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This glass is for you I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed both Ian J. Twombly’s article (“Get Your Glass Sweepstakes: This Glass Is for You,” January AOPA Pilot) and the video flight of the Piper Archer N208GG.

This glass is for you

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed both Ian J. Twombly’s article (“ Get Your Glass Sweepstakes: This Glass Is for You,” January AOPA Pilot) and the video flight of the Piper Archer N208GG. As a child I stopped believing in Santa Claus when, at the age of 9, I received my first pair of socks and package of underwear. However, after reading Twombly’s article and taking the video ride with him in good old Eight-Double-Golf I realized that Santa does exist and all I have to do is believe. I do believe. All of a sudden I want this airplane so much I can taste it.

I’m one of those guys who, when I was a kid, got my certificate at the ripe young age of 17, flew for a few years, and then quit. Now I’m retired and as soon as Santa comes through for me I will resume where I left off years ago. Maybe I should have bitten the bullet in December and sat on his lap and formally put in my request. 

James Preston, AOPA 6265591
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

I want to start off by saying what an amazing job everyone involved in the Glass Archer did. It was an awesome idea to take a classic American general aviation aircraft such as the Archer and do that work to it. I am a new member to AOPA, and a relatively young pilot, but the single-engine Piper is definitely very near and dear to my heart. I think it is probably very near and dear to not only the newer generation of aviators, but to many of the generations that have come before me. I know my father, who was a flight instructor, also has a soft spot in his heart for the Archer. Great job, guys, it’s a beautiful airplane, and I enjoyed following the progress month by month as it was put together. Unfortunately, I will be deployed overseas when the airplane is given away…maybe I will catch the smile on the new owner’s face on your Web site from my base.

Hasan I. Abuhamra, AOPA 4369820
Abilene, Texas

DIY oil change

I just finished reading Dave Hirschman’s “Frugal Flier” column, and found it to be very informative—perhaps “enlightening” would be more descriptive (“ Frugal Flier: DIY Oil Change,” January AOPA Pilot). A couple of items I feel should have been included: 1) a reference to “preventative maintenance,” which can be found in FAR 43. This allows owner/pilots to perform elementary tasks such as oil changes; 2) I missed seeing a reminder to make the appropriate maintenance record entry. This is extremely important in that it documents when the work had been done, who did it, and what the basis is for their approval to do the work. Without proper documentation, the airworthiness certificate of the aircraft is technically invalid (there is a statement printed on the certificate which says it will remain in effect as long as the aircraft is maintained in accordance with FARs), something that insurance companies look for. I have been an A&P for almost 40 years, with an IA for more than 36 years. I have been through a couple of enforcement actions with the FAA, and believe me, you don’t want to go there.

John Trail, AOPA 1175035
Aniak, Alaska

Why would you do an oil change and leave as much as a quart of “dirty” oil in the engine? That is exactly what you did when you left the old oil filter in place. Just because the screen is clear, that is no reason not to change the filter. Think of it this way, the filter is designed to catch things, and has done so as the engine runs. So it is filling up, and you left it there, with all of those little particles. This is especially true on a just-overhauled engine, like this one. I learned this from my father, who is an auto mechanic, when I was about the same age your son is. It must have worked well, since each of the three cars I have owned since then all have gone over a hundred thousand miles. 

Dale A. Scheid, AOPA 553475
Aurora, Colorado

Dave Hirschman replies: Many fellow AOPA members have taken me to task for failing to change the oil filter at the time of the oil change, and their points (like yours) are well taken. The only thing I’ll say in my own defense is that the airplane was well shy of the 50 hours recommended between oil changes, and opinions varied about whether changing the filter was necessary at the time.

HPN to OSH in an LSA

I was very interested to read Jason Paur’s article about LSAs as cross-country machines (“ HPN to OSH in an LSA,” January AOPA Pilot). I’ve flown my AMD Zodiac XLi several thousand miles over my 108 hours in the air since taking delivery in June 2008. I don’t think twice about trips that other pilots would do in a 172 or Warrior. If your mission will fit into two seats, an LSA will get the job done quite nicely and inexpensively.

I do have to take exception to one statement Paur made, however: It is indeed possible to have an IFR-equipped LSA. I know because mine is, as the placard above the engine monitor (“Day Night VFR or IFR in Non-Icing Conditions”) attests. Both the AMD Zodiac and Tecnam Bravo/Sierra are available in IFR versions. There are some manufacturers that will tell you that an LSA cannot be IFR equipped, but that’s probably because they don’t offer them that way.

Perhaps one of these days the FAA will relax the rules for a third class medical, or do away with it entirely for flights within the United States. At that point, I’ll add an instrument rating to my private ticket, and won’t have to get a different airplane. Until then, I’ll have that little bit of extra comfort from knowing my aircraft is more capable than I am.

Jay Maynard, AOPA 6004607
Fairmont, Minnesota

The middle-aged aviator

Rod Machado’s article “License to Learn: The Middle-Aged Aviator” (January AOPA Pilot) came just in the nick of time. I am one of those guys who had begun to question my need for my lifelong pleasure flying. At the age of 67 and fully retired I no longer saw the need to keep my beautiful Baron. I was questioning my currency as I went from 150 hours to 50 hours a year and that is not good currency in a light twin. I sold the Baron a year ago and started looking for a neat buzz bomb that would renew my interest in aviation. I found a brand-new Vans RV9 and it fit the bill. I will have owned the RV for a year next month and have already put more than 150 hours on her, so I’m back. Rod’s article reminded me that there are quite a few fellows out there who are going to make mistakes and not use good judgment, but I know I am not one of them. Today I am going flying for no good reason other than I love to fly.

Ron J. Darlington, AOPA 957422
North Canton, Ohio

Flat-footed flying 

Barry Schiff’s “ Proficient Pilot: Flat-Footed Flying” (January AOPA Pilot) is just about the best thing I have read in a long time. The vast majority of pilots trained in recent times just don’t know what the rudder is for or how to use it. I have watched so many landings where the airplane is just flopped onto the runway sideways—especially when there is any wind. (I wonder how the landing gear survives these encounters.) These pilots are simply not in control of the airplane; the airplane (or the wind) is in control of them. It is absolutely imperative that proper rudder usage is learned, taught, and emphasized by flight instructors. One cannot possibly be called a pilot or much less an aviator without the knowledge and skill of how to control the airplane, and make it do what you want it to do, i.e., go straight through the air with proper use of rudder.

David Bradshaw, AOPA 1215949
Abilene, Texas

Rudderless flying is one of my pet peeves. I help friends transition, or at least get the feel of, flying a taildragger. I am astonished at the otherwise competent pilots who are very tentative and reluctant to use rudder. Where the problem is usually dramatically demonstrated is landing in a slight crosswind. When the Cub drifts off the runway heading when it is two feet off the ground, these guys try to yaw it back with aileron! No wonder 172s run off the runway with a discouraging frequency. Maybe the pilots are so afraid of cross-controlling that they figure rudders are for ground use only. Bad landings may not kill them as quick as Schiff’s stall-spin scenario, but it bends a lot of airplanes.

Ron Normark, AOPA 1401356
Raleigh, North Carolina


Great points on reasons to use the rudder. Beside the safety and control coordination brings, how about the fuel savings? No rudder on climb has us plowing through the air sideways with one wing aileron dragging more then the other. What better time to reduce drag than when we’re climbing? My Bonanza climbs four knots faster at the same vertical speed when I use rudder rather than aileron. That’s free power!

Ron Calugar, AOPA 5432200
Midlothian, Virginia

As a longtime power and sailplane pilot I was so happy to see Barry Schiff mention flying sailplanes as a way to learn good rudder control. If I were king, I would require all power pilots to include several hours in sailplanes. It is always fun to take up airline captains and see how poor their rudder skills are in sailplanes! I hope that stories like this will encourage more AOPA members to discover the joy of soaring.

Clay Thomas, AOPA 3454969
Black Forest Soaring Society
Elbert, Colorado

We welcome your comments. Address letters to: Editor, AOPA Pilot , 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Send e-mail to [email protected]. 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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