High Sierra Fly-In Article (BCP)

New article up on BCP about the High Sierra Fly-In.  Thanks to By and BCP for posting!


Playing w/ One’s Johnson…

From time to time, discussions on the web pop up claiming that using the stock Cessna flap handle, or “Johnson Bar” can obstruct a pilots view or worse, be “unsafe” or even dangerous when used in critical stages of flight.

Curious as to the validity of these claims and in light of this debate, I set out with the GoPro to see just how much my head moved during STOL flap operations.

You can be the judge…

D-Clark Kudos…


We often bitch and moan ad nauseam about bad customer service, and for the most part, we probably are justified.  Seems like the world is going to hell in a hand cart and the stuff we buy is going right along with it.

For this reason, I wanted to take a second and thank David Clark for providing some of the best customer service I have had in a while.

There has been a bunch of talk about helmets in the GA cockpit over on BCP.org, and I have posted some photos of the ProTec A-Alpha helmet I use in conjunction with my David Clark ANRs.



Well the other day as I was adjusting the mic on my headset, the boom just plum pulled out of the ear cup.  It’s really not a complicated story this, so here’s the 411.

Headset broke.  I called up Clark and explained the situation.  The woman explained that they would be shutting down for the holiday break and she knew that I would probably be wanting the set as quickly as possible.  I told her I was in Boston and she quickly let me know that if I wanted to come out to their factory, they would handle it while I waited.

I did just that… and w/in 30 min, I was driving away with what was basically a new headset.  Thanks D.C.  You didn’t have to handle it that way, but you did, and it’s appreciated.  I’ve been brand loyal since my first lesson in 1995, and I will continue to do so.  Customer service makes a difference!


I should also quickly talk about the mains for the C180.

Back when I bought the C170, I was hell bend on the idea of “going big or going home.” I was convinced that I wanted at least 29’s, or even 31’s. I think the best help I have gotten in this whole airplane thing has been from Wup at ABW. He could have sold me all the bells and whistles that I was asking for, but instead, talked me down from foolishness and set me up with a set-up that has been (for my particular need) perfect.

So much so that I was able to transfer it all right over to the C180.

For the mains, I am running 8.5×10 Airhawks on ABW 10″ wheels. The brakes are Cleveland 199-62 “double puck” with custom SS brake lines from Sacramento Sky Ranch. So far on the C170 they have performed flawlessly, and I am looking forward to the ride on the C180.

(note: its not all gravy and pie. The 8.5×10’s are heavy. Each tire, tube and wheel is 42.5lbs. For reference, the 6.00x6s that were removed were 16lbs each.)

For what its worth… ABW has the cheapest price around for Cleveland’s. I think I paid somewhere around $250 under Spruce for the kit. The best part about buying the kit was that I also have a set of 600 wheels for 8.5×6’s (for skis – another post)

Also thought this might be interesting… an 8.5×10 vs/ an 8.5×6

The “Bush Look” – Real World Thoughts…


Thought I would take a sec and talk some real world numbers…

The past two weeks have been busy with finishing the annual on the C170. While in annual, I took the time to transfer the some of the more extreme “bush mods” over to the new C180. As the A/C was a bit closer to stock, I was really interested in seeing how it performed.

The WX has been a bit temperamental with these hurricanes and nor-easters, but today I was able to do a bit of flying and see how the old bird performed w/out some of the (as some would say) more radical mods.

Some interesting info: (actual weights)

height lost w/ smaller tires (measured from the deck to the spinner: -4″
(BTW the C180 gear raised the A/C +2″. I had +6 overall, and now I am +2 over stock. Still better AOA)

removed ABW 8.5×10 tires and 10″ wheels. -85lbs
added 600×6 tires and Cleveland wheels +27lbs
removed ABW Baby Bush -11.5lbs
added Scott 3200 TW +8.5
removed bubble windows and installed Cessna stock windows (no change)
removed BAS harness -5
added stock lap belts +3
removed 8042 prop and installed 7655 (no change)

In “Bush” mode with climb prop, the A/C cruised at 94mph at 2450
W/ the 8042 I (if not careful) could over rev the prop. Typically climbed out not at Vy, but matching the climb to RPM and keeping it at 2700 rpm. This netted 62mph at aprox 1100 ft/min.
at 2700, Max speed indicated about 105mph to burn 5.5-6.5 gph.

W/ that stuff removed (and 7655 prop) I cruised at 105 mph at 2450
Max speed at 2700rpm was 125mph.
Climb performance suffered with the cruise prop on loosing about 500’/min, but benefited +20mph at full throttle.

testing done at 1500′ MSL at 40 degrees ambient. DA was in the minus.

Grass was DEFINITELY no where near as fun…. The pragmatists will argue this, and its totally doable and safe, but don’t let em fool you. Its jarring. All those that have said the 170 does not need anything bigger than stock for off airport are full of you know what. They have never laid out the cash and tried it with the big rubber on. W/ the biggies, the 170 operated in the rough like a caddy. W/ the girlies on, the fun is gone.

On the plus side: With the stuff removed, I can certainly feel the weight difference. The A/C is way more nimble and delicate. Not as lumbering. I can only imagine what it would be like with wheel pants. Its way easier to move around in the hanger w/ less tire resistance as well as being lighter in general. With less weight, I feel it popping off the runway a bit quicker (letting the tail up first) but shorter on the short-field TO because the AOA is a bit more shallow (A/C is much lower)

In general I will say this: It comes down to what you want to do with the airplane. If you want speed and be able to tool around your airfield, stay stock. But if you want to really have fun with your 170 rumbling on anything besides the tarmac, look into bigger shoes. You don’t have to go crazy, but the fun factor outweighs any deficit.

Personally if I had to do it all over again (and I am with the 180) I would do the exact same thing.