hand in hand. I think this is a neat little device, but this
project has some serious electrical safety issues and could
be made much safer for just a few more dollars spent.
The main issues are the exposed live electrical parts
at 110 volts and the lack of proper grounding of the
appliance. (Anything you plug in is considered an
appliance.) 110 volts AC has the potential to shock,
burn, and yes, kill you. Electrical arc flash is measured in
thousands of degrees. That’s instant third-degree burns.
The National Electrical Code requires the grounding of
an electrical apparatus. It is not an option as the article
suggests, unless the device is double-insulated and there is
no risk of electrifying metal parts. The National Electrical
Code (NEC) is governed by the National Fire Protection
Agency. Its main purpose is the prevention of fire, property
damage, and personal injury, due to improper and unsafe
wiring methods. Nearly every non-commercial hangar I
visit is wired improperly according to the law of the NEC.
Hangars are similar to automotive service stations, and gas
stations, all with a very specific set of rules to follow for
wiring methods. But that is a topic for another time.
Imagine using this engine dryer in an airplane hangar,
where there may be fuel, oil, water, or other flammables
found. Airplanes drip fuel and oil and vent other
flammable gases, perhaps from the battery or fuel vent.
There may be water on the floor. We all know water and
electricity don’t mix well. This dryer is entirely exposed.
To leave it unattended in your hangar would be foolhardy.
You could see your dream airplane go up in smoke because
of poor and unsafe wiring methods. Or worse, you could
get electrocuted trying to use it.
I have a solution that I think will make this a much
safer device. The cost would be minimal. A 4- or 6-inch
electrical box attached to the jar lid would be all you
need. PVC or metal would be fine. You can cut holes in
the bottom to allow for the purge valve and the air lines.
A vent above the purge valve can be cut in and screened
off. The air lines can be routed out the side of the box. The
receptacle can be cut into the cover of a plastic box and a
standard wall plate used over it. Or if you use a metal box,
standard size receptacle covers are made for these boxes.
You must use a grounded cord, with proper connectors
in the side of the box. Ground the receptacle (green screw
is ground, white screw is neutral, and brass screw is hot)
and all other metal parts including the lid of the jar. If a
metal box is used, ground it as well. You should also be
plugging it into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
receptacle. This will help prevent you from getting a shock
if something does go wrong.
One other item to consider is the glass jar. Wrapping
it with bubble wrap, foam, or something similar would
help prevent accidental breakage of the jar and light bulb.
Breaking the bulb while lit may cause sparks or could
I hope these comments are taken as constructive
criticism, with a solution. Electricity at any voltage is
something that demands respect and knowledge.
Daniel Kapinos, EAA 858831
East Hampton, Massachusetts
Correction to IFR Currency
Catching up on my reading, and saw the “Staying Current
on a Budget” article by Robert Rossier in the September
issue. It gives great ideas on how to keep your head in the
flying game without spending a lot of money on avgas.
However, there is one error which could unnecessarily add
to the cost of staying current.
The table accompanying the article says that for IFR
currency, six holding patterns and six interception tracking
events are required, but this isn’t so. 14 CFR 61. 57(c) (both
the version in effect when the article was written/published
and the new version effective 10/20/2009) requires
only that the pilot have performed and logged holding,
interception, and tracking without any minimum number
of events. The only task requiring six events is approaches,
and the performance of any non-radar approach [i.e., not
airport surveillance radar (ASR) or precision approach radar
(PAR)] covers the interception and tracking requirement
implicitly. Thus, one need only be able to look back and find
six approaches (including at least one non-radar approach)
and one holding pattern in the preceding six calendar
months to meet this requirement. Just don’t forget to log
that holding pattern explicitly, whether you do it in flight
or in an approved flight simulation device.
PIC Currency Requirements per FAR Part 61. 57
Full Stop Landings
3 within 90 days
3 within 90 days
Night VFR IFR*
3 within past 90 days -
3 within past 90 days -
- 6 within past 6 months
- 1 within past 6 months
*Can be completed in an aircraft under actual or simulated IMC, or in an approved simulator.