Aircraft of the Week – November 19, 2010


1
Jets
2005 CITATION SOVEREIGN 1995 CITATION VII 1996 CITATION X
1996 FALCON 900B 2010 PHENOM 100 2009 PHENOM 100
1989 GULFSTREAM IV 1999 GULFSTREAM IVSP 1992 LEARJET 31A
1980 SABRE 65

Turboprops

1981 KING AIR 200 1975 KING AIR 200 1986 KING AIR 300
1984 KING AIR 300 2008 KING AIR 350 1997 KING AIR B200R
1987 KING AIR B200

Piston Single-Engine

1976 CESSNA P210N 2004 CESSNA T182T 2000 LANCAIR
1957 CESSNA 180 1987 MOONEY M20K 252 1979 PIPER CHEROKEE
2005 CESSNA T182 2005 PIPER 6X PA32-
Piston Multi-Engine
1980 CESSNA 414 RAM 1977 CESSNA 421C 1977 PIPER NAVAJO C
1978 CESSNA 340A RAM
Helicopter
2006 ENSTROM 480B

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Piper’s Family of Cherokee Arrows

By:      Norm Goyer

Piper is still manufacturing the Arrow; it is very popular with flight schools.

Piper is still manufacturing the Arrow; it is very popular with flight schools.

I have to admit that my favorite type of aircraft are World War II vintage. Once anyone has flown these airplanes, especially the Texan, SNJ, Harvard and Stearman, you are hooked. But, flying these aircraft is strictly for sport. They are expensive, parts are hard to find, insurance and time in type can be prohibitive. For everyday transportation and occasional small family fly-away vacation, there are other aircraft that make a lot more sense. I have had extensive experience flying Cessna 182s and 206s. These are excellent aircraft and have carried my family all over our beautiful country. But, I also have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for Piper Arrows. I still prefer retracts and low wings; I am sure that this is a carryover from flying military aircraft. There are some excellent buys on 200-hp Lycoming powered PA-28R Arrows currently on the market. If you are real lucky, you might even find a 180-hp Arrow for very little money. I used to fly a 180-hp Arrow from Barnes Airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, to Schenectady, New York, every week for several years. I only carried myself, cameras and small cases. The airplane was ideal for this under 200 mile trip. A pilot can get into trouble with a 180-hp Arrow when the weather is hot and seats, tanks and luggage area are full. I have always classified the 180-hp Arrow as a two passenger aircraft with a big back seat for luggage, or maybe one or two very small kids. The engine has a recommended TBO of 2000 hours.

The Arrow with a Lycoming 200-hp engine is an excellent small family aircraft.

The Arrow with a Lycoming 200-hp engine is an excellent small family aircraft.

Insurance companies like Arrows because of their semi-automatic landing gear extension device, a gimmick that works and has saved many a pilot the embarrassment of a wheels up landing. The system extends the gear automatically when the airspeed and manifold pressure drop below a certain setting. You can disconnect the system for training purposes, involving slow flight and stall recognition and recovery. But, you had better turn it back on before you land because the gear will not come down if you forget to extend them. The Lycoming 180-hp engine with a constant speed prop is a very bullet proof power system. The engine has a true 2000 hour TBO and the airframe is very simple to repair. In short, the Arrow makes an ideal family aircraft and an excellent flight school aircraft

In 1976, Piper introduced the Turbo Arrow powered with a 210-hp six-cylinder Continental engine.

In 1976, Piper introduced the Turbo Arrow powered with a 210-hp six-cylinder Continental engine.

Our four flight schools used 1974 Piper 200-hp Arrows. We had three of them and they were used extensively in our commercial, instrument programs and for meeting long cross country requirements. Every one of them flew the 1600 hours before overhaul; we then sold them and bought new ones. These fine aircraft were the favorites of our flight division and of our mechanics, they seldom had any troubles. In 1976, I purchased a new Turbo Arrow II with the Warrior wing, 210-hp Continental six-cylinder engine, 1800 hour TBO. This Arrow, in my opinion, was far superior for family travel but not as good for school work, here’s why. The turbo charged system was not automatic. If you didn’t closely watch the manifold pressure on takeoff you could exceed the 42 inches limit, there was no automatic waste gate on this one. Another negative point was the turbo did not have its own oil lubrication system and depended on the engine for oil pressure. The owner’s manual called for five minutes, yes that’s right five long minutes, of idling before shutting down the engine. The time was needed so the turbine could unwind enough so as not to ruin the bearings for lack of lubrication. We found that not all of our students or renters would follow this procedure, so we had to be selective in renting the aircraft. We finally withdrew the Turbo Arrow from the program and returned to the 200 hp four-cylinder Lycoming. My family flew the Turbo Arrow until it had 1600 hours on the engine, prop and turbine. We never had a problem with the aircraft. But other operators were running into severe engine and turbine problems with under 700 hours on the engine. You had to follow procedures with this engine.

The 1979 Piper Arrow IV had a controversial T'tail, since discontinued.

The 1979 Piper Arrow IV had a controversial T'tail, since discontinued.

In 1979 Piper brought out the Arrow IV with a 210-hp Continental six-cylinder engine and turbine, complete with a T-tail. Big mistake, this was not a good Arrow. Our instructors test flew one and turned it down for commercial flight training. We found that the Turbo Arrow was the best one for cross country travel as the added boast allowed safer takeoffs from high altitude fields on hot days. Our field was at 3000 feet and it was warm, that is probably the main reason  our turbo Arrows lasted until TBO time, they weren’t overworked.

With the cost of new aircraft skyrocketing out of control pilots should look for older aircraft in good condition or low enough priced so that repairs and restoration can be made. Look out for the trap of investing more money into a restoration project than the aircraft will be worth on the open market. If you intend to fly the aircraft for many years, even hand it down to the next generation, the Piper Arrow family is worth examining. It is really a very nice aircraft, although not as fast or roomy as other retracts of the same vintage.

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Piper’s Twin Arrow, the PA-44 Seminole

By:      Norm Goyer

The Piper PA-44 Seminole is basically a twin Arrow. This airplane is used extensively in flight academies.

The Piper PA-44 Seminole is basically a twin Arrow. This airplane is used extensively in flight academies.

I was one of the lucky ones. Uncle Sam taught me to fly, Uncle Sam provided me with outstanding surplus military planes to fly for many decades and then Uncle Sam paid for advanced ratings for those veterans of Vietnam who wanted to enter commercial aviation as a career. I am a veteran of World War II, not Vietnam, but my four flying schools in Southern California benefitted highly from this vocational training program paid for by Uncle Sam, thanks Uncle.

The Seminole with its small engines and sturdy airframe is still being manufactured, mostly for flight schools.

The Seminole with its small engines and sturdy airframe is still being manufactured, mostly for flight schools.

If I were asked how to proceed in a quest for an airline job I would consider several methods. The best and fastest is to combine your college education with an intense flight training program offered by many institutions of higher learning. Most airlines prefer to hire pilots with a degree. The FAA either has or is considering raising the number of hours to 1500 to qualify for a right seat in airline flight positions. This is expensive and will take several years, if not more to complete, but you can almost be certain to be picked up by a top rated carrier. But, there is another way to get started, much faster and less expensive through aircraft ownership. Most carriers, including the small regional ones, look for multi engine and IFR time. Of course they would love to see at least half of that being turbine, but, that is almost impossible for the average young person to log. After you obtain your private license, look around for three other partners, who have the same goals as you, and invest in a small multi-engine aircraft, one that is inexpensive to own and to operate; one of the best is the Piper Seminole, the “Twin Arrow.” Four owners could easily share this aircraft, building up valuable twin and instrument time. The Seminole is the most popular light twin used in large numbers by flight academies. Why? For the exact same reasons it also makes an ideal personal training aircraft.

The Seminole shows its Arrow roots in this side view.

The Seminole shows its Arrow roots in this side view.

The Seminole was first placed on the market place in 1979, the same year that the Turbo Arrow IV made its debut, and they are obviously kissing cousins, right down or up to the T’tail. It is still being manufactured by Piper in 2010. When you and your partners finally reach the magic number of hours needed, the Seminole can be sold for almost what you paid for it, allowing you to recoup a goodly amount of your costs. As in any venture, there is a risk factor involved in any type of cooperative ownership effort.

Current Seminoles have glass panels. Early versions had conventional panels, well equipped with IFR instruments and avionics.

Current Seminoles have glass panels. Early versions had conventional panels, well equipped with IFR instruments and avionics.

Before the Seminole, Piper had always had a foot in the door of the light-twin engine training market. Their early Piper Apache, the “Sweet Potato”, was frankly a dog but it was cheap and did make an ideal twin engine trainer. Before our companies switched to Senecas, we used tired Apaches for our multi-engine training. The Lycoming powered Senecas were pretty much in the category of the Apache, slightly doggy in performance, but because of this, they made excellent multi trainers. Why was the Texan considered the Pilot Maker? Because it was a handful to fly.

There are various models of the Seminole available, with or without a turbo charger, small engines or slightly more powerful engines. All you are interested in are the operating costs while building time. But, you should also be aware of the fact that if two pilots apply for a job with the same amount of time, the one with the college degree is going to get the position, even though it is questionable whether a degree will make you a better pilot.

Specifications PA-44-180 Seminole

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 7.2 in
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 8 in
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in
  • Wing area: 184 ft²
  • Empty weight: 2,360 lb
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,800 lb
  • Engines: 2 Lycoming O-360-A1H6 air cooled, direct-drive, horizontally opposed 4 cylinder engine, 180 hp at Sea Level each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed, constant speed, Hartzell HC-C2Y(K,R)-2 propeller
  • Maximum Ramp Weight: 3 816 lb
    Fuel: 2 main nacelle tanks, each of 55 U.S. gallon capacity (110 U.S. Gal. total), 2 U.S. gallons unusable.

Performance

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North American and Ryan Navion

By:      Norm Goyer

North American introduced the Navion and L-17 in 1948. It was built on the same production line as the famous P-51 Mustang.

North American introduced the Navion and L-17 in 1948. It was built on the same production line as the famous P-51 Mustang.

Thanks to Wikipedia for facts regarding the Navion. NG

Now here is an interesting aircraft, both in conception, flying and modifications. I had the use of a 285-hp version for several years and really enjoyed flying it. If it had had a 300-hp Lycoming, instead of a trouble prone light case Continental I would have loved it even more. At the time Apple Valley Airport was the home for five highly-modified Navions owned by local professionals, including a doctor, dentist and business men. One of the owners, Ozzie Osborne, also produced wing tip tanks for the Navion; his personal bird was really tricked out. The Navion  I flew also had tip tanks, wheel and tail conversion which were popular at the time. I would have to say the Navion was one of my all time favorite aircraft, not perfect, but a very fine aircraft.

North American Aviation’s Navion was released to the flying public in 1948, a great year for highly innovative aircraft. Private aviation aircraft had been made mostly of tube and fabric. The planes had been designed prewar and resurrected post war, not all were suitable for post war sales. The ones that succeeded, included the Beechcraft Bonanza, North American Navion, Cessna 195 and Republic Sea Bee all utilized technologies honed by wartime aviation experiences. After World War II ended, North American and Republic were sitting on huge inventories and had production lines which had built Mustangs, B-25s and Thunderbolts. The marketing departments of these firms really believed that there would be a post war aviation boom with the thousands of returning pilots looking to purchase a plane for their own transportation needs. It did make sense, but it never happened. North American’s Mustang for the masses was the Navion design  Its pugnacious military look did capture the imagination of many high profile pilots. I had to sell several which I had taken in on new aircraft, in my opinion, the company was ignoring women in its design. It was a macho airplane, both in looks and climbing into the cockpit. I found that women did not like it. The wing was too high off the ground, it had no doors, but a sliding canopy which demanded an ungainly access to the rear seats, which included climbing over the side of the fuselage. Once inside, it was comfortable and the visibility was good, but a lack of opening windows was also a negative factor.

The Navion Rangemaster had a different cockpit including a real door, windows and five seats. It also had a huge fuel capacity for a very long range, thus the name Rangemaster.

The Navion Rangemaster had a different cockpit including a real door, windows and five seats. It also had a huge fuel capacity for a very long range, thus the name Rangemaster.

Early versions sold by North American used a Continental 185/205 hp engines, very underpowered. But, the Army Air Force jumped on it immediately as a perfect trainer for their college courses for future Army pilots. Army L-17As were used in many different roles. Its macho looks was very responsible for the Army’s purchase. The very visible Crocker Snow, Massachusetts Director of Airports, tooled around the Commonwealth in his personal L-17A. Then the Korean conflict heated up and North American geared up for F-86 jet production with designers hard at work on the T-28 to replace the T-6 for advanced training. North American sold the rights to the Navion to Ryan Aeronautical. Between various companies over 2,500 Navions were sold. Ryan alone produced over 1,200 model B and Cs with  260-hp Continental engines. The design was later sold to Tubular Steel Corporation, TUSCO, took over production of the Navion in the mid 1950s, manufacturing D, E and F models some with tip tanks and flush rivets. Navion TUSCO aircraft were manufactured from 1961 to 1976. Their production followed that of earlier canopy-model Navion aircraft. In addition to the 39.5-gallon main fuel tanks, the TUSCO Navion Rangemaster added tip tanks with 34 gallons each. The total fuel capacity of 107.5 gallons gave these Navions the range for which they are named. TUSCO also introduced the Navion Rangemaster G model in 1960, which incorporated all previous advancements including replacing the Navion’s sliding canopy with a side door, enlarged the cabin, created five separate seats, and standardized use of tip tanks and larger, late-model Continental engines. An H Model was produced as well the by Navion Aircraft Company, during a short production run ending in 1976, during one of several attempts to restore the airplane to commercial viability.

Both Camair and Temco produced after-market, twin-engine conversions. The one shown is a Camair 480. This Twin Navion had two 240 Continental engines. Very nice aircraft.

Both Camair and Temco produced after-market, twin-engine conversions. The one shown is a Camair 480. This Twin Navion had two 240 Continental engines. Very nice aircraft.

Both Temco and Camair produced after market twin-engine conversions, one with twin 240 hp engines, which produced a very high-performance, light-twin. I always wanted to fly one of those, but never found one. Most airworthy Navions have now been highly modified by their owners.

The instrument panel was well laid out. Controls were well balanced and there was a lot of room for added instruments and navcoms.

The instrument panel was well laid out. Controls were well balanced and there was a lot of room for added instruments and navcoms.

Specifications for Navion A and L-17

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 27.25 ft
  • Wingspan: 33.38 ft
  • Height: 8.53 ft
  • Wing area: 184 ft²
  • Loaded weight: 2,750 lb
  • Engine:  Continental E185 flat-6 piston engine, 185/205 hp
  • Performance
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A Navion’s Two Emergency Landings

By:      Norm Goyer

The Navion which I flew was similar to the one pictured. It had several mods including a larger engine and tip tanks.

The Navion which I flew was similar to the one pictured. It had several mods including a larger engine and tip tanks.

The Continental 285-hp powered Ryan Navion belonged to a friend of mine who had purchased a Baron. He allowed me to use it in exchange for providing a hangar, the arrangement worked for both of us. I loved the big old beast for the way it flew and the solid construction.

We had just flown back from Watsonville, California, after attending the Memorial Day Fly-In, one of our favorite air shows on the West Coast. The venue was great becasuse the airport was just a mile from the Pacific Ocean which afforded us great backgrounds for air to air photography. As we were letting down over the desert, after flying over the Tehachapi Mountain range, I noticed a light film of oil on the windscreen. It was the end of May and the annual was running out, which meant the Navion was headed into the shop anyway.

After a complete engine rebuild, we found a piece of safety wire was causing the oil pressure relief valve to malfunction.

After a complete engine rebuild, we found a piece of safety wire was causing the oil pressure relief valve to malfunction.

About a week later the I A (Inspector Aircraft) called with bad news, the crankcase had a severe crack that could not be repaired. It was a light case engine  and they were noted for cracks after being in service for a long time. I called my friend with the bad news and he told me get it fixed and then he would sell the aircraft. He had contracted with a licensed repair shop for the needed work. We removed the engine and shipped it out for repairs. Three weeks later, the engine came back, but it was definitely not the end of the story. I have two sons who are A & P mechanics and together we reinstalled the engine, attached the prop and fired it up for the initial run in. A quick check of the engine instruments revealed a widely fluctuating oil pressure gauge. It would settle down at the proper pressure then drop to zero and then pop up again. I called the shop that had overhauled the engine and was told the oil pressure unit was cleaned and had passed all tests. I then started getting nervous about the rest of the engine. I dismantled the oil pressure relief valve and it was spotlessly clean, I ran my finger in and around the cavity where the pressure relief valve and its spring reside. A sudden sharp pain traveled from my finger up my arm. I pulled the finger out of the cavity and found a short length of safety wire imbedded in my finger. What was happening was obvious, the piece of wire was slipping under the ball and unloading the pressure. I checked the inside of the opening and there was no damage. We buttoned up the engine and sure enough, lots of steady oil pressure. Time to go fly.

Another piece of safety wire was found in the fuel injection spider blocking off fuel to different cylinders. Mechanics did not retrieve the cut-off pieces of safety wire.

Another piece of safety wire was found in the fuel injection spider blocking off fuel to different cylinders. Mechanics did not retrieve the cut-off pieces of safety wire.

It was during the week and there was very little traffic pattern activity, which was fine by me. Test flying, after serious mechanical work, is always a bit stressful. I took a very long time with the preflight and pre rotation checks and all seemed to be okay. I taxied out onto the runway after a clearing 360 turn and slowly advanced the throttle. The lightly loaded Navion, with a fresh 285-hp engine, launched like a scared rabbit. As I started my turn onto the cross wind base a violent shaking commenced, which really got my attention. I was at about 500 feet agl and could not throtlle back too much and maintain altitude. The shake was so bad I could see the wing tip tanks jumping up and down. I milked it around the pattern very carefully. I had never tucked the wheels up thankfully. I landed with the wings still on the airplane and headed for the hangar. Now the engine was purring. Naturally, I was on the ground.

My boys had departed the area so I called in the FBO’s mechanic who had an excellent reputation. He checked the plugs, mags, switch and could not find anything wrong. I even rechecked for water in the fuel. A run up produced no problems. Crossing my fingers I headed for the runway again. As I started to make my turn to crosswind base, WHAM, the shaking started again, this time it appeared to be coming from the opposite bank of cylinders. My luck held, the wings stayed on and I got it back on the ground, once again. The mechanic had been monitoring the Unicom and radioed to me to keep the engine running after I had reached the hangar. He opened the cowling and felt each cylinder and found the cooler one, obviously the one that wasn’t firing.

We removed the cowling and started our search once again for the problem. The mechanic found a blocked fuel injection line from the spider to the cylinder. No fuel getting to the cylinder would sure account for the problem. He opened the spider, a reservoir which filled up with fuel from the pump and then sent six lines out to the cylinders in a not very sophisticated fuel injection system. This was certainly not a FADEC or Bosch system, more like a Wright Brothers system. Sure enough, he found a small section of safety wire that was rattling around in the spider. Under full throttle the bit of wire was sucked into one of the six tiny lines going to the cylinders which blocked off the fuel flow. That is why a cylinder on each bank went dead. Finally, the Navion was put back into service and was sold. Frankly, I was not sad to see it go; I really don’t like emergency landings in any airplane. By the way, I had a very enjoyable shouting match with the inept firm which had performed the overhaul. I also let the FAA know about it as well. This was a case of not so safety wire. A prime rule was not observed, always retrieve any foreign matter before assembling an engine or any component.

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