November 2014

Masimo ISp02: Data-Rich, But Tethered

Subscribers Only Well known in clinical settings for its line of noninvasive patient monitoring equipment, Masimo, Incorporated offers the $145 iSp02 tablet-driven pulse oximeter. Intended for extreme sports and aviation use, the iSp02 measures blood oxygenation, pulse rate and perfusion index, and presents the data in a free tablet app that’s compatible with iOS and Android.

Who Are These Guys?

Subscribers Only Groppo is among a slew of European microlight manufacturers who’ve been plying the market since the early 1980s, long before the U.S. light sport rule was even a thought. Steve Bensinger told us that nearly 100 Trails (or variants) have been built for the European market, where they are called Trials.

Make Your Breaks Last

Subscribers Only After talking with brake manufacturers and maintenance technicians about their experiences with aircraft brakes over a combined total of more than 100 years, we distilled that experience down to a list of simple things pilots and owners can do to get the most out of their brakes while saving money. [IMGCAP(1)]Include the brakes on the preflight—even if they’re covered by wheel pants, look at the condition of the visible parts and check for corrosion, cracks…

KSN770: Certified, But For What Niche?

Subscribers Only We’ll attempt to answer that in a bit. First, a history refresher. When buyers were looking for a modern alternative to the Garmin GNS530 somewhere around 2008, all eyes were on the BendixKing KSN770. The brochures made it look like the retrofit navigator that would put the sleeping BendixKing back on track and a jogging Garmin sprinting to the engineering lab. The system was everything the market was calling for—airways, VGA display, touchscreen, radar overlay, plus the rugged hardware that BendixKing was known for. Unfortunately, it was years in the making and the market didn’t sit still.

Real World Versus The Simulator

Subscribers Only In the main article, I expressed what turned out to be a strongly positive evaluation of the “highly focused Redbird Xwind Simulator.” That being the case, how does the simulator behave in comparison with a real airplane in a gusting crosswind? The simulator approaches at a set speed, and has roll response that is just sloppy enough that it mimics an airplane similar to a Cessna 172 or Cherokee Warrior fairly well, although the rudder…

BENT BONANZAS: JUDGMENT, ENGINES

Subscribers Only After reviewing the 100 most recent Model 35 accidents, we couldn’t help but wonder about the demographics of the owners. The majority of the events fell into the “other” category and generally reflected lousy judgment on the part of the pilot, especially when the 17 fuel-related accidents are added to the pot. On top of that, 10 of the fatally injured pilots had been taking FAA-proscribed medications that may have impaired their ability to fly an airplane.

Cirrus Fuel Sender Mod: G1/G2-Challenged

Subscribers Only Last winter we reported on the CIES digital fuel sender retrofit for earlier Cirrus models. To recap, the modification is intended to better the accuracy of the original analog float-type fuel quantity senders used in first and second generation SR20 and SR22 aircraft.

Bad Elf GPS Pro+: Barometer, GLONASS

Subscribers Only Navigation apps require reliable GPS position input for georeferencing, which is the ownship data that’s displayed on electronic charts and maps. The built-in GPS on many tablets might not be reliable enough without cell phone tower assist, especially in the cabin at higher altitudes. That’s why a wireless GPS receiver remains an integral component for cockpit tablet use.

Life Guardian Aero455: Panel-Ox, CO Minder

Subscribers Only The Guardian Aero455 panel oximeter might not have been invented if company founder Ash Vij didn’t find himself crossing the Rockies in his Cessna 206 without a pulse oximeter. He knew the status of his oxygen supply, but was pretty interested to know his blood saturation. Vij is convinced that his panel oximeter is the cure-all for misplaced portables.

Cheap Flight Timers: No Frills Functionality

Subscribers Only Given today’s avionics and RNAV approaches, do you really need a timer? Truth is, many of the devices in our panels and on our portable gadgets already have a timer built in. Using that timer, however, can be a challenge as the sequence of commands to access it in the Garmin G1000, for instance, might not be something you’re going to always remember or find sufficiently convenient. So, we think a dedicated, standalone timer is still useful. Sure, you could use the timer function in your smartphone, on the Pebble Smart watch or the one in Garmin’s D2 pilot watch, but we think timers are best placed within the instrument scan.

Redbird Xwind Sim: Conquering Crosswinds

Subscribers Only There aren’t any magic bullets for eliminating general aviation accidents—but I’ve just run across a dedicated, reasonably priced simulator training program that has a lot of potential for reducing the most common type of GA accident, runway loss of control (RLOC).

Groppo Trail: Italy’s Affordable LSA

Subscribers Only Somewhere between conception and execution of the light sport aircraft idea, the notion of simple and inexpensive got tossed overboard. Typical LSAs are lavishly equipped at prices in the $130,000 range. Yet at least a couple of companies persist with offerings below that price, including the Italian-built Groppo Trail, which surfaced again this year at AirVenture.It’s not entirely new to the U.S., having appeared sotto voce last year, but with no marketing push. Now the…

Aircraft Brakes: Assuring You’ll Stop

Subscribers Only We stand on them, we ride them, we ignore them—and yet, fortunately, they rarely let us down. However, as good as brakes have become, their enemies are still neglect and corrosion, which can lead to that horrible feeling of “nobody’s home” when you rock forward with your toes—followed shortly by the sounds of bending metal.

BendixKing Redux: No Killer Products Yet

Subscribers Only It’s been nearly three years since BendixKing announced its commitment to revitalize the brand name that once stood for quality, value and industry-leading innovation. At the time, the announcement hinted there would be a repeat of an era when King Radio was king of the avionics market.

Letters: November 2014

Subscribers Only I have a single-screen Aspen Avionics EFD1000Pro installed in my Piper Arrow since July of 2012 and it is amazing. Unfortunately, I learned that if the system loses pitot input (if it’s clogged, for example), you completely lose most all critical data, even non-pitot-sourced data. This results in a black screen with two red Xs covering the upper and lower halves. This means no attitude, airspeed, altitude, heading, HSI or GPS overlay from an external navigator, like a Garmin GNS530 or 430.

Biometric Avionics: Not There Yet

Subscribers Only On the heels of the suspected decompression and hypoxia-related TBM900 crash that took the life of Larry Glazer, the president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association, and his wife Jane Glazer, a non-pilot physician asked if there are onboard systems that monitor the health of a pilot’s body during flight. That got me thinking. With all of the available avionics integration, why not include body health monitoring in the interface? You know, important stuff like blood pressure, heart rate, pulse and of course oxygen saturation levels.

Model 35 Bonanza

Subscribers Only If Piper put general aviation on the map with the J-3 Cub, Beechcraft made it possible to actually go places on that map, thanks to the incomparable Bonanza. With antecedents dating to 1947, the venerable V-tail remained in continuous production until 1982, something no other model can claim.