Reprinted from May 2004...
The consumer resource for
pilots and aircraft owners.
4 Cylinder Survey
Buyers like ECI and Superior but Continental jugs draw brickbats
9 Garmin's GPS296
Think of this new portable as a cutting edge PDF stuffed into a handheld package
13 Tire Shopping 101
Competition is fierce in the world of flight GA tires. Hint" buy the one with the deepest tread
18 High-End Headsets
You can still spend a grand for a Bose headset. Here's hpow it compares to other offerings in the upper price strata.
22 Tanis Cabin Heater
It's just a couple of mats on the floorboards but it keeps instruments (and toes) toasty warm
23 Used Aircraft Guide
Tires 101While it’s tempting to compare aircraft tires with car or truck tires, the comparison is flawed. The applications are very different and so aircraft tire design is very different from car tire design. An important considerations in tire design is heat dissipation.
The differencesWithin a given tire size and type, there are only a few variables that a manufacturer can manipulate: tread depth, hardness of the rubber, the number and width of grooves, ply material and the ply rating.
RetreadsAlmost all aircraft fl eet operators use retreaded tires. This includes many fl ight schools, most airlines and the military. They fi nd it lowers their costs with no increase in failure rates.
Making Them LastIf you’re in a hurry and looking for a complete tire-care course in one sentence, here it is: check your tire pressure before you fly. Yep, that’s it. Tire manufacturers produce lengthy treatises on tire care, and yes, there is more to it.
Money's WorthYou can find a lot of anecdotal evidence about relative tire quality, but not much that’s backed by any thing remotely like a scientific study.
Retreads: Better Than You ThinkIt’s a sure bet that any discussion of aircraft tire retreads will eventu-ally work around to truck tire carcasses found along the shoulder of the interstates. Here’s the real story behind those carcasses.
The mold-cure process, above, vulanizes new rubber to a sound carcass. As with new tires, tread is molded in during the curing phase.To add to the confusion, there are two types of retreading: pre-cure and mold cure. In pre-cure, a strip of rubber, complete with treads already molded into it, is wrapped around the tire carcass and glued on using just enough heat to cure the glue. Many truck retreads use this process. No aircraft retreads do.
What to BuyLet’s review what’s out there and what each costs. If you ask most mechanics what the top tire is, they will almost universally say the Goodyear Flight Custom III.
RecommendationIf your mechanic is going to mount your new tires, you have a decision to make up front— do you go through the hassle of insisting he special-order a tire or do you just go with his recommendation.
Our research revealed no brand-to-brand testing of all of the popular aviation tires, so we decided to do our own. Using the rig shown below—a trailer towed behind a light truck—we simulated 200 landings on 11 600 X 6.0 tires. The trailer is equipped with a pneumatically actuated arm that simulates landing at about 60 MPH with 1000 pounds of load on the tire. We also simulated a locked wheel panic stop and in the June issue, we’ll tell you how ugly that was.