April 1, 1996
Flightcom Corporation, the well-known Portland, Oregon-based intercom and headset maker, has taken over construction and distribution of a product called the AiRepeater. Introduced by PCR Systems three years ago, the AiRepeater is intended to go between a headset and the aircraft radio or intercom for the purpose of recording ATC transmissions. The idea is that if you think you missed a call, you can poke a button strapped to the yoke and replay the last five seconds of radio chatter — or more, depending upon the number of times you press the button.
For the AiRepeater II, Flightcom has improved the physical aspects of the product tremendously. Before, when you wanted to change the single nine-volt battery, you had to remove four small screws and peel the case apart. No more. There's a sturdy sliding battery door on the back now, so battery replacement is a breeze. In addition, Flightcom has fitted the AiRepeater with an On/Off switch that you can manipulate without opening the case. In this way you can leave the unit in line for those serene VFR flights — knowing that you probably won't need its services — and not worry about draining the battery.
The AiRepeater performs admirably. Playback audio is clear, and much memory space on the chip has been saved by ceasing the recording process during breaks; all that you hear is time- compressed talk. The AiRepeater's chip holds 60 seconds of conversation, but the compression routines stretch that out to considerably more airtime. The audio is so good that Flightcom was concerned that pilots would mistake it for the real thing. So the AiRepeater II issues a beep every five seconds to remind you that while it may not be Memorex, it isn't live.
Flightcom has also taken over production and distribution of the PCR Systems panel-mounted DVR 300i "talking clock." Cost of the AiRepeater II is $129. For more information, contact Flightcom Corporation, 7340 SW Durham Road, Portland, Oregon 97224; telephone 800/432-4342 or 503/684-8229. — Marc E. Cook
Microsoft's Home Entertainment series of CD-ROMs has produced an aviation feast for pilots and nonpilots alike: Microsoft World of Flight. It is a 650-megabyte encyclopedia of anything that flies or ever flew. It is made all the more visually interesting by several dozen photographs from AOPA Pilot Staff Photographer Mike Fizer. In addition to thousands of photographs and illustrations, there are filmed segments to aid with explanations. Click on How To Fly Aerobatics, for example, and learn how to do a snap roll from three- time national champion Patty Wagstaff. This one will keep the kids quiet for hours and will keep you awake for hours after they've gone to bed. Available in most computer stores for $30. — Alton K. Marsh
Two new courses from King Schools of San Diego can help you to prepare for the biennial flight review; one is a VFR version, while the other is for IFR pilots.
Each course consists of three tapes. IFR Regulations Refresher is a tape newly prepared for the course and should be well-received not only by those needing a BFR, but also those preparing for an instrument competency check. It concentrates only on the regulations you absolutely need for a solid review. It may be purchased separately for $39 and is included in the three-tape course. The other two tapes in the IFR course cover weather and Jeppesen charts and were previously prepared for other King courses. The two are available separately for $29 each.
The same approach was taken with the VFR course. A new tape covering only the VFR regulations that you need for a good review is available separately for $39. The entire VFR course includes additional tapes on communications and airspace prepared for previous King products. The additional tapes are available separately for $29 each.
Each three-tape course costs $79. For information, call 800/854-1001. — AKM
Don't you just hate stalking the mailbox, wondering whether your faithful postal service has delivered notice that Ed McMahon has pronounced you a winner? With the Dunn Woodworks "Tell-tail" Biplane Mailbox you can have both a whimsical postal receptacle and a simple way of telling whether your local deliverer has made his appointed rounds. Once the mailbox has been opened, the elevator on this biplane reflexes downward. At a glance you can tell whether the box has been opened; you must hold the elevator up while closing for the box to reset. The biplane has a 40-inch wingspan and is 35 inches overall. Cost is $79 from Dunn Woodworks, 19309 Middletown Road, Parkton, Maryland 21120; telephone 410/343-2140. — MEC
It would be great if a bugle — or some other attention-getting klaxon — sounded just prior to an aircraft's reaching the minimum descent altitude on an instrument approach. Until that happens, Icarus Instruments has come up with the AltAlert 3070G altitude alert system for IFR approach-approved GPS receivers. The system provides audio and visual alerts when the aircraft approaches a preset altitude, as well as warnings for any deviation of more than 150 feet from that altitude. There is also a prelanding checklist reminder 1,000 feet above the destination airport and a decision height alert for precision approaches. Icarus' 3070G weighs 14 ounces and sells for $1,295. For more information, contact Icarus Instruments, Inc., 7585 Washington Boulevard, Suite 108, Baltimore, Maryland 21227; telephone 410/799-9497. — Stephen Pope
One cause of battery problems is the build-up of crystallized sulfates on battery plates. The Solargizer Aviation Kit provides constant electronic pulses that remove the sulfates and return them to the battery acid. The system is powered by a solar panel, included with the kit, and can extend battery life. The kit costs $239.95. For more information, contact True Air Service, Inc., 6344 28th Avenue East, Palmetto, Florida 34221; telephone 941/729-8525. — SP
Approach-certified GPS receivers are here, and they all require some form of external switching and annunciation. Moreover, each GPS may require slightly different styles of annunciator panels. Mid- Continent Instrument Company recently introduced the MD 41 Annunciator Control Unit (ACU), designed specifically for use with the Bendix-King KLN 89B and KLN 90B GPS receivers. The MD 41 enables course information to be displayed on the panel-mounted CDI or HSI during GPS approaches and is the only TSO-approved ACU of its kind. The unit measures 3.5 inches wide, 1.35 inches high, and 4.625 inches deep. It can easily be installed in place of an existing DME indicator. The MD 41 lists for $895. For more information, contact Mid-Continent Instrument Co., 7706 East Osie Street, Wichita, Kansas 67207; telephone 316/683-1861. — SP
No, this isn't a product that will make you a whiz at the checkers table, nor is it a sure-fire way to hail a cab. Instead, the Chapp's Checker is a handy diminutive, spiral-bound checklist designed for easy use in a hurry, and not so cumbersome that it'll find a permanent home in the baggage compartment.
About 3 inches wide and 6.5 inches long, the Chapp's Checker will fit easily into a shirt pocket or a cramped map pouch in the airplane. Inside, stepped, laminated sheets help you to find your way quickly to the appropriate stage of flight, from cabin check (preflight) to landing and securing the aircraft.
Emergency procedures are presented at the back of the book but are easily accessed, thanks to white-on-black tabs; the other sections are printed black on white. Also included are aircraft V speeds and a handful of power settings.
For the most part, the Chapp's Checker is easy to read on the go. Sticklers for perfection will probably wince at the occasional poor type justification and style inconsistencies, as well as the odd misspelling. At least the Chapp's Checker is reasonably priced, at $10.95 a shot. Aircraft for which there is a Chapp's product include most Cessna 150, 152, 172, and 182 models, as well as Piper Tomahawks, Cherokee 140s, Warriors, Archers, and Arrows.
For more information, contact CCS, Inc., 1705 Girard Drive, Louisville, Kentucky 40222; telephone 502/429-0851. Chapp's Checkers are also available through the Wag-Aero catalog. — MEC
Unless otherwise stated, products listed herein have not been evaluated by AOPA Pilot editors. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors. However, members unable to get satisfaction regarding products listed should advise AOPA. To submit products for evaluation, contact: New Products Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701; telephone 301/695-2350.
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