I fly a 1977 Cessna 182 which I’ve owned for 25 years and in which I’ve logged 3,400 hours flying time. For Thanksgiving in 2003, I flew to the Bay Area from my home in the Sierra Nevada. We planned to depart San Jose about 3:30 PM that afternoon in order to avoid flying after dark, but we got a late start which, combined with snow flurries over the Sierra crest that hadn’t been in the forecast, caused me to end up flying at 17,000 feet above a rising cloud layer with nowhere to go but into the clouds and snow showers with a pop-up IFR clearance.
The electrical load was at its max. Everything worked as designed except the stock alternator; it could not keep up with the load required and the low voltage light began to flicker – not a situation that made me happy. I resolved to make a change.
I researched alternator replacement options available for my 182 and found several. I decided on the National 70 amp direct replacement option, no rewiring required. It was installed and worked perfectly. I have not spent a minute on maintenance for the new alternator over the last 7 years and almost 1,000 hours flight time. Three years ago my third engine reached TBO and I instructed the installer of the new engine to use the National alternator from old engine without rebuilding it; it has worked perfectly ever since.
I have flown the plane to Central and South America twice in the last 4 years and carry a spare vacuum pump, along with lots of other parts and tools, but no spare alternator. I could not be more comfortable with my choice of the 70 amp National Alternator; only reluctantly do I think about having to rebuild this alternator in the next couple of years.
Lake Tahoe, CA
“We were plagued with Chrysler style alternator problems. We switched over to National Air Parts conversion and we could go full TBO every time. A little expensive, but worth it, hands down. Thanks.”
Adam Harris, DOM
East Coast Aero Club
To:” Al Petrone and his company in Deland, FL, National Air Parts, which built, certified, and sold me the mil-spec 100 amp alternator that gave me adequate power to run all my accessories and with the reliability necessary for long overwater operation.”
Read about Reid Priors trip around the world and his National Airparts testimonial at Priortrip.com
“I’ve owned a P210 for 10 years. I have replaced 3 alternators by the other manufacturing company with the last one failing over the Atlantic Ocean just 30 days ago. Since I put your National on our aircraft, it worked great. No problems.”
West Palm Beach, FL
“I’ve been using your product for 15 years. As to product and service – one word: Impressive. I have sent you many referrals and feed back is like mine: Positive.
Phase I Coach
Tinley Park, IL
Beech Bonanza Alternator Conversion Testimonial Update, 17 years later –
Date: March 23, 2017 at 4:34:13 PM EDT
Subject: National N-300 alternator inspection
After 17 years of service in my N-35 Bonanza, I am considering an overhaul of my National N-300 alternator. I really see no signs of trouble but after 17 years of trouble-free service think it might be time to send it to you for an inspection. What is the cost and time required for this?
I see that my testimonial of Thursday, 16 Nov 2000 is still on your web site!
All the Best,
Beech Bonanza Alternator Conversion- Testimonial
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 17:52:46 -0800
To: National AirParts, Inc.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank you and your team for an absolutely first-rate alternator conversion. I recently purchased your N300-based 70A alternator conversion kit to replace the tired 50A generator in my N-35 Bonanza. My plan was to install the kit myself and have my A&P inspect and sign off on the work. Thanks to the completeness of the kit, quality of the parts and clear, detailed step-by-step instructions, I was able to do just that. Everyone who has seen the conversion has been very impressed, including a friend who has installed “the other” alternator conversion and has had to live with the jury-rigged alternator bracket.
I purchased the conversion for the reliability – my generator having failed several times in the past. So I expected reliability. The 70-amp output capability was a nice bonus, but not my primary reason for the upgrade. What really took me by surprised was the USABLE power. I have owned my Bonanza for over 20 years and I don’t think I have had both landing lights on in the last 19 years. I find I need the landing lights most when taxiing – which means at relatively low RPM – which translates into low generator output. Switching on the second landing light in a taxi configuration has always resulted in the dim yellow glow from the single taxi light turning to a myopic orange as the second landing light was switched on – coupled with a massive discharge on the ammeter.
All that has changed with the N300 alternator conversion! I completed the installation one evening and was anxious to check out my work. I pulled the airplane out of the hanger and started the engine with all gauges (especially the ammeter) reading normally. In the past, switching on the Grimes rotating beacon at idle has resulted in a slight drop on the ammeter – not this time. Next the nav lights – still no ammeter drop. Switch on the strobes – still no drop. Now I’m starting to get worried. Maybe I have hooked something up incorrectly and the ammeter is somehow “out of the circuit”. I switched on the upper landing light and was astonished with its crystal white intensity but still no sign of fatigue from the ammeter. On goes the lower landing light with similar results! Here I am, engine idling at about 1,100 RPM and lit up like a Christmas tree with all lights blazing, flashing & rotating. Obviously the alternator is working – the piercing white beams of the landing lights tell me that, but I still must have screwed something up with the installation because the ammeter has not even flickered!
I guess I better shut down and see where I went wrong. I pulled the throttle back to idle cut-off and as I reached for the mixture, I noticed that the ammeter showed a 25% discharge. Yipeeee!! Maybe I didn’t mess up after all. Throttle up to 1,100 RPM and the ammeter pops right back to ‘neutral’. Let’s use the vernier to see just exactly what RPM it takes to start a discharge. 1,050 RPM? No, still fine. 1,000 RPM?? Nope. 950 RPM??? Ammeter still hasn’t moved! 900 RPM???? still going strong. 850 RPM ????? Did I detect movement? There it is, the ammeter is now showing a slight discharge ……. at 820 RPM. Try THAT with the old 50A generator!
Needless to say, I am very pleased with the National Air Parts conversion. Jack and his team offer first rate parts coupled with first rate service – and they are friendly, too!
Thanks so much for the information you provided which enabled a very quick and easy field approval for my Baron. I highly recommend the National AirParts alternator conversion to anyone who wants it to upgrade the old generator system on their Baron. It is awesome!
“As General Manager and Vice President of Sebastian Aero, we recognize that a truly successful business always offers extraordinary service with top-quality support personnel. When you manage a complete full service FBO, you can’t afford not to be the best. The charter, rental and flight instruction aircraft must be in top-notch operating condition.
A while back, I needed a high-output alternator for my Piper 180 which is loaded with goodies. It was unable to sustain the high electrical load. On calling a competitor, I explained our requirements to them and received their alternator. Needless to say, I was highly disappointed. Their alternator did not provide the output. I called National Air Parts, Inc. I spoke to their President, Al Petrone and obtained a National unit. I installed it and found that it did everything I needed and then some!
The 70 amp unit maintained all the power required, and everybody (including the airplane) was happy. National provided good support, service and product. What more can I say?”
Sebastian Aero, Florida
Letter from Reed Prior: Click on image to view as a full size pdf-