January 1, 2003
Julie K. Boatman
It's safe to say that when they began PS Engineering in 1985, Eric Persson and Mark Scheuer (the P and S in the company name) had no idea of the evolution that aircraft audio would undergo. Almost two decades ago, the company launched the "sorely needed" Aerocom intercom, according to Scheuer, and it takes another leap forward with its combined AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, the PXE7300.
We met with Scheuer, who has flown with the new PXE7300 installed in his 1999 Piper Archer III for more than 35 hours, and we listened to a CD from Scheuer's Neil Young inventory as well as several local AM and FM stations. The audio was crisp and dynamic with a depth more akin to what you'd expect to hear in your living room than coming through an aircraft audio panel. The PXE7300 is a separate installation from the audio panel (in this case, a PS Engineering PMA7000B), and thus relies to a certain extent on the panel's quality — and that of the headsets — for audio fidelity. We listened through Bose X active noise reduction (ANR) stereo headsets, which transmit a frequency range between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, whereas the PXE7300 transmits between 1 Hz and 18 kHz. As a result we experienced almost the full range of the PXE7300 through the Bose sets.
The PXE7300 was designed from the wires up to be an aircraft system, and it shows. Similar to other PS Engineering units, just four buttons and two knobs on the face allow access to all playback functions. Sources available include AM, FM, CD, MP3 files (as stored on a CD-ROM), and five discrete programmable tracks that can be triggered by a waypoint alert from the GPS or a remote switch in the cockpit (useful for tour operators). A scan feature samples the strongest FM or AM stations, and recall and store features allow for memory presets. Other standard PS Engineering features such as Intellivox automatic squelch and automatic mute come with the PXE7300, as does an auxiliary jack for backseat users.
The AM/FM antenna is another win for PS Engineering — it's mounted inside the airframe, meaning no holes need to be drilled, and it's included in the purchase price. PS Engineering received its supplemental type certificate for the unit on October 15. Shipments begin this month. There are no limitations or placards against using the unit during IFR flight — no emissions interfere with other avionics. Installation time is estimated at six hours.
Price: $1,495 Contact: 865/988-9800; www.ps-engineering.com
The Prop Club is a new security device that prevents an aircraft from flying by clamping a heavy steel lock to one propeller blade, thus creating an out-of-balance condition. It works best on constant-speed props, which have a flare near the hub that prevents the Prop Club from sliding off. However, a smaller version now in development will work on many fixed-pitch props as well. Dimensions will be published on the company's Web site as development proceeds. The smaller version is expected to be available this month. .he larger Prop Club is intended for turboprop aircraft and is available now.
The company also makes a Control Lock Club intended to replace the standard gust lock on most Raytheon/Beechcraft King Airs. It is used in the cockpit and serves as a visible deterrent, seen from the outside, that can thwart thieves from breaking into the aircraft. It locks the flight controls and the power levers. Both products are made of tempered steel and are plastic-coated to prevent scratching the aircraft. Future Prop Clubs may have a key option, as opposed to the current preset combination lock. — Alton K. Marsh
Price: $249.95 for either Prop Club model Contact: 330/856-5000, extension 635; www.winner-aviation.com or www.security-aero.com
A number of notable new products were introduced at AOPA Expo 2002 in October.
Aerosance announced that its full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system is now available through several piston-engine aircraft manufacturers.
Price: $9,999 introductory price for the Bonanza Contact: 860/409-7880; www.fadec.com
Echo Flight introduced its yoke-mounted Flight Cheetah FL240 moving map with datalink capability, including a 5.7-inch-diagonal display connected to an Orbcomm datalink transceiver.
Price: $2,995; with Orbcomm datalink transceiver, $4,625; WAAS-enabled GPS, $295 Contact: 888/948-9657; www.echoflight.com
C-Map Aviation released its version 1.56 software for the EKP-IIIC portable GPS receiver with moving-map display, providing approach procedure monitoring on the color screen. An Americas database is included with purchase.
Price: additional data cards $99 to $299 Contact: 508/477-8010; http://aviation.c-map.com
Power Flow's tuned exhaust for Mooney M20C and -G models has gained FAA approval. The company posted test results showing up to a 9-mph true airspeed gain at full throttle near sea level.
Price: $4,490 introductory price Contact: 877/693-7356; www.powerflowsystems.com
Bendix/King will offer the relatively low-cost KMD 250 multifunction display in spring 2003. The three-inch unit for nonradar-equipped aircraft can display datalink weather, traffic, and lightning information. An optional internal GPS will be offered as well.
Price: less than $5,000 Contact: 877/712-2386; www.bendixking.com
E&E Electronic Engineering Research Inc. offers the 7-lb Navguard Portable Security System for hangars. Lease plans as well as purchase plans are available for the system.
Contact: 888/452-8988; www.eeelectronic.com
Destination Direct now offers its Tablet PC with a 12.1-inch display. The compatible Bluetooth GPS wireless receiver requires no cable connection to the Tablet PC.
Price: less than $3,000 Contact: 800/515-6900; www.motioncomputing.com
FlightPrep announced that its version 2.30 online flight planner now includes graphical depictions of temporary flight restrictions and step-by-step video help for users.
Price: $149.95 per year for AOPA members; $199.95 nonmembers Contact: www.flightprep.com
CO Guardian secured FAA TSO approval for its panel-mounted carbon monoxide detector, the Aero-452, about the size of a Hobbs meter.
Price: $595 Contact: 800/639-7139; www.coguardian.com
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.shtml).
Wind and Gusts,
Safety and Education,
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
Pilot Training and Certification
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
Two bills that would increase aviation fuel taxes and tap some proceeds for nonaviation purposes could place New Mexico in conflict with federal grant guarantees.
After nearly a year of voting for their favorite AOPA Pilot magazine covers, members have dubbed the March 2000 cover featuring the Grumman Widgeon the winner.
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