From the November 2014 Issue

Aircraft Brakes: Assuring You'll Stop

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.

Current Issue

Biometric Avionics: Not There Yet

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.

Letters: November 2014

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.

BendixKing Redux: No Killer Products Yet

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.

Aircraft Brakes: Assuring You’ll Stop

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.

Groppo Trail: Italy’s Affordable LSA

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…

Redbird Xwind Sim: Conquering Crosswinds

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).

Cheap Flight Timers: No Frills Functionality

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.

Life Guardian Aero455: Panel-Ox, CO Minder

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.

Bad Elf GPS Pro+: Barometer, GLONASS

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.

Cirrus Fuel Sender Mod: G1/G2-Challenged

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.

Model 35 Bonanza

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.

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