Hypoxia: What’s Your 10-Point Altitude?

Hypoxia: What’s Your 10-Point Altitude?

I had taken off early from South Florida and had flown all day long between 8,500 and 10,500 feet MSL. I touched down briefly at KAEX in Alexandria, La. for lunch and fuel, then climbed back to my cruising altitude.

I was headed for Mineral Wells, Texas for an S-TEC autopilot tune-up, but decided to land at Waco, Texas (KACT) instead. It was the end of a long day and low ceilings were cramping my comfort zone.

I punched in the identifier for Waco and followed the GPS guidance, but didn’t see any runways. I felt flummoxed and frustrated. Waco is a big airport—I couldn’t grasp why I couldn’t see the runways. I again punched “ACT” into the GPS and hit enter. Still no airport in sight even though the GPS indicated I was directly above it.

Then I spotted the VOR antenna and everything fell into place. My thinking had—unbeknownst to me—become so foggy I had neglected to enter “K” before the three-letter identifier.

I corrected the entry, found the runways, got a landing clearance and safely landed. I slept long and well that night. After reviewing the flight, I concluded that I was just tired and that any pilot who had just flown for seven hours and covered over 1,000 nm in one day would have made the same mistakes.

I was wrong. I was hypoxic.


The Cessna 414 - Still a good choice for the small business flyer

The Cessna 414 - Still a good choice for the small business flyer

Thirty-five years ago, there were dozens of piston twins on the market, everything from Piper’s $66,000 Aztec to Beech’s quarter-million-dollar Queen Air 88. The light twin market had gained momentum in the 1950s when big and small business alike discovered General Aviation.

The designs of early multi-engine aircraft were largely based on expansion of their single-engine forebears, and as such they tended to lack the refinements and creature comforts that the airlines were offering. The reason they were selling, however, was that the light corporate twin was infinitely handier and could operate to and from thousands more destinations.

Winter Flight Operations

Winter Flight Operations

Winter flying can be an enjoyable experience if you take the time to prepare for cold weather flight and exercise good judgment based on all available weather information. Winter operations will often mean that a decision must be made to go or not to go, that is based on all of your experience and background as a pilot.

Beginners in winter flight must use extra caution and occasionally seek advice from more experienced pilots as there are times during winter that not even the birds are flying.

In a previous article, titled “Preparing for Winter Flying” (see Cessna Flyer, November 2011), I discussed mechanical aspects of preparing for winter such as ensuring that the ignition system was recently serviced, the aircraft was cleaned and waxed, and the fuel system was completely free of all moisture. Also discussed were engine preheating, snow and ice removal, carbon monoxide poisoning, preparing a survival kit and dressing appropriately for winter.

While I won’t repeat these items in detail, I will touch on some of them again, as they are important to the success of winter flight operations.

Preparing for flight:

Preparing for a flight can take hours or minutes depending on whether your plane is in a heated hanger or tied down outside on the flight line. The weather conditions just prior to your intended flight may require deicing, snow removal, and preheating of the engine. These operations must be planned and executed in a fashion that is efficient and proper for the conditions. It makes no sense to preheat an aircraft engine and then start the snow removal process while the engine cools down.

If it is snowing you need to plan for removal of the snow and a method to keep the snow from sticking to the aircraft after you remove the snow. Aircraft deicing and anti-icing fluid is intended for this purpose and one source that will sell to retail customers in small amounts is www.aircraftdeicinginc.com.

Need Pilot Supplies? Look to Pilotshop.com

Need Pilot Supplies? Look to Pilotshop.com

 Pilots and airplane owners always need new stuff. Flying’s like that. The stuff could be a new headset, a bigger flight bag, or flight simulation software. Unlike other hobbies, airplane stuff can’t be purchased at Wal-Mart—or Neiman Marcus, for that matter. Airplane stuff requires an “Airplane Stuff” store.

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, a megastore for all things airplane, has branched out again with Pilotshop.com. The Pilotshop.com catalog is full of cool airplane stuff, useful airplane stuff, and must-have-to-be-safe airplane stuff. There’s also fun-for-the-family airplane stuff.

Pilotshop.com has airplane pedal cars for the future pilots in the family; flight simulation accessories such as throttle quadrants, yokes and a fistful of different software offerings so pilots (and not-yet-big-enough-to-fly junior pilots) can hone their flying skills; aviation-themed gifts so the family’s non-pilot can join in the airplane fun; and learning and educational flying-oriented information on DVDs and in books. Pilotshop.com even has Mutt Muffs to protect Fido’s ears.


Best Prices—They Guarantee It!

The biggest driver in General Aviation over the past decade has been avionics. In 1995 no one, except for a few dreamers, could have predicted the capabilities of today’s handheld GPS navigators. Advances are rolling out so fast that yesterday’s super unit is today’s artifact.

Electronic flight bags (EFBs) are here to stay which means that today’s well-equipped GA pilot no longer has to tote pounds and pounds of paper charts and plates out to the airplane before and after each flight.

A wide range of the most popular handheld GPS navigators—from companies such as Garmin, with its newest seven-inch touch screen aera 796 and 795 and its 4.3-inch screen aera 500 series; Bendix King with its big-screen AV8OR ACE, and smaller but still mighty AV8OR; and AvMap’s EKP IV—are in stock at Pilotshop.com and ready to ship.

In addition to the latest of these handheld marvels, Pilotshop.com continues to carry a selection of very capable but recently discontinued navigators such as the Garmin GPSMAP 696, 695, 496 and 495.

Not only are units ready to ship, Pilotshop.com will meet or beat any price on any product, including avionics. There are a few caveats to that guarantee (the competitor’s price must be on an in-stock new item—not a floor sample, a refurbished or an open-box item) but you won’t do better on prices.

That guarantee is written large on the first page of the company catalog. This promise to do “everything possible to meet or beat” a lower price comes from the three Irwin brothers behind Pilotshop.com. The guarantee applies to everything Pilotshop.com sells.

In addition to the amazing advances made in GPS navigators, the other must-have portable avionics on everyone’s list is a portable collision avoidance system (PCAS). The combination of a big-screen GPS navigator with traffic advisories and warnings displayed in real time on a full-color display screen provides today’s pilots with terrain and traffic awareness that ensures a bubble of protection that wasn’t available only a few short years ago.

Pilotshop.com has both Zaon MRX A-A and Zaon XRX units in stock. The MRX is completely self-contained, provides both traffic alerts and warnings, and is a reasonably priced PCAS; the XRX costs more but has the advantage of being easy to interface with many portable and panel-mount GPS navigators.


Trade It In and Move Up

When it’s time to move up to a newer and more capable GPS navigator or headset, Pilotshop.com will take some older units in on trade. All it takes is a phone call to customer service to start the process rolling. (For complete contact information, see Resources at the end of this article. —Ed.)

Pilotshop.com also offers a wide range of fully refurbished GPS navigators. Since the supply and variety of the refurbished units varies from time to time, check the website or call customer service for information on what units are available.


Three Generations

Jeff, Mike and Rob Irwin met with Jennifer and Kent Dellenbusch and me during our recent visit to the Pilotshop.com facility in Corona, Calif. These three brothers manage the day-to-day affairs of Pilotshop.com. Mike is in charge of purchasing, while Rob doubles as the company website content chief and partners in marketing with Desiree Czaplinski, the marketing manager. In addition to his duties at Pilotshop.com, Jeff also manages the Aircraft Spruce branch in Canada.  

They’re the sons of Jim and Nanci Irwin, the couple best known for spearheading the expansion and growth of Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, an international aircraft parts and supply company that today employees over 150 people. Jim Irwin is the son of Bob and Flo Irwin, who founded Fullerton Air Parts in 1956. This family has been providing parts for both certified and kit plane airplane owners for over 55 years.


Pilot Stuff

In addition to the avionics I’ve already mentioned, Pilotshop.com also carries other pilot supplies such as the latest noise-cancelling headsets from Bose, Lightspeed, Sennheiser, David Clark, Telex and Flightcom. Select headsets are eligible for free overnight shipping.

Pilotshop.com also carries big watches; no-wrinkle pilot shirts for pilots who crave or need to look professional; epaulets—metallic gold and silver stripes, four, three, two, one and zero stripes—in black and navy blue; flight jackets; dark, official-looking neckties—in regular, clip-on and zipper styles—and red, yellow or black neckties decorated with an airplane, helicopter or swept-wing jet designs.

Speaking of big watches, the Suunto Vector watch sold through Pilotshop.com has a built-in barometric pressure function. It features an alarm that can be set for any altitude. While I wouldn’t count on the Suunto Vector wristwatch as my primary altitude alerter, it would work as a backup alert; there’s also a feature that stores the ascent and decent rate for the past 24 hours as well as the present pressure altitude.

Pilotshop.com also stocks sunglasses (Serengeti, Ray-Ban, Randolph, and VedaloHD); portable carbon monoxide detectors; a wide range of always handy in-flight comfort items such as Sic-Sacs; “john” items such as Little John, Restop and Travel John; and motion sickness relief items such as Motion Eaze and acupressure wrist bands.

Backup handheld VHF comm radios such as the slick little Vertex VXA-220 Pro, the bigger and more powerful VXA-300 and the nav-capable VXA-710 are ready to ship and surprisingly affordable. Portables from Icom, including the IC-A6, IC-A24 and IC-A14 are also in stock.

A portable handheld comm radio is a must-have for IFR flyers and can also provide an audio window into the action at your local airport or at any of the airshows and aviation events that take place throughout the year. I tuned mine into the local approach control frequency to get acquainted with the flow and information of radio comm procedures while studying for my instrument rating.


The List Goes On

Flight planning tools, VFR and IFR charts, and a large selection of flight training and General Aviation education books and DVDs are also in stock at Pilotshop.com. These include DVDs and videos by well-known writers and aviation personalities such as Barry Schiff, Rod Machado, and Dick Rutan.

Let’s say you’re pushing your son or daughter to become a licensed airframe and powerplant (A&P) technician. Pilotshop.com stocks the latest course textbooks and study guides.

Or perhaps you’ve become interested in aerobatics. Pilotshop.com has books and DVDs with titles such as “Anatomy of a Spin,” and “Skydancing: Aerobatic Flight Techniques.”

The selection of videos is wide and spectacular. Ride along with Air Canada for four and a half hours in one of its Boeing 777s; take a trip to remote Alaska airstrips such as Unalakleet, Nome and St. Mary’s with Everts Air Cargo in a DC-6. Dick Rutan presents subjects such as Attitude Flying and Decision Flying. Flight instructor, educator and author Rod Machado uses humor to convey his unique flavor of flying lore. All these and more are available at Pilotshop.com.


What About Airplane Stuff?

In addition to the products already mentioned, Pilotshop.com stocks a huge range of airplane stuff such as pitot covers (there are over 15 different kinds in the catalog), chocks, aircraft oil, banners and placards, tools, instruments, cleaning supplies, cowl plugs, aircraft lighting accessories, tires and tubes, tow bars and some airframe and engine parts.


What about the Prices?

You’ve logged on to www.pilotshop.com and have started surfing the site to look for the items on your list. You may want to know why you see prices listed beside some items, but not for others. As with many other Internet shopping sites, all that’s required to obtain the final selling price on any item is a click on the “ADD TO CART” button—the price will be displayed in the “Shopping Cart” window.

So here’s the deal with Pilotshop.com. Its selection covers a wide range of supplies, must-have avionics, and educational and hard-to-get items. Price matches are guaranteed, as is a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Free shipping is the rule for any purchase of over $99 (except for heavy items such as oil, or items that require crating) and since Pilotshop.com products are distributed from centers on both coasts, overnight shipping is always available. What more could a pilot want?

Steve Ells has been an A&P/IA for 38 years and is a commercial pilot with Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings. Ells also loves utility and bush-style airplanes and operations. He’s a former tech rep and editor for Cessna Pilots Association and served as Associate Editor for AOPA Pilot until 2008. Ells is the owner of Ells Aviation (www.EllsAviation.com) and lives in Paso Robles, Calif. with his wife Audrey. Send questions and comments to .




P.O. Box 4000

225 Airport Circle

Corona, CA 92880

(877) 288-8077


Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.

(877) 477-7823



L-19 Birddog

L-19 Birddog

Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, a military version of the Cessna 170, was used by the United States Air Force, Army and Marines. It was developed as the winner of a 1950 competition for a new two-seat, single-engine observation plane.

The Defense Department ordered 3,200 L-19s that were built between 1950 and 1959. The planes were used in various utility roles such as artillery spotting, front-line communications, medevac and training. During the Vietnam War, the planes were used for reconnaissance and forward air control.

It received the name of "Bird Dog" as a result of a contest held with Cessna employees to name the aircraft. The winning contestant was Jack A. Swayze, an industrial photographer. The name was chosen because of its indication of the reconnaissance mission of the aircraft, as well as its indication of reliability and friendliness.

The aircraft were re-designated in 1962 to the O-1, and were eventually replaced by the O-2 Skymaster in the Air Force and it continued service in the Army until the conclusion of the Vietnam War.

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets also use L-19 aircraft equipped with a towing rig to tow their Schweizer 2-33 gliders for the Air Cadet gliding program.
Specifications -

General characteristics
    * Crew: 2 - pilot and observer
    * Length: 25.83 ft (7.87 m)
    * Wingspan: 36 ft (10.97 m)
    * Height: 9.17 (2.79 m)
    * Wing area: 173.94 (16.16 m)
    * Empty weight: 1,614 lb (732 kg)
    * Loaded weight: 2,400 lb (1,00 kg)
    * Powerplant: 1× One Continental O-470, 213 hp (159 kW)

    * Never exceed speed: 150 mph/241.4 km/h
    * Combat Range: 530 mi/853 km
    * Service ceiling: 20,300 ft/6,200 m
    * Rate of climb: 1,040 ft/min or 317 m/min



Contact - Cessna Flyer Association

Mailing address:
Cessna Flyer Association
1042 N Mountain Ave Ste B #337
Upland, CA 91786

Phone: 626-844-0125

President: Jennifer Dellenbusch Email
Vice President: Kent Dellenbusch Email


Who to contact:

Cessna Flyer magazine

For questions, comments or concerns about the content of the magazine: Email

For damaged or missing issues Email

Website - Cessnaflyer.org

For concerns regarding the website or with problems logging in Email

Cessnaflyer.org contains an archive of all of our magazine articles, a listing of Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Directives and safety alerts, a product directory called the Cessna Yellow Pages, plus an events calendar, sponsored vendor content, a knowledge base, our library of member photographs and videos—and our forums (see next item).

Online Forums


Our online forums, located within the association website, is a great source for question-and-answer interaction and an excellent way to converse with other members, the CFA staff and Cessna Flyer’s contributing editor, the longtime A&P Steve Ells. We have a forum moderator to assist with getting you timely answers. Meet and socialize with other members, and learn what’s going on in the industry through fast-paced forum communication. Come visit the forums.

CFA Pre-Oshkosh Event


Our Gathering at Waupaca is an annual event held near Oshkosh, Wis. just a few days before EAA AirVenture. You’ll meet other Cessna pilots and aircraft owners, listen to presentations given by aviation experts, win prizes, and attend a banquet. The Gathering is your best opportunity to meet your association’s staff, vendors, experts and other members in-person.

Parts Locating and Technical Support


Our parts locating and technical support is second to none when it comes to friendly, helpful response. Are you having trouble finding a part for your airplane? Trying to troubleshoot a problem with your Piper? Come to us. We have contacts everywhere in the industry and we’ll assist in finding you that part or getting an answer to your question. That’s what we’re here for.

Vendor Discounts and Group Buys


Many vendors offer discounts to members. Call or email Kent for more information or ask our vendors when contacting them directly. Remember to tell them you are a Cessna Flyer Association member.