Safety and Performance Enhancements Article
by Pilots for Christ Lifetime Member Sam Parsons
While putting our Skyhawk in the hanger a wingtip was damaged by a collision with the hanger door frame and had to be replaced. The replacement arrived but it was not a correct match, the wingtips have to match for the aircraft to be airworthy. So rather than try to find a used one that would match we looked at how we could upgrade the Skyhawk with new LED wingtips with strobes to enhance safety.
When we looked at that, we found a capable supplier in Stene Aviation and we realized that they also produce the Sportsman STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) Modification. They found out we were a nonprofit ministry so they offered us a package nonprofit price on both STC’d mods. This enhances safety in two significant ways, the wingtip mod makes the Skyhawk more visible both in the pattern and cruise and the wing STOL mod makes the slow speed handling of the aircraft more resistant to the stall/spin accident. A lower landing speed should also increase tire life and reduce wear and tear on the engine and airframe due to reduced dynamic speed-related loads during landing.
Here is a video of Sean marking the location of new nose blocks.
Aluminum skins will be riveted over these nose blocks and the leading edge cuff that results is what improves the low speed aerodynamics of the wing. Some say that the resale value of an aircraft with a Sportsman STOL wing is enhanced more that the cost of the kit.
We also heard from a missionary pilot from Brazil who raved about the positive impact this mod has had in Amazon jungle flying. He knew of a pilot that flew this mod as well as one called the Robertson STOL mod. He told us the Sportsman was equally effective in improving performance but was much simpler to maintain and lower in initial cost. The pilot who flies it loves it. This unsolicited feedback from a trusted source was encouraging to hear!
If you are interested helping Servant Air Ministries, please pray for our leaders and members. We are the Florida Chapter of Pilots for Christ International and welcome donations of volunteer time, aviation community talent and funds. Thank you!