by Pete Schoeninger
Published In Midwest Flyer – February/March 2020 issue
Q: How often and how long should I I fly my Beech Sport (150 hp Lycoming engine) in the winter before considering engine preservative action?
A: Lycoming S/L L180B (easily found on the Internet) recommends at least 1 hour of operation with oil temps of at least 165F, not longer than 30 days apart.
Q: What is maximum safe oil consumption on my Beech Sport?
A: Lycoming’s formula is .006 X horsepower X 4 divided by 7.4 per Lycoming publication 1427C. For your 150 hp Lycoming engine, that figures out to about half a quart an hour. What is important is oil consumption “trends.” If your Sport has been burning one quart of oil per five hours of operation, and suddenly starts burning one quart every two hours, you should check with your mechanic. It is normal that as an engine accumulates time since overhaul for oil consumption to increase gradually, but a big spike in consumption should be investigated.
Q: With the ADS-B deadline now past (January 1, 2020), will airplanes that have mandated equipment be worth $3,000 to $4,000 more now than a few months ago?
A: No, but if an airplane does NOT have ADS-B and it should, it is worth a few thousand dollars less than if so equipped.
Q: You said in the previous issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine that your appraisals do not guarantee a sale price for your exact fair market value. So why do you get hired to do appraisals?
A: In some situations, a written appraisal with an opinion of actual fair market value is needed so financial settlements can be reached. One example, an elderly fellow passed away and directed that his assets be divided evenly between his three children. One of his assets was an older Cessna 182 which one son wanted, and the other two kids had no interest in. I was hired as a neutral appraiser to determine fair market value of the aircraft to aid in the division of assets. In another situation, I was hired to appraise an airplane that was donated to a well-known aviation organization for tax purposes.
Q: Because I am stubborn, or cheap, and probably both, I have not yet gotten ADS-B installed in my Comanche. Now, what do you suggest foot-draggers like me, do?
A: AOPA has a video on the subject entitled “Equip 2020: What’s Next for ADS-B after January 1, 2020?” Here is the link: https//www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/online-Learning/aopa-webinars.
Q: I like to climb at Vx (best angle of climb speed) for the first thousand feet from a departure runway. My airplane stalls at about 50 kts and Vx is 60 kts, with Vy (best rate of climb speed) about 80 kts. My friends think I am nuts for climbing at only 60 kts and that I should climb at 80 kts or faster. What’s your opinion?
A: Your friends win for several reasons. Here are three of many: 1) While climbing at full power at a low airspeed, if you lose power, unless you immediately and vigorously push the nose down to maintain flying airspeed, you may stall, and possibly spin to the right because you are probably holding some right rudder (if in a single-engine airplane). 2) Visibility is better at Vy because your nose is lower. 3) Faster airspeed in a climb gives your engine more air for better cooling.
Q: Three Ercoupe questions: First, how could an airplane like the Ercoupe with two axis controls (no rudder control) be able to slip a little for landing in a crosswind? Second, the Ercoupe was designed and built to be incapable of stalling. Wouldn’t this be a great safety feature, that should be incorporated into every airplane’s design? Third, if an Ercoupe has no rudder pedal, what is the sole pedal on the floor for?
Answer to question #1: Ercoupe rudder control is mechanically linked to the control wheel which controls aileron movement. There is no available pilot input to rudders (no rudder pedals) to cause the airplane to do a forward or side slip for landing. In landing in a crosswind, you have to let the airplane touch down crabbed, just like a modern airliner! If you look at the gear closely on an Ercoupe, you will see it is very hefty.
Answer to question #2: It is possible to make the Ercoupe non-stallable by limiting up elevator authority because the center of gravity or CG varies very little, with two-seat, side-by-side seating, very limited baggage, and wing fuel tanks all close to the CG location. In other words, there is very little CG movement with various loads. It has not been practical from an engineering standpoint to design an airplane that cannot stall, but handle a wide CG range. With some airplanes having an allowable CG range of almost a foot, if you limit elevator travel to not allow a stall at most rearward CG locations, you might not have enough up-elevator authority to flare at most forward CG locations.
Answer to question #3: That lone pedal on the floor is the brake pedal.
Q: A friend took me for a ride in his Piper Tri-Pacer recently. While taxiing, the control wheel moved when he turned with the rudder pedals with no hands on the wheel. How could that happen?
A: The rudder and aileron controls are sometimes linked in Tri-Pacers with springs, but you can easily override them (unlike the Ercoupe question above.)
Q: A friend has skis on his 1960 Cessna 172 and he keeps it on a lake next to his house during the winter. He says there are times when landing on a snow-covered lake when depth perception is very difficult. What do you do then?
A: On cloudy days, it may be almost impossible to tell depth over a snow-covered lake. What some skiplane pilots do is make a landing similar to a glassy water landing with floatplanes (where depth is almost impossible to judge), which is a slow, slightly nose-up descent until surface contact is felt. A visual aid you can use is to land with caution relatively close to shore, or an island, or a snowmobile, etc.
Q: I told some friends that I am about to advertise my Bonanza for sale at $85,000. Immediately, a casual friend said he would buy it. I asked him for earnest money, but he said he would have it all in a couple of days. That was two weeks ago and I have not heard a peep from him. Now, what should I do?
A: ALWAYS insist on a written offer with consideration (money down.) If your friend has not provided funds or contacted you in two weeks, you should contact him and say you are starting to advertise the airplane, and if he wants to buy it, he needs to sign a sale contract and give you a deposit. You can find airplane sale contracts at the AOPA website if you are a member (and all pilots and aircraft owners should be). Click “Pilot Resources,” then “Aircraft Ownership,” then “Quick Links,” then “Sample Purchase Agreement.” Remember Law 101… For a contract, you need an offer, an acceptance, and a consideration, such as a deposit. (P.S. I’ll bet you lunch, your friend described above is not going to buy your airplane.)
Q: My friend, a manager of a fixed base operation, complained that he has more government interference with his business than most other businesses. You ran a couple of fixed base operations… Is this true?
A: Yes! All businesses have some government interference, such as taxes, regulations, oversight, fire inspector, and on and on. But since most fixed base operations are located on some type of government property, they have the additional oversight by local landlords. Sometimes after a change of local elected leaders, a fixed base operation may have to deal with an entirely new group of people, who can make the life of a fixed base operation manager miserable as they may or may not have any idea about running an airport.
Q: I heard you say that an airplane that is sitting out of annual loses money every day. Why?
A: Three reasons: 1) The owner is paying insurance, and probably hangar rent, neither of which contribute one cent to increased value. 2) An airplane not flying will have slow deterioration of the engine. 3) As time goes on, avionics become less valuable.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pete Schoeninger appraises airplanes for estates, divorces, and partnership buyouts. He is a 40-year general aviation veteran, starting out as a line technician as a teenager, advancing through the ranks to become the co-owner and manager of a fixed base operation, and manager of an airport in a major metropolitan community. For aircraft appraisals, contact Pete at PeterSchoeningerLLC@gmail.com or call 262-533-3056 (peterschoeningerllc.wordpress.com).
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this column is the expressed opinion of the author only, and readers are advised to seek the advice of others, and refer to aircraft owner manuals, manufacturer recommendations, the Federal Aviation Regulations, FAA Aeronautical Information Manual and instructional materials for guidance on aeronautical matters.