December 2018

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Subscribers Only - Spend even a short time on the floor of a National Business Aviation Association convention and you better forget everything you know about the cost of owning, upgrading and operating a small piston. Yes, the jet world is a major step up in the ownership experience and aviation's high end is elegantly and seriously represented at NBAA gatherings, and the high regulatory standards of the FAA's Part 25 are very much in place. Frankly, I think the regulatory stronghold is stifling innovation.

Ready For A Jet? Accept Tight Regs, Inflated Costs

Spend even a short time on the floor of a National Business Aviation Association convention and you better forget everything you know about the cost of owning, upgrading and operating a small piston. Yes, the jet world is a major step up in the ownership experience and aviation's high end is elegantly and seriously represented at NBAA gatherings, and the high regulatory standards of the FAA's Part 25 are very much in place. Frankly, I think the regulatory stronghold is stifling innovation.

Letters From Readers: December 2018

I have never explicitly seen it written anywhere that when one buys a glass panel airplane like the Garmin G1000-equipped Mooney Acclaim, the aircraft OEM owns the software for the avionics. This has been a problem with Mooney through its various bankruptcies and production hiatus. I don't know if it has been a problem with other OEMs, and I understand only Mooney Service Centers (which seem to be few and far between) can do the G1000 software upgrades.

New ADS-B Portables: Price for Every Purpose

Subscribers Only - The Stratus is still out there, but now in its third generation and with open architecture so it works with other apps. ForeFlight's new product is the $499 Sentry, a diminutive box that combines a dual-band ADS-B receiver with a carbon monoxide detector, plus AHRS. uAvionix - they're the guys everyone is waiting on to deliver the wingtip- and tail-mounted ADS-B Out units-designed and builds the Sentry for ForeFlight. Once again, it works only with that app. In concert with its push to establish a market for mid priced panel-mount avionics, Dynon showed up at AirVenture 2018 with the DRX, which clearly aims to anchor the bargain end of the price spectrum. No frills on this one; just the dual-band receiver and a little case for $349 discounted, $395 list.

Jet Shades: Efficient, See-Through

Subscribers Only - Since these are light-limiting tinted shades, you don't want to be flying with the cockpit shades in at night. But in the rear cabin, we don't see any real reason to remove the shades. In our estimation, they can replace foil sunshades that might be removed and reinstalled every time you fly and park. For some aircraft, that's a time-consuming chore. And like traditional foil shields, the Jet Shades can protect the interior from cracking and discoloration while parked in the sun. Duggan said the Sun Shades are the only aircraft-purposed shades for cockpit use in flight.

VFR Refresher Courses:Sporty's Rusty Pilot Tops

Subscribers Only - Course content is broken into nine sections, each of which begins with an audiovisual presentation. The presentations-slides with a voice-over-provide an overview of the section topic and generally run between 5 and 15 minutes. There is a note-taking function available during the presentations. Each presentation is followed by a 10-question true/false study quiz, which serves as a pretty good indicator of how much studying you need to be doing on the topic. Answers are reviewed after completion with explanations presented below the questions. Section reviews emphasize terminology, which might be quite useful for a pilot who has been away from the industry for a while, but less so for someone still comfortable with pilot lingo.

iPreflight Genesis:Smart Runway Analysis

If you've recently stepped up to the jet world you probably haven't heard of the iPreflight app or even APG, but there's a deep company history that dates back to 1981. APG's founders operated Aircraft Performance Unlimited, an engineering firm that catered to the airline dispatch industry and ultimately grew to support over 65 airlines around the world with an integrated dispatch system. That company was purchased in 1995 by Jeppesen, which integrated the APU dispatch program into its own service menu.

Flight Gear Power Bank: Quick Charge, Slim Size

At first blush, the battery seems big, measuring 7.75 by 3.75 by 0.5 inches, but its saving grace is the thin profile. That makes it easy to slide into a map pocket, flight bag and the front pocket of a backpack. I stashed it in all of the above, but it was a touch too large to comfortably fit in a jacket or pants pocket. The casing is anti-slip, which keeps it from coming out of the hand, but I wish it were even grippier. The drawback to the thin footprint is that it can easily slide between a seat. When the airplane is put away, the battery could work on a motorcycle or bicycle, if there's the right on-bike storage.

Cessna 195 Businessliner

The venerable Cessna 190 series was not the first business aircraft by a long shot, although it was a first for Cessna. These days, for owners wanting to own a piece of aviation history, it is probably the most practical of classics because it's a decent people hauler. Even better, it's not overly expensive to maintain, compared to other classics, that is. There's no fabric, and parts are generally available unlike other classic machines including the Beech Staggerwing, Spartan Executive and Stinson Reliant.