From the October 2019 Issue

Icon's Reality Check: Demand is Elusive

We're actually targeting both. But the intent was to target both pilots and non-aviation background enthusiasts. And that's still the plan. To be honest with you, we actually see more pilots going through the training. We're seeing that it really takes time to create that new category. We're still confident that we're getting more and more folks excited about it. My background is automotive and power sports and I'm going through the private pilot training myself. This is really creating a new market segment where one doesn't exist now.


Current Issue

Sub-$5K EFIS: Aspen, Garmin

Erkmann initially wanted us to backstop his planning to install a couple of Garmin G5 flight displays, but we helped kick the planning up a few notches by digging deeply into a couple of other interfaces he and others might get quotes for. We came up with three options (not in any preferred order) worth fetching proposals for. What works for this 14-volt, round-gauge Cessna could easily work for a bunch of other airplanes, too. First let's look at mixing brands, and older avionics.

Is VHF Nav Dead? For Many, It Could Be

But that dual navcomm mindset so permeated our culture that it remains the norm today. Even new panels today will typically include two identical GPS navcomm boxes, or one large and one small. The reality is that modern avionics have largely mitigated the reliability problem. We can still certainly make use of two comms, but do we really need dual GPS and dual VHF nav? In fact, do we really need VHF nav at all? Let's talk about this.

Beech Duke:

The model progression represents steady refinement, but the airplane's configuration remained basically unchanged. In 1971, the Model A60 was introduced with a modest increase in gross weight (up 50 pounds from 6725 to 6775), but useful load and performance dropped a bit. According to book figures, the straight 60 is a much better short-field performer than the A60. However, Duke owners tell us those early figures were extremely optimistic, and that the A60 is only slightly inferior in takeoff and landing performance to its predecessor.

David Clark Pro-X2: On-The-Ear Comfort

As with the early model, the latest Pro-X2 requires precise positioning of the ear cup over the ear canal as you'd expect with a supra-aural model. And while the new set has the same ear pads as the original, David Clark redesigned the inner audio dome for a more elongated oval shape, compared to the previous circular design. It also changed the electret microphone to a MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) designed mic and moved the amplifier to the mic's boom, rather than in the controller where it was placed previously. The end result is better RFI (radio frequency interference) immunity.

Commercial Pilot Prep: King Schools Tops

Put simply, the knowledge end of the rating involves returning to the subjects you learned for your private ticket and going into them deeper and with more breadth while adding a few new ones. On the flying end, you're going to do all of the maneuvers you mastered for your private, but with closer tolerances, and learn some new ones, such as spot landings, pylon-8s, chandelles and lazy-8s, that will teach you how to fly an airplane with much more precision, smoothness and subtlety. The commercial ticket, one acquaintance told us, is where airplane drivers have the opportunity to learn to be pilots.

ADS-B in Canada: Satellite-Based Snag

Canada is implementing its space-based ADS-B airspace requirements in phases, which Nav Canada (the country's provider of civil air navigation services) recently outlined in a Notice of Change letter. It also says it conducted a study to determine the minimal performance requirements (the equipment you'll need to have in the aircraft) to support this new global ADS-B surveillance network, implemented by Virginia-based Aireon. Founded in 2011, the company's surveillance payloads will be hosted on Iridium's NEXT satcomm low-earth orbit satellite constellation.

Don't Ignore Service Bulletins

One of the biggest gotchas with major upgrades-and it doesn't matter if it's avionics retrofits or airframe and engine mods-is not keeping the system current with the latest software and hardware mods. These may come in the way of service bulletins, software bulletins and service letters. At the least, you may not be taking advantage of a system or its interface to its fullest, but more serious is doing nothing, potentially leaving you vulnerable to an inflight failure. That's what FAA ADs are for, of course, but they (sometimes, not always) don't always occur until something crashes or comes close to crashing.

Letters From Readers: October 2019

At AirVenture I was looking at the new Garmin GPS 175 to replace my old GNS 430. The Garmin rep told me there was a nice rebate available if I traded my GNS 430 for a new GTN-series navigator-something like $4000 toward the GTN. I asked what they were doing with the trade-ins and he said they refurbished them and sold them, but I'm guessing not in the U.S. I asked if that meant that Garmin was continuing to support the GNS 430W and he said absolutely.

Download The Full October 2019 Issue PDF

One of the biggest gotchas with major upgrades-and it doesn't matter if it's avionics retrofits or airframe and engine mods-is not keeping the system current with the latest software and hardware mods. These may come in the way of service bulletins, software bulletins and service letters. At the least, you may not be taking advantage of a system or its interface to its fullest, but more serious is doing nothing, potentially leaving you vulnerable to an inflight failure. That's what FAA ADs are for, of course, but they (sometimes, not always) don't always occur until something crashes or comes close to crashing.

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