More Mods, More Modern: Even More Good Things for the 182

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August 2014-

Bill, our trusty 1966 Cessna 182, has an insatiable appetite for modifications and other enhancements. These enhancements cover the spectrum from performance mods, to instruments, to avionics.
Nine years ago I wrote a two-part article on what Bill's equipment list included since he left Wichita as a shiny new airplane in December 1966. The assorted mods discussed in these two articles included more than 40 STCs and Field Approvals.
In the last nine years, the equipment list has grown. Some of these items were subjects for detailed articles published in Cessna Flyer, and these additional mods continue to add to Bill's performance, comfort and safety. (Article archives are available at in a keyword-searchable form, as well as by month and year, at —Ed.)

As of spring 2005, Bill's equipment highlights included:
Custom instrument panel (replacement of the early "pinball machine" design)
Dual Garmin GPS navigators
S-TEC Model 40 single-axis autopilot
L-3 Stormscope
Audio response system
Rosen Sunvisors
Pulse lights
Horton Speed Mods and STOL Kit
Tanis engine heating system

O-470U and a 252 hp STC
John Jewell Aircraft offers a 27 hp upgrade for Cessna 182 aircraft that, in my opinion,is one of the best-priced performers for the money. This STC replaces your 230 hp O-470 engine with a Continental O-470U (2,000-hour TBO) engine, STC SE01153AT, designed to operate on 100 octane LL Avgas.
The U model is rated 230 hp at 2,400 rpm, and one of the simplest tricks to get more horsepower is to increase rpm. With a 2,625 maximum rpm for this STC, takeoff horsepower increases from 230 to 252 hp.
I see a five-knot cruise increase now; this translates to 137 knots TAS at 7,000 to 11,000 feet. Power settings are typically full throttle with rpm at 2,200 at lower altitudes and 2,350 at higher altitudes. Fuel consumption has been reduced from 12.5 gph to 11.5 gph due to the higher thermal efficiency for U model—it has higher compression when compared to O-470R engines.
I really like the extra punch this mod gives the aircraft when at higher altitudes. Climbing above 10,000 to 15,000 feet, the personality of my 182 is completely different than when it had a stock engine.
The STC cost $7,500 (plus parts and labor for installation) when installed by Air Plains in Wellington, Kan. in 2008. I am sure the price has changed in the last six years—check with Air Plains for a current cost estimate. Other costs include the O-470U engine, propeller governor modifications for 2,625 rpm (versus the standard 2,400 rpm setting), a larger intake manifold crossover tube, a different carburetor, and a McCauley 204 propeller (STC SA01581AT).
On 1977 and later 182s, the U model engine and the required McCauley 204 propeller is installed. For these aircraft owners, the installation cost would be minimal for a 27 hp performance increase.
Earlier 182 owners who are reaching TBO on their current engine may want to consider ordering a Continental O-470U (new or remanufactured) engine combined with the STC to have a peppier Skylane.

Garmin WAAS
My 2006 report "AirVenture 2006" described the Garmin 430/530 GPS navigators with GPS steering and told you how well they work. Adding WAAS to the two units when it became available in early 2007 brought a whole new era of instrument approach capability for Bill.
The FAA has advanced Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) procedures for the past seven years. As of May 29, 2014, there are 3,423 WAAS LPV approach procedures serving 1,686 airports in the United States. (Visit to get a link to the FAA's current list. —Ed.)
LPV offers ILS-type approach minimums to as low as 200 to 250 feet. These approaches are smooth with the same sensitivity from the final approach fix to touchdown for both lateral and vertical guidance—no scallops or other unusual surprises that are sometimes found with conventional ILS approaches. If minimums permit, the LPV approach is my first choice every time it is available. (Scallops are imperfections or deviations in the received signal. —Ed.)

Adding the Garmin GDL 69 to display XM WX Satellite Weather was a huge boost for weather detection and avoidance, but the display information can be as much as 20 minutes old and needs to be used with care.
For this reason I use NEXRAD for avoidance and to prevent threading between close cells. You can look hundreds of miles ahead and make routing changes or land-and-wait-for-the-weather-to-clear decisions. Wind aloft displays and cell movement vectors also help in making cockpit decisions.
I acknowledge that there are less expensive solutions with handheld units. However, having two GPS navigators and using the larger 530 screen as an MFD significantly reduces cockpit clutter and simplifies my workload.

Mode S
Shortly into this new millennium, the FAA encouraged small aircraft owners to install Mode S transponders. The incentive for GA operators was a traffic information service (TIS) that would display traffic advisories at Class B and C approach facilities.
The Garmin 330 Mode S transponder integrated the TIS function into the Garmin Navigator displays. This meant that within approximately 60 miles of an approach control facility, graphic traffic advisories were available on the 430/530 displays. The FAA alluded that there were plans for Air Route Traffic Control Centers to use TIS as well, but that didn't materialize. The FAA began implementing NextGen just two years ago, and so, Mode S TIS is on its way out.
I used TIS for nine years and feel it was a good investment. Shortly after its installation, I was almost run over by an overtaking aircraft and had to make a hard turn to avoid a potential collision. You only have to use a device like that once to justify its cost!

Angle of Attack
I have been an Angle of Attack (AOA) disciple for 10 years. Alpha Systems' Legacy AOA with audio is a great safety tool in my 182. A glareshield-mounted display sitting in your line of sight out of the cockpit is the preferred installation position, and the device can also assist you in making minor adjustments to your approach speed for more consistent landings.
Further, if you overturn and pull too hard on final, the audio response will talk to you—and that's hard to ignore.

Engine monitor
Last year I wrote a two-partarticle (January and February 2013) on the installation and operation of the Insight G3 color monitor, STC SA02930NY. This model includes individual EGT and CHT probes, fuel flow, carburetor air temperature, oil pressure and temperature probes, plus vibration measurement and analysis.
Using this monitor to adjust fuel flow while keeping an eye on all six EGT indications allows you to lean the engine as accurately and safely as possible. Adding carburetor air temperature to the leaning procedure will even out EGT readings and permit even lower fuel flows. In my 182 at cruise altitudes (8,000 feet and above) the fuel flow approaches 10 gph, which is only something I feel comfortable doing with the Insight monitor instrumentation.
For Bill, the Insight installation showed me that CHTs were well above normal operating conditions. Inspecting the baffle seals closely showed air leaks through poor seal closure. Installing new seals remedied this high temperature problem and possibly prevented premature engine maintenance—or a failure. (For more details, see "A Look Inside Your Engine—From the Cockpit, Part 3: Baffle Seals" in the July 2013 issue. —Ed.)

Autopilot upgrade
The S-TEC Model 40 autopilot was part of my original modernization program for Bill 15 years ago, and reliable operation is the hallmark of this autopilot. The only maintenance in the last decade and a half was a turn coordinator overhaul.
While Skylanes have rock-solid pitch, you still have to watch very closely to stay on altitude when flying on IFR flight plans. So, adding the altitude hold—an upgrade to Model 50, STC SA5199W-D—brings a further-reduced cockpit workload.
The Model 50 installation does not have electric trim, so you can expect to occasionally see the autopilot out of trim light. Simply make a minor trim adjustment until the warning light extinguishes, and you are set.

Vacuum pump
One item that many aircraft owners may not know about is wet vacuum pumps. These were standard on GA aircraft prior to about 1965. They got a bad reputation for spraying oil into the cooling air slipstream and dirtying up the aircraft belly. However, they are extremely reliable. If you fly in IMC, you should seriously consider installing a wet vacuum pump for increased vacuum supply reliability.
Why do wet pumps start dumping oil overboard? Wayne Toman of Accessories, Inc. states that the bronze oil metering bushing in the rear of the pump will wear and not function properly as soon as 750 hours after overhaul.
I've had a wet pump installed for 1,000 hours with no undue oil on the underside of our trusty Skylane. At the suggested time for overhaul, I called Toman and asked about overhauling the pump. His recommendation? If the aircraft belly is still clean, he said, then keep on flying. Even if oil is blowing overboard the pump will continue to operate reliably.
Wet vacuum pumps are no longer manufactured in the quantities they were 50 years ago. However, Accessories, Inc. has a large selection of overhauled pumps that offer reliable service for your particular aircraft.

Seat stops
Cessna secondary seat stop service kits SK210-174 (pilot) and SK210-175 (copilot) are must-haves for avoiding an inadvertent release of the seat lock. These kits attach an inertia reel to the seat base; the reel's belt is attached to the cabin floor to prevent the seat from sliding backward at rotation—an issue that has caused fatal accidents in the past.

Gas spring door mod
The Door Steward from Mtn View Aviation, STC SA01120SE, allows smooth automatic door operation. The original mechanical doorstop failed in our Skylane and replacement with these gas cylinders was a simpler and better way to open and close doors.

Electric attitude indicator
With a 4300 Series electric attitude indicator from Mid-Continent Instrument and Avionics (it has a 60-minute backup battery) along with a second vacuum attitude indicator, Bill's panel provides multiple sources to get us back on the ground safely.

Wish list
What are the items on Bill's Christmas Wish List? With the ADS-B mandate due in January 2020, the planning for this mandated requirement is now upon us. I am already a firm believer in the value of traffic information and see the merit in ADS-B from my experience using TIS previously available in Class B and C airspace.
ADS-B equipment
Two possibilities appear to satisfy the GA requirement for the ADS-B implementation. The first is FreeFlight Systems' FDL 978 XVR unit that will integrate into the Garmin 430/530 display to provide both ADS-B In and Out. This unit includes an internal GPS unit for position reporting. Cost is $3,995 for the application described above. The only other hardware is a TC97 control unit.
Where the FreeFlight installation shines is for the owner with two conventional Nav/Coms who needs to install ADS-B and wants an ADS-B In solution. The FDL 978 contains a Wi-Fi unit—and I'll leave it to your imagination as to what can be done with other Wi-Fi capable tablets in the future. More announcements are sure to follow.
This could be an avenue to a very low cost solution that does not require an additional panel display to satisfy the FAA's ADS-B Out requirement, and it also provides a non-panel display capability for traffic and weather.
The Garmin GDL 88 is another solution for integrating ADS-B In and Out into the Garmin avionics stack with a $3,995 unit cost that will add traffic and weather. Add the Extended Squitter upgrade to the Garmin 330 Mode S transponder, and on the ground traffic advisories are available at remote airport locations.
Electrical system monitor
Insight is in the final stage for STC approval of its GX-MFT. This combination instrument monitors tach, manifold pressure and fuel flow, and fits into a conventional three-inch instrument space. It offers additional electrical system analytical tools. The health of electrical circuit integrity, battery, alternator and starting loads display on the lower portion of the instrument.
Pilots flying in instrument conditions with a single alternator or an all-electric glass panel will appreciate the added comfort that a GX-MFT is monitoring the electrical system.
Integrating all these engine parameters in one instrument that were previously in two separate three-inch instruments frees up space for an Insight G4 Graphic Engine Monitor, which is a very complete engine monitor and a nice addition to any piston aircraft.
Fully integrated GPS/Nav/Com/MFD
The Garmin GTN 750 with all its capabilities—including touch screen navigation—is a dream. While I have operated with a Garmin 430 and 530 for 12 years, I think one GTN 750 in the panel with a traditional Nav/Com as the second unit will be a satisfactory setup.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Bill has an insatiable appetite for modifications. Part of the reason I go to EAA AirVenture is to do some early planning for Bill's Christmas present. There are so many items to see and think about, it makes the trip both fun and worthwhile. Hope you all have a great time at AirVenture 2014—I know I will.

Charles Lloyd has logged 10,000 hours since his first flying lesson in 1954. He worked for Cessna Aircraft for 16 years. Lloyd retired as captain of a Citation Encore Plus for a major fractional aircraft ownership company. He flies a tricked-out 1966 Cessna 182—also known as Bill—that is a great business tool for his real estate investment company. Send questions or comments to .

Accessories, Inc.

AirPlains, Inc.

Alpha Systems Angle of Attack

FreeFlight Systems

Garmin, Inc.

Genesys Aerosystems (S-TEC)


John Jewell Aircraft

Mid-Continent Instruments & Avionics

Mtn View Aviation