After All These Years

Last month was my birthday. So what’s the big deal you might say; everybody has them? Very true and at this stage of life it’s just another day. Decades ago on my 16th birthday I took my first solo flight, an accomplishment experienced by many young aviators not just me.

Over the years I’ve attempted to celebrate this day by flying, and I’ve been successful more years than not. My first solo flight was in a Piper PA-11 Cub. Over the years I’ve flown other Cubs, a variety of other airplanes, sailplanes, and at times I’ve been traveling in airliners (not quite the same but it was flying) on this day. This year my celebratory flight was in a CubCrafters Sport Cub S2; a modern day version of the iconic Piper Cub.

I recall that old PA-11 rented for $10 per hour back then at a small country airport in Wisconsin. The Sport Cub I now rent goes for over $100 per hour. Back then we paid .49 cents per gallon for 80 octane avgas in our small airplanes, and now 100 low lead has a wide range of prices – generally around $6 per gallon. To my knowledge there hasn’t been 80 octane avgas available for a long time. Rental costs, fuel costs; all things are relative.

Let’s talk about avgas for a moment. Over the past number of years we’ve all been hearing and reading about the move toward an unleaded 100 octane fuel for use in piston engine aircraft. Many aircraft owners wait and wonder what the eventual impact toward general aviation will be. Key industry figures have publically stated they feel confident there will be a replacement for 100 octane low lead.

In this month’s issue of Aircraft Maintenance Technology, Steven Ells provides us with an update in the cover story titled, Flightpath Toward a New Avgas. Steve reviews some of the latest industry developments along with dates the FAA has established for evaluation of new unleaded 100 octane fuel.

Another article relating to General Aviation aircraft is Jim Cavanagh’s look at piston engine lubrication and oil additives in his feature titled, A Look at Internal Combustion Engine Oil and Additives. Even though it’s July with warm summer temperatures, Tim Gauntt provides us with tips on keeping a combustion cabin heater healthy and safe in his article titled, How to Maintain Cabin Combustion Heaters. And how will you celebrate General Aviation this year? Join us for the great aviation gathering at EAA AirVenture. I’ll see you there,