AGAC Tiger (AG5B) Introduction & Checkout

Welcome back, Tiger! After a long absence from the marketplace, the Cats are back. The first new Tiger in twelve years was delivered in late 1991. You have probably read plenty about the new Tigers, which are nearly the same as the Grumman Tiger we all know. But a little preparation is in order before you take off in the new Tiger. There are a few changes in this new breed of Cat, and one of them will show in your logbook. The AGAC Tiger is certificated as a new Type, AG-5B rather than AA-5B.

So What's Different?

Outside, the flashing beacon's "jelly jar" is gone - the new beacon is faired into the rudder counterweight. The nose-bowl landing light has been replaced by two lamps in the wings. The nose bowl itself is redesigned, so it can be removed without pulling the prop. There is a new hole to add to your pre-flight inspection. Engine air intake is through a port on the lower left side of the nose bowl.

Inside, the front seats are equipped with a four-point harness. Frankly, this setup requires a little patience. It will be easier to find all the right "strings" if the last pilot has put them away neatly. When you are that last pilot, please be considerate of the next one. Engine controls are on a power quadrant, replacing the familiar push-pull controls. Engine gauges are moved to a place that is easier to scan. The yoke and its control column (same as in the Cougar) are heavier than the old Tiger parts. If you use yoke clips, you'll need new ones for this plane. Use the clips that fit Pipers, which also have the larger column.

Systems and Controls

The new Tiger's primer pump is electric. It only works when the auxiliary fuel pump is running. More about this under New Procedures.

Cabin heating is improved. Normal cabin heat sends warm air to the defrosters and front seat occupants as before, but it now has ducting to warm the rear-seat passengers as well. "Floor heat" warms the front seat folks only.

Panel lighting is slightly different. The map light is built in - no more gooseneck. The PANEL light dimmer controls the eyebrow lights as it does in the Grummans. The INSTRUMENT light dimmer controls lighting for the individual instruments. If you also fly the club Mooneys, this system will be familiar.

The new Tiger has a 24-volt electrical system. Bulbs are not interchangeable with the 12-volt bulbs we use on the Grummans. The battery is very expensive (over $200 in 1993). When you secure the airplane, be absolutely sure you have shut the master switch off. Also be sure the DOME LIGHT switch is OFF. This control is independent of the battery master, as it is in the Grummans. Use your WRITTEN checklist!

New Engine Gauges

All engine gauges are now electric. While this means that raw fuel and engine oil don't enter the cockpit to drive Bourdon-tube pressure sensors, it also means that this information will not be available in the event of an electrical system failure.

The cylinder head temperature (CHT) gauge will help you prevent overheating and shock cooling. Although the new air intake helps the engine run cooler, shock cooling is a persistent problem. Monitor engine temperatures in climbs and descents.

Instead of the bidirectional ammeter, the new Tiger has a combination ammeter/voltmeter. The loadmeter (ammeter) reads how much current the alternator is producing to charge the battery, as a percentage of its 70-amp capacity. Normally, you should see 30-60% load. When you push the button on the meter, it reads battery voltage (should be 22 - 28 volts).

There is a light to indicate when the alternator is not carrying the load. That means the battery is draining. If this lamp comes on in flight, first try to reset the over-voltage relay by turning the master switch OFF briefly, then ON again. If this doesn't help, you should begin IMMEDIATELY to turn off non-essential equipment equipment, and land as soon as praticable. The aircraft battery can carry a normal load for half an hour or less. You can buy valuable time by turning off anything you don't need. Landing lights and pitot heat are heavy loads. (If you lose electrical power when you are in weather that requires pitot heat, you have a genuine emergency!) Don't count on your flaps. Even if they extend OK, you may not be able retract them for a go-around. Loran and the autopilot are power-hogs. DME and the transponder use power-hungry microwave transmitters. Also consider shedding the ADF and #2 NAV-COMM.

New Procedures

The club's short-form checklist for the new Tiger has been carefully prepared to resemble the Grumman checklist as closely as possible. However, there are some subtle differences in the way the planes are operated. It is critical that pilots of both types become familiar with these differences. This is also a good time to remind you that there is NO substitute for using your WRITTEN checklist!

Engine start procedures are different. The electric primer only works when the boost pump is running, so leave the boost pump ON in the AG5B until the engine is running. Prime the engine for 1-2 seconds if the temperature is above 40°, 3-4 seconds if it's colder. Be sure to turn the fuel pump OFF after the engine starts.

The starter is engaged with the ignition key. Turn the key to START and push the switch IN to start the engine. The starter will only turn while you push the switch. This kind of switch is found in most modern light aircraft, including the club Mooneys.

AGAC procedures require the use of carburetor heat when operating the engine below 1500 RPM. Therefore, carb heat has been added to the Descent checklist, and the Before Landing checklist is modified to call for carb heat ON. In the event of a go-around or missed approach, don't forget to set carb heat COLD! You want FULL POWER at these times, and you won't get it with carb heat on.

Now, come on out and FLY! This is a Flying Club - we need your support!