Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's a heat humidity wave!

I could tolerate temperatures in the 90s easily enough and, after suffering through the worst that winter had to throw at me, probably actually enjoy that kind of heat. If, that is, it wasn't also accompanied by cloying humidity. In my considered opinion, you should not be able to feel air clinging to you like an alpaca blanket. You should not be able to fill a glass with tea-steepingly hot water simply by wringing a handful of air. This is the weather we have, though, so I'm spending the week reaquainting myself with the computer games and TV shows that get usually pushed aside in favor of working on the airplane.

It's not that I've forgotten the plane, though. During my heat-induced hiatus I have managed a finish a few errands. I ordered a bag of commonly use nuts, bolts, screws, and washers from Aircraft Spruce and added a couple of extra AN3-10A bolts to replace the two that jumped ship.

There was also a fun discussion on Doug Reeve's Van's forum concerning alternative engines for the RV-12. By "fun," of course, I mean "combative, evangelical, and self-serving." Mostly people are open to the idea of using alternative engines, but these things always seem to degenerate down into a fight over which engine is better. It's as if one engine has to be bad for the other to be good. That's ridiculous, but for some reason (perhaps human nature) it's inevitable. The situation in this case was exacerbated by the over-promising and "you're an idiot if you don't buy my engine" sub-tones from the guy that has the most to gain from deriding the currently dominant engine. I don't have a dog in this hunt since I am perfectly content to follow Van's lead in their selection of a well-known, proven engine, but I am at the same time supportive of people that are willing to bravely go down another path in support of a newly emerging power plant. To each his own, I figure.

There have been more announcements from Van's regarding the Dynon Skyview as a replacement for the current D-180. Notably absent from these announcements is any indication of what it will cost. I did a little napkin math to see if I could come up with a good estimate:
I figure you're "trading in" a Garmin 496 and a Garmin transponder, and adding:

SkyView 10” Display (includes main wiring harness & SynVis)

ADAHRS - First (at least one ADAHRS required)

Engine Monitoring Module

ARINC-429 Interface Module

SkyView GPS Navigation Mapping Software

Mode-S Class 1 Transponder (high performance aircraft & US)

GPS 5Hz Receiver Module (at least one recommended)

That's $8,775. Add in some wiring harnesses and new panel aluminum, guessing about $250 for that. Subtract roughly $3,400 for the Garmin units you won't need anymore. That gives you $5,625. The D-180 was around $3,200.

My guess is you're looking at roughly an extra $2,500, but you won't need to buy the AP-74 ($450) if you decide to install the autopilot. So, I'm guessing about $2,000 more than you would have spent for an all-up solution. My personal opinion is that the Skyview provides enough additional value and future expandability to make that a good deal.

My fearless and consequence-free guess: Skyview avionics kit comes in at right around $15,000.
Stay tuned to see how close I got.

The weather is supposed to break in the next couple of days. I hope it does before the TV makes me homicidal - I've endured more Judge Judy than any man should be forced to see.

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