Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Begone ADF!

I haven't flown an NDB approach since my instrument training, and even then I didn't do it well.  They're easy in no wind, basically you just put the nose on the same heading as the needle.  In any kind of cross wind though, I was always confounded at maintaining a given radial and ended up flying a homing pigeon approach.  I hated the fact that the rental plane I was training in at the time was equipped with one and that therefore my instructor thought it was super important that I mastered it.  I can't say how many hours I wasted trying to learn to fly them well.  All of that was wasted effort too, as I wasn't tested on them on my checkride, and of course since the approaches are basically obsolete and have been for some time, whatever skill I had mustered was promptly lost after I got my ticket.  I haven't looked back since, my plane has not had an ADF (the instrument used to fly the NDB approach) since I bought it.  Good riddance... except for this:

That metal thing hanging down is the battery drain, which is over a foot long so that it can also serve double duty as the attach point for the long wire which connects the NDB antennae to the tail.  It always bothered me that this huge honking stick of metal is hanging out in the breeze creating drag.  Some people cut them down with a hacksaw, but I couldn't do that to my plane.  Then I found this:

It's an STC'd replacement part from a company called South Seas Ventures (http://www.southseasparts.com).  That little hunk of metal which probably cost $4 of course costs $90 with the FAA paperwork attached, but I bit the bullet. 

Much better!  That ought to be good for what, 1 kt or so?  Maybe...


  1. I was lucky enough to do the IFR in a 172R, with an autopilot and no ADF - and I was happy for it!

  2. Thanks Adam a bunch - I ordered their replacement knobs and completely missed this. Another order is in the works ...