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Top Cat

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About Top Cat

  • Rank
    Co-Pilot Member
  • Birthday 06/24/1953

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  • Location
    Fort mill, SC
  • Interests
    Light Sport Flying. being retired
  • Gender

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  1. Top Cat

    Bringing an old plane back to life.

    So is their a 'critical' engine with the Skymaster? As in what's the procedure if you lose the front engine? Or the rear engine? In the third picture (right side profile) is that a FLight Design MC in the background on the right side? Congrats on your project! I've always been intrigued by the Skymaster.
  2. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    Thanks and agree!
  3. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    Thanks Tom. My Lockwood trained Rotax mechanic charges $57 per hour. He just did the annual, inspected carbs and balanced them as part of his $330 fee for the annual. At 200 hours the carbs were overhauled but the cost wasn't that much as I remember. He is trained on the iS engine but hasn't seen too many. He says they're more time consuming, in his experience, and therefore labor costs would be more. I'm not sure, hence the questions. I'm not saying FI isn't the preferred way to go as Rotax refines its engines. I guess im evaluating the additional option of the iS engine from Vans ( apologies to FD folks but the emphasis is on the engine rather than the airframe in my questions). In the case of the RV-12 the empty weight increases, the cost increases, the complexity increases somewhat, but the fuel efficiency increases. With a slightly increased fuel capacity ( 20.2 versus 19.8 gallons) so the range is increased by maybe an hour. So is it worth it? Is the iS engine more reliable? Appreciate the thoughtful input guys.
  4. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    Bill I have a trouble free operation NOW with the carbureted engine and pretty good fuel economy at 4.4 to 4.8 gph on E10 93 octane which is about $2.36 per gallon here in SC with my grocery store discount card. How is the economy improved if I have to spend several thousand $$$ to acquire the engine and fly many hours over several years of typical sport flying before I break even? Just saying!
  5. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    Since I don't have any first hand experience with the iS engine I have some questions for someone that has one. Ok, I get that carbs are arcane and require balancing, servicing, overhaul etc and that the floats have been an issue lately. That said, I'm told you have to buy a diagnostic tool for about $1000 (?) in order to download warnings and error messages etc? This has to be at least as complex as fiddling with carbs so where is the advantage? The ignition modules seem to require attention as regards cooling ? I get that FI provides better economics with fuel burn but apart from that how do you consider it to be 'a more efficient engine"? Looking at the performance figures comparing the 912 ULS versus the iS engine I figure overall the iS is more efficient by about 1 gph. If I could magically put the iS into my RV-12 I'd get about 45-55 minutes more range based on power setting with my 19.8 capacity tank. Today I flew on a hot day (95F) here in SC with a DA of 2700'. I had to climb to 6500-7500' to find cooler and smoother air. Once there I flew 2.4 hours at 5000 rpm as I'm trying to fiddle with k-factor to get a more accurate fuel flow on the SkyView. Hey I'm retired Ive got time to burn too! Result was 4.5 mph in cruise with 112 KTAS. The tank takes 19.8 and I probably can squeeze a bit more in so say its 20.0. Back at hangar I loaded 11 gals and its completely full. My hangar neighbor's newly built RV-12 gets about 4.4 mph at his preferred 5000 rpm. I get 4.8gph at my preferred 5300 rpm and plan on 5 mph for about 3hrs 40 min range leaving a 4 gallon reserve. There isn't really unuseable fuel in RV-12 but there is a caution not to take off, climb steeply or go-around with less than 4 galls so I use that as my personal reserve. The iS is more expensive and heavier so there's a cost penalty as well as an empty weight penalty. In return I'm told its a much more efficient and reliable engine hence my questions. I figure it would take a lot of flight time to break even on reduced fuel burn to offset the several thousand $$ extra acquisition cost. Presumably the extra complexity of the diagnostics, the tool required adds to maintenance cost too? Vans is now offering the iS engine option to their RV-12 kits as well as the SLSA (which I have, ULS version). They've had to modify the cowl for better iS engine cooling. So...genuine question...what exactly does the iS engine offer me IF I was ever to consider trading up the RV-12 to the iS powered version? Not actually considering it but mulling over the pros and cons. Thanks for any input!
  6. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    I always wedge open the oil access door to aid in dispersing heat after landing. The new vents would no doubt help with that but they seem angled to the air flow too somewhat so probably have a dual function. I sure would hate it if my modules got too hot!
  7. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    The RV-12 cowling has been modified for the new RV-12 iS model adding four quite large air vents on both sides not required on the ULS engine. .Apparently this is to accommodate the iS engine and aid in cooling the ignition modules.
  8. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    I've been getting similar numbers in my RV-12 SLSA. I've been paying particular attention to fuel burns lately as I've been tweaking the 'k factor' on my fuel flow gauge. I plan on 5.2gph at 5300 rpm 912ULS. However, based on fuel added and time flown I typically burn 4.8 gph at 5300 and 4.5 at 5000 rpm.
  9. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    If you consider that the iS engine also costs about $5k to 5.5k more to buy I figure using E1093 auto gas prices in my area it'd take around 520 hours to break even before it becomes more economical on fuel cost versus the ULS engine. That's about 7 years of flying if the average sport pilot flies 75 hours per year. If the iS engine were magically installed in my airplane today I'd get about 55 minutes extra flight time on the same tank. Many of the LSAs with the iS installed already have heavier empty weights. The rule of thumb with most LSAs is that solo pilots can usually fly with full tanks and usually some baggage . Add a passenger and typically the fuel capacity has to be reduced in order to maintain gross weight limit. Quite often when you crunch the numbers this means that the actual range with two passengers in a higher empty weight iS engine equipped LSA is the same and often less than an LSA with the ULS engine. Add other options such as the chute and amount of fuel that can be carried may be further reduced.
  10. Top Cat

    Upgraded RV-12 Kit

    I'd like the option on the RV-12 SLSA to have fixed wings and wing tanks 12.5 a side or maybe 15. That said I've never taken the wings off mine other than inspection. The Rans Venterra is similar to RV-12 and has two 12 plastic wing tanks and I think (?) 2 gals unusable per side which means same useable fuel as RV-12 so not a whole lot of difference in the end.
  11. Top Cat

    Upgraded RV-12 Kit

    I've experienced zero problems with my RV-12 fuel tank. One issue with fueling has been to exposure to fuel hitting the rear canopy cover which causes cracking. Vans has replaced this part with Perspex. The new RV-12 SI has a new fuselage fueling port location. Slightly lower and further forward which still allows simple mogas fueling from gas cans which is great. The new plane has a see through tube which helps to check when tank is full as well as the Moeller gauge, in addition to the SkyView gauge. New tank is re shaped to run across baggage area to allow greater ease of access. Baggage allowance increased from 50 lbs to 75. Useable fuel on new tank is 2 gals and capacity increased to 20.2 from 19.8. Old tank has a caution when below 4 gals in case of steep climbs or a go around. Personally I'd prefer the option to have a 25 gallon tank which could be done using the baggage allowance increase. The iS Sport engine runs about 1 gph better than my ULS so the slight tank capacity increase does give the plane greater range but I still think at least 25 gals would be better. IMHO
  12. Top Cat

    Fuel Injection or Carbs on my next CT?

    I have the 912 ULS engine which starts first time pretty much all the time. I went through the carb float issues a little while back and despite finding a sunk float experienced no performance issues other than a mild fuel smell after shut down. Got new floats and was reimbursed by Rotax. I have the carbs balanced at every annual and they were overhauled at 200 hours with nothing found. Ive been using both 93 non-ethanol and lately 93E-10 for the past couple of years. Performance has been outstanding even with high DAs in the current heat-wave in SC. I plan on 5.2 GPH usually at 5300 rpm but based on fuel used /fuel added Ive been getting 4.8gph and 4.5 GPH at 5000 rpm. I have an RV-12 SLSA with 350 hours on it and I'm intrigued with the latest Vans announcement of a 912iS powered RV-12 in the future. I realise that Vans is keeping up with other manufacturers and that the iS engine with replace the ubiquitous ULS in the not too distant future. That said I feel my ULS still compares quite well to the iS particularly as regards the increased weight and cost plus the reports of frequent maintenance issues. I wonder if/when I contemplate trading up to a newer technology LSA that a more reliable and more efficient model of the current iS will be available by then. In the meantime I'm happy and content with the ULS. My two cents.
  13. Top Cat

    X Plane and CTLS

    Totally agree. There are simulators that prepare students to fly planes in real life and then there are those which replicate the flying experience somewhat. The latter are useful in getting students, and prospective students, interested in taking actual flying lessons in a real airplane and therefore have value in that regard. Many flight schools can, and do, use fairly realistic simulators, and some of the time spent can be credited, I believe. Having spent many hours in full motion flight simulators, from the 727 to the 767, which each cost $$ millions, I can honestly say the real airplanes were easier to fly and the training fully prepared you to fly a plane full of passengers your first time in the airplane. X-Plane has some value if not least familiarizing the 'pilot' with the image of the cockpit and some aspects of how it would be to fly the actual airplane. That said, the real airplane is quite a bit different, and so the X-Plane experience requires some leeway in this regard.
  14. Top Cat

    Why do birds hang out at the airport?

    They like to watch the idiot humans try to fly.
  15. Top Cat

    ADS-B Traffic question

    Andy, I think you're basically correct. I have ADSB IN/OUT with the latest Dynon 14.2.1 software update (will be installing 2020 GPS shortly) and as I fly it wakes up towers nearby and provides known traffic to me. If you don't have ADSB-OUT , or even the latest Dynon update (along with updating the transponder) then chances are you'll also receive traffic alerts on your own airplane. The FAA upgraded ADSB earlier in the year and so Dynon released the series 14 update to allow for their 2020 GPS as well as change the settings of the old GPS to meet the needs of the upgraded ADSB from the ground. Even with the older Dynon GPS antenna I get traffic some of which (Mode S) display both their N# and their transponder setting. Some show VFR instead of a dedicated transponder code. I believe the system provides traffic in the envelope around your airplane hence some will disappear as they descend as well as climb. Passing a large airport today I saw a traffic target pop up climbing quite rapidly directly over me. Its transponder said UPS and it's flight number. Sure enough I looked up and saw UPS climbing about 4000' above after which it left my screen.