From the December 2013 Issue
he light sport market is supposed to be about simple, affordable and fun flying, isnt it? While a handful of models come close to hitting that mark, including versions from Legend Aircraft, Cub Crafters and now, SAM Aircraft with the SAM LS, CC and STOL models, its the affordability thing that always seems to get in the way.
It wasnt the first plastic airplane, but the composite Cirrus was far enough along the cutting edge to stir up the pilot community. Of course, some loudly asserted that no real pilot would want one of those thingsits got a parachute, for crying out loud. Yet the SR20 and its offspring the SR22 quietly and effectively changed ideas of what a personal airplane should look like, how it should be used and how it should be equipped.
Pilots are known for large watches and an affinity for gadgetshigh cool factors being important. If size and cool factor were the sole measures, Garmins new $450 D2 Pilot Watch is the winner.
in the Garmin GTN navigator owner survey (March 2013 Aviation Consumer), some respondents dinged the product for having a steep learning curve. Moreover, we heard from owners who took Garmins factory training course, commenting that it was too shortand fell shortwhen it came to mastering some of the subtleties of the systems feature set.
In a world where aviation apps are overloaded with features, Jeppesen believes that pilots should spend more time flying and less time operating their iPad. As a result, theyve reworked the user interface on the FliteDeck app so that its based more around an IFR pilots workflow and requires less hunting for information.
The smart money says that buying a used piston twin is crazy when avgas costs seven bucks, an engine overhaul runs north of $30,000 and often a twin isnt that much faster than a comparable single. After looking at the stunning collapse of piston twin prices in this century, were tempted to simply say the smart money is right and let things go. The problem is, its just not that simple.
The advertising for Xavions emergency landing guidance, synthetic vision, navigation, instrument panel backup, ADS-B weather, weight-and-balance calculator, runway takeoff planner and personal currency record app has seemed shrill to us. The claims that it could save your life should the instruments fail or the engine quit as well as help you through a ramp check came across as over the topso we tested it.
Owning an airplane requires a certain suspension of the economic rules that govern normal people, but on the whole, the airplane industry operates under an even more perverse logic: As sales soften, it raises unit prices, perhaps chasing away those buyers on the margins who might have been toying with pulling the trigger to buy a new airplane. [IMGCAP(1)]
After reading Larry Anglisanos article in the November issue about the conundrum in which avionics manufacturers find themselves, I couldnt agree more with your conclusions. As an aircraft owner with a mix of newer and older avionics, I am one of those potential customers who are sitting on the fence, trying to decide how best to stretch my aircraft dollars. The debacle called ADS-B isnt helping the situation, either.
An acquaintance recently mentioned that she was considering going back to school for an advanced degree in business, but that she didnt want to take a required marketing class. She said that, to her, marketing was teaching people how to lie. Her remark caused me to recall some of the less-than-scrupulous techniques used to sell aviation products and how buyers have been burned. Ive been thinking about all of this as I consider a developing concern with the marketing of the fine Zaon portable collision system.