July 1, 2007
Julie K. Boatman
Our AOPA Pilot staff reported from the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in April with the following new products debuting or on the horizon for pilots and owners. For additional coverage of Sun 'n Fun, see AOPA Online.
Two new EFB (electronic flight bag) platforms from Mercury Computer Systems, the CIS-2000 and the CIS-2200, feature the VistaNav synthetic vision system. Both are commercial Class II EFBs, which are portable, generally off-the-shelf units, yet can be attached to an aircraft mounting device during normal operations. The CIS-2000 and -2200 use a dedicated graphic accelerator specially designed to run the synthetic vision applications, which tend to be relatively demanding of processors and other hardware.
The rugged sunlight-readable touch-screen displays have built-in avionics-style function buttons and an emergency battery backup module. Both systems have Mercury's built-in attitude reference system with a Wide Area Augmentation System GPS receiver to deliver precise location and attitude information to the software. The CIS-2000 is made for business aircraft — generally turboprops and business jets — and the CIS-2200 is suitable for supplemental type certification in commercial jets. The CIS-2000 can be powered from an aircraft's 12-volt power jack and features options for high-altitude-capable units and solid-state hard drives up to 32 gigabytes. Price: starting at $5,999 for the CIS-2000 Contact: 866/627-1671; www.vistanav.com
As a way to interest young people in aviation — or just to offer a fun collector's item for grown-up kids — Alpha Tango Charlie trading cards are high-quality baseball-style cards featuring aircraft and pilots. The cards, printed on heavy, glossy card stock in brilliant full color, feature a wide range of aircraft, including classics such as the Waco YMF and the Douglas DC-3, military aircraft from the Ryan PT-22 to the Lockheed F-117, modern general aviation aircraft like the Cessna Citation and Vans RV-6, and airliners like the Airbus A300B4 Super Transporter. The 121-card base set includes 88 aircraft cards and 22 aviation trivia cards, plus fact cards containing additional aircraft information. Cards are collected in 11-card packs in various categories, with titles such as "Maiden Flight," "World War I & II," and "Demonstration Teams." Price: $3 for each 11-card pack; $49.50 for the complete set Contact: 810/599-4035; www.alphatangocharlie.com
Pilots on the go have found the downloadable instructional videos at Sporty's Pilot Shop so helpful that the company has added four more titles to the "Air Facts" list. New to the downloadable list are Flight Review, Instrument Proficiency Check, So You Want to Fly Seaplanes, and Transition to Gliders. The videos can be viewed on a variety of personal viewing devices.
Also from Sporty's: If you want some quiet time practicing with new avionics, you'll quickly find that sitting in the airplane with the avionics master switch on will run the battery down. To address the problem, Sporty's Pilot Shop is now offering the Power Supply.
The unit comes with two connectors appropriate to power most light airplanes — the three-pin or single-pin Piper style — and in 12- and 24-volt versions. The eight-pound system also can charge the aircraft battery. Price: video downloads from $9.95 each; all 32 Air Facts programs can be had for $99; $399 for the Power Supply Contact: 800/776-7897; www.sportys.com; www.sportys.com/downloads
Digital Cyclone, which is now a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd., offers a new version of its Pilot My-Cast cell-phone application that gives pilots a fast and easy way to file a flight plan while on the go using a mobile phone.
Pilot My-Cast is a cell-phone service that gives pilots personalized flight-planning and weather information in the palm of their hand. Version 5 is the latest version of the software available; the application is compatible with most major national wireless providers and cellular phones. Price: $12.95 per month plus $9.95 setup fee or $129.95 annually Contact: www.digitalcyclone.com; www.garmin.com/aviation
Avidyne Corp. has introduced the Envision integrated flight deck for retrofit installation. Envision modernizes Cessna piston-engine twin aircraft with situational awareness and safety systems in Avidyne's integrated flight deck. Envision for Cessna 300- and 400-series aircraft is developed jointly by Avidyne and Southern Star Avionics, of Mobile, Alabama.
Avidyne and Southern Star Avionics also introduced the Envision retrofit system for 2002 and earlier Cirrus Design SR20 and SR22 aircraft with traditional instrumentation. Envision also will be available for Experimental category aircraft. Contact: 800/284-3963; www.avidyne.com
Unless otherwise stated, products listed 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.
Safety and Education,
The FAA encourages pilots to do a number of things in order to increase safety, but does not require them. Check out these three actions that are recommended.
Among the very first lessons a pilot learns is that a control yoke is not a steering wheel. Research underway in Europe could change that.
AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Foundation Executive Director Jim Minow are challenging one another to see who can recruit the most Hat in the Ring Society members for the foundation before the end of the year.
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