August 2014

Piper/Ted Smith Aerostar

Subscribers Only T he Aerostar—with plenty of ramp appeal and utility—has a deserved rep for being blazingly fast with good range. And unlike most piston twins, it has enough power to actually climb on a single engine.

Mutt Muffs: K-9 Hearing Protection

Subscribers Only Protecting your dog’s hearing in the high-noise environment of the cockpit is important. Mutt Muffs will help if they will stay on your dog’s head.

Engine Air Filters: Dry Pleats or Oiled

Subscribers Only Ask a typical owner what type of inlet air filter he has and you’ll likely get a shoulder shrug. It’s one of those service items that many rely on the maintenance shop to look after.

Portable Cabin Coolers: Comfort From Ice

Subscribers Only While number four for takeoff on a 95-degree day, windows and doors open to catch any puff of moving air, every pilot ever minted has wished for air conditioning. With installed units starting at over $4500 and eating up at least 50 pounds of useful load, most owners are willing to sweat a bit and then climb to cooler air.

ForeFlight Mobile 6.1: Terrain, ADS-B Replay

Subscribers Only Feed the machine. That’s what app maker ForeFlight needs to do to maintain its 75 percent share (by its own estimation) of the GA cockpit app market. ForeFlight’s popularity creates a tremendous task of adding new features and improvements on a regular basis because the nature of the app market is such that the more features you add, the more users will demand. There’s also stiff competition from other companies, including Hilton Software with its WingX Pro 7 app, and Garmin, with its Pilot app, to name a couple. There’s also a growing Android market. It’s a vicious cycle that we think is spinning out of control, but that’s a different matter.

Continental Motors: Aggressive on Diesel

Subscribers Only When Diamond Aircraft surprised the 2002 Berlin airshow with an out-of-the-blue new twin powered by a pair of converted automotive diesel engines, there weren’t many visible reasons why it should succeed and a lot of reasons why it couldn’t. The twin market was flat. A new engine married to a new airframe can be the shortcut to disaster and no modern engine maker had commercially converted gasoline automotive engines for aviation use. A diesel conversion? Are you kidding?

Garmin Flight Stream: Portable Connectivity

Subscribers Only Garmin’s Connext wireless interface provides a two-way data stream between tablets and certified panel avionics, breathing new life into the GNS530/430.

Lightspeed PFX Headset: Acoustic-Mapping ANR

Subscribers Only The market for high-end noise-cancelling aviation headsets has become crowded over the last few years. At $1100, high-end aviation headsets are expensive, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, they’re half what they cost when Bose introduced them in 1988.

Letters: August 2014

Subscribers Only I read the LED lighting upgrade article in your July 2014 issue and thought the following would be of interest. LED lighting is superb. Once you have LED landing lights, you will never be satisfied with incandescent bulbs. Conspicuousness is improved. You need not turn any lights off due to much lower current drain, and LEDs will likely last longer than you can ever fly your airplane.

Should shops take on a training role?

Subscribers Only A recent spirited discussion with Frank Bowlin, my counterpart at sister publication IFR magazine, got me thinking about the largely ignored aftermarket avionics training market. Bowlin pointed out that a sizable part of the critical training market is underserved, and we missed an opportunity to expose this industry failure in the glass cockpit training article in the June 2014 issue of Aviation Consumer.