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West Coast Ovation/J's vs Turbo


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Howdy gang.

Thinking of stepping out of my E and into something a little more robust that I can grow into. All my research is has landed me to 252/Bravo vs Ovation. Ovations seem to own east of The Rockies, but does anyone have experience flying J's/Ovations in the west mountains/PNW? I am worried that NA won't be able to provide a proper margin of safety over MEAs, whereas turbos can blast above weather/MEAs with ease. I feel like a FIKI Ovation still wouldn't cut it on the west due to the thick icing layers.. 

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2 hours ago, 503Guy said:

I am worried that NA won't be able to provide a proper margin of safety over MEAs, whereas turbos can blast above weather/MEAs with ease.

I only know what I read but

1.  Ovations have lots of power, and many people find the M20J has adequate power in the mountains
2.  Guys that fly behind turbochargers say they would never go back.

Ice protection is a similar argument

1.  Many people fly successfully with no ice protection
2.  No Hazard ice is way better
3.  FIKI is best

Neither issue is a clear black and white.

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I think a big factor is how much mountain flying you are planning.  Going OVER the Rockies in my J from SoCal was pretty easy, and I did it several times along several routes.  Yes the climb was anemic by 14k, but I got over without drama.  The highest I ever got was 16.5k, and it was definitely a painfully slow climb at that point.  Taking off from Leadville on a warm day at gross?  Never even considered it.  Boulder at gross on a warm day, not a problem, but I could clearly tell I was not at my sea level home base.

Apropos to your debate, I recently got a FIKI Ovation (310hp STC), and now live in the Seattle area.  Crossing the Cascades at 10-14k is effortless in terms of climb performance.  I would not choose a turbo over this NA engine unless I felt that getting into FL's was essential and frequent.  I have not gone over 14k yet, but it got there easily and my cruise speed was the same 170 KTAS I target at lower altitudes at 60-65% power.  As for ice, lots of opportunities this past winter->spring, but so far, it always seems to be a thin layer, localized, or too cold for ice above the MEA's.   

I think the only FIKI 252 is the Encore, with very limited production numbers.  Those will be harder to find compared to a FIKI Bravo or Ovation.  For me, FIKI over inadvertent ice was essential for this region.

-dan

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Budget vs. capability. How much do you have to spend? E is capable and will get you there 80% of the time. A FIKI Bravo is more capable and will get you there 90% of the time.  Only you can decide if it's worth it to you or not. For me it was, I had a J for 5 years but eventually tired of cancelling flights due to the threat of icing. I felt I couldn't touch a cloud below freezing. So I traded it for a FIKI Encore about 5 years ago. It was a great decision, and the Encore is only a little bit more expensive to operate than the J was. In those 5 years I've only used the FIKI a handful of times. But just having it there and ready makes some trips do-able where I would have cancelled in the J. 

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I Currently fly an eagle that was converted to an Ovation 3. I used to live at sea level and the ovation would handle everything. Now i live in colorado, and it still handles everything, but i would love to have a turbo. If TAT did the conversion on the ovation like they do on the 33, 35, and 36 series, id probably take advantage of it. My 2 cents, go with the turbo.

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I'm just a humble G model pilot from Utah so I have limited experience but de ice and Turbo seem necessary for winter IFR in the mountains.  MEAs are high and ice is common.  I wouldn't consider flying IFR in my plane because I would be stuck at the bottom end of available altitudes and if I did encounter ice I would have very few options.  Really the only option is immediate 180 and hope moisture didn't move in behind me.  Not something I would consider.  

There was a J model Mooney that tried to fly IFR out of Jackson hole a few years back and didn't make it.  It iced up and came down.  Once he took off he didn't have a chance.   All the altitudes he could use had heavy icing.  

If you limit your flying to good weather a J or Ovation would be excellent, even a G model will do, lol..

 

 

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There was a J model Mooney that tried to fly IFR out of Jackson hole a few years back and didn't make it.  It iced up and came down.  Once he took off he didn't have a chance.   All the altitudes he could use had heavy icing.  
If you limit your flying to good weather a J or Ovation would be excellent, even a G model will do, lol..
 


i remember that accident well, a father, with a new IFR rating and his sons perished due to a combination of his lack of situational awareness and planning and accepting a direct vector right into the highest terrain passing just by by Gannet Peak. What i recollect was, it wasn’t icing that brought them down but the strong downdraft after they amazingly made it past the highest terrain just skimming it and the tops before the downdrafts got them. A lot of poor decision making starting with when his commuter flight was cancelled and get-home-itis had him calling up the FBO to bring out his J to fly it home. Then when he got an unexpected route and departure he just started delegating his PIC responsibilities to the controller.
Very sad, but if was flying a Turbo I’d bet he would have made it - not that i would have tried it in those conditions! And certainly wouldn’t take a direct shortcut flying into the highest terrain! crazy!


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On 5/17/2022 at 4:13 PM, kortopates said:

 


i remember that accident well, a father, with a new IFR rating and his sons perished due to a combination of his lack of situational awareness and planning and accepting a direct vector right into the highest terrain passing just by by Gannet Peak. What i recollect was, it wasn’t icing that brought them down but the strong downdraft after they amazingly made it past the highest terrain just skimming it and the tops before the downdrafts got them. A lot of poor decision making starting with when his commuter flight was cancelled and get-home-itis had him calling up the FBO to bring out his J to fly it home. Then when he got an unexpected route and departure he just started delegating his PIC responsibilities to the controller.
Very sad, but if was flying a Turbo I’d bet he would have made it - not that i would have tried it in those conditions! And certainly wouldn’t take a direct shortcut flying into the highest terrain! crazy!


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You could be right, It's been a while since I read about it, but then again Ice melts by the time anyone shows up to investigate, either way though ice or down draft that Mooney was in a bad spot, high terrain, flying through winter weather with few options other than wait a day or two which is what we all wish happened.  If I remember correctly the tops of the clouds were around 20k.  A turbo Mooney could have gotten up there into some nice conditions.  It still could have been a bad idea depending on what was in those clouds but it was a possibility with a turbo Mooney with deice, a normally aspirated non fiki Mooney was a hard no, or should have been.    

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On 5/17/2022 at 4:13 PM, kortopates said:

 


i remember that accident well, a father, with a new IFR rating and his sons perished due to a combination of his lack of situational awareness and planning and accepting a direct vector right into the highest terrain passing just by by Gannet Peak. What i recollect was, it wasn’t icing that brought them down but the strong downdraft after they amazingly made it past the highest terrain just skimming it and the tops before the downdrafts got them. A lot of poor decision making starting with when his commuter flight was cancelled and get-home-itis had him calling up the FBO to bring out his J to fly it home. Then when he got an unexpected route and departure he just started delegating his PIC responsibilities to the controller.
Very sad, but if was flying a Turbo I’d bet he would have made it - not that i would have tried it in those conditions! And certainly wouldn’t take a direct shortcut flying into the highest terrain! crazy!


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http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2012/02/mooney-m20j-n201hf-luke-bucklins-former.html?m=1

 

 I think this is the one we are talking about. Sounds like routing was a factor, he should have refused that route based on the 15800 MEA.  That's not a reasonable altitude for a Heavily loaded J model. It did mention ice accumulation but seemed to attribute a mountain wave which is certainly possible as he was only barely above terrain when he went down, unable to climb to 16k as instructed.   

Reading the report again it seems very reasonable a turbo fiki Mooney would have done fine in that situation.  I believe it said cloud tops were 16k.  He could have been VFR on top in short order with a properly equipped plane.  Very sad story.  

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Thanks all for your thoughts, and for the life lesson on what can happen when we aren't patient with our planes or the weather.

 

In response, I do plan on a fair amount of mountain flying - cascades, cali mountains, rockies... My company HQ on the west coast is in Denver and my office is out of Portland. Understandable about getting up to 10-14K in the O, but reading thru this thread I believe Turbo+FIKI is what's going to be the ticket. With that being said, I think I need to focus on 252's or a Bravo as the Acclaim is out of my budget.

 

Thanks again all for throwing your ideas in, now to be patient and wait for a FIKI Encore >:D

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18 hours ago, Utah20Gflyer said:

http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2012/02/mooney-m20j-n201hf-luke-bucklins-former.html?m=1

 

 I think this is the one we are talking about. Sounds like routing was a factor, he should have refused that route based on the 15800 MEA.  That's not a reasonable altitude for a Heavily loaded J model. It did mention ice accumulation but seemed to attribute a mountain wave which is certainly possible as he was only barely above terrain when he went down, unable to climb to 16k as instructed.   

Reading the report again it seems very reasonable a turbo fiki Mooney would have done fine in that situation.  I believe it said cloud tops were 16k.  He could have been VFR on top in short order with a properly equipped plane.  Very sad story.  

Yep, the routing starting with the departure procedure that likely exceeded his climb rate capabilities given the DA and turbulence. Even after those mistakes, he would have been okay if he continued south past Big Piney to stay south of the  Wind River Mountains but then he accepted a shortcut direct to RIV that was the fatal flaw that took him by the highest peak in the range. He even had a moving map Garmin MX-20 MFD in the panel that showed him exactly the terrain he was flying towards but he knew nothing about the hazards of flying in the mountains in heavy winds. His recent 10 day instrument rating instructor had already tried to talk him out of flying this trip IFR a couple weeks prior right after completing his instrument rating. So what did he do - he went up into actual IMC conditions at minimums to better prepare/practice for the Jackson trip. He had signed up for 10 day instrument rating course just so he could fly to Jackson IFR for a wedding. 

Also of note is that the pilot was explaining to his wife he could make the trip home because without an actual PIREP for icing near his route, it didn't constitute Known Ice and therefore he would be legal to depart!  Maybe that was just intended to put his wife at ease but all he seemed to care about was making a business meeting the following day  and then not getting into legal trouble. 

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7 hours ago, 503Guy said:

Thanks again all for throwing your ideas in, now to be patient and wait for a FIKI Encore >:D

Jimmy has a TKS 252 coming and he has a M20J MSE with M20 Turbo and TKS currently in his inventory. You may want to touch base with him.

jimmy@gmaxamericanaircraft.com

https://www.gmaxamericanaircraft.com

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2 hours ago, 503Guy said:

Any idea if the 252 is FIKI? I'll reach out to Jimmy. Thanks for the tip.

From the text he wrote it does not appear to be.

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2 hours ago, Fly Boomer said:

I think the only difference is FIKI has two pumps.  Unless you are planning on driving through known ice, the No Hazard ice protection will accomplish the same thing.

Correct, can't depart into even a thin layer of icing without FIKI however.

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Can anyone comment on the performance of a turbonormalized M20J vs a 231? Research has lead me to a 231 with TKS, as the dream FIKI Encore is out of budget currently. Any thoughts?

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On 5/27/2022 at 10:44 AM, 503Guy said:

Can anyone comment on the performance of a turbonormalized M20J vs a 231? Research has lead me to a 231 with TKS, as the dream FIKI Encore is out of budget currently. Any thoughts?


Let’s see if Ritch @N201MKTurbo is around…. He has great insight….

Realistically….

People that fly in the FLs often…. Want to have the MP controller and intercooler that became standard with the latest M20Ks….

When constrained by budget… there are many things to consider….

Best regards,

-a-

 

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The performance of the 231 and the turbo J are similar. They are both turbocharged 360 cu in engines. The turbo J is easier to operate than the early 231s because the MP and mixture are stable as you climb and descend. 
 

There are 3 versions of turbo Js. The first is the RaJay kit. This is essentially the same kit put on the Es and Fs with the boost knob for the waste gate. There is an STC for this, but I’ve never heard of one actually existing. The next was the Turbo Bullet, this has the fixed watergate (same parts as a 231), intercooler, upper deck pressure controller and low compression pistons in the engine so it runs as a boosted engine. The third and most popular is what I have, the M20Turbos conversion. It has the same parts as the Turbo Bullet without the piston change. There are about 35 of these.

The M20Turbos is maintainable. The turbo, check valves and wastegate are the same as a 231. The pressure controller is overhaulable by two shops now. The mounting brackets and exhaust can be repaired under 43.13-1B. The intercooler is unlikely to ever fail, but I know a guy (who just happens to have an A&P license) who builds custom intercoolers for race cars. I showed him the intercooler and he said he could make an exact copy for $500. I told him he shouldn’t do it so cheap…. The intake couplings are available from TurboPlus.

Edited by N201MKTurbo
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FIKI would be nice. Just last Friday I was flying home from Portland and there was IFR conditions with Icing. As it was, I had to fly at the MEAs down an out of the way route until I broke out under an overcast and then cancel IFR and continue VFR to stay out of the icing. 
 

Right before I canceled I actually heard this on ATC “Mooney 201MK there was a pilot report of severe icing at 11000 by a Cirrus and a Caravan just minutes ago. Climb and be maintain 11000 feet” I canceled and we were both happy. 
 

If I were FIKI, I would just have filed for 17000 direct and be done with it.

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