Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Project 182, Part I

Let’s say you own a 1981 Cessna Skylane with adequate avionics, an old paint job and a pedestrian interior, but want to increase capability and safety. What would you do first?

project 182Here at Plane & Pilot, we seem to enjoy lavishing full rebuilds on old Skylanes. Back in the late ’70s, I found and negotiated the purchase of a 1963 Skylane for the magazine as a reader project airplane. A few years ago, ex-editor Lyn Freeman purchased our current project airplane, yet another C182.
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JPI EDM-800 Engine Analyzer
I bought my first engine analyzer 35 years ago, a simple model that provided only individual cylinder EGT information on my old taildragger Bellanca and required manually switching from one cylinder to the next.

Since then, the state of the engine-analysis art has improved exponentially. Joe Polizzotto of JP Instruments in Costa Mesa, Calif., has been a major proponent of that development. JPI is certainly one of the leading manufacturers of engine analyzers for virtually the entire general aviation community. The Plane & Pilot Skylane is fitted with a JPI EDM-800 system, complete with all the options.

In addition to displaying constant bar graph readouts of all cylinders’ EGT and CHT (the latter by a missing segment system in the EGT bar graph), the 800 offers enough additional information to satisfy a Gulfstream pilot. There’s OAT, voltage, cooldown monitoring of each cylinder (with the greatest rate displayed), EGT gap between highest and lowest cylinder, percentage of horsepower, oil temperature and even data recording. Our EDM-800 also features a fuel computer that reads fuel burned, consumed and remaining. When coupled to a GPS, the system can also suggest reserve and endurance at current burn.

Traditional wisdom has it that engine analyzers work best when installed on fuel-injected engines that feature fairly even fuel distribution between cylinders, and our stock Skylane is obviously carbureted. Still, we believe you can’t have too much information about the mechanical state of your engine, and it’s a good thing, because Polizzotto’s intelligent engine analyzers answer every question you can think of, and some others you might not have considered. For more information, visit

Bose X Headsets
Even the best-insulated general aviation airplanes aren’t especially quiet in flight, and good headsets are essential. Our C182 is equipped with a pair of Bose X headsets. Bose was a pioneer in active noise reduction back in the last century, offering transparent earcups that displayed the company’s innovative ANR circuitry. The current Bose X series is smaller, lighter and more efficient, and is regarded by many pilots as state of the art.

Bose employs a magnesium alloy to reduce total weight to a svelte 12 ounces. The headset offers three inches of adjustment to fit virtually anyone’s skull size, and earcups are adaptable through 10 degrees of rotation, both horizontally and vertically. The result is an almost infinitely adjustable headset that can adapt to any head size.

Power, in our case, is provided by a pair of AA batteries that allow 40 hours of operation, but the Bose Xs are also available with plugs to tap into the aircraft’s power. The Bose X also features automatic shutoff when the earcup sensors determine the headset is no longer in use. The warranty is for five years, and it’s fully transferable in case you decide to sell the headset. But why would you? For more information, visit


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