J. Mac McClellan, former editor-in-chief of FLYING Magazine is one of aviation’s most-respected journalists. His popular Left Seat column now comes to EAA each month in Sport Aviation and in this blog each week.

Mac is focusing on EAA’s pilot community and encompassing flying experiences, flying techniques, weather, technology, and aircraft ownership. McClellan’s insights will interest all readers, including those EAA members and aviation enthusiasts who fly more complex aircraft for personal and business transportation.

Mac is an extremely active general aviation pilot with more than 10,000 hours as pilot-in-command. He has flown everything from a 1946 Cessna 140, his first airplane, to the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher and virtually all general aviation airplanes that have been in production over the past 30 years. He holds an ATP certificate for multi engine airplanes with type ratings in several business jets, has a commercial certificate for helicopters, and is a CFI-I.

10 Responses to About

  1. spacer jeff boyd says:
    January 7, 2011 at 01:04

    I previously sent an email showing my support for Mac coming to EAA.
    Well, I just received the latest edition of Sport and my goodness but it was nice to open it up to a column from Mac. As I mentioned in my email, now if you could just get Lane and Peter to sign on it would be perfect

  2. spacer melvin Freedman says:
    January 14, 2011 at 13:20

    I had bypass surgery in 1992, and here I am almost 20yrs later at 80. Had two waviers and gave up, didn’t want to feed the ama anylonger. Why dosen’t the pvt pilots speakup and demand an end to this. The aopa has been hustling this for the FAA all its life.

  3. spacer Hallett Stiles says:
    March 26, 2011 at 13:55

    Piston Engines for Aircraft
    Automotive engines must be economical at 20% power, which compels the compression ratio of the basic engine to be as high as possible. Diesel engines are economical in automotive applications because a direct injected diesel has no throttle and runs at full manifold pressure even at idle power. Boosting the manifold pressure of the engine requires the compression ratio of the basic engine to be reduced, which reduces the efficiency at low power settings.
    Piston engines for aircraft operate at continuously high power settings. There is no requirement for the engine to be economical at low power settings. Piston engine aircraft equipped with turbochargers have achieved cruising altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. The compression ratio of an aircraft engine should be minimized to allow the maximum amount of boost and intercooling / aftercooling. The greater percentage of compression ratio that is developed in the turbocharger, and the lesser compression that is developed by the reciprocating expander, the more efficient is the engine package at sustained high power settings. If the heat of compression is removed, a spark-ignition engine can operate at double the compression ratios that are current used.
    Spark-ignition engines can be operated at 16:1 compression ratio if the turbocharging and charge-air-cooling system develops 8:1 compression and the reciprocating engine develops 2:1 compression.
    A 3-stage turbocharger will develop 2:1 pressure ratio in each stage, resulting in an 8:1 charge air compression induction into the engine. The discharge from each impeller is fed to a cooler before proceeding to the subsequent compressor stage or to the engine.
    The 3-stage turbocharger would be packaged as a 3-spool unit with counter-rotating spools that require no stators between turbine stages.
    Manifold pressure indicated to the aircraft pilot at full power would be 240 inches of mercury.
    The reciprocating engine is a conventional horizontally-opposed piston layout that can be built in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cylinder versions displacing from 100 cubic inches to 600 cubic inches.
    A low-compression piston engine is best configured as a twin-cam “Tee” head engine (similar to an “L” head engine) with inlet and exhaust valves on opposite sides of the cylinder. The combustion chamber volume is equal to the swept volume of the cylinder to achieve a 2:1 compression ratio.
    The shortcomings of flat head designs heretofore (overheating and breathing) are overcome with well-cooled boost pressure.
    The cross-flow head design is better than previous arrangements featuring both valves on one side of the cylinder.
    There will be plenty of fresh air scavenging through engine when both valves are open (overlapped).
    The exhaust gas temperature will be well below “normal”, which also reduces turbocharger design difficulties.
    Sophisticated gasoline fuel with tetraethyl lead (anti-knock) and ethylene dibromide (to scavenge the lead) will not be necessary.
    It’s a spark-ignition engine that does not need gasoline fuel.
    Staged compression and cooling removes the heat of compression.
    Direct injection is best at 16:1 compression ratio.
    The bigger turbofan engines develop 40:1 compression ratio, and direct injection works well for them.
    If a gas turbine engine at near-unity compression ratio (15% RPM) can be easily started with a spark igniter, then a reciprocating engine with a 2:1 compression ratio should start equally easily.
    The head bolts are shown extending down to the crank case, such that the engine is “post tensioned” together.
    The strength of the head is calculated across the short span of the combustion chamber, which is equal to the cylinder bore.
    Flat heads have worked well (structurally) throughout their long and storied history.
    Flat head engines are easier to manufacture and require a smaller support parts inventory.
    A turbocharged, intercooled, low-compression flat head engine is a cost effective general aviation engine that runs on non-gasoline fuel.
    This engine would also work well in marine and industrial applications where continuous high power is required, and where low power economy is not a consideration.
    In the beginning, before gasoline was invented, internal combustion engines were fueled by oil.
    The compression ratio was 3:1 to prevent the heat of compression from detonating the oil.
    Progressive (turbo)supercharging and intercooling/aftercooling can provide compressed, cool induction air to the engine.
    The reciprocating engine need only compress the air 2:1.
    The resulting temperature (300oF) will be too low to detonate the fuel , as shown in the calculations below.
    Gasoline will no longer be needed for reciprocating aircraft engines.
    A Cessna 172 will be able to burn Jet A, or almost anything else.
    Please forward an e-mail address to which the illustration and calculations may be sent.

    • spacer Jim Young says:
      May 15, 2011 at 04:46

      I’m sure the EAA Chapter 1 Design Group I try to get to as often as possible would be interested in the illustrations and calculations. I’m not an engineer, but we have some students in the Aeronautics Departments A&P courses that I’m sure would be interested also. Some of them have gone on to pursue aeronautical engineering degrees, and internships with NASA.

      Thanks in advance,

      Jim Young

  4. spacer Herman Krieger says:
    May 28, 2011 at 13:37

    Website of possible interest:
    A class=”www.efn.org/~hkrieger/hobby.htm”>
    Hobby Field

  5. spacer Brian Flanagan says:
    June 13, 2011 at 11:12

    Regarding the proposed ADS-B system, it would seem really easy for the current transponder frequency to handle all position data and save the other frequencies and satellite for other functions: weather, flight plan data, and any secret encrypted communicaton the government or airlines might want. The Big Boys have big budgets for any new hardware. So many GA planes already have active traffic and XM weather, that these could continue to be useful. If the transmission of detailed GPS data on the ADS-B out signal is going to hog the bandwidth and necessitate very expensive hardware, then it doesn’t seem like an improvement over the existing transponder system with directional antena active traffic. If the government wants to provide free information ,they could just buy XM-style stations like PBS does on TV. XM hardware is really cheap, perhaps because of the subscription model, but XM might want to ally with the government , before they lose all subscribers who no longer need their music or weather , when Pandora and NOAA take over their function. Different VHF frequencies should not interfere with planes “seeing” eachother. The engineers just need to get more creative about the use of the bandwidth such that one frequency does all vital position data, and another can be used to augment functions for the Big Boys. If they eliminate VOR’s , they’d have a whole lot more bandwidth to work with. They could even use text messaging for ATC , instead of open audible communication, making the Com frequencies more efficient. Just some thoughts.

  6. spacer Anatoliy I. Aleksenko says:
    November 2, 2011 at 14:41

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011,

    Dear Sirs,

    I propose the scheme “Anatoliy Aleksenko’s Mechanism of renewal of energy” the AUTONOMOUS engine of the FUTURE which is able to create the efficiency of more than 1(ONE) and to have almost perpetual motor life.
    It doesn’t need COOLING SYSTEM, it doesn’t use the FUEL but some lubricant, it doesn’t need any FILTERS and it is able to work “openly” underground, underwater, in GASEOUS ATMOSPHERE and in the OPEN SPACE. It is reversible, can work without transmission.
    It’s a COLD MECHANISM which doesn’t need heating and then COOLING. Neither heat of deserts nor the Antarctic cold can hinder it’s work.
    It’s production is not expensive, it is simple in operation. Any transportation (AUTO, AIR, SHIP’S, RAILWAY and other) will become profitable with this mechanism. It can not only compete with electric stations, atomic included but to give them odds. Neither the earthquakes nor other natural calamities frighten it. This is IDEAL for (ELECTRO-GENERATOR, BUS, TRUCK, SUV & VAN, HELICOPTER, DIRIGIBLE, EKRANOPLAN, UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE, JET PACK, HOVERCRAFT, AMPHIBIAN, SUBMARINE, REFRIGERATOR, RAILWAY, METRO, RAILGUN, LASER, OPEN SPACE…).
    It can save the WORLD CIVILIZATION from the GLOBAL increasing of the temperature (HOTBED EFFECT, FLOODS, WATERSPOUTS…); oil pollution; energetic crisis; industrial breakdown; toxic gas ejection (CO, NO, CH); further destroying of the Ozone laver of the Earth; progressing AIDS (during the temperature increasing and organism dehydrating).
    In case you are interested in this INFORMATION and you are going to become the Co-participant of the PROJECT, you are WELCOME to SEND SUGGESTIONS in Russian language to the address:
    Anatoliy I. Aleksenko
    Prospekt Octyabrskoy Revolyutsiyi, 57, apartment 87, UA – 99057, Sevastopol – 57, ARC, Ukraine.
    Telephone: +38 0 692 433-365 ; Mobile: +38 0 50 563-3452 .
    E-Mail: ecoglobal.aleksenko@yandex.ru
    Having rendered the assistance in patenting and implementation, having become the Co-participant of the PROJECT, you will get rid of not only oil-gas and economic but also political DEPENDENCE.
    Can you please pass this REPORT to all INTERESTED CIRCLES…
    Please don’t forget of time factor.


    Anatoliy Aleksenko
    Inventor of engines and propellers.

  7. spacer Richard B. Coons says:
    November 22, 2011 at 14:40

    Mac- a very rich and interesting aviation life-perhaps you might expound on it.
    Pfister was one of about 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who flew U.S. military aircraft for the first time during World War II. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in the history of aviation for her service in the military and beyond. In 1984, she was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

  8. spacer Donnie La Marca says:
    November 30, 2011 at 13:39

    Just joined EAA – largely because Mac and Lane are here! Not to diminish all the great work done by others – but I’m a long, longtime fan from Flying Magazine, and I’m so disappointed with the changes there – the latest of which is the end of the Airwork column by Tom Benenson – that I went out looking for the editor-pilots I have trusted for years and found them right here at EAA! Soooo looking forward to my first magazine!

  9. spacer yvonne omartin says:
    December 21, 2011 at 11:20

    Anybody had experience with WingX for Blackberry?….seems like the product is good and great to have as a backup when stopping at some remote locations. However their customer service and billing departments are seriously lacking. Double-billed back in 2010 and despite numerous phone calls and emails still no luck with getting this reversed. Am I the only one or are their others out their experiencing problems? Would like to continue using this software but with all the issues I am seriously thinking of canceling my subscription.


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