From the July 2018 Issue

Aircraft Tugs: Electric Power Dominates

It may have been that moment—after our feet had shot upward from the icy ramp while we were trying to pull the Cheetah out of the hangar and we lay there, watching the nosewheel roll toward our nether regions—that we came to like aircraft tugs. We think that an easily maneuverable tug that quickly hooks onto an airplane and can move it without strain reduces the risk not only of injury to the pilot but hangar rash to the airplane.


Current Issue

Garmin InReach Mini: SOS, SMS, Tracking

At 2.04 by 3.90 by 1.0 inches and weighing 3.5 ounces, this thing is tiny. Check that against the Explorer+, which is 2.7 by 6.5 by 1.5 inches and weighs 7.5 ounces. It’s a good thing the Mini comes with a carabiner clip (and a spine mount adapter) because if it falls under a seat or in a tight, dark space, finding it could be a challenge. It’s durable, though, and fits nicely in the hand.

Electroair EIS: Feedback and Questions

It seems that every time we do an article on electronic ignition system (EIS) our email box fills up with comments—pro and con—and questions. The aftermath to our piece on Electroair’s EIS in the May issue was in keeping with tradition.

PMA450B Audio Panel: Impressive Feature Set

The panel will come on with the master avionics power, but the small rotary knob serves double duty as a power control (it’s a push-in-and-hold switch to eliminate inadvertent power cycles) and pilot/copilot intercom volume. The larger knob is for passenger volume. Green LED bars to the left of the knobs illuminate when you turn the knobs, showing relative volume. The volume controls are linear throughout the range and there was more than enough gain through our Bose A20 headset.

A Critical Eye On Product Support

When evaluating products, we spend a lot of effort wringing out features and functions, but we don’t report enough about the manufacturer’s support quality that runs in the background. I’m vowing to change that because getting efficient help when something isn’t right can be the difference between loving the brand or telling your neighbors not to buy it. So when I had a Bluetooth connection problem with the Garmin inReach Mini portable satcomm communicator that we cover in this issue, I tried out Garmin’s telephone support. It’s especially relevant to our review because the inReachproducts are reasonably new to Garmin after acquiring the tech from DeLorme. Growing and supporting the adopted product line can be tricky because the in- Reach straddles multiple markets. Needing legit help, I put on my consumer hat and dialed up the 800-800-1020 support line.

Editor’s Choice Awards: Cirrus Jet An Easy Win

In each July issue of Aviation Consumer we pick 12 products, services or companies that were standouts over the editorial year. You know, the best of the best. We don’t take our Editor’s Choice Gear of the Year awards lightly, but when we handed the keys to Cirrus Jet N52CV back over to Cirrus’ Matt Bergwall after flying it halfway across the country (and spending a couple of days on the factory production floor) we knew we had this year’s winner.

Letters From Readers: July 2018

I saw your editorial and video coverage on Aspen’s new E5 low-cost EFIS. While I was initially excited, I’m struck at how familiar this seems. The new Aspen Evolution E5 is basically Aspen’s 1000 “VFR” model with an approved TruTrak autopilot interface and also an updated processor so that it runs faster. It might be cheaper than the old entry-level display (I don’t recall the price) but I don’t see the VFR model on Aspen’s website anymore.

Antenna Upkeep: Performance, Aesthetics

You might not realize it, but antennas are actually major systems that consist of multiple components. Aside from the antenna itself, there’s the signal cable, RF connectors on both ends of the cable and in some systems, a coupler or splitter. For this reason, you might get sticker shock when your shop gives you a quote for replacement. Truth is, replacing the antenna might be the easy part of the job, especially if the airframe is opened up for an inspection or for other work. 

Cirrus SR22

The oldest SR22 models date back nearly 18 years, where they sold for just south of $400,000. Today you can buy a cherry, first-gen SR22 for less than half. And while there’s little comparison between a G1 and the current SR22T G6, which flirts with $1 million fully loaded, an old Cirrus with updated avionics and a young engine isn’t a bad way to get around.

Download The Full July 2018 Issue PDF

When evaluating products, we spend a lot of effort wringing out features and functions, but we don’t report enough about the manufacturer’s support quality that runs in the background. I’m vowing to change that because getting efficient help when something isn’t right can be the difference between loving the brand or telling your neighbors not to buy it. So when I had a Bluetooth connection problem with the Garmin inReach Mini portable satcomm communicator that we cover in this issue, I tried out Garmin’s telephone support. It’s especially relevant to our review because the inReachproducts are reasonably new to Garmin after acquiring the tech from DeLorme. Growing and supporting the adopted product line can be tricky because the in- Reach straddles multiple markets. Needing legit help, I put on my consumer hat and dialed up the 800-800-1020 support line.

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