Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Skylane For The Flight Levels

A turbo benefits far more than high-altitude cruise

Here at Plane & Pilot, we know a little about Skylanes, as we operated a succession of two of the type for perhaps 1,500 hours over a period of almost 20 years. We flew a 1963 model 182F and a 1978 model 182Q on a variety of editorial missions over much of the USA, in all kinds of weather to runways long and short, smooth asphalt and dirt. They weren't fast transportation, but they were universally reliable and safe to fly under practically all conditions, and modestly comfortable for a long day of flying. Most important, they were easy to fly. I could teach my German Shepherd to fly a Skylane.

Despite the deliberate esthetic resemblance of the modern Skylane with our renovated older models, the new airplanes are far more technologically advanced. Considering the cost in both time and money to certify practically any system improvement, it's not surprising that general aviation manufacturers are sometimes reluctant to innovate, but some change is inevitable (except from vending machines).

The 2011 Skylane TC displays more than its share. In total, the new 2011 Skylane TC incorporates several dozen improvements over the old-generation 182s. The top 10 major improvements are:

1 The new Skylane's Garmin G1000 glass panel has been detailed ad nauseum in this and other magazines, so we won't restate its attributes here, but nearly everyone agrees it's an amazingly talented avionics system.
2 All the new-generation Cessnas feature fuel-injected rather than carbureted engines, and they're all Lycomings. Additionally, both normally aspirated and turbocharged engines offer the same TBO and warranty, a further testament to the reliability of turbos.
3 The re-start airplanes certified after 1996 were approved under the more rigorous FAR 23 standards rather than the looser limits of CAR 3.
4 Stainless-steel control cables now are standard. Prior models used stainless steel on floatplanes only, where corrosion was a more consistent risk.
5 Prior to 1997, corrosion proofing was an option, now it's standard and performed with epoxy before the airplane is assembled.
6 The seats now are 26G structures, and they were completely redesigned for improved comfort, including AMSAFE air-bag/seatbelts standard.
7 Soundproofing has been dramatically improved with better interior insulation and fewer firewall penetrations.
8 Sidewalls and interior fittings are now predominately metal rather than the old Royalite plastic that was prone to cracking and breaking.
9 Instrument panels have also gone all metal, again to replace plastic/fiberglass parts.
10 Fuel tanks now feature wet wings rather than bladders that were prone to developing wrinkles and eventual leaks.


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