Now that 2021 is historical and following two years of Covid uncertainty and business interruptions, many readers can breathe a sigh of relief for an better 2022.
We have two full years remaining before FAA’s Mosaic regulation becomes active. During that time you’ll need to respond to the proposal I predict we will see at Oshkosh 2022 (only seven months away). Until then, what might happen in the world of light aviation?
I don’t know any better than you. The future is as unknowable as ever. So many things can happen …who expected Covid-19? With my eye to the sky I’m pleased to start the new year out with some fresh news. Here are five stories to kick off 2022.
141 Horses …and
Sometimes the changes are big (iOS 15.0). Sometimes the changes are incremental (iOS 15.2). Significant changes often arrive through small steps forward. News from Rotax Aircraft Engines represents one of those smaller yet valuable updates: more electrical power.
Why is this needed? Because, in case you somehow missed this change, cockpits are increasingly electronic. We like keeping our devices charged. Older engines may not supply enough juice for everything.
On December 22nd, 2021, BRP-Rotax announced “another innovational highlight for its range of aircraft engines: the reputable 915iS engine is now available in a 24V option, which will provide pilots a wide range of opportunities to upgrade their cockpits and flying experience – all this without added engine weight.” The Gunskirchen, Austria manufacturer added, “The new 915iS C24 / 915iSc C24 (non-certified and certified version) enables 24V aircraft board systems, supports digital displays and glass cockpits and adds reserves for auxiliary instruments, tablets, and gadgets.”
“BRP-Rotax is known for uncompromising safety in the evolution of its aircraft engines and with this technological upgrade we follow this tradition. Our award-winning 915iS engine welcomes a 24V-option to its line-up,” said Peter Oelsinger, General Manager BRP-Rotax. “The new 24-Volt power supply delivers up to 800W for pilots to get creative: from cockpit equipment to digital conveniences,” he added.
Features of the Rotax 915iS C24 (and the certified 915 ISc C24):
- No added weight
- New extra light 24V converter (max. 150g)
- Enables 24V aircraft board systems
- Supports digital displays and glass cockpit
- Adds reserves for auxiliary instruments, tablets, and gadgets
- Supplies powerbuses with 24 voltages
- 24V power supply delivering up to 800W
- Ample power for most installations
The new 24V option is available now via the authorized Rotax Aircraft network.
More info: Rotax Aircraft Engines
Wave Engine Start;
First Flight Scheduled
Speaking of 915iS engines, Vickers Aircraft happily told us that the Wave amphibian first engine start proceeded without issue. If that doesn’t seem like much, well… it is. Getting an airframe right for first flight importantly means getting the engine elements right, such as mounting, cooling, plumbing, electric, and more. Team Vickers succeeded (nearby image).
This was even more meaningful as Vickers installed RS Flight Systems’ single-lever control equipment (approval of which is expected in the coming FAA Mosaic regulation) regulating an MT prop. Learn more about single-lever control.
Getting the engine start behind them means they can push forward for first flight.
Like many such projects, the devil is in the details. A global lockdown plus growing delays in shipping goods around the world complicated normal development challenges. Vickers thought they’d get in the air earlier in 2021 but as company leader Paul Vickers stressed, “We have always been driven by safety and quality, not dates; we will always take the time that is required.”
Aircraft design work is commonly followed by construction of a proof-of-concept aircraft in which to do first flights. Almost always, the aircraft subsequently goes through significant changes. Seeking a more efficient way, Paul used technology to eliminate duplicative steps.
His goal was to get the Wave project so close to a finished aircraft that he and his team would face far fewer clean-up tasks than usually follow a P-o-C first flight. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we’ll find out how well his careful planning went after first flight.
When is that estimated to happen now? “We hit a large milestone yesterday (December 23rd) with our first engine run. It went beautifully!” He now projects, “First flight around January 15, after the break.”
More info: Vickers Aircraft
Inflation Hikes Prices
…but If You Act Soon
We all know a wide range of goods have become more expensive in the last two years. Beyond business changes and closures, inflation has leaped into the forefront of news around the globe. The U.S. has broken 30-year records. Economists report 7 to 10% of currency inflation. Will that affect the prices of aircraft we know and love. Of course, it will.
Try as they might to contain increases with various techniques, JMB representatives at Alion Aircraft said “Even for us the costs of inputs are rising significantly.”
“For that reason we will have to increase the price of the JMB Aircraft VL3 by about 6% very soon,” they said. Given inflation is running higher than that, according to several sources, a 6% bump is only keeping up.
“That is the bad news…” wrote Adam Coubal. “The good news is I can reserve this year’s price for you if you act right now.
“Here is a deal,” he observed. “If you book a demo flight as soon as possible and if we shake hands before the end of January 2022, the good old price is yours.” A 6% savings while inflation is jacking up many prices qualifies as a valid offer for those who act soon enough.
For pilots who don’t want to wait until JMB builds and ships a custom order, “We have one 912-powered VL3 in stock and ready for sale,” said Adam.
More info: Alion Aviation
Dynon in a Bonanza?
…and Why that’s Good for You
Do you fly a Bonanza? I didn’t think so. I once did, but that was years ago. So, why does an LSA enthusiast care that Dynon Avionics plowed through the regulatory maze to get approval for their info-packed SkyView HDX unit (video review) plus their autopilot for a Part 23-certified Bonanza?
Why care? It’s simple. If Dynon finds more market for their products, they’ll be stronger to support your Dynon and to keep coming up with great new avionics ideas for all of us.
Almost single-handedly Dynon brought affordable, sophisticated, computer-based instruments to the cockpit. It wasn’t that long ago that equipping a Part 23 bird with modern flat-screen equipment was a $100,000+ expense. Dynon brought such prices back to Earth.
Recently Dynon Certified announced that its autopilot is now FAA certified for all Beechcraft A36, and B36 Bonanzas. Dynon’s autopilot is available as an option for its already-certified SkyView HDX avionics system for select aircraft. When equipped, Dynon-equipped Bonanza pilots benefit from a full-featured three-axis autopilot system, including yaw damper, that is approach capable when paired with a compatible third-party IFR navigation device.
Pricing for a two-axis autopilot system starts at a list price of $4,715 for the model 36 series Bonanza aircraft. This includes all required brackets, hardware, and servo harnesses and represents a large drop in price for an autopilot system.
More info: Dynon Avionics
The humble yet important tie-down anchor. If we had a perfect system, so many variations would not be offered. But if you had to leave your airplane out as a storm rolled in, you’d want a secure connection to old Mother Earth!
“We have invented and patented a safetanchor for planes and other uses. Easy to install yourselves and patented in the USA,” wrote the company.
Design of the anchor’s top allows it to pivot from hook-up to becoming completely flat. This makes the entire surface of anchors flush to ground level without removing them and so you can drive vehicles over it, cut the grass, prevents tripping of personnel, and being a hazard to cleaning machines or snow removal equipment.
More info: SafeTAnchor