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Piper Flyer Association

June 2014- In our endless quest to find exciting places to point our airplanes, there are two undeniable factors that almost always dictate if any new destination is going to end up at the far end of a flight plan. And you'll be surprised to find out they have nothing to do with hundred-dollar hamburgers.
Frankly, the Holy Grail for every cross-country pilot is that elusive destination where a few hours—or a few days—spent there will remind us why we earned our ticket in the first place. These destinations will have two attributes that separate them from so many others: something cool to do after you land, and off-airport transportation to get you there.
One beautiful destination can be found on the east side of Oregon's Cascade Range at Sunriver Resort and Airport (S21). It will be hard to find a more inclusive destination for pilots, one that offers free and easy shuttles from the airport to a long list of indoor and outdoor attractions. And while Sunriver's shuttles are ready to es**rt you off-airport, the airport offers another method of transportation that makes it one of this writer's top fly-in fun spots.
Free use of the airport's bicycles.
A brilliant solution for easy access
Taken at face value, you could say that bicycles are not unique. But the way Sunriver Airport has placed an entire bike lot full of them ready for free use by visiting pilots makes this a brilliant and extremely enjoyable element of any trip into S21.
"The loaner bike program at the airport was started about nine years ago by the previous airport manager," said Stephanie Hartung, Sunriver Airport's manager. "Some of our airport staff members lived close enough to ride a bike to work, and had their bikes sitting around at the airport. Someone flew in one day and was simply offered a bike to borrow to go to lunch on a nice day.
"Sunriver is very popular to bike around since there are 35 miles of paved pathways and most of the terrain is completely flat, making it accessible to people of all fitness levels. With the popularity of biking in Sunriver in general, this idea took hold."
Hartung, a pilot for 39 years who added her commercial rating five years ago, knows that the free bicycles are a big draw that keeps transient traffic coming back each summer season. "Over the years, the number of bikes has increased," she explained. "Each year, Sunriver's Bike Barn, a part of the resort, adds new bikes to our inventory, and we now offer about 25 bikes at the airport for fly-in customers to borrow for the day.
"We generally put the bikes out on the racks as soon as the weather gets warmer in the spring, and when the pathways are clear of snow—usually around April—and they are available until around November when it just gets too wintery to ride."

Terrain that's prime for vacationing

An arrival to Sunriver is one that will be remembered for its glorious scenery, views of the many deep blue lakes of the Cascades, and on clear "plus-one-million" days, stunning vistas from Mount Hood to Crater Lake.
From any direction, point the nose at the majestic snowcapped peaks of the Three Sisters, just west of the resort and airport. As you descend, the tranquility of the Deschutes River comes into view, and you'll spot people below on horseback, hikers on trails and families on bikes enjoying healthy quality time, and paddle boarders gently dotting the river between pods of floaters and kayaks. The closer you get, the better it all looks, until soon you are parked and on your way to the river's edge, where you can dip a toe—or a fishing line—in the sparkling clear water.
This is a destination that serves two very different purposes. It can be a very good place for a playful day trip, but can also serve as a base for extended vacations to explore the beauty of central Oregon.
How it's organized
"The Sunriver area is actually owned by three major entities," explained Molly Johnson, Sunriver Resort's senior marketing manager.
"The Resort has the lodge and rooms, condos and homes for rent; they own the golf courses, a pool, tennis courts and the Sage Springs Spa and fitness center. The Village at Sunriver is owned by a private company, and the restaurants and shops are owned independently; the bike trails, roads and other tennis courts are all owned by the Sunriver Homeowners Association," Johnson said.
"Many private homeowners put their homes into a rental pool managed by several property management companies, so there are lots of choices for coming to Sunriver to stay for a day or two, or for an extended vacation."

A laid-back airport—with all the conveniences

S21 is a busy private airport that is well maintained and receives a wide variety of airplanes each year. Because the resort offers so much to do in proximity to the airport, it is not uncommon to see everything from antique aircraft to the most expensive bizjets on the ramp.
"We have about 16,000 operations per year," Hartung said, "with 40 percent jet traffic and 60 percent light aircraft. Some of the most interesting planes that have flown in are either the very old or very new. We've had a 1929 New Standard biplane which was a gem of an airplane parked next to a Gulfstream V that was outfitted with a king-sized bedroom suite in the aft cabin and a personal gym with sauna!"
As private airports go, Sunriver provides transient pilots with the amenities and services that are expected and welcomed, such as full-service fuel (Jet-A and Avgas), an FBO building open 24 hours a day, Wi-Fi and a computer with internet. They also arrange coffee, tea and ice service to customers and aircraft; catering; overnight hangars for rent; around-the-clock courtesy shuttles; and of course, those popular free bikes!
Sunriver's impressive airport FBO has an unmistakable ambiance. Six large Adirondack chairs on the comfortable front porch offer an absolutely perfect place to rest and watch air traffic. Overall, the vibe at the airport is laid-back, friendly and gives aviators a sense that they are truly welcome here.
With the pleasant exception of frequent airplane noise, the location is quiet and scenic—a place where pilots and their passengers can unwind and recharge while breathing in pristine clean air as they solve the only problem they'll have: what activities to do first.
From a purely operational standpoint, much work has been done to accommodate more frequent and larger traffic. In the spring of 2009, a new runway was constructed and strengthened for large jet aircraft. The runway's width meets the minimum requirements of many Part 135 operations.
But at 4,164 MSL with a 5,461-foot-long runway, pilots always need to be aware of density altitude (DA) issues on hot days, and operations in these conditions also relates to the field's existing noise abatement procedures.
"My best advice on the DA is to know your aircraft performance specs very well and get the temperature from Unicom or in the FBO so that you can calculate performance accurately," explained Hartung. "There is plenty of runway for most aircraft to handle the DA, but be cautious as to time of day, winds, humidity and temperature.
"For novice pilots, don't be concerned with noise abatement. An aircraft in a turn has increased wing loading and increased stall speed, so if you need to, fly straight out and don't make the noise abatement turn off to the west of Runway 36. If you're dealing with DA and don't want to initiate this turn, don't! Keep safe rather than worrying about noise."
However, westbound departures need to be aware of the rising terrain. It is not uncommon under conditions that can raise DA for some carbureted piston airplanes to make 360-degree climbing turns well to the west of the airport environment before proceeding over the Three Sisters area of the Cascades en route toward Eugene and the Willamette Valley.
That is, of course, if you were ever inclined to leave. Sunriver is one of those rare destinations served by a convenient airport that offers something for everyone—literally.

An endless supply of activities all year

Located just south of Bend in the heart of central Oregon, Sunriver Resort is an all-season, 3,300-acre getaway with endless activities, including world-renowned golf, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, fishing and award-winning spa facilities. A leisurely six-mile canoe, kayak or raft trip down the wild Deschutes River allows you to enjoy spectacular scenery along the way.
And at all times of the year, the community of Bend, and the resort—itself a full-fledged community—host an assortment of festivals, celebrations and other events that are well attended and very popular.
But as a pilot, none of that matters quite as much as the food. "We fly to food," as the T-shirt says, and with nine restaurants, Sunriver has you covered with everything from premium cuts and fresh local trout, to a quick bite in between activities.
For upscale dining, The Grille at Crosswater presents New American cuisine featuring diverse dishes prepared with the freshest and finest local ingredients. And at Meadows at the Lodge, sustainable and organic ingredients are used in specialties such as braised salmon and Anderson Ranch lamb Bolognese.
For a more casual setting, Owl's Nest is the perfect place to take in the gorgeous views from a heated outdoor deck. Or bike over to the family-friendly Zeppa Bistro for wood-fired pizza, panini, fresh salads and wine offerings. If your days are just too busy to sit for a meal, pilots "in between adventures" can stop by the Merchant Trader for deli-style dishes, pastries, soup, salads and sandwiches that can be packed to go.
Two of the Northwest's most sought-after beverages are also found in abundance at Sunriver. Bellatazza Coffee Shop has won awards for its espresso preparation, coffee roasting, tea and pastries. And for Northwest craft beer tasting, Besson Commons—home to Central Oregon Beer Week—is the place to sit outside on the grass and enjoy handcrafted local microbrews while taking in live music and the scenery. (Besson Commons is only open seasonally, so call ahead if this is the reason you're flying in.)
Golf is huge at Sunriver, and for a bite between rounds, McDivot's Café located next to the Woodlands Golf Course putting green, or Turn Café at Crosswater Course offer breakfast sandwiches, specialty burgers, deli sandwiches and beverages.
And speaking of golf, with 63 holes at the resort, golfers will be in awe of Sunriver's four courses. Acclaimed course architect Bob Cupp designed the award-winning Crosswater course as well as Caldera Links, a family-friendly nine-hole course designed to make the game of golf approachable for all skill levels. These two courses are open to resort guests only, not day visitors.
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed The Woodlands course, regarded by many as one of Oregon's finest championship golf courses. And the Meadows is a John Fought course, often called one of Oregon's most unique golf courses because of its carefully preserved wetlands, forested meadows and sparkling waters... and hauntings!
"Military historians might recognize the Sunriver Resort property as the former location of Camp Abbot," said Johnson. "Major training exercises were carried out here by the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.
"Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2014, The Great Hall used to be the site of the Officer's Club. Now, after a conversion to a premium meeting space, this hall is rumored to be haunted by an unnamed army officer," Johnson continued.
"The friendly ghost has made his presence known through sightings, noises—and [has] even appeared in a few wedding photos!"
You'll be welcomed here
There is a profound feeling of being welcome on the Sunriver Airport ramp. And the warm, hospitable nature of anyone you meet who works at S21 is indeed by design. "There is a sense of pride at the airport that starts with Scott and Stephanie [Hartung] and resonates through the entire staff," Johnson said.
"Pilots and their passengers are very important at Sunriver Resort. That's why all who land here are extended complimentary shuttle service or airport loaner bikes, and the airport staff always has a fresh pot of coffee brewing!"
"We have a staff of six people," said Hartung, "all of whom are pilots of varying backgrounds. Being pilots themselves gives them a strong advantage in knowing what customers need and want at an airport, and they all have a good understanding of Unicom, weather, aircraft systems and airport operations and functions."

Experience nature's finest

For pilots anywhere in the United States looking for a new destination in the West, Sunriver Airport will be easy to find and hard to forget. The Cascades Range to the west of the field does make things interesting, but with a bit of preflight planning, a long cross-country that ends at S21 will be a flight over sweeping vistas of nature's finest scenery. The peaks of the nearby Cascades give way to Oregon's Dry Side—high desert that is spectacular and feels one step away from untamed wilderness.
And if it's really a $150 hamburger that you crave, the aviation-friendly people who greet you at Sunriver Airport will know where to point you. They love to talk airplanes, and when you're on this ramp, you're with family. The challenge will not be to make new friends—they can be found in abundance—but to decide which of the many activities you'll choose.
On your first trip into Sunriver, the best advice is to take it easy, play it cool and grab a free bike for a mellow pedal along the banks of the Deschutes.
As your blood pressure lowers and your smile widens, you can then begin planning Day Two—or Three. Because if you just came to Sunriver, Ore. for a quick few hours, it won't be long before you'll be trying to figure out a way to stay a little longer.

PIPER: Dan Pimentel has worked in journalism and graphic design since 1979, and is the president and creative director of Celeste/Daniels Advertising and Design ( He's an instrument-rated private pilot and owns a Piper Cherokee 235, and has been writing the Airplanista Aviation Blog ( since 2005. You can find him on Twitter as . Send questions or comments to [email protected].


Piper Flyer Association

Q&A: Returning a Tri-Pacer to service, and carbon contamination after a vacuum pump failure

Q: Hi Steve,
I noticed that last month you answered a question about preserving an engine when an owner isn't going to fly for a while. I wish I had read your article earlier because I didn't do anything except park my plane in my hangar nine months ago.

It's a long story (and a much too personal one to write about in an airplane magazine!) but now everything has gotten straightened out. I again have the time and the desire to start flying my sweet 1960 Piper Tri-Pacer Caribbean.

A lot of people call the Tri-Pacer names, but it will do everything a Cessna 172 will do performance-wise. What do you recommend I do to the engine to get it up and flying again?

—Tri-Pacer Tommy

A: Dear Tommy,
It's always good to hear from a member that loves his or her airplane. The 1960 Tri-Pacers came from the Piper factory with either a 150 or a 160 hp engine; earlier Tri-Pacers were powered by a 135 hp engine. The procedure for returning any of these engines to service is the same.

Ideally, you had just changed the oil and flown only a few hours prior to stopping flying. New, fresh oil does a good job of protecting steel parts; oil that isn't changed regularly will eventually become acidic.

Today's oils contain additive packages designed to combat the formation of these engine-eating acids, but eventually the additives are neutralized. One engine expert suggests that these packages only last 20 to 30 hours, depending on the health of the engine and the pilot's operating practices.

The steps I recommend to start flying this engine again are to change the oil and filter. Then remove one spark plug from each cylinder and sq**rt a couple of ounces of warmed-up engine oil in each cylinder.

After oil has been sq**rted in all four cylinders, pull the prop through by hand (make sure the magneto switch is OFF) for eight pulls. This helps l**e the cylinder walls and rings.

Then use the starter to spin the engine for a couple of 30-second cycles. Let the starter rest for five minutes between runs.

You should see the needle or readout of the oil pressure (OP) gauge indicate pressure during the starter spinning cycle. This proves that the oil pump is primed and is pumping oil. No movement? Continue the starter spinning cycles until you see movement on the OP gauge.

Drain all the fuel sumps and the strainer to make sure that there's no water or sediment in the fuel system. I recommend that you drain at least a quart out of each tank. Now is the ideal time to find the water or crud, not after you lift off the runway.

When the sumps run clean, then I would reinstall and tighten the spark plugs to the correct torque. Install the plug wires.

Chock the wheels, and—with a fire extinguisher handy—go through your normal procedure to start the engine. It should fire off. When it fires, idle it at 1,200 rpm and check for oil pressure.

Run it for a couple of minutes at 1,200 rpm. Switch from "both" to "L" and back to "both;" then to "R" and back to "both." You should get a mild rpm drop. If the engine quits on "L" or "R," you have a dead magneto. Get it fixed prior to the next step.

The next step is a thorough inspection of the engine and cowling for fuel and/or oil leaks. When that's complete (and any leaks have been sealed), taxi your Tri-Pacer over to the fuel island and add some fresh fuel if there's room in the tanks. Avgas is laced with stabilizers but fresh is always best.

After fueling, taxi out. Facing into the wind, perform the normal pre-takeoff runup. If everything is in the green during the normal pre-takeoff runup, go flying. If you can, use the longest runway on the airport.

Don't baby your engine during this process—go ahead and push the throttle in; you won't be hurting anything as long as the engine is running smoothly.

I'd recommend staying within gliding distance to the airport for at least the first 15 minutes of flight.

I suspect your engine will act a little wonky for the first few hours. It might use a little more fuel and oil than you're used to. As long as it's running smoothly, it should soon normalize as the clean oil circulates.

Since there may be more blow-by of combustion gases and unburned fuel during this return-to-service operation, I recommend that you again change the oil at the 10-hour mark.

Lycoming engines are built with the camshaft and lifters at the uppermost part of the engine. Therefore it's these highly stressed parts that are most often affected by rust due to lack of lubrication during periods of inactivity.

Unless an engine has been "pickled," as discussed in the October 2014 Questions and Answers column in Piper Flyer, there's nothing that can be done after a period of inactivity to ensure the cam and lifters haven't rusted.

Just follow these return-to-service procedures, keep those fingers crossed... and keep flying.

Q: Hi Steve,
My partner was flying along in our 1971 PA-28R-200 Arrow II last week when he lost the vacuum pump. Gyro instruments spun down and vacuum gauge went to zero. Fortunately, he was VFR.

Today our mechanic called to suggest that we send both the directional gyro and the artificial horizon instruments in to get checked for carbon contamination. Is this legit?

—Gyro Gary

A: Dear Gary,
Yes, it's legit. Here's why. During flight, ram air produces a slightly positive pressure under the cowling. The engine-mounted pump of the instrument pneumatic system on your Arrow draws cabin air through a filter, then through the two gyro instruments and through a vacuum regulator valve. This produces a negative pressure (vacuum) in the pump, tubing and instruments.

Most vacuum pumps are dry-style pumps which use rotating vanes of carbon for internal lubrication. During the most common pump failure the vanes disintegrate, causing a loss of the negative pressure between the pump and the instruments. The positive pressure under the cowling rushes into the system through the pump, picking up carbon dust and vane parts. This residue usually ends up in the gyros.

A properly installed Clear View inline filter by Aerotech Components traps this carbon in the event of a pump failure. As seen in the drawings, the Clear View filter is installed in the hose between the vacuum pump and the vacuum regulator valve.

The CV1J4-P filter is approved for installation by STC on your Arrow and on many other GA airplanes. This filter costs right around $100, but it will sure save time and money if your dry vacuum pump ever fails.

Happy flying.

Know your FAR/AIM and check
with your mechanic before starting
any work.

Steve Ells has been an A&P/IA for 43 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 ( and the proud owner of a 1960 Piper Comanche. He lives in Paso Robles, Calif. with his wife Audrey. Send questions and comments to [email protected].


"Pickling a Cherokee 235" by Steve Ells
Questions and Answers, October 2014

Clear View inline filter
Aerotech Components, Inc.


Piper Flyer Association

A few Q & A's for Tuesday. Hope everyone is ready for the Holiday.

Q: Hi Steve,
I fly a 1972 Piper Cherokee 235. I've owned it for 17 years and it's been a spectacular airplane that has fulfilled every travel need for our family, and it's also helped me grow my business by cutting down on both travel time and costs to service my clients.

Over the years I've upgraded the avionics and my qualifications and now am very comfortable in my Cherokee during IFR conditions. I average around 150 hours a year.

I've always felt like I keep myself in good health, but recently an in-depth physical revealed a condition that's going to require abdominal surgery. My doctor tells me this type of surgery is very routine and will, in all likelihood, completely clear up my condition.

Her postoperative instructions prevent me from lifting more than 10 pounds for six weeks. After that I can return to normal activity levels. However, I expect the FAA's Aerospace Medical Certification branch will require quite a bit more time and more follow-up testing prior to restoring my medical. I'm guessing that process might take as long as six months.

This should help explain my question. Since I won't be able to fly for an extended period, what do you recommend I do to preserve my airplane for the next six months? It is hangared.

—Tummyache Tom

A: Dear Tom,
Bummer about the need for surgery—but sometimes even humans require an extensive annual.

It's good that you have your Cherokee in a hangar. Although hangaring does cost money, there's nothing that will do more to preserve the quality of your airplane. It's my opinion that just about the only real action you need to take right away is what's called "pickling" the engine.

Both Lycoming and Continental publish Service Bulletins and Service Information Letters describing the actions required to prevent engine deterioration during periods of inactivity. The applicable Lycoming publication is Service Letter L180B. This bulletin defines an inactive aircraft as one that isn't operated for a period of more than 30 days.

The Lycoming recommendation consists of draining the engine oil and replacing it with a preservative mixture. The preservative mixture consists of a mix of one part of corrosion preservative fluid and three parts aircraft mineral oil. This is the same mix found in AeroShell Fluid 2F and Phillips 66 Anti-Rust 20W-50 oil. Both of these brands are readily available from popular aviation parts houses.

After adding the preservative oil, the Lycoming letter recommends running the engine until normal operating temperatures are reached; preferred oil temp is 180 degrees F. Lycoming recommends draining the preservative oil—but both of the two oils listed can be used for a short period of time (10 hours or less) during and following the aircraft return to service.

Lycoming also recommends heating a small amount of the preservative oil (two fluid ounces per cylinder) to approximately 200 degrees F before spraying two ounces into each cylinder while turning the propeller through five revolutions.

Finally, one spark plug in each cylinder should be replaced with a dehydrator spark plug, and all openings to the engine (exhaust, crankcase breather, and carburetor or fuel injection air inlet) should be closed off with tape and a plastic bag containing desiccant.

Inspect the desiccant regularly to check to determine if it needs changing or drying out. Dry desiccant is bright blue; a pink color indicates it needs to be changed or dried out. The most common desiccant is silica gel. Pink desiccant can be dried out in a conventional oven by spreading out the material in an oven-safe pan and heating it to 250 degrees F for approximately 1.5 hours. You'll know it's fully dry when it's again bright blue.

I checked with some engine shops and got varying opinions about how much corrosion protection these actions would provide over an extended (one year-plus) period of time. One foolproof engine preservation method mentioned was to install blank-off plates after removing the accessories, and fill the engine completely full of inexpensive motor oil.

Other tasks that will help preserve your airplane are applying a good coat of carnauba car wax to the windshield, filling the fuel tanks with fresh fuel, and, if possible, removing the tires. But these last three are optional. The most important is preserving the engine.

Happy flying,

Q: Hi Steve,
I fly a PA-28R-180 Arrow II. I've owned it for a long time and it used to be very easy for me to head out to the airport and enjoy a couple hours of flying, mainly because Avgas was so cheap. I think it was around $1.20 a gallon in the early 1980s. Then around 1990, the price dropped to less than a dollar a gallon. I was flying all over the place.

Now it's over $4.00 a gallon and with my fixed income, I'm looking for ways to reduce my costs, or operate more efficiently—or share some of the costs.

What do you think of the idea of pulling the power back to, say, 55 percent?

—Old Flyer

A: Dear Old,
I certainly understand how much the cost of flying has escalated over the past couple of decades. I too find myself totaling up the cost of almost every flight nowadays. The days of the $100 burger are long past.

I took a look at the Arrow II power setting table in the Owner's Manual, and it does list a number of different power settings that will provide a 55 percent power setting. For instance, at 5,000 feet pressure altitude, 55 percent is attainable at 2,100 rpm and 21.7 inches of manifold pressure (MP) and at 2,400 rpm and 19.3 inches of MP. Lycoming says that any combination of rpm and MP listed in the Piper charts has been flight tested and approved by both the airframe and powerplant engineers.

As far as deciding which combination works best, Lycoming recommends that each combination of rpm and MP be tested for at least five minutes in smooth still air; the combination that results in the least vibration and the lowest noise levels is the preferred combination.
One more piece of the puzzle that you'll have to figure into flying at lower power settings: your Arrow will cruise when leaned for economy cruise at least 10 knots slower at 55 percent power than it will at 65 percent power.

Some pilots are under the impression that the MP number should never be greater than the rpm/100 number—in other words, that a power setting of 24 inches MP and 2,100 rpm is harmful to the engine.

That thought needs to be discarded now and forever. Running an Avgas-fueled piston engine "oversquare" (when the MP number is greater than the rpm/100 number) is the preferred way. At slower rpms, the propeller is more efficient and quieter, and at higher MPs the ring to cylinder wall seal is more efficient.

Experiment to find out the power setting that works best for you and your flying. After looking over all the variables, you may find the fuel savings garnered while flying at 55 percent power aren't worth the loss in speed across the ground, especially if you fly to travel.

Happy flying.

Know your FAR/AIM and check with your mechanic before starting any work.

Steve Ells has been an A&P/IA for 39 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 ( and the proud owner of a 1960 Piper Comanche. He lives in Paso Robles, Calif. with his wife Audrey. Send questions and comments to [email protected].

"Engine Preservation for Active and Stored Aircraft"
Lycoming Service Letter No. L180B, published Nov. 13, 2001

AeroShell Fluid 2F

Phillips 66 Aviation Anti-Rust Oil 20W-50


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Addison, TX


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