November 1, 2007
By Ian J. Twombly
The AuRACLE Engine Management System monitors and displays every conceivable engine operating parameter on a single 5-inch sunlight-readable color screen, and it's now approved by supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation in Beechcraft Bonanza A36s. The 6.25-inch by 4.5-inch unit is approved to replace primary instruments. This means the AuRACLE system is approved to replace those antiquated—and often notoriously inaccurate—fuel quantity, oil pressure, oil temperature, voltage, and amperage gauges. A single knob on the face permits the user to scroll through the instrument page, the engine analyzer page, and the fuel page. On the instrument page all primary engine instrument readings are displayed as well as horsepower and percent of horsepower; manifold pressure and rpm; fuel flow in gallons per hour, fuel remaining, fuel pressure, and time remaining to destination; exhaust gas, cylinder head, induction air, and outside air temperatures; and vacuum pressure. Twisting the page selector knob can access expanded engine data and fuel data. Leaning procedures are simplified through Xerion's SmartLean system. AuRACLE's monitoring system evaluates all operating values and alerts the pilot by changing the display colors from white (normal) to yellow (warning) to red (danger). Data downloads are simple: Insert a USB thumb drive in the port on the front face of the instrument and AuRACLE does the rest. Xerion's proprietary EGView operating analysis and data logging software is included and can be installed on 12- and 24-volt systems. Price: $5,300 for the four-cylinder model; $6,300 for the six-cylinder model Contact: 800-405-8608; www.xerionavionics.com— Steven W. Ells
Multiengine flying can be a real joy (see " Turbine Pilot: Are You Ready for a Twin?" page 87). One reason many pilots chose not to obtain the rating is cost. Sporty's DVD, So You Want to Fly Twins, is a way to save money in training.
The 103-minute instructional DVD goes through all the common and important multiengine concepts, including dual- and single-engine operations, maneuvers and instrument approaches, and twin-engine systems and aerodynamics. There's even a chapter on training considerations.
Like all DVDs in Sporty's What You Should Know series, the production quality is high and the majority of screen time is either spent inside the airplane or with a graphic, and not with a narrator giving a lecture.
Given that equivalent ground and flight instruction will cost time and money, the price is reasonable. Having not flown a twin for some time, I found the DVD to be informative and useful. Multiengine students and pilots looking to get or stay current will too. Price: $69.95 Contact: 800-776-7897; www.sportys.com
Loggerhead Tools, maker of the Bionic Wrench (see " Pilot Products," June 2006 Pilot), recently introduced what could possibly serve as the last screwdriver you'll ever need in your airplane toolbox. The Bit Dr. is a small, compact, and light combination screwdriver. When folded, the tool measures four inches and weighs five ounces, making it comfortable enough for a pocket and small enough for a flight bag. The shaft of the screwdriver comes apart in two pieces, allowing for three different lengths, and it latches securely into six different driving angles. The first removable shaft head functions as a ratchet, meaning the user can begin screws by finger-tightening and then keep the bit in place on the screw while finishing the job. If the ratchet function isn't desired, it can simply be removed from the shaft, making it direct drive. The Bit Dr. really shines in bit utility. In all, 20 different bit heads are stored out of the way inside the molded plastic handle, including four flatheads, four Phillips, four Torx head, five Allens, two square, and one female hex head. The rugged construction indicates it will last for years to come, but Loggerhead guarantees it with a lifetime warranty if problems arise. Switching bits was a breeze and the ratchet function proved to be useful. Given that the shaft folds into the handle and thus leaves two plastic ridges to function as one side of the handle, the tool's grip won't be the most comfortable in your box. Price: $24.95 Contact: 888-564-4374; www.loggerheadtools.com
Knots 2U of Burlington, Washington, has won STC approval for its LED lighting system for single-engine Cessna models. The light makes night preflight and aircraft loading easier; it operates from a 9-volt battery. Designed to fit in a standard inspection panel on the bottom of the wing, the light has an automatic shutoff. Price: $129 Contact: 262-763-5100; www.knots2u.com
Instrument students and instructors have a new computer-based training tool thanks to Max Trescott's WAAS and GPS CD-ROM Course. Like Trescott's previous offerings, this course is a highly detailed and lengthy training regimen that seeks to provide a full overview on WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System), and by default GPS navigation and instrument approaches. The course is geared towards Garmin users, and is compatible for both PC and Mac. Price: $99.95 Contact: 800-247-6553; www.pilotlearning.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.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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