January 2017

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Subscribers Only - Attitude information is displayed over a virtual blue sky and brown ground with a white horizon line, which is also part of the pitch scale. Pitch markings are spaced at 2.5-degree intervals and a yellow symbolic aircraft corresponds to the current pitch attitude. A slip/skid indicator is positioned at the bottom of the display, along with a magenta turn rate trend vector. Missing on the STC’d G5, but standard on the version for experimental aircraft, is a flight director command bar presentation because autopilot input is excluded from the STC.

Cirrus Jet Step-Ups: Skills Assessment, Type Rating

The big announcement last month from Cirrus is that it achieved FAA certification for its Vision personal jet. With a couple of deliveries expected by the end of 2016—and perhaps as many as 50 or so for 2017—you can bet all eyes at the Cirrus flight ops department will keep a close watch on early adopters. Just how these Williams FJ33-5A turbofan-equipped singles will fare in the hands of jet-world newbies is anyone’s guess, but I asked Matt Bergwall at Cirrus what the training department is doing before the sales department hands over the keys to proud new Vision jet jockeys.

ADS-B, Mooney, Upset Training

Subscribers Only - Your article on ADS-B transponders suggests you can save $500 by wiring in your existing Stratus portable ADS-B receiver to the new Stratus ESG transponder, instead of buying the new 2i receiver. This is true only if you don’t wire it in, but continue to use it standalone. I just had NexAir Avionics in Massachusetts install the Stratus ESGi transponder system in my Ercoupe and I chose the package with the 2i because the savings without it is only $350. That is because the interface cable set costs $150, but it’s included with the ESGi bundle.

Budget EFIS Shootout: Dynon Versus Garmin

The FAA turned a regulatory corner last year when it gave the green light to replace spinning attitude gyros (and vacuum systems) with TSO’d standalone solid-state electronic attitude instruments. It wasn’t long before Dynon—partnering with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)—announced an AML-STC to retrofit its experimental D10A EFIS into lower-end Part 23 aircraft. As expected, Garmin competitively and swiftly earned a more extensive AML-STC for its experimental G5 EFIS just a few months later.

Portable Oxygen: Mountain High is Tops

Subscribers Only - The widespread availability, and use, of inexpensive pulse oximeters opened the eyes of many in the aviation community to what the aeromedical folks have been telling us for years: The FARs on oxygen give a false sense of security to pilots. Pilots who are in full compliance with the regs are often oxygen-deprived to a level that adversely affects their ability to operate the airplane. The good news is that there are a number of reasonably priced, high-quality portable oxygen systems to help protect yourself against hypoxia and make your flights safer and more comfortable.

Tecnam Astore: An LSA, But Barely

When the Astore was rolled out at the European Aero show in 2013, we didn’t pay much attention to either the price or the market intent. It looked like just another LSA in a swarm of LSAs. But while we weren’t looking, the Astore has become a best seller, at least for Tecnam, if not in the larger universe of light sport airplanes. Right out of the gate, the Astore—which means Goshawk in Italian—was to be pitched to the upper tier of the light sport spectrum and it sure enough is, with upscale avionics and an interior as luxe as buyers might wish.

Totes For Gadgets: Sporty’s, MyGoFlight Top

Subscribers Only - These days, we strut to the airfield armed with a tablet computer loaded with electronic charts, plus a handful of other small gadgets that might get lost in the bottom of a large flight bag. The solution? Downsize the bag, and there are plenty of aviation-specific solutions for doing so. Partly for my own amusement, but mostly with your budget money in mind, I collected several totes that won’t hog valuable cabin space, but are smartly designed to tame the clutter of modern gadgetry. Here’s the summary.

More ForeFlight WX: SiriusXM’s SXAR-1

Subscribers Only - In a market saturated with ADS-B gear, will the market tolerate another glareshield-mounted portable weather receiver and the monthly subscription that tags along? ForeFlight believes it will—partnering with SiriusXM with an interface for SXM’s SXAR-1 receiver. We’ve been flying with the setup for a few months. Here’s an overview.

Action Cam Mounts: NFlight, MyPilot Excel

Subscribers Only - When action cams became popular for aviation five years ago, mounting them inside or outside the cockpit was a challenge unmet. Not anymore. The sports cam aftermarket has devised dozens of ways to mount cameras just about anywhere. We gathered up a gaggle of these mounts and put them to the test. While some are better than others, we found there’s a competent mount for every purpose.

NavWorx ADS-B: Non-Compliance AD

Just when some owners thought equipping for the ADS-B mandate was behind them, it has become more complicated. That’s because in October 2016, the FAA issued an unapproved parts notification that affects certain ADS600-B systems (pictured below) manufactured by Rollett, Texas-based NavWorx. These are remote-mounted universal access transceivers (UATs) that were previously sold as mandate-compliant solutions for the upcoming 2020 ADS-B mandate.

Piper Arrow

Subscribers Only - At one time, a normally aspirated 200-HP Piper Arrow was our go-to aircraft for travel around the Northeast and occasional hauls from Connecticut to the Carolinas. While the Arrow lacked the excitement of a Mooney 201, it was stone simple to fly, had reasonable operating costs and most important to our mission—it delivered good dispatch reliability.