From the June 2019 Issue

Garmin G3X Touch:Wide-Reaching STC

Proof is the newly approved G3X Touch installed in a Grumman Tiger that I flew for this report. In case you missed the announcement, the flagship G3X Touch integrated glass panel came from the company's experimental line, but in the course of a year Garmin earned an STC via an approved model list (AML) for over 500 aircraft models. In the current certification climate that's no joke, and neither is the dollar investment to get it done.

Current Issue

uAvionix skyBeacon: One User's Experience

The material my shop had on the skyBeacon pointed potentially at a "Transponder Monitor Threshold" issue and directed us to a uAvionix video. Not wanting to make an adjustment to the system, hoping it would work, and then, potentially, make several not so cheap test flights before getting it right, I sent uAvionix an email describing the problem and attaching the performance report. Within two hours I was called by David Wagner, who had reviewed the report. In a wide-ranging conversation his bottom line was that the unit was fine, I just happened to live somewhere so far from good radar and ADS-B coverage that the percentage of my flight outside of coverage would generate a failure under the FAA's algorithm.

JupiterBike V2.0: Electric Tech, Compact

A variety of upgrades and accessories are available, which quickly grow the price. There's a rolling backpack ($89.95), dual spring leather seat with LED taillight ($44.95), universal cross grip smart- phone mount ($24.95), LED front light ($44.95) and the Accessory Pack. It includes a backpack, leather seat, front LED light and a smartphone mount ($179.95). The seat upgrade, which has dual springs, is much wider and softer than the standard seat and is well worth the money, in my view.

Aspen's New Pro MAX:Brighter, Faster

But with a production run that spans over 10 years, the Evolution line has needed a boost in modern tech. That's just what the company did with the latest 1000/500 MAX series, fitting faster processors, better screens and a plug-and-play upgrade program that lets existing Evolution owners get in on the new features without buying a complete system. We recently flew with the new MAX displays installed in Aspen's Cirrus and prepared this field report on the new features.

Electric Airplanes:Are We There Yet?

If anyone in the nascent e-flight business was surprised by this development, they were polite enough not to say so. The real electric airplane market remains a village cottage industry and I learned at Aero in April that the village is very busy indeed. The overarching picture is this: The certification rules are in place, or soon will be, to certify electric aircraft, battery capacity is improving glacially and two companies-Bye Aerospace and Slovenia-based Pipistrel-are set to deliver airplanes in commercial volume. Actually, Pipistrel already has, with about 60 Alpha Electro trainers in the field around the world. But lacking regulatory imprimatur, these have been more technology demonstrators than practical, useful airplanes.

Garmin's Jet Retrofits: G5000 Stc

Garmin's integrated cockpit retrofit program for turbines started with the G1000 for King Airs. That program commenced over ten years ago and according to Garmin's Dave Brown, the company sells as many today as it did early in the project. To date there are over 600 G1000-converted King Airs in the field. It's a complete transformation that now includes Garmin's latest G1000 NXi with the GFC700 integrated autopilot, the latest weather radar, ADS-B and a variety of other functions that modernize even the oldest King Air.

Diamond's DA50 Flight Design F2, F4

Recall that German-based Flight Design had its own four-place airplane, the C4, in the works until it ran into financial trouble. At Aero, the reorganized company announced a rethink of the CTLS line and a new four-place project called the F4. The latter will be a CS 23-certified aircraft that's essentially a stretched version of the CTLS. Predictably, the powerplant will be Rotax's new 915 iS. Gross weight is set at 2420 pounds with performance in the 150- to 160-knot range. The price target is under $300,000.

Piper Warrior

For a history lesson on the eventual success of Piper's Warrior, look back to the alluring post-World War II boom, where major airplane manufacturers, to include Aeronca, Luscombe, ERCO, Piper and Cessna, among others, all eventually came to the conclusion that the future for mass-marketing airplanes was wrapped up in something that had four seats and on the order of 150 HP. Some manufacturers gave up after limited success, while Cessna and Piper went on to fight it out for decades, as Beech and Grumman-American tried to make inroads.

What’s the Best Display Upgrade?

In an effort to keep the right mix of content, I generally try not to run two major avionics reports in one issue. But this month’s Aviation Consumer perhaps breaks my cardinal rule twice with reports on not one, but two glass display systems: Garmin’s G3X Touch and Aspen’s new MAX display upgrade. Unavoidable, really. There’s a lot to cover. And in all the years covering avionics for the magazine I’m not sure I’ve seen this high level of competition. That’s not even thinking about ADS-B upgrades, which I’m trying to forget with little success.

Letters From Readers: June 2019

The six Skymasters I have owned include two 1968 models, a 1975 and 1973 model and currently a 1971 337F model. All were great-running normally-aspirated models, with the exception of the 1969 model, which was a hanger queen. I am a 6-foot-6-inch former NBA player and let me tell you, Cessna is to be commended for thinking of the tall pilots when they designed this tough airplane. I think it’s a dream to fly for the owner-pilot who doesn’t fly every day for a living.

Download The Full June 2019 Issue PDF

Wanna know something? After processing the flights with all of these systems, I can’t honestly pick a favorite. The significance to that is I couldn’t suggest one over another because all of these retrofit systems, in their most tricked-out form, do what most buyers expect them to do. First, they offer relief from vacuum systems. Get rid of it—all of it.

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