Pilot Products

September 1, 2000

BFGoodrich announces integrated avionics suite

BFGoodrich is developing a self-contained primary instrument system that integrates all flight avionics and display equipment for general aviation aircraft. The integrated SmartDeck system builds on the company's successful lightning detection, collision avoidance, terrain warning, and standby instrumentation systems, adding primary flight instruments, navigation, weather, and engine monitoring functions. Attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) and air data computer (ADC) functions are integrated into the system, which will display information on one to four 10-inch-diagonal flat-panel color displays (see " Future Flight: Cockpit Cinerama,"). It will replace standalone instruments now purchased separately.

A working prototype was displayed at EAA AirVenture, with a highway-in-the-sky display in which navigation is accomplished by flying through a series of boxes depicted on the screen. Small towers indicate airports, shadowed areas indicate controlled airspace near airports, and intersections are depicted by triangles.

BFGoodrich initially said it had entered into a partnership with Advanced Creations, Inc., in Dayton, Ohio, to develop SmartDeck, but on August 2 the company announced that it had purchased ACI. "ACI enhances our capabilities in large flat-panel displays and other technologies so important in building a state-of-the-art, fully integrated glass cockpit that will replace current electromechanical instrumentation with electronic flight displays," said Ed Kalvenas, president of BFGoodrich Avionics and Lighting Systems. SmartDeck will utilize the latest microprocessor, active matrix liquid-crystal display, microelectromechanical systems, and local area network technologies.

The purchase of ACI reflects BFGoodrich's interest in bringing SmartDeck to market. "This move reflects our company's commitment to expand our position in avionics, and [is] the next logical step given the success of our individual situational awareness avionics products," said Mike Piscatella, president of BFGoodrich Aerospace's Electronic Systems Group.

SmartDeck is expected to be certified under a technical standards order and commercially available in 2002. Company officials said that they have no price estimates, but one official said it would cost little more than comparable systems found in Cessna 182s. The flexible architecture will allow information to be presented in a conventional display, or with synthetic vision using NASA's highway-in-the-sky overlay depictions. The SmartDeck also will help to fulfill the industry's "free flight" vision, making instrument flying more efficient.

Garmin offers avionics for 14-, 28-volt systems

Garmin International announced what it calls an engineering breakthrough for its popular integrated avionics systems. The company is now offering 14- and 28-volt versions of the GNS 430, GNS 530, and GNC 420. The new versions are said to reduce costs to aircraft owners, simplify installations for avionics shops, and give users the same communication quality and transmission power whether the aircraft has a 14- or 28-volt electrical system. The company said that prices for the enhanced products will not go up, and that the changes will eliminate the cost of installing a voltage converter for 14-volt aircraft.

The GNS 430—an integrated IFR-approved GPS/com with VOR, localizer, and glideslope on a color moving map display—will continue to sell for $9,250. The GNS 530, which has all of the 430's features and a larger display, will still sell for $14,995. And the GNC 420, a GPS/com unit with color moving map, keeps its $7,995 price tag. The new versions were scheduled to start shipping in August. For more information, see the Web site ( www.garmin.com).

Echo Flight goes handheld

Echo Flight introduced at Oshkosh the new Flight Cheetah system, a compact color GPS unit that displays graphical weather information datalinked via the Orbcomm satellite network. The Flight Cheetah display is a handheld GPS moving map with a bright 3.8-inch color screen. The unit measures 7.8 inches long by 3.3 inches wide. The Flight Cheetah unit attaches to a portable Orbcomm transceiver. With the Flight Cheetah system, pilots can view Nexrad radar, airport visibility, ceiling, and wind speed and direction, as well as temperature/dew point spreads. Flight Cheetah also sends and receives e-mail messages and sends position reports in-flight.

The Flight Cheetah will be available in two models. Flight Cheetah FL 90 will list for an anticipated retail price of $2,495 and features a transflective color screen. The second model, Flight Cheetah FL 180, is expected to list for $2,995 and will feature the same type of brilliant high-contrast screen currently used on Echo Flight's StratoCheetah Flight Manager, a larger system already shipping. Initial deliveries of the new products are planned for this fall. For more details, visit the Web site ( www.echoflight.com).

ExxonMobil launches Elite oil

ExxonMobil launched its new semisynthetic Exxon Elite 20W-50 oil at Oshkosh. Exxon Elite was announced at the Sun'n Fun EAA Fly-In in April. Company officials said that it was the first new aviation oil for piston engines in 10 years. Exxon has been developing the new product, which is available now, for six years. "I'm proud personally—it's kind of like being pregnant for six years," said Margaret Parnell, ExxonMobil global aviation sales manager.

As a semisynthetic, Exxon Elite enjoys the oxidative stability, high-temperature performance, and excellent lubricating properties of synthetic oils without sacrificing the natural solvency provided by mineral oil. The oil meets engine manufacturers' requirements and is STCed for use in Continental and Lycoming engines. In addition, it contains the Textron Lycoming anti-wear/anti-scuffing additive LW-16702 required by some Lycoming engines, and is FAA-approved as an alternate means of compliance with an airworthiness directive requiring the additive's use in certain Lycoming engines.

ExxonMobil has established a dedicated telephone number, 888/22-TIGER, as well as a Web site ( www.exxonelite.com), to provide technical as well as dealer or ordering information about the new product.

Jeppesen unveils new products

Jeppesen unveiled several new products at EAA AirVenture 2000 in Oshkosh. JeppPrep Online is a Web-based study program that prepares students for FAA written exams. For a fee of $49.95, customers receive a 60-day period of unlimited study for one of a variety of FAA exams. For more information visit the Web ( www.jeppesen.com). In addition, Jeppesen announced the release of StreetVision, an add-on software program to FliteStar and FliteMap that provides road maps and detailed waterway information. StreetVision is available in U.S. or regional editions as an option with FliteStar and FliteMap software. — Alton K. Marsh

Combat Flight Simulator 2 previewed

Visitors to Oshkosh were able to preview Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater, which the company plans to release in October. The program features a variety of authentic American and Japanese World War II fighter planes, as well as enhanced visuals that meet or possibly even exceed the quality of the graphics in the company's Flight Simulator 2000.

To create a historically realistic simulation, Microsoft enlisted the help of World War II pilots Joe Foss, who flew for the United States, and Saburo Sakai of Japan. The product's estimated street price is $49.95.

Briefly Noted

Flight Ice, Inc. has received FAA certification for installation of TKS ice-protection systems on Cessna Caravan 208, 208A, and 208B aircraft. The installation is approved for flight into known icing conditions.

The TKS system, developed by Aerospace Systems and Technologies Ltd., protects against ice by pumping an ethylene glycol-based fluid through tiny openings in special titanium panels applied to wing leading edges (see " Weeping Wings for Singles," February 1995 AOPA Pilot). The propeller, windshield, struts, and front of the Caravan's cargo pod also are protected.

A nine-month certification process included extensive testing behind an icing tanker aircraft spraying chilled water droplets, as well as experience in actual icing conditions. "We were fortunate enough to get into freezing rain and freezing drizzle with the FAA on board, and actually demonstrated about a 30-minute encounter," said Jerry Jordan, Flight Ice's systems and flight analyst. "The system performed very well."

This is the company's third known-icing approval in the past three years. It has also obtained certification for TKS installations on the Cessna 210 L/M/N, P210, and Beech B/C/D/E55 and 58 Barons. For more information, call Pat Hawk at 407/895-0453, ext. 620, or visit the Web site ( www.flightice.com).

York Gust Lok has introduced a gust lock for stick-controlled aircraft. The device locks aileron, elevator, and rudder surfaces on more than 130 stick-equipped aircraft. The company says that the product can be installed or removed in 10 seconds or less.

"We held off introduction of the stick design for more than a year to perfect enough easy-to-use models to cover the fleet of aerobatic, kit, and general aviation aircraft," said Gust Lok designer Dick Russ. York's control-stick lock is $179.95 plus shipping and handling, and may be ordered from York Associates LLC, 7100 NW 63rd Street, Hangar 505, Bethany, Oklahoma 73008; telephone 800/927-6275 or 405/495-8946; or visit the Web site ( www.gustlock.com).

Micro Aerodynamics of Anacortes, Washington, has received FAA approval for the installation of vortex generator kits on the Beechcraft 35 Bonanza series of airplanes. The installation of the VGs lowers V S by 6 knots and V SO by 4 kt, according to Micro Aerodynamics. While the VGs have no effect on cruise airspeeds, the tendency of a roll at stall was reduced, rudder input is more effective at low airspeeds, and the elevator forces are lightened.

STCed kits can be field-installed, come painted to match the existing airplane paint color, and cost $1,450.

For more information, contact Micro Aerodynamics at 800/677-2370 or 360/293-8082; or visit the Web site ( www.microaero.com/micro/).


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. Links to all Web sites referenced in this issue can be found on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/pilot/links/links0009.shtml).