From the November 2015 Issue
For most of the past decade, we had all but given up on serious competition for Garmin in the full-panel upgrade market. Once-dominant BendixKing faded and Garmin dealt with UPS-AT by simply buying it. But now, somewhat quietly, comes Avidyne with a full line of products to make a head-to-head run at Garmin.
As we often do with products and companiespartly for our own cynical amusementmy colleague Paul Bertorelli and I were recently feeding off one another and poking holes in Garmins hugely successful G1000 integrated avionics. In case you havent been counting, the system turned 10 years old last year. In avionics life, thats a geriatric zone, which was partly the nature of our chiding.
If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, the Skyhawk should be flattered indeed by the likes of the Italian manufacturer, Tecnam. Last summer, Tecnam began marketing its P2010 Lycoming-powered single in the U.S., having gained a sales foothold in Europe. Its not quite accurate to call the P2010 a Skyhawk knockoff because its a substantially different airplane. But it follows the same idea: 180-HP four-banger; four seats; modest payload, albeit with a slightly faster cruise speed.
Continental Motors got the attention of engine shops and owners last spring when it bought Danbury Aerospace, a manufacturing group that includes San Antonio, Texas-based Engine Components International, or ECi.
While portable GPS enjoyed a rousing market for more than a decade, portable ADS-B hasnt been quite so impressive. The technology is mature enough that new products either fix bugs or show incremental improvements and the latter defines the latest portable from Levil Technology, the iLevil 2 SW.
Weve been on enough flying, boating, hiking and other adventure outings that put us out of cellular reach of family members accustomed to knowing our every move. Thats a communication void Spot is trying to fill with its latest GEN3 global satellite GPS messenger and tracking device.
Some airplane manufacturers build a model based on what it thinks a typical private owner might do with it. Not Swiss manufacturer Pilatus. For decades Pilatus has built modelsincluding the PC-12 turboprop singleto specifically meet the missions of armed services throughout the world, including the U.S. Air Force (U-28A). Moreover, the PC-12s launch customer was the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia for its work in the extremes of the outbackan environment that suits the PC-12 just fine. Got unimproved runways? The PC-12s oversized tires can handle it, while trailing-link landing gear and an effective rudder make the single-pilot-approved big turboprop easy to land.
If the Internet killed the MTV video star, then its also pulling the plug on new ELT installations. With family and friends glued to flight tracking websites like flightaware.com, plus their smartphones for satellite-delivered texts, emails and tracking maps, its no wonder old-school ELT sales are tanking. We actually saw a slowing of ELT installations several years ago when Transport Canada backed off on its initial threat of mandating 406 MHz beacons for flights in Canadian airspace (a threat that sparked a rumor of similar regulations in the works for the U.S.) Coincidentally, that was roughly the time that satellite messengers hit the market and also when NOAAs SARSAT (Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking) stopped listening for 121.5 MHz ELT pings. But based on our discussions with several busy avionics shops, sales and installations of modern 406 MHz ELT systems arent deadyeteven as flyers snag $150 satellite communicators, including Spots GEN3 messenger and more expensive systems like the Spidertracks and DeLorme InReach Iridium-based communicators. There are reasons why ELT technology is hanging on.