If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>COO Members:

I own a 1977 Hawk XP II with a brand new Garmin avionics panel and S-Tec 30 autopilot and a brand new "0" time TCM remanufactured engine with Isham 210 hp conversion and am planning to repaint in 2003...  This is an esoteric question....

If there is only one PMA/STC modification you could choose for this airframe what is the best one to get the most bang for your buck????

I have read about STOL kits, wing tips, strobe lights, vortex generators and even wing extensions www.wingxstol.com that just received Canadian STC approval and may soon get FAA STC approval for a 172.  This really got my attention.

Knowing that one knot of addtional airspeed costs about $1,000 and all of the above claim speed, slow flight capabilities, stall reductions, weight increases --maybe it is better to get a 182-like heavy hauling machine for the price of a 172, I do not know...

Bottom line, if you were going to spend your last $5,000 bucks (on your airplane, knowing you cannot spend no more) what would you guys do???  I am anxiously awaiting your responses...

Brian</HTML>

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Re: If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>fly it</HTML>

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<HTML>$5000?

A graphic engine montior; not the wiz bang ones that give you HP/OAT/etc..etc- just a simple bar graph like a GEM 602.

The M-20 air/oil seperator.

The Lord shimmy damper.

The Camloc cowl fastener STC.

Faithful oil changes with oil analysis.

Cheers,
RH</HTML>

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Re: If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>A flight training contract at FlightSafety.</HTML>

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Re: If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>Brian,

  Since you specifically said you were going to spend it "on your airplane," that's a hard question.

camlocs
oil analysis
seat rails
GEM
STOL kit


  I don't know if a GEM will give you a "heads up" before an engine failure.  Will it show high CHT right before a valve gets sucked?  Will it show higher temps if the fuel or oil gets contaminated?  I don't have enough experience to know.

  But if a GEM helps you to lean correctly, it saves gas, and if it helps you prevent shock cooling, maybe the engine lasts longer, so that's good, right?

  So I'm going to go with the GEM.

  Also camlocs.  I can't stand even helping someone with a plane without camlocs.

  As far as flap gaps and stall fences go, I think that depends on the type of flying you do.  I suspect you don't fly out of rough strips in the back woods often, so this may be a waste of money and payload, but I've only flown a 172 and a 210 with these (our local XP doesn't have them), and on the 210 I really liked them.

  Last year there was a local pilot who ran out of gas at night shooting the LOC IFR into WVI in a 210, had third degree burns and died weeks later, horrible.  I wonder if a STOL kit would have helped him...

  I've also had way too many seats slide on me.  Two days ago it happened right before we were setting up for spin training.  Scared the hell out of the student pilot.  I wonder if there's an STC'd fix that corrects this once and for all.  I've seen STC's for thicker rails with a different shape.  Has anyone fixed this problem?

  So camlocs, oil analysis, seat rails, GEM, and STOL kit.  If you just HAVE TO spend $5000.
 
  Or get a tenth share in a Citabria  wink   


BLASPHEMY!


Mark</HTML>

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<HTML>If I had $5,000 and knew I'd have no more (for the plane)  I'd put it in a TRUST FUND FOR THE PLANE.  You know it's just a matter of time...

At $1K/knot  $5K  isn't going to get you there that much sooner.
Perhaps spending the money on valet parking for the plane.  Time saved on the ground allowing more time for flying!!??

I just got a flyer, in the mail, from an outfit called "Knots2you"  They make several mods...vortex generators, fairings, etc...I added up their claims of additional speed vs costs.  (I do have a budget)  If my speed ever gets to be that important.........I will just rent a faster plane...It'll be cheaper.

If you need a STOL aircraft, I think you'ed already have one and not be thinking of speed mods.

I have, however, thought it would be nice to have a landing/taxi light in both wings rather than just one.  A little better visibility in the sky and better lighting for taxiing...

Michael</HTML>

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<HTML>http://www.mcfarlane-aviation.com/rail-aps.html

Has anyone tried these seat rails?  I wonder, for $70 a rail
(x 4 is about $300) if they solve this problem...

Mark</HTML>

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<HTML>WOW!  Ask an esoteric question and you do get esoteric and varied recommended solutions.  You can spend all week reading the links on this speed mod, that speed mod, this, that and everything...  Thanks for you input.

Spent the morning today trying to sell something so that I can pay for the 2003 paint.

I do fly it and am ramping up more flight time every year, so that is covered...  I actually like the FlightSafety recommendation George and have been looking at some of the 3-day re-currency training as part of my IFR regimen...  I have an M-20 air/oil separator, do faithful oil changes with analysis.

The CAMLOC STC surprised me a lot, although they are nice over the 1/4 turn screws...  With paint that is a definate consideration, the shimmy damper surprises me too -- I do not have any problem with nosewheel shimmy.

Being a tall and big guy, I really like the useful load increase with little or no noticeable loss of airspeed that WingXSTOL brags about -- I think that is what I would go for, they are claiming a 150 lb increase in useful load across all flight profiles for the HAWK XP II, that really interests me, but it is hugely expensive...

Think I will paint and be happy for the next ten years...smile</HTML>

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<HTML>Hi Brian:

I have a recommendation for a small STC  for your aircraft, which I put on my Hawk.  Buy those STC'd air vents that they have in Sportys!  You would not believe the difference they make!  I bet my noise level dropped 10db, and no leaks at all, the O-rings seal perfectly tight, and you can direct the airflow exactly where you want it.  In addition, dont relocate the outside air temp as indicated in the STC, buy a Davtron digitial OAT indicator with probe, it runs about 150.00.  These two items are an improvement well worth the cost.

Buy the way, back to the thread on the IO-360.  Now that its October, I dont have to worry about those complicated hot starts on the IO-360.  The time limit the Cont tech rep told us is way to long for me.  I start dumping fuel at 10 seconds.  The good thing to know is that this is normal operation for this model engine with a newer fuel pump.  I had alot of people telling me that my idel cut off was not working properly, but all engines are not alike. 

Good luck with your search
Sal</HTML>

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<HTML>Sal:

I want that vent modification, but am really frustrated that someone thinks it should cost $395.00.  I am having a real problem justifying spending that kind of money for air flow control...

Maybe over time I will get more comfortable with the cost and finally do it or maybe someday the costs will come down...  Wishful thinking, huh???

The STC modifications are very cool and I will do something such as flap gap seals when I get it painted... Other modifications will follow, but I will not spend lots of money to eek out a few extra knots.

I am hoping I have my CHT high temp problem fixed with updating and upgrding the rubber baffling... have not had the opportunity to fly since the repair was made...</HTML>

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Re: If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>Take a look at what happened to a Flight Safety trained pilot at

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_i … &key=1

and then decide if you'd like training.

I'd bet all that training made the pilot overconfident, so he figured he'd make it into WVI on the LOC at 200 and 1.  Ahhh...the grisly hazards of "taking a peek."

I'd be more interested in things that make my plane fly SLOWER, not faster, and stuff to keep the engine running (like the GEM, or extra gas/bigger tanks).

That's why I bought a 172 instead of a Grumman (lands fast/have to switch tanks = bad)

Mark</HTML>

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Re: If you could only have one modification, WHICH ONE?

<HTML>Mark,  Your comment implies that a pilot who seeks flight training (even one who seeks it at one of the foremost training facilities in the world) is actually degrading his skills!  What a message!!
  Not only that, but you are disparaging a pilot who is no longer alive to defend himself!  Topping the matter off, you apparently disregard the very important comment in the accident report "There was also sooting damage in the accessory section of the engine. A "B-nut" was found looser than finger tight at the outlet from the engine driven fuel pump in the heat-involved area."
  Let me put that comment in plain English for you!  The fuel pump was spraying fuel all over the engine, probably as the result of faulty maintenance!  The pilot stated to the first responder on the scene (according to the Sheriff) that he'd lost his engine!
  Mark, Not only is your opinion is contrary to that of the entire aviation community regarding flight training, but you slander a dead pilot who apparently did nothing wrong!  Shame on you.</HTML>

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<HTML>  The point behind these reports in the first place has nothing to do with slander or defending oneself.  The point is simply so the pilots who read it can decide for themselves what they will do to prevent it happening to them.  I have no time to honor or slander the dead.  The first is the function of the funeral, and the second is the feduciary obligation of the claims adjuster.

  I don't even attempt to make an approach if WVI reports below 400 and 5 at night.  Less than that and I've found that the fog is all the way to the ground all the way to the highway right before the runway.  In fact, the rescuers on the ground had a helluva time even finding the site because the fog was so thick on the night of that accident. 

  If I fly the approach legally, I can NEVER get in a normal position to land by the time I break out if I fly it at MDA, and I certainly can't circle.  Why attempt such an approach just to MDA if you know it will certainly result in a missed?  I think you know why.

  Death is an ugly master.  It doesn't care if it was the fault of the "B-nut," it doesn't care that flying an approach at night over terrain with fog to the ground in a single engine airplane is legal, and it doesn't care about the stall speed of the aircraft, and it doesn't care how pissed your wife will be if she has to get you from an airport an hour away. 

  And dead men tell no tales because they are DEAD.  No-one will ever know the "truth."       

  And just so you don't misread this, I state what I believe is a fact:  flight training sometimes makes too-bold pilots even bolder. 

  I found one of my IFR students doing IFR departures without yet getting his rating.  I begged him on the phone to not come back that night and do an approach, and when I saw him next he asked me why I wouldn't fly with him anymore.

  I told him I didn't want to be the last signature in his logbook when his wife and kids came to ask me "what happened to daddy?"  This pilot is still alive.

  I flew with another pilot, a 210 pilot based at WVI, and at his request demonstrated a LOC approach in his plane to WVI at MDA.  He had a nice GPS and said they were very accurate, and he felt he could fly approaches all the way to the ground with such great equipment.  He asked me if I would teach him how to fly such approaches, all the way to flare, at WVI and be his safety pilot.  I much too politely declined (I had only flown with him this once).


   
  "contrary to that of the entire aviation community regarding flight training,"  nope, that's exaggeration, that's not what I said or implied.  Just for the record in plain English:  don't get flight training if it will encourage you to put yourself in a situation where you have no second option.

  If a no horizon takeoff at night surprises you and makes you nervous, maybe training's not the answer.  Maybe you just shouldn't do it.

  If flying at night over the frigid pacific makes you nervous, maybe water survival training isn't the answer.  Maybe you just shouldn't do it.

  If approaches to an airport that reports below minimums makes you nervous, maybe training's not the answer.  Maybe you just shouldn't do it.

  If a GPS is so accurate it makes you think you can fly all the way to touchdown without any outside reference, maybe training's not the answer.  Maybe you just shouldn't get a fancy GPS.

  Who knows if any of this applies to the accident in question.  I cannot communicate with the dead.


  "dead pilot who apparently did nothing wrong"

something in that sentence seems ironic...perhaps you meant to say:

  "dead pilot who apparently did nothing illegal"</HTML>

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<HTML>And for mods, I'm still gonna go with stuff that keeps the engine healthy, adds to safety, and stuff that helps fly slower, not faster.

And maybe the four point harnesses?  Don't have a lot of data about them, but I know that fatalities are higher for no shoulder strap vs. shoulder strap used.  They sure seem cool...

Mark</HTML>

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<HTML>OK!  We should let the poor, if not foolish 210 pilot RIP.

Mark:  I am a former military guy where training and re-currency is the absolute norm.  Lack of training will hurt you, ego will hurt you, pride will hurt you, being dumb will hurt you -- training will save you -- if it prepares you to react instantly and correctly -- not all of us have that skill.

Military training via repitition and quality attempts to get soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who find themselves in tough conditions or situations to react with the proper procedures or processes sometimes without thinking, mostly after careful, if not quick thought.  it works and I agree with George.

What you are speaking about is an individual personality trait that can be mitigated in some and never changed in others...  Results, I think your accident spells it out nicely.</HTML>

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<HTML>I've flown IFR at night in my Baron that started spraying fuel from the high-pressure fitting on the engine-driven fuel pump. (This is the same fitting as that B-nut in the accident.  My problem stemmed from a generator bracket that broke in-flight and vibrated against the fitting, rupturing it.)   The first indication was that the engine began to run rough, and the fuel pressure indicator showed low pressure.  The check list said to turn on the electric boost pump.  I did.  The engine recovered, but the smell of fuel suddenly engulfed the cockpit.  (Luckily, I might add.  Otherwise I'd have been tempted to continue to the planned destination.  Fuel was spraying all over the accessory section and onto the hot exhausts, out the cowl flaps and into the wheel well, where it followed the gear retract-rods beneath the floor and into the cockpit.  A huge fireball was imminent!  See anything here yet that mightn't fit the accident scenario?  No.  I didn't think so.)
  I had the good fortune to have another engine, so I shut the affected engine down and we made an immediate landing at the nearest airport.  The accident pilot didn't have that luxury in a single.
  Just because the weather was low, doesn't mean that is what caused the accident.  Even clear weather doesn't prevent a mechanical problem.  While it's perhaps questionable why the pilot continued, it's also possible that at the time of the fuel problem it was the nearest airport.  Fuel vapors in the cockpit would certainly encourage me to shoot an approach, even to minimums and below if I'm in a single engined airplane.  Fuel vapors, a faltering engine, and low weather probably played a frightful distraction in the last moments of that flight. 
  Perhaps flying single-engine IFR with low ceilings/poor visibility is poor judgement.  I don't do it single-engined unless I can descend to basic VFR, personally.  I'm not suggesting this pilot excersized the most prudent judgment in launching the flight in the first place.  Re-current flight training, ...good flight training, obtained from highly qualified sources will NOT make a pilot excersize poor judgment.  It will do quite the contrary because a quality flight training facility will impart good judgment as part of the curriculum.  FlightSafety, SimuFlite, SimCom, and several others fall into that category.  Those facilities train the airlines, the military, and countless civilian pilots with some of the best curriculum available.
  Quality recurrent flight training is part of a good pilot's equipment.  If ever you face a below-minimums approach with fuel vapors in the cockpit your best chance of making it will be that you've trained and re-trained, consistently, and faithfully, preferably with a simulator or similar training device.
    " I have no time to honor" ....(that's a pity) ..."or slander the dead."  (You just did!) 
  "I don't even attempt to make an approach if WVI reports below 400 and 5 at night..."  Oh, yeah? What if your only engine is faltering and spraying fuel?
  Your position on training is without merit, Mark.    Sadly, your own aplomb is the essence of poor judgment.</HTML>

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<HTML>"I don't even attempt to make an approach if WVI reports below 400 and 5 at
night..." Oh, yeah? What if your only engine is faltering and spraying fuel?


One of my friends flies 757-767's for Delta.  He flies his Bonanza to LAX for flights, but never over ceilings less than 1000 feet.

His words "single engine IFR at night with low fog, might as well squawk 7700 for takeoff."

He called unicom one night to have them ask me not to take off after he had checked the weather.  His daughter was to be PIC for that flight.

We returned and landed and slept in a tent as the gusty rain blew over us.

If my engine is faltering and spraying fuel, I descend to 680 AGL and land as VFR as I can.  I try my best to not even fly over 0/0.

And I've never made an ILS approach to mins in a single engine airplane.

George, I am glad you made a safe landing.  You are the "Ace of the Base."  I do not have such courage...and I don't have the training to attempt flight into such conditions...


Mark</HTML>

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<HTML>Not to play pig-pile on you Mark, and I say this with the utmost deference as I know neither the model of your 172 nor the type of flying you do, but having read this thread quite thoroughly I noticed you said

"That's why I bought a 172 instead of a Grumman (lands fast/have to switch tanks = bad)"

A good percentage of 172's are required to be placarded "Switch to single tank usage immediately upon reaching 5000 feet"

As for the rest of the thread...

There is a sign in the office of an old pilot & mechanic whose wrenches and wings I will someday inherit.  It obliquely says:

"Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement."

Excercising good judgement is another matter altogether but having experience make good judgement possible.

I personally observed a high time career CFI perform a "0/0" landing after an engine failure 700' AGL in a Turbo Lance (all 12 smoking qts went right onto the windshield).  He put down on a taxiway and everyone aboard got out and walked away (albeit with soiled undies).  The aircraft was not damaged other than the 4" hole in the engine.

Had this pilot been less experienced this could have read like a lot NTSB reports of engine failure on take-off:

A firey wreck with 3 fatalities.

Instead I attribute the constant and consistent training this person excercised on almost a daily basis, of the exact failure he experienced, to have allowed him to asses and choose the proper course of action that allowed everyone to walk away and the aircraft to be towed back to the hangar.

I yeild the soapbox....

Cheers,
RH</HTML>

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<HTML>  I am nothing but happy for the pilots that make it.  And those like George and the Lance pilot made it.  Good for them.

  Having said that I will say that my experience and the advice of more experienced pilots has made me a chicken.  I have turned down cargo jobs, and a king air job, and many other flights, because the operating conditions were beyond what I was personally comfortable with. 

  Were these beyond my capabilities?  I'll never know...

  But I have taken a cold hard look at the experiences of others, and have changed the way I fly.  I believe I was a tremendous risk taker earlier as a pilot, and it scares me now to look back on the flight profiles I used to fly...

  I've had experiences where my training has saved my life, but at the end of the flight, I've always banged my head on the ground and said "god how did I get myself into that?"

  One of the more honest responses I read after a pilot completed water extraction and survival training was that he stopped flying over water.

  At the end of each day, my advice to other pilots is:

"be not too bold, and each time you learn, be not more bold"

Mark</HTML>

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<HTML>P.S.  "Switch to single tank usage immediately upon reaching 5000 feet"

My god you think I ever fly that high?  tongue  After all, it ain't no Mooney...  wink</HTML>

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<HTML>Wow, you certainly got a lot of opinions that really don't relate to your question !! If you want a good airframe mod go with VG's and maybe flap gap seals. As an IA I have installed a lot of performance enhancers but found the VG's are the best bang for the buck. My own aircraft has seals, leading edge cuffs, fences, tips, and most recently installed VG's. I wish I could start all over again and just go with the VG's and see how it compares. The VG's deffinately made the most noticeble improvment. They improved every aspect of flight and made it a very safe airplane.

Will</HTML>

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<HTML>Dear Will:

Thanks for the input on VG's, appreciate it very much, I will look into the VG's further.  I am considering "Flap Gap" seals as recommended by several of the paint shops I compared as one of the simplest and most cost effective mods.

Just have to make sure that what I do is OK with S-Tec as I have an autopilot installed and just found out I cannot install a STOL kit as they are not approved with the S-tec autopilot.  Thanks!

Brian</HTML>

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<HTML>I fly a '57 172 in the interior of AK. If I could only have one upgrade it would have to be an extended baggage. In the winter I haul a lot of survival gear, wing/engine covers/ heater/ sleeping bag, snowshoes, gun etc. Most of this stuff doesn't weight that much but it is bulky. Extended baggage would give me a place to stash the light stuff.

My second choice would be the instrument rating and then arobatics training

MCL</HTML>

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<HTML>MCL:

I am laughing at your basic load for Alaska.  I used to be stationed up there and then lived and owned my first airplane in Anchorage after getting out of the ARMY...

I remember buying MRE's (Meals Ready To Eat) ARMY rations to store in my plane and keep it as light as possible, then having to add all the other stuff like survival gear, etc.  It all fills up the plane very quickly...  Fly safe up there and I wish I was in Alaska again...</HTML>

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