AOPA Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update -- Q & A Part II

March 25, 2013

Sweeps Update

Project Update: October 23, 2008

Q & A Part II

By Ian J. Twombly

Over the past few weeks I’ve received lots of great questions about all things sweepstakes. Included below are a few of my favorites, each of which is valuable for all to see. Please keep those questions coming. There are still more than two months of updates left before the giveaway!

How do you really explain the minor [speed] difference in the race of the two Archers? Seventy-five pounds isn’t it. Wheel fairings are commonly thought to provide a 2- to 5-knot increase in speed. Gaps seals should provide 1 to 2 knots, shouldn’t they?  What do the vendors say they will provide? —Bill Zollinger

Mr. Zollinger’s question was echoed by many when we posted the “race” between the stock Archer and 208GG. Since I’m not an engineer, I can only speculate on why the sweepstakes Archer wasn’t faster. But I think the first question is did the sweepstakes Archer really fall short? I would say no. The top speed was higher than book numbers, which lends credence to the various modifications. What surprised me most was how well the stock Archer did. I think when you factor weight, center of gravity, and then a difference in flying styles between Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and myself, the difference makes sense.

Please tell us about the flight over Lake Michigan to and from OSH. What altitude?  How did you calculate gliding distance considering winds aloft? Did you have life jackets and other emergency equipment? Were you ever out of gliding range to shore and if so, for how long (time and miles)?   —Joe LaBarca

This question pulls on my memory a bit, but the flight to Oshkosh did involve lots of planning for Lake Michigan. I had originally thought I was going to go west of Chicago, but a friend in the area said ATC would send me low over the lake anyway. So instead of taking that chance I decided to go high across the narrowest section near Oshkosh. It’s roughly 50 miles across, which left me beyond gliding distance for 10 miles. We didn’t carry life jackets, although looking back that would have been smart. The only other piece of safety equipment on board was a 406 MHz ELT.

OK, why put the vortex generators on an airplane that already has the stall speed of a seagull?  Doesn’t it eat a few knots off of the cruise speed?   —Dan Chudecke

This is a question we’ve received a lot over the past year. It’s true the Archer has a pretty low stall speed to begin with. But VGs lower that speed and, I think, more important, improve low speed handling. If you can do that to an airplane, I say go for it. And as far as top speed goes, Micro Aerodynamics found that only on one airplane did top speed suffer, and that was 1 knot at altitude.

Are you permitted to tell me when the Archer Sweepstakes drawing is?   —Arthur Beane

The drawing is held sometime in mid-January with the winner announced soon after.

I hope you'll give some thoughts to a little known (it seems) conviction that "all glass" isn't the be-all, end-all, that it's promoted. I often hear feedback from many who started flying more than three years ago, that there's still a place for the display design of the old steam pipe gauges. Not necessarily in lieu of glass, but specifically not glass in lieu of the conventional gauges. In an emergency, some designs have critical information too small, and buried with a cluster of other data on the perimeter of the MFD's borders.   —Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is absolutely correct. Electronic flight information systems are not the end-all, be-all for general aviation. They are often time-consuming to learn and require more regular use and training to remain current than conventional instruments. But Mr. Miller’s question brings up another issue—that of back-up instruments. In the Archer we kept everything but the vertical speed indicator. Space allowed us that luxury. Each owner will have to make the decision of what to keep and what to lose, but we like that the Aspen Avionics EFD1000 gives us that option.

I have not read whether the rebuilt Archer is heavier or lighter in weight than the standard aircraft.   —RH Rowland

One of the reasons we bought an early Archer II is the high useful load. If I remember correctly it was approaching 1,000 pounds. But after multiple applications of clear coat and some new avionics, 208GG’s useful load is around 850 pounds.

The design and finish on the Piper Archer prop is beautiful; do you know if the finish is baked on or just applied with a good primer and paint in the usual way?  —Nick Fratangelo

American Propeller did the work on the prop, as they've done on all of our "show" props in the past. It's a pretty complicated process as you can image, but at the root of it is a standard clear coat/basecoat paint application. The company worked a number of years to get it just right, and the result is what you see—a clever and unique cosmetic treatment.

What I want to know is, was there internal corrosion found when the engine you wrote about, was disassembled?   —John Schlegel

According to Penn Yan Aero’s Bill Middlebrook, the Archer’s engine was in great shape before the overhaul. I had hoped that was the case, given there were only 650 hours since reman.

STOP IT, JUST STOP IT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WILL DO IF I DON'T WIN. I'M CHANGING SHIRTS WITH EVERY UPDATE BECAUSE OF DROOOOOLING. —Gary Hansen

OK, this isn’t a question, but it makes me feel good!

E-mail the author at ian.twombly@aopa.org