From the April 2018 Issue

Three-Blade Props: Good-Looking, Smooth

As the general aviation market slid downhill in the final 15 years of the last century, propeller manufacturers Hartzell and McCauley were faced with vanishing demand. Their response was to break away from their historic reliance on aircraft manufacturers and invent new products that…


Current Issue

A New Airplane From Dynon Avionics?

Not exactly, but close. The airplane pictured below is the Vashon R7 Ranger S-LSA and it has an intriguing story, an inviting price and the latest Dynon avionics. First, the story. Several years ago Dynon’s founder and CEO John Torode had an idea to build and sell a new airplane model and although it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be an LSA, it fell within the price point he was after. After years of listening to pilots describe what they might want in a modern LSA, Torode figured out that the obvious stuff potential buyers wanted was something he could offer. It had to have plenty of cool factor, an affordable price and capable avionics.

Aviat Husky

As capable and well built as the Husky is, we’ve seen plenty of owners (many who were new to tailwheels) unload beautiful, hardly used ones simply because the airplane had, dare we say, too much performance. Yes, groundloops will scare the hell out of you. But in the hands of the well-trained qualified pilot who respects it and their own skills, a Husky does a whole lot pretty darned well. It’s all about the built-in utility.

Budget Autopilots: Growing STC Approvals

Second to engine replacements, autopilots top the list of the most expensive aftermarket retrofits you can make to the aircraft. Until recently, pricey entry-level systems didn’t offer much more than basic wing-leveling functions. But thanks to a welcomed switch in FAA regulatory mentality, the certified market has recently seen no fewer than three new budget-based and full-featured autopilots (priced under ten grand) trickle down from the experimental aircraft world. This includes the Garmin GFC500, the Trio Avionics Pro Pilot and TruTrak Vizion, which all earned STCs last summer.

The FAA 709 Checkride: Protecting Yourself

Somehow we don’t think She’s real fine, my 709 will ever be the intro lyrics for a hit rock song. Even though the improbable idea of a big-block Chevy engine as a Beach Boys’ muse proved wildly popular, we suspect the concept that someone would pen an ode to what is probably the FAA’s least-liked and most misunderstood checkride is probably too far out there.

Airtext Cabin Router: SMS, Voice, Textual WX

it’s fair to say that reliable cellular coverage in the cabin is non-existent above a few thousand feet AGL. That’s disappointing to passengers glued to their smartphones and tablets, and inconvenient for pilots who want to stay connected with the ground on long hauls. The only real option is connecting to a cabin satcomm system and the latest comes from Georgia-based Send Solutions Airtext, which has FAA approval for its new Iridium-based Airtext transceiver/router.

LSA Float Rating: A Flight Review Excuse

Aviation writers love to heap undiluted praise on the sheer fun of flying seaplanes. OK, I get it already. Float and boat flying is a ton of fun and you haven’t lived until you’ve done it. The question is, how to do it without spending a fortune and what to do with it after you’ve got it.

Flight Tote Update: We Can’t Break ‘Em

When I rounded up over a half dozen compact flight totes for a shootout in the January 2017 Aviation Consumer, the Sporty’s iPad Bag and MyGoFlight PLC Sport Bag were easy winners. They were just the right size for housing the stuff I typically take flying—mainly action cams and accessories, a Bose headset and an iPad Mini.

MiraCheck Copilot: A Checklist That Listens

MiraCheck Copilot runs on iPads, iPhones and works with an Apple Watch, plus a somewhate less capable version works is available for Android. You get basic functionality for free on one device, including a brief trial of the Pro version. You can buy the Standard version for $29.99 to get a few more features and support for three devices. The full Pro version is what I evaluated. It adds verbal interaction, web history and a more useful features. Pro costs your choice of $4.99 per month, $49.99 a year or $129.99 for life.

Letters From Readers: April 2018

I read Larry Anglisano’s editorial on FBO price gouging in the March 2018 Aviation Consumer and have some thoughts. Like Larry, I don’t mind paying for good FBO service when I avail myself of it, but these days with venture capital firms consolidating ever-larger chains of glitzy and highly profitable FBOs even at relatively small airports around the USA, it is getting increasingly difficult to avoid both sky-high fuel fees and onerous ramp charges.

Download the Full April 2018 Issue PDF

Not exactly, but close. The airplane pictured below is the Vashon R7 Ranger S-LSA and it has an intriguing story, an inviting price and the latest Dynon avionics. First, the story. Several years ago Dynon’s founder and CEO John Torode had an idea to build and sell a new airplane model and although it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be an LSA, it fell within the price point he was after. After years of listening to pilots describe what they might want in a modern LSA, Torode figured out that the obvious stuff potential buyers wanted was something he could offer. It had to have plenty of cool factor, an affordable price and capable avionics. The avionics, of course, would be easy. Dynon enjoys much success in the experimental avionics market with a proven product line that remains on the cutting edge.

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