Letters

Classically Quick

April 1, 2012

 

Wow, what an article about the Mooney M20E ( “Budget Buy: Classically Quick”, February 2012 AOPA Pilot). So many pilots have called me to tell me that my husband’s airplane was featured in the issue. Stephen died of cancer two years ago at the age of 64. He was an incredible pilot and had been flying since he was 17 years old. He had been a member of AOPA for ages and read the magazine from front to last page. Imagine—this time, something about his life was on the front cover for the world to see. The article brought tears to my eyes—the airplane was something that he put his heart into, fixing it up after it was in storage for years, put Garmin radio equipment into, flew it for years, and then was diagnosed with cancer.

After Stephen’s death, I advertised the Mooney and it sold the minute I put it on the market. Everyone told me there is a flood of airplanes on the market, you will be lucky to get rid of it. My answer should have been, not an airplane like this. Thank you for a beautiful, well-written article. I know Stephen enjoyed the article as well, and would rather be flying the beautiful airplane on the cover.

Betty McLeish
Braddock, North Dakota

Ian J. Twombly’s fine article about the Mooney M20E brought back fond memories of N6269U, my 1962 M20C that I flew in the 1980s. Twombly talks about the manual Johnson bar landing gear control being somewhat difficult to manage. Old Mooney drivers learned to pull slightly on the yoke to help put the gear down, or push slightly to bring it up. Using the G forces in such a way made gear operation easy. I miss my old M20C. It was a simple, rugged, thoroughly enjoyable airplane to fly.

Rolly Hughes, AOPA 874572
Midland, Texas

The Mooney M20E was manufactured from 1964 to 1974. The yellow arc on the E model starts at 175 mph IAS. The airplane was truly designed for optimal operation at 8,000 feet msl. At that altitude, I see 24 inches of manifold pressure and 155 knots speed over ground all day, every day in a no-wind scenario. The airplane has a service ceiling of 20,000 feet msl. My airplane has the LoPresti Speed Cowl, 201 spinner, 201 windscreen, 201 oil cooler relocation, wing-tip fairings, tail root fairing, flap gap seals, aileron gap seals, tuned exhaust by Power Flow, and rotated brake calipers/rotors for reduced drag. There are two big mods missing from my airplane that would speed it up even more—the onepiece belly panel and wing root fairings.

The airplane cruises at 180-mph-plus TAS day in, day out. I get 16 to 18 mpg. The size of the airplane is better than a 172, and comparable to a 182, believe it or not. I have flown it with three adults, bags and full fuel and [on other occasions with] two adults/two kids. Ideally, it is a two-person airplane with bags. There is no lack of room in the airplane for two people and bags.

The biggest nuisance of the airplane is the location of the fuel selector valve under the pilot’s right lower leg. Candidly, I am shocked that the FAA permitted it to be located there. Later models moved the fuel selector valve to the center of the floor. I feel that the write-up on the E Model really maligned what is truly a great aircraft, and, arguably, the biggest bang for the buck in the piston single market.

Michael Golden, AOPA 7363810
Crystal Bay, Nevada

I liked “Classically Quick,” but I hope after seeing the photos of Jens’ airplane someone will tell him about his nose gear doors not closing.

John Gayley, AOPA 519458
Bowdoin, Maine

Flying wild in Alaska

I thoroughly enjoyed the article and AOPA Live interview regarding Flying Wild Alaska ( “Flying Wild in Alaska,” February 2012 AOPA Pilot). After two seasons of watching this reality show, I have to conclude that it is good for aviation in general, and certainly calls attention to its benefits in all facets of Alaskan life. Without question, the skills required to perform off-airport landings and takeoffs are consummate, but inherently risky. I can’t help but wonder why helicopters aren’t used for such operations.

Jim Sanford, AOPA 209322
Guyton, Georgia

I enjoyed Julie Summers Walker’s excellent article on Flying Wild Alaska. I’m a huge fan of the series. I hope Ariel was able to get her private certificate—she does come off as a bit of a “flake” on the show, so it was nice to hear she does have a serious side as well. Over my business career I flew many miles with bush pilots around Alaska. It was truly an adventure and Alaska is an incredible array of beauty, wilderness, and open spaces. The pilots who fly there have to be the very best or they won’t survive.

The village’s official name is “Unalakleet” rather than “Unakaleet” as written in the article. On the show they pronounce it “Una-kleet,” which is much easier to say—especially when talking with ATC.

Bill McCutcheon, AOPA 1274837
Mercer Island, Washington

I love that show big time. Yes, there is some drama, but they do a pretty good job of keeping it real. The show keeps me motivated to keep after my goal of getting my certificate current again and buying my Cirrus this year.

Shawn M. Meehan, AOPA 3919428
Carson City, Nevada

On brand-new wings

I enjoyed reading Thomas B. Haines’ article about the delivery of the new Boeing 737-700 ( “On Brand-New Wings,” February 2012 AOPA Pilot). I’ll bet that was a great experience and I’m glad that I got to ride along vicariously.

I was flabbergasted at the lack of WAAS GPS; satellite weather; and geo-referenced en route, approach, and taxiway charts on a $60 million airplane! Can’t Southwest (or Boeing) afford a Garmin 696, which would supply all of these benefits for $2,800? I sure have one of these babies in my 37-year-old Cessna 206, and really appreciate its capabilities.

Tom Pearson, AOPA 337276
Houston, Texas

Pay up

As a VFR pilot who frequently utilizes ATC flight following for 200- to 400-nm excursions that come in proximity to Class B and C airspace, it concerns me that pilots may choose to avoid the user fees and fly outside the system (“Rally GA: Pay Up,” February 2012 AOPA Pilot). The temptation to compromise flight safety seems obvious when the cost of flying is already at record highs because of historic fuel prices. Imagine the volume of ATC calls for “unidentified VFR aircraft at your______” if a majority of pilots like me opt out of flight following to save the money. Let’s get our fair share for the avgas tax that we already pay and keep it safe up there.

Bruce Kerr, AOPA 1334500
Dyersburg, Tennessee

All of us pilots and aviation enthusiasts understand that general aviation is under stress with the continuing great recession here in the United States. Imposing user fees above and beyond the existing fuel tax could effectively kill general aviation as we now know it. The result would not only be fewer pilots flying fewer hours but the loss of thousands of jobs in general aviation resulting from reduced new (and used) aircraft sales, maintenance, operations, and support. It is unfortunate that this country is crippled by a president who clearly has little understanding of the free enterprise system and values big government greater than the fundamental economic values, which made our country the largest economy in the world. Hopefully the legislative branch has greater wisdom and understanding of free enterprise economics. We’ll see.

Keith S. Anvick, AOPA 850850
San Carlos, California

I think that since this is a threat that requires political action every year, we need to increase the renewal fees to AOPA to help cover costs associated with our lobbyists. Many associations have a political action team partially funded by dues and the rest by political contributions.

Steven Scruggs, AOPA 1293533
Astoria, Oregon

AOPA has a political action committee fund, but, by law, no AOPA member dues can be used to fund it. Only separate donations fund the PAC.—Ed.

Into the night

I used to believe every word Tom Haines wrote, but now I’m not too sure. His statement “no nighttime takeoffs and landings” at Maryland airport (2W5) is incorrect ( “Waypoints: Into the Night,” February 2012 AOPA Pilot). The A/FD states “closed nights to transient aircraft.” And as for Adrian Eichhorn, I hope he doesn’t make a fatal error next time he reads an A/FD. My airport is open for night operations.

Bill Winters, AOPA 4247505
La Plata, Maryland

Thanks to Mr. Haines for writing the kind of article I like most to see in the magazine. History, heritage, and legislation are important topics; however, I especially enjoy articles with more of a training or operational message. I’m not in an active flying position right now and with less time to stay proficient, as an instrument instructor, I relish every chance for technical refreshers.

The article brings up a possible “Dogfight” topic: pulling circuit breakers to enhance a training scenario in flight. As a T–37 instructor I occasionally pulled the circuit breaker for the gear indicator lights to see if the student was paying lip service to his gear check. However, I have met instructors who disapprove of such a technique.

Charles Shumaker, AOPA 2658311
Schertz, Texas

We strive to continue a steady string of operationally oriented articles. Look for our “Technique” articles each month. Here’s a blog on the circuit breaker subject you might find interesting.—Ed.

Write to AOPA Pilot

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