MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
March 1, 2007
Julie K. Boatman
It's been almost two years (see " Pilot Products," March 2005 Pilot) since we last reviewed C-Map Aviation's AvMap EKP-IV (the division of the company producing it is now called AvMap Navigation), and some significant improvements have been made since then.
The updated EKP-IV offers a large, bright display, even on sunny days. The screen measures a full 7 inches across (the long way), and the user is able to select either a portrait or landscape orientation. A new feature allows you to modify the display to show the moving map with navigation data, the horizontal situation indicator (HSI), or both.
One of the best new features of the EKP-IV is its terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), with worldwide terrain data. Once the TAWS has been enabled, the unit displays the surrounding terrain in different colors, based on the elevation. There are two variations for the TAWS display: The lowland setting warns of dangerous terrain if you are between zero and 500 feet agl, and the highland setting increases the range to between zero and 1,000 feet agl. You can specify lowland or highland, or set the unit to auto, which uses lowland clearances when the terrain elevation is under 3,000 feet msl and highland for terrain over 3,000 feet msl. The display refresh rate enables the unit to provide accurate terrain clearance information very quickly, as proven during our test-flying.
Although this unit is certified for primary navigation under VFR, the TAWS feature is a great backup, especially for pilots flying in high-terrain areas or at night. The unit does offer an audible warning, but it is coupled with beeps for every key press, which I found distracting. There is no way to disable the key beep without also disabling the audible warning system.
Some improvements were made within the navigation features. You can create and store up to 1,000 user waypoints and up to 15 flight plans. The database has been enhanced to include private-use airports within the United States as well as Low-Altitude Airways. Selecting the GOTO button will bring up a menu allowing selection of various waypoints, including airports, VORs, and NDBs, and now you also can select and use VFR reporting points as route waypoints.
The EKP-IV is still powered by a DC adapter connected to the aircraft's electrical system, six AA batteries (NiMh suggested), or an external battery pack. — Kristen M. Hummel Price: about $1,499 Contact: 800/363-2627; www.avmapnavigation.com
If you are a fan of Aviation Media's Wonderful World of Flying video magazine, you'll want to know that a new site and new video-on-demand purchase service are now available. The video-on-demand option means that you can purchase any story from Wonderful World of Flying without paying the cost of an entire DVD. Topics include classic aircraft, fun places to fly, safety, left-seat checkouts, and warbirds. Downloads can be played full screen on a computer or a video iPod. Price: downloads range from $2.99 to $5.99 Contact: www.wwofondemand.com
How well do you know the Garmin GNS 430 or GNS 530? This widely utilized GPS/nav/com system is installed in the panels of thousands of aircraft. King Schools' new interactive video course, Flying the Garmin 430/530, includes hundreds of video lessons to demonstrate how to use the 430 and 530, along with interactive questions so you can practice what you just learned. The course covers all aspects of the system, including best practices, moving maps, flight plans, Direct-To usage, page groups, nearest airport, navigation aids, what to do when there is an in-flight problem, approaches, course reversals, holding, missed approaches, terrain features, system customization, and how to handle possible malfunctions. The course provides seven CD-ROMs and runs about four hours, not including the interactive questions. — Jill W. Tallman Price: $249 Contact: 800/854-1001; www.kingschools.com
If you're a pilot and a parent, you may be called upon to help out at your local school in teaching kids about the magic of flight — or you may even be an educator yourself, searching for a new way to teach standard subjects. Blue Skies Ideas offers aerospace education programs to help teachers, parents, and students of all ages (kindergarten through grade 12) learn more about aviation.
Blue Skies Ideas produces a series of three CD-ROMs with assorted lesson plans and background material, each targeted at a specific age group and organized by subject matter (general, science and technology, math, social studies and history, language arts, health, and music, drama, and art). Print versions are available, and the CD-ROMs are compatible with both PCs and Macintosh computers. Price: $53.75 plus $4.50 shipping for each CD-ROM; extra to include print versions Contact: 800/239-8598; www.blueskiesideas.com
Max Trescott's Garmin G1000 online course is available on CD-ROM, and takes material from both of Trescott's prior online courses (see " Pilot Products," December 2006 AOPA Flight Training), a VFR course and an IFR course, and puts it on two CD-ROMs with more than six hours of training. Price: $99.95 Contact: 800/247-6553; www.pilotlearning.com
The $100 Hamburger: A Guide to Pilots' Favorite Fly-In Restaurants was first published in 1996; now in its sixth edition, the book features pilot reports on more than 1,000 restaurants, diners, caf?s, and sights. Pilots rate each establishment with one to five burgers, and more than 80 percent of the content is new since the last printing. Price: $24.95 Contact: www.100dollarhamburger.com; www.mcgrawhill.com
Gleim Publications has introduced an upgraded version of its online ground school for various levels of pilot certification, offering more flexible study options. Existing customers can gain access to either the new or old course. Price: $99.95 Contact: 800/874-5346; www.gleim.com/aviation
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.
Advocacy and Legislation,
A House bill that would force FAA to go through the rulemaking process before imposing new policies for sleep disorders has passed a key committee.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
Senators are demanding a written response from the Department of Homeland Security about unwarranted stops of general aviation aircraft by DHS and Customs and Border Protection.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.