The Cessna 150 is more than a great trainer (" Budget Buy Cessna 150: Reliable and Affordable," November 2006 Pilot). It is a very affordable personal airplane. After dreaming for years about moving up to an airplane that would fly farther and faster than my 150, I realized that even if I had such an airplane, I don't have the time to really take advantage of that type of airplane. For my needs, a modified Cessna 150 fits the bill nicely. I am in the process of installing a 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320 in the Cessna 150 I've owned for the past 10 years. I live in Colorado, and a normal 150 has a hard time getting into the western regions of the state. The 150-horsepower engine should solve that problem nicely. The Cessna 150s are fantastic airplanes but they don't get a lot of press.
The Cessna 150 review was well done and on target for many of us. I am planning on buying a 150 as my retirement hobby. The article noted that there are many supplemental type certificates (STCs) for this aircraft for engines up to 150 horsepower. I've been interested in FADEC (full authority digital engine control) engines for several years and was thinking about the Continental IO-240 as a possible Cessna 150 upgrade. The DA42 review, also in this issue, has perked my interest in the Thielert Centurion 1.7 as an even better possibility (" Diamond Aircraft DA42 Twin Star: Flying Sports Sedan"). Is anybody working on an STC for that upgrade? This could be the ultimate in low-cost flying!
Author Steve Ells writes: I haven't heard of an STC to install the FADEC-equipped IO-240 on a Cessna 150. I have talked extensively with Thielert representatives and have never heard them mention plans to develop an engine installation kit for the 150. I do know that installing the Thielert engine in a Cessna 172 costs approximately $55,000.
Costs like these run counter to your desire for a simple, inexpensive flying machine. The cheapest way to enjoy flying is to buy a good 150 and get going. You can try a 152 but the 150 will still be flying (burning autogas, which is FAA approved with an STC) if the day ever comes when the supply of lead required to produce 100LL fuel disappears.
I just finished reading the article in the November issue on stall recoveries from an engine failure while climbing (" Technique: Push"). The military uses a maneuver called "unloading" to help its aircraft accelerate during combat maneuvering. By pushing the aircraft over to zero G, the induced drag goes to zero, and improves aircraft acceleration, or decreases aircraft deceleration.
(If the wing has any geometric twist, the drag will not go exactly to zero, but it will be close enough.) An additional side effect from this maneuver is that at zero-G load (weightless) your stall speed goes to zero. While instructing I would teach my students that an engine failure from a nose-high climb attitude requires unloading the wing to zero G for the following reasons:
I'm a 1,500-hour pilot with a commercial certificate and an instrument rating. In more than 25 years as a member of AOPA and reader of Pilot, I find that this article is the single most valuable piece I've ever seen in the magazine. The next time I go flying I'm going to a safe altitude in the local practice area, where I will do my clearing turns and practice some power-on stalls.
With the many years of experience and accumulated hours of flying I've done (with never more than an engine hiccup), I think I might have fallen prey to overconfidence. I always wondered why seemingly experienced pilots might succumb to a crash after an early engine failure. Didn't they know to lower the nose? Of course they did. I never thought about how important it is to do it immediately or how severely it must be done. This article may have saved my life.
A Boeing 747 loses an engine on takeoff at Los Angeles and yet continues on to London (" Proficient Pilot: The Most Important Wings," November Pilot)? There were numerous suitable airports available and yet the captain chose to cross an ocean on three engines. As a retired international airline captain and former 747 check airman, I agree that the airplane is capable of flying on three engines, but the safety margin is greatly reduced. An airline captain's primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of his passengers and crew. I submit that the captain chose badly.
British Airways was approved by the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] to continue on three engines. So the skipper didn't do anything illegal as far as the regulations are concerned. Whether it was a wise decision to continue on three engines is another matter, but then again, that call was the sole responsibility of the flight crew, and the flight crew only.
In "License to Learn: Parachute Systems," December Pilot, Rod Machado's description of a Cirrus parachute deployment was inaccurate. The sentences on this accident should more accurately read, "One notable exception was a Cirrus pilot who deployed his chute after blacking out, then reawakening close to the ground in a high-speed dive. He realized that he was about to land on an odd stack of fuel tanks, so he restacked the odds in his favor by rocking the power lever to veer away from the tank farm."
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