GEAR OF THE YEAR
In your annual Gear of the Year article, which appeared in the July 2020 issue of Aviation Consumer, you gave an endorsement to the Sporty’s PJ2 as the Best Portable Radio. I purchased this radio in January, 2020, but found it unsatisfactory and returned it to Sporty’s.
While it appeared to be a nice radio, I was unable to get more than a loud squeal whenever I tried to transmit using the headset. I tried three different headsets (Lightspeed models), both noise-canceling and passive, and never got it to work. Sporty’s admitted that they had experienced this problem and said their engineers were working on it. Since that time, though, I have been unable to confirm that the problem is fixed in the currently shipping units, and they even deleted my review from their website. So, buyer beware!
Craig Dow – Arlington, Texas
We’ve enjoyed trouble-free performance from our original evaluation unit, but asked Sporty’s about your problem. According to John Zimmerman: “The only issue I’m aware of is certain models of Lightspeed headsets (I believe the Sierra is the worst) can cause some issues. These older sets use unshielded audio cables, so when plugging into the radio directly some people have problems. It’s hardly common though, and it’s easily solved by putting a ferrite bar on the headset cable. We send these free to any customer who needs one.”
The day I got my July 2020 issue of Aviation Consumer and read the Gear of the Year article, I looked up the award-winning Jeppesen G1000 training bundle on the Jeppesen website and bookmarked it. A week later went to purchase it and it was gone. There followed a series of phone calls over the next day until I finally got someone on the line. She tried to find the product, but failed, and found out internally that the company withdrew the product for lack of sales. I told her about the magazine’s award. She thought it was nuts they’d withdrawn the product as it was poised to generate sales, and promised to see if she could rattle some cages to get it reinstated.
Steve Zimmerman – via email
We reached out to Jeppesen on this and while it acknowledged that the G1000 training bundle has been discontinued, would not offer us the details behind its decision.
The good news is we found other worthy G1000 study aids when we scanned the market for the article in the January 2020 issue of Aviation Consumer.
AVEMCO COMES THROUGH
In the Reader Correspondence issue of the August 2020 Aviation Consumer I reported that my insurance policy renewal covering me in my Piper Seneca required me to fly with another named insured pilot. The reason given to me was that the market has hardened for pilots over the age of 70 flying retracs.
Since then, I followed the AOPA Insurance broker’s suggestion, contacted Avemco and promptly got a quote for insurance without a requirement for a safety pilot. Yes, it costs about 40 percent more, which isn’t too hard to bear, since insurance is going up for a lot of pilots, especially in this post-Boeing 737 Max era.
For other pilots over the age of 70, I suggest trying Avemco. Its agents were just great with me.
Phil Steeves – via email
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