July 1, 2011
'AOPA Pilot' magazine readers
I am certain that lean of peak operations have a place, but that place resides in GAMI or similarly equipped aircraft, and I would be surprised if that number is as high as your writers indicate (“ Dogfight: Running Lean of Peak,” May 2011 AOPA Pilot). Most of my time is with the airlines, but I do fly my 1932 Waco on days off and fly my friend’s Bonanza and 140 as well. LOP has no place with normal (read “older”) fuel systems.
LOP is not a widespread policy as Dave Hirschman seems to suggest, but rather applies to certain engines, and only certain aircraft installations. To back up Tom Horne’s viewpoint, call G&N Aircraft, one of the most highly regarded shops in the United States—they advise against LOP operations. Lastly, I really am not a fan of the ongoing debate-style commentary; there never is a definitive resolution, although that is innate in much of aviation. Could I suggest that for the sake of the weekend pilot’s engine health, that people with carbureted engines be told to follow the manufacturer’s suggested procedure? And that, sirs, is not LOP.
Larry Harmacinski, AOPA 1336476 Cornelius, North Carolina
I am writing because I’m a fan of rich of peak operations, but not for the reasons Tom Horne discusses. I own and operate a 1979 Mooney 231 M20K (no GAMIs). Early this year, I installed an Insight G3 monitor. It’s been well worth the wait and the investment. Simple to use, the G3 is intuitive to find both ROP and LOP settings. I’m a retired Army Cobra pilot, so simple is always a good thing.
Here’s what I found. I ran the airplane on a series of flights comparing ROP and LOP differences in fuel flow, TAS, miles per gallon, percentage horsepower, ETE, and fuel range. I routinely operate in the 12,000- to 17,000-foot altitude range between south Alabama and the Washington, D.C., area. My results for a 12,000 cruise altitude, 2,500 rpm, 72 gallons usable fuel were very interesting. While I was getting better fuel flow and better mpg, when taken into context of time flown on a long trip, I did not gain any appreciative distance—max range only increases 60 statute miles. However, the time to get there was an extra hour of flight time. The extra flight time translates into more money spent on TBO items (engine, prop, service) that far exceeded the 12 gallons of fuel saved per hour for the same distance flown. At the end of a 1,000-mile flight, I will still spend the same amount of money in fuel; I will only do so one hour later because of the slower resulting TAS.
So, if I’m just putzing around the local area, I’ll run slow and LOP (55 percent horsepower) because I’m just out enjoying the sights. However, if I’ve got somewhere to be, ROP is for me.
Tim Rhyne, AOPA 1787684 Enterprise, Alabama
An old salt once told me: “You can cool your cylinders with fuel, or you can cool ’em with air. Most folks understand that air is much cheaper.”
As long as the proper instrumentation is installed, or the engine is round, lean of peak is a piece of cake. Most folks know that carb-equipped flat motors are generally not capable of LOP operations; those that don’t probably spend money on valves.
Mark Frederick, AOPA 0909468 Taylor, Texas
May I suggest you gentlemen just get a Rotax so you can stop leaning at all and hence stop arguing?
Helen Woods, AOPA 1398113 Laurel, Maryland
I find it unfortunate that AOPA determined there were no better articles to put in the May 2011 issue, let alone to use as the cover story, than the article about the Piper Comanche with the cover subtitle: “Piper Comanche Pimped to the Max.” Not only was the article mostly frivolous, the use of “pimped” and “bling” could easily be described as juvenile.
Despite being in the generation I believe this language was targeted for, as well as that which most recently popularized these words, their use lends no credibility to an article already stretching to provide value. I expect more from a publication like AOPA Pilot, and look forward to the quality I’ve grown to know in the coming issues.
Peter Blair, AOPA 5320474 Superior, Colorado
Having owned several Comanches of various models, I took great pleasure in reading the article about a guy that could spend money to make a great airplane better. I noticed some of the old switches on the panel and I hope he replaced all the wiring they were connected to!
Jack O’Neill Pittsford, New York
Thanks for Bob Knill’s great article, “ GA Serves America: Tennessee Time Machine” (May 2011 AOPA Pilot). My wife noticed the story and said, “Hey, that’s like you.”
We have been using the same V-tail Bonanza traveling from Rockford, Illinois, to everything east of the Rockies since 1974. In much the same manner as the T.J. Snow Company, we also fly for pre-engineering meetings, last-minute parts deliveries, and primarily customer service and support for Martin Automatic Inc.
Our aircraft has saved the collective butts of both us and our customers too many times to calculate. I think part of our success can be attributed to our use of general aviation to further our business.
For field service work particularly, being able to visit with as many as six customers in five days to resolve their issues, the Bonanza has become one of our most valued company assets. It would not be possible for one person to visit several customers in as many states in one week by flying commercial. Our service manager often arranges the schedule to make the most use of the Bonanza.
And I thought I was the only lucky man in America!
Bill Olsen, AOPA 1296024 Rockton, Illinois
Barry Schiff tells of turning back to the airport after an engine failure (“ Technique: Unconventional Wisdom,” April 2011 AOPA Pilot), but that maneuver has often proved disastrous.
Doug Rozendaal, AOPA 4127962 Mason City, Iowa
The pro/con discussion on the turnback after takeoff engine failure was good. However, I believe that this article will do more harm than good. I am a neurosurgeon and can relate to experience being the key to success during an unexpected circumstance. The gist of the article, no matter how argued, is that for the reader there is an option, to turn around. Unless this is practiced time and again, it will kill more than it will save. So, let’s look at how to practice. First, will an FBO that is busy, allow for such a training maneuver to be done at its facility? If at an uncontrolled airport, it’s even more of an issue. Is there liability in an FBO even allowing this to be practiced?
Second, it must be practiced with a CFI. Will the FAA allow this even to be taught? Third, even if the above two issues are overcome, in what aircraft should this be performed? It is my opinion that the editorial board should have thought this one out a bit more before publishing.
Stephen A. Fletcher, AOPA 4109585 Houston, Texas
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We welcome your comments. Address letters to: Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, address, and AOPA number on all correspondence, including e-mail. Letters will be edited for length and style.
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