators remain accountable for their attitudes and actions.

Frank Hofmann
IAOPA Representative to ICAO
COPA Secretary and Quebec Director

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

News from ICAO

Report of IAOPA Presence at ICAO

Most pilots don’t believe that what happens at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) matters to them, that ICAO concerns itself only with commercial international air travel.

That used to be the case.

To show you how things have changed, let me recount some of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (IAOPA) insights and activities these last few months.

ICAO itself is in transition – trying to re-align itself with a new business plan, a reduced and reducing budget, trying to live with post-WWII (1944) Articles which were developed by 53 States instead of the current 190, with new staff and results of Universal Safety Oversight Program (USOAP) audits indicating low level of compliance with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). These SARPS are adopted to meet ICAO objectives including safety and efficiencies. Naturally General Aviation (GA) concerns are pushed into the background by these institutional upheavals.

The USOAP program has found a low level of compliance with ICAO SARPs among States. In addition, States do not wish their level of non-compliance to be made public. In fact, in addition to non-compliance, States have filed over 11,000 differences with the ICAO SARPs. Although ICAO is attempting to develop a list of ‘Safety-critical’ SARPs, it is not generally understood that what is ‘safety-critical’ depends largely on the phase of flight. There are no absolutes. As well, there is a strong move afoot to convert the SARPs to a ‘Performance-based’ status. Again, some standards don’t lend themselves to that form – runway length and width, for example. It hardly seems that there is actually any uniformity in the application of internationally agreed Standards and Practices. Discussion is on-going on the need to segregate out safety-critical standards, giving further rise to the fear that standards may be neglected. In fact a new Unified Strategy Program has been launched which will attempt to provide assistance to States regarding the sharing and exchange of information, transparency, partnerships and alliances in the hope that the differences will be minimized. It may be worrying to outsiders that this cooperation has not been ingrained since the inception of ICAO in 1944. GA easily gets lost in this traffic.

This varied application causes grief to pilots and aircraft owners within any State. The problem for GA is that the needs of GA and particularly the needs of aircraft owners are often not clearly understood by regulators in many States, and at ICAO by technical commissioners, the political/financial arm of ICAO (Council), and sometimes by the Secretariat. ICAO is a place where many forces converge and unfortunately IAOPA is not an officially recognized component of ICAO. IAOPA’s function primarily is to act as an advocate for GA, educating and sensitizing State representatives regarding our needs and concerns.

States adapt the requirements based on a variety of factors, including largely finances but also pressure from organized groups. Whereas States can control to a degree the extent of their costs by opting out of a requirement, it is IAOPA’s task to sensitize regulators that owners and pilots have no such control over compliance with regulations aimed at commercial operations. Frequently the impact on GA is overlooked.

One such issue beginning to surface is Carbon credits. As airlines trade credits, how will GA be able to trade credits? How many trees can we plant? The metrics by which we will eventually compare our activities are important. Will we agree to pounds of Carbon Dioxide per passenger seat mile? Would that be fair for a flight which ends up at its starting point? Are we going to use cars as the equivalent? Clearly we can’t use the same metrics as do airlines. This issue is rising in prominence, and is currently being discussed at ICAO. Will the Aircraft Emissions Standard in Annex 16 Vol. II mean the end of leaded avgas, if the standard is enforced? Will airliners creating higher pollution therefore receive preferential treatment concerning access to airspace and airports?

Noise management and certification is already with us. Europeans are already flying with larger mufflers attached to Cessna 150s. Will regulators (most of whom are not aircraft owners) succumb to the European solution?

Although ICAO has ‘Guidelines’ on land-use planning and management, regulators and municipalities are not held to these guidelines, creating ever more conflict with pre-existing airports.

Another issue is an air traffic management system which will be performance based. GA has to ensure that an appropriate metric is applied, one which measures different factors than those in which the airlines are interested. IAOPA will remain watchful.

IAOPA achieves its goals in a variety of ways. This year as IAOPA’s rep I attended all Air Navigation Commission meetings (a technical commission) held twice a week, attended Unmanned Aerial Systems symposia, participated in the Air Navigation Service Providers Performance Conference earlier this year, participated in the Language Proficiency Symposium, lobbied for changes in the ELT requirements, and participated in the Medical Provisions Study Group. I do my work by meeting with Council members, Commissioners and the Secretariat. We hold discussions, I demonstrate equipment, and I distribute both COPA newspapers and AOPA magazines. IAOPA has advanced the idea of using Personal Locator Beacons instead of the mandated fixed ELT. As well IAOPA has lobbied strongly that the severity of the Language Proficiency requirements be reduced for pilots flying VFR.

A number of the issues outlined here will be addressed and resolved this fall when ICAO holds its tri-annual Assembly. IAOPA will be happy to have had the opportunity to provide input, whatever the outcome.

Frank Hofmann
IAOPA Representative to ICAO.
COPA Quebec Director and Eastern Vice-Chair