Avionics Report

October 2012 Issue

Altitude Minders: Portable, Panel Mount

Altitude alerting systems are one defense against altitude busts.We like the Icarus Sam and the S-TEC SA-200 autopilot preselector.

At some point, many pilots answer to ATC for blowing through an altitude restriction. Altitude busts can be costly and easy to commit—made easier by the distraction of programming complex avionics and falling behind speedy aircraft. Altitude alerting technology comes from the jet world, where climbs and descents happen at a brisk pace. While similar systems are less common in basic aircraft, PFDs and autopilot integration provide helpful altitude bugging, preselect and aural annunciation. You can also install a dedicated altitude alert system. Here’s a look at some worthy choices, including an affordable portable option, autopilot integration and ways you might enhance altitude buffering while using your PFD.

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