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Considering Leaving General Aviation


FlyWalt
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5 minutes ago, Pinecone said:

We do.  But limited areas.  

Acela from DC to NYC is faster than several Japanese lines.  Heck, normal Amtrak on that corridor do 125 MPH.

Great to hear that. But what percentage of the population is covered? I wish we had more. I took the Chicago Detroit train once... Felt like getting off and pushing the train...

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6 minutes ago, A64Pilot said:

Yes, we have small lithium batteries in the Ipads we fly with and our cell phones. My assumption is someone did a risk analysis and came up with a size limit that’s considered acceptable, 

https://www.truebluepowerusa.com/getstarted/

These guys make Li-ion batteries that start turbines in certified aircraft. So your assumptions were wrong. As for me, just because I didn't see it on aircraft spruce, I shouldn't have assumed that it's not available for GA (certified) aircraft. Because it is. Just not for our turbo bug smashers...

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9 hours ago, FlyingDude said:

Great to hear that. But what percentage of the population is covered? I wish we had more. I took the Chicago Detroit train once... Felt like getting off and pushing the train...

VERY low percentage of population is covered by trains at all.  And only VERY limited high speed ones.  Once you pass NYC north or DC south, no more high speed trains.

I have traveled around Japan, and several other countries, by train.  And coupled with good in city transport, no car needed.

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Lithium ion/lithium polymer can be very safe.  IF you keep within the parameters of the technology.

Do not over discharge them (including leaving them too long and self discharge takes them too low), do not charge them too quickly, do not discharge them too quickly, and do not over charge them.

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On 12/1/2022 at 2:19 PM, redbaron1982 said:

I totally understand the OP feeling. I have owned a Mooney M20J for 1 year now and haven't got to fly it yet, annual of hell, Mooney taking 6 months to produce a spare part, MSC that are a complete ripoff, etc. The GA ecosystem seems broken. I'm not saying that everything is bad, but there is a lot of things that are messed up.

Some I think are fixable, many others no, unless the industry really turns around, what I don't think is going to happen.

I sometimes think that we should come up with a system that could help us stay as "safe" (not only physically but financially as well) as possible. What are your thoughts in having a crowd source system for:

  • Reviewing/evaluating GA shops and part sellers.
  • Having helpful resources in a organized/centralized way for pre buy inspections, general maintenance, etc.

Many times I think of starting myself something like that, just for the fun of it, but I don't know if it would gain traction.

Also, something I would really like is to be able to be able to get certified as a AP+IA. Being able to maintain our airplanes would be a huge benefit for saving money and time, not always, but in a lot of cases.

Just curious, exactly what part are you waiting for that is taking one year?  I may be able to source one if you have the P/N.

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1 hour ago, Pinecone said:

Lithium ion/lithium polymer can be very safe.  IF you keep within the parameters of the technology.

Do not over discharge them (including leaving them too long and self discharge takes them too low), do not charge them too quickly, do not discharge them too quickly, and do not over charge them.

All that takes money, for example you don’t float them when charged they need to be disconnected from the charging source, and Alternators don’t like that, we handled that in boats by having an AGM battery that was close enough in voltage to Lithium’s voltage that it would work and had a big BMS controlled breaker to disconnect the big Lithium bank, but leave the AGM connected so the alternator wasn’t fried.

But Lithium needs to be charged and monitored at the individual cell level and periodically cells balanced, or as they drift the higher voltage cells carry more and more of the load prematurely aging them and eventually they could be damaged and shorts lead to fires. Fires start with one cell, then it sets off more cells, but it’s not like a box of matches going off, there is a delay as each cell gets hot enough to go, so electric car fires are not big booms or even a whoosh as the whole thing goes up, it a smoldering fire but gets bigger and bigger until it’s a massive, very hot fire. They aren’t an issue unless your unconscious in the car, that’s the concern but as electric’s catch fire ten times less often than gas cars is it a bigger concern?

I believe with enough money and battery cooling / heating systems and sophisticated management system Lithium chemistries can be relatively safe, that’s why I charge our Tesla in the garage as opposed to leaving it in the driveway.

However for lead acid battery replacements there is no need for that, LifePo4 is nearly impossible to make burn, it’s very tolerant to being fully charged and you can float it so it’s actually a drop in replacement where other Lithium chemistries are not, but it also lasts much longer than other Lithium chemistries in both calendar and cycle life. It’s at least a ten year battery, other chemistries may not be.

As nothings perfect LIFEPo4’s downside is it’s heavier than Lithium NCA for example, but it’s still much lighter than lead acid.

Lithium golf carts and lithium car and motorcycle batteries are all LIFEPo4 and have been drop in replacements for years.

Why they haven’t taken off is two fold, first there is nothing wrong with lead, it will last five years or so and after 5 years you replace it, for not a whole lot of money. What’s broke in that?

Both my Prius and my Tesla both have lead acid 12V batteries to power the computer and “boot” the car because the big Lithium battery is disconnected completely when the vehicle is off. You would expect at least Tesla to have used a small Lithium battery for this, but they don’t. I suspect because lead is just too cheap and easy not to use.

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@A64Pilot please open this link
https://www.truebluepowerusa.com/getstarted/

Those guys made it work for certified aircraft.

Ps: I work for one of the major battery management IC suppliers and had to learn  about this technology and how it works. I can't talk here about how we do things but I'm not completely ignorant in the topic :D

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26 minutes ago, Jsno said:

Just curious, exactly what part are you waiting for that is taking one year?  I may be able to source one if you have the P/N.

It was not one year, it was 6 months. One year was from the moment until I did the prebuy and immediately the annual after it until now. 

The part it the aft stub wing spar. The factory is already finishing it, so shouldn't take much longer. 

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7 minutes ago, FlyingDude said:

@A64Pilot please open this link
https://www.truebluepowerusa.com/getstarted/

Those guys made it work for certified aircraft.

Ps: I work for one of the major battery management IC suppliers and had to learn  about this technology and how it works. I can't talk here about how we do things but I'm not completely ignorant in the topic :D

I didn’t say it couldn’t be done, just that’s it’s expensive. I KNOW it can be done, just like we could have Titanium main spars.

Do they build a drop in replacement for GA aircraft? What’s the cost, and what chemistry do they use? Lithium Ion isn’t very descriptive, it’s like saying something is made out of plastic, there are lots of types of plastic.

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1 hour ago, Pinecone said:

I have traveled around Japan, and several other countries, by train.  And coupled with good in city transport, no car needed.

US has about 3.5 million square miles; Japan has about 140,000.  Hardly a comparison.  The largest countries by land mass (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia, and USA) are unlikely to ever have that sort of transport system.

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It’s also the difference in Societies, in Germany the public busses were like Business class in Airlines with the headrest covers that were changed frequently etc. Middle class and higher workers rode the Bus and train to work and back.

Also what I thought interesting was that several city busses put school signs in their front window and took kids to school and back and ran the public around the rest of the day, I saw no special school busses in Germany.

One of my Crew Chiefs before the Army worked in a factory that built city busses, he said they had to start building the middle boarding stairway out of fiberglass because urine was eating up the metal ones. I can assure you that wasn’t an issue in Germany.

When we would stop in Vero Beach on the boat we sometimes ride the city bus as it is apparently one of the better city bus systems, one stopped at the City Marina every few minutes.

All I’ll say is that an entirely different type of person takes public transportation in the US than in Germany.

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2 hours ago, A64Pilot said:

All that takes money, for example you don’t float them when charged they need to be disconnected from the charging source, and Alternators don’t like that, we handled that in boats by having an AGM battery that was close enough in voltage to Lithium’s voltage that it would work and had a big BMS controlled breaker to disconnect the big Lithium bank, but leave the AGM connected so the alternator wasn’t fried.

But Lithium needs to be charged and monitored at the individual cell level and periodically cells balanced, or as they drift the higher voltage cells carry more and more of the load prematurely aging them and eventually they could be damaged and shorts lead to fires. Fires start with one cell, then it sets off more cells, but it’s not like a box of matches going off, there is a delay as each cell gets hot enough to go, so electric car fires are not big booms or even a whoosh as the whole thing goes up, it a smoldering fire but gets bigger and bigger until it’s a massive, very hot fire. They aren’t an issue unless your unconscious in the car, that’s the concern but as electric’s catch fire ten times less often than gas cars is it a bigger concern?

I believe with enough money and battery cooling / heating systems and sophisticated management system Lithium chemistries can be relatively safe, that’s why I charge our Tesla in the garage as opposed to leaving it in the driveway.

However for lead acid battery replacements there is no need for that, LifePo4 is nearly impossible to make burn, it’s very tolerant to being fully charged and you can float it so it’s actually a drop in replacement where other Lithium chemistries are not, but it also lasts much longer than other Lithium chemistries in both calendar and cycle life. It’s at least a ten year battery, other chemistries may not be.

As nothings perfect LIFEPo4’s downside is it’s heavier than Lithium NCA for example, but it’s still much lighter than lead acid.

Lithium golf carts and lithium car and motorcycle batteries are all LIFEPo4 and have been drop in replacements for years.

Why they haven’t taken off is two fold, first there is nothing wrong with lead, it will last five years or so and after 5 years you replace it, for not a whole lot of money. What’s broke in that?

Both my Prius and my Tesla both have lead acid 12V batteries to power the computer and “boot” the car because the big Lithium battery is disconnected completely when the vehicle is off. You would expect at least Tesla to have used a small Lithium battery for this, but they don’t. I suspect because lead is just too cheap and easy not to use.

You could float them, at a low enough voltage.  Just not full voltage.

As for cell by cell balancing, even cheap radio control packs have had the capability for 15 years.  Either through a separate connector that allows individual charging from a good charger or built into them.

I agree that LIFEPo4 makes a lot of sense.  And while a lighter battery generally good, on Mooneys, we would just be increasing the Charlie weights or putting in two batteries to make up for the light weight.

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2 hours ago, A64Pilot said:

I didn’t say it couldn’t be done, just that’s it’s expensive. I KNOW it can be done, just like we could have Titanium main spars.

Do they build a drop in replacement for GA aircraft? What’s the cost, and what chemistry do they use? Lithium Ion isn’t very descriptive, it’s like saying something is made out of plastic, there are lots of types of plastic.

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/earthxbatteries.php?clickkey=58725

You could help them certify this for our Mooneys. Or skip this generation and go for sodium batteries. That'd be cool!

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https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/earthxbatteries.php?clickkey=58725
You could help them certify this for our Mooneys. Or skip this generation and go for sodium batteries. That'd be cool!

These are apparently STC’d for some E’s, plus the F/J/K. I emailed them about the R and they said they are working with the FAA. Not sure what other models. Looks like it requires an indicator light to annunciate any failures.

https://earthxbatteries.com/list-of-stcs/
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12 hours ago, Scottknoll said:


These are apparently STC’d for some E’s, plus the F/J/K. I emailed them about the R and they said they are working with the FAA. Not sure what other models. Looks like it requires an indicator light to annunciate any failures.

https://earthxbatteries.com/list-of-stcs/

The Earth-X are Lifepo4, which I think is good, I know of no Li-Ion packs for GA airplanes, there may be, but I’ve not heard of them. I’d expect one to be no bigger than a carton of Cigarettes and weigh 5 or 6 lbs if there is.

Lifepo4 was invented or designed whatever the name is in Texas, but interestingly the Chinese have the patent or maybe manufacturing rights, that has I believe recently run out so others can now manufacture it. Treat all that as hearsay cause I don’t know, just heard

All LifePo4 batteries and I suspect pretty much all Lithium batteries are Chinese sourced cells and battery manufactures put them in a plastic box and sell them, with maybe some custom electronics.

Anyway pretty much ALL Lithium chemistries are “Doped” that is other chemicals are added now that significantly increase performance.

For instance all Standard range Tesla’s now all have LifePo4 batteries manufactured by CATL a Chinese corporation, all other Tesla automobiles still use the Tesla / Panasonic manufactured cells. The LifePo4 battery weighs I think 1300 lbs vs the NCA pack’s 1,000 lbs. That wasn’t possible with the original LifePo4 recipe, it was too heavy, would take a 2,000 lb battery, but doping LifePo4 has increased its energy density.

There are several advantages to LifePo4 like much longer life, many more cycles, more tolerant of charging to 100% and nearly impossible to make it burn, it’s my opinion that we will see more and more LifePo4 batteries. LifePo4 should be at least a 10 yr battery, the way we use them maybe twice that.

You can take out a lead acid battery and drop in a LifePo4 battery with no changes, Lithium-ion is difficult to do so, while it’s possible to have an internal BMS, that’s expensive, be like throwing away your voltage regulator every time you changed the battery. Model airplane batteries have the BMS as part of the charger, that’s why the plug with individual leads to each cell, but Tesla’s have for example between 5,000 and 7,000 cells, take a big plug :) I think big packs connect cells into banks and manage banks as if they were cells, which may be suboptimal, but apparently works.

An external BMS / charger like model airplanes due to $$ makes more sense in an aircraft battery in my opinion, adds complexity in installation of course, because your running alternator power to it, it charges / manages the pack and the big wires only supply current to the airframe.

99% of people don’t realize how many Lithium chemistries there are and think there’s just one or mostly just don’t think about it.

It’s like aluminum, people don’t know how many alloys there is, they think there is regular aluminum and “aircraft grade” aluminum because that’s what’s advertised.

There are however many significant differences between lead and Lithium that we need to learn, like lead should ALWAYS be stored fully charged, but Lithium should not, every time lead is used it should immediately be fully charged, but first Lithium should never be fully recharged and ideally charged just prior to use, newer cell phones learn your charging habits and only finish charging just prior to you unplugging the charger every day for example.

Li-Ion is good for things like cell phones, drills and cars, because they are cycled, that is a significant portion of their capacity used each cycle, but not so good as engine starter batteries because they spend the majority of their life fully charged. LifePo4 tolerates 100% SOC MUCH better than Li-ion.

Ideally Lithium should only use its middle third of charge, that is to charge to 66% and not go below 33%, many battery manufactures set limits on their batteries, like 100% is really 90 and zero charge is really 10%, this extends the life significantly. I only charger Her Tesla to 60% daily as we only use 15% or so of capacity daily.

Generally the closer you stay around approximately 50% the longer the cycle life, but you have to balance useful capacity against life, no one would buy a 100 mile range EV, even if it’s battery would last over 20 years for example, so EV manufactures are tempted to push their batteries so they can advertise big range numbers, but that reduces the batteries life span.

Most EV owners have no idea and are killing their batteries, killing as in greatly shortening their cycle life, but THE biggest selling point for an EV is range for some reason and you get more range by pushing the battery to both higher and lower limits. I say for some reason because people have been convinced that they must have at least 300 miles range to drive eight miles to work each day and that spending 20 min at a fast charger as opposed to 10 min at the gas pump is horrible.

 

 

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22 hours ago, FlyingDude said:

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/earthxbatteries.php?clickkey=58725

You could help them certify this for our Mooneys. Or skip this generation and go for sodium batteries. That'd be cool!

I love the blurb on AS "Environmentally friendly, no hazardous lead or acid".  Seems a bit disingenuous.

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1 hour ago, steingar said:

I am in the same boat as the OP.  Everything has gone up but my paycheck, that and my eyesight is starting to go.  I'm out before I become a danger to myself or anyone else.  A prepurchase inspection will take place in my hangar on Saturday.

It's good to know when it's time and imho far more sensible and honorable to get out early or on time rather than too late.

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I have had my 231 for nearly 14 years now. I have had to learn sorry lessons about maintenance work. There were a few mechanics who tried to kill me. Obviously not intentionally, they just made major mistakes that I had to deal with in the air. One left a bushing out when installing an alternator coupler, resulting in the coupler falling off into the running engine in flight. One made a major mess of the plane’s first annual, had to have a do-over at what was then Willmar Aviation, very costly. Another was asked to check a small oil leak just prior to flight, told me everything was ok, and in the dark having crossed Lake Michigan and at 19k the engine monitor told me he had been wrong. Interesting emergency dive to make an uneventful landing in Canada. These were not Mooney-specific mechanics and probably did not have the repair manual.

Over that time I have developed relationships with an avionics installer and a maintenance shop. I pay them early and often, I don’t grouse about every item on the invoice, I want them to make sure I repair everything in the aircraft that keeps me safe. Mine are Modern Avionics at KFCM, now AV8 (same guy in charge) and Oasis Aero, run by two of the younger generation from Willmar Av. Willmar also has used Bolduc for major engine work for me, they have been excellent. They have not tried to kill me, and that is not a joke. Unless I have to have offield work done, which is thankfully very rare using these guys, I don’t even take oil changes to another shop. At every oil change I have a short squawk list. If I must use another shop I hold my breath every time. There have been some very good, some not so good. Sorry to say it is about 50-50, at least for Mooneys. Maybe they are more familiar with Ps, Ce’s, and Ci’s.

The OP sounds like me before I found these gems.

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Just making some observations here not taking anyone to task-

Having been on this board for many years  and we seem to have this same discussion every few years. It seems to always be from the same view point - "never knew just how much $$$ it took to own an airplane" or "my first year or two costs were out of sight".

The answers have always been the same -   "Prebuy"!!  inspections and unreasonable expectations.  

Many newer pilots (say under 45 yrs old) are used to "Start engine -drive car" change oil once in a while mentality.  Many newer pilots have never purchased (or would even think to purchase) a car as old as they are. Even more senior pilots have never done this. We are for the most part USED to NO big issues with transportation vehicles. And, we trade them off often enough to avoid the myriad of mechanical problems older age brings along.  

Why don't we all drive 1970 cars? RELIABILITY!!!!

Folks- these Mooneys are antiques!!   They come with all the bumps and warts any antique vehicle would have.

They are 75 year old technology at best.  Lets wake up to that fact!

Do we hear the same lamenting from the sub-15 yr old Cirrus crowd?  If you want - "turn key-fly airplane" then buy a new airplane.

We can't compare apples to oranges. Likewise, maintenance is a variable issue in itself.

How many of you manage your automobile maintenance to follow the maker's maintenance program exactly?

Take it back to the factory repair shop and do every item on the maintenance list every time its due?

How many airplane owners do the same? Who here says- "I want a cheap annual" or "I have to keep costs down" or "it didn't fly that much last year so it should be a quick annual"? We hear the same things year after year. Just talk to a few shops to understand what they deal with. And the quality of the total airplane goes down every year. What are we to expect when we go to purchase a 50 year old airplane? New, just off the assembly line quality? NOT!

On the other hand I too have issues with the quality of work that I have seen coming out of many shops over the years. I have said as much here  over the years. 

Cheap and airplanes just don't equate.

Mechanics don't grow on trees - cars or airplanes. There are not enough to go around. Good shops have what they usually need. Small town America less so. I know of one very good shop with lots of  new airplane business that decided to elevate their shop rates to the point of eliminating most of the "bad" customer issues they had. 

It solved their issue but didn't help those not so affluent.  Their shop rate matches my local Ford dealer rate---------$145.00/HR

Private aviation is not something to go into with your eyes shut or with "pie in the sky" expectations. Its a world full of land mines to the uninformed. Has been since the Wright Bros. 

Idealism and reality are on opposite ends of the stick!  You find the balance point. 

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On 12/5/2022 at 8:36 AM, FlyingDude said:

@A64Pilot please open this link
https://www.truebluepowerusa.com/getstarted/

Those guys made it work for certified aircraft.

Ps: I work for one of the major battery management IC suppliers and had to learn  about this technology and how it works. I can't talk here about how we do things but I'm not completely ignorant in the topic :D

But not for the Mooney.  I reached out to them via website, went to OSH specifically to speak with them, reached out to the contact whose card the booth people gave me, and nothing.

 

It's a pity, since the long body planes have two batteries for balance, and the Kelley Aerospace A/C goes in the back, it's conceivable that the weight penalty for adding both Lithium ion batteries and the A/c would be minimal.  The hit to the wallet, not so much.

Also at OSH, I asked Walter if he could speak w/ True Blue Power as this would be a mutually beneficial installation. Dunno if they ever connected. @Kelly Aerospace, any interest in doing this? I'd be in.

-dan

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On 12/5/2022 at 8:38 AM, redbaron1982 said:

It was not one year, it was 6 months. One year was from the moment until I did the prebuy and immediately the annual after it until now. 

The part it the aft stub wing spar. The factory is already finishing it, so shouldn't take much longer. 

Did you ever take any kind of action against this MSC who did the prebuy and then immediately condemn the rear spar?

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Maybe another notation for everyone to pass along a pre-buy needs to be an annual inspection as a base line. 

Although I find it hard to believe that a condemned stub spar could not be seen on a general pre buy especially if done by a Mooney knowledgeable A&P. Its a known location for corrosion. 

Where was the stub spar corrosion found? 

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