April 1, 2008
By Ian J. Twombly
Powerful Learning, a new entrant to the general aviation training market, recently introduced its VFR Pilot Review System as a tool to keep basic VFR knowledge fresh for pilots. The software is a great way to prepare for a flight review or to use as a refresher tool. It also contains an aviation library that alone could be worth the cost of the product.
Although the basic content of Powerful Learning’s software is much the same as private pilot training software on the market, the focus has been changed to pinpoint the needs of certificated pilots. The software’s main feature is its learning mode. Here, pilots can review or test themselves on core knowledge topics such as airspace, FARs, aerodynamics, and weather. Many will recognize the format as that of an FAA knowledge test. But the software has many features that provide additional value. For example, each question has a “learn” function that when selected, brings up the applicable FAA publication where the answer can be found.
The aviation library includes nine different books such as Aviation Weather, the Airplane Flying Handbook, the Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, the FARs, and the Aeronautical Information Manual, as well as a number of different advisory circulars. The library is updatable online, negating the need to continually buy revised versions of the books. Price: $85 Contact: www.powerful-learning.com; 800-975-1257
With hurricane season fast approaching in the South and unpredictable spring weather occurring over much of the country, it’s time to think about protecting your airplane from the weather. The new AeroSpoiler system is a solid, economical way to improve an airplane’s chances of making it through a storm.
Based on the simple principle that an aircraft wing creates lift that can carry the airplane away in a storm, the AeroSpoiler is made to cancel the wing’s lifting ability and thus keep the airplane on the ground. The system cancels lift through a series of suction cups and plastic slats attached at specific points on the wings. The company tested the system at wind speeds of up to 200 mph and found that it cancelled lift by as much as 96 percent at 50 mph and 92 percent at 200 mph.
Each AeroSpoiler kit comes with 10 cups and slats for a total of 20 feet of wing coverage. Extension kits are available for longer wings, although the standard kit is sufficient for most light twins and singles. Installation takes only a few minutes, although at 25 pounds, the kit is not very portable. It is, however, compact enough to fit in an average-size baggage compartment. Price: $379 Contact: www.aerospoiler.com; 706-951-6280
Finding the right airplane to rent can be a hassle. Between calling local flight schools and FBOs, it can take hours to find the type of airplane you’re looking for. A new Web site, www.rentplanes.com, is seeking to make life as a renter a little easier. Looking to finally get that tailwheel endorsement? Simply go to the site, type in the name of your airport or city, choose the type of airplane you want to fly and click search. Airports near and far are listed for maximum choices. The Web site is also loaded with choices for common searches, such as single engine, multiengine, seaplane, et cetera. Although there are limitations (certain known airplanes for rent in the local area weren’t listed), it’s one of the best central resources for renters we’ve yet found. Price: Free Contact: www.rentplanes.com
Owners of Bonanzas and Barons now have a new option for shimmy damper replacement. The Lord Corporation recently received STC approval for its fluid-free shimmy damper as a direct replacement for the OEM part. Contact a Lord distribution partner for pricing and availability.
McFarlane Aviation is offering a number of new products, including new pulley kits and aileron and flap skins for Cessnas. Visit the Web site or call 866-920-2741.
Knots 2U is working to keep Cessna pilots cool with its new AeroVent system, a set of two windshield trim pieces that each incorporate an additional vent. An STC is available for most Cessna singles. See the Web site or call 262-763-5100.
Kelly Aerospace has received PMA approval for its new X-Drive lightweight starter for Lycoming engines. The X-Drive’s side-mounted solenoid negates the need for a mechanical Bendix drive.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop is now offering a compact electric airplane tug with a 9,000-pound towing capacity, that can be used on airplanes with or without wheel pants. Visit the Web site or call 800-776-7897.
For those looking to keep up on a wide range of topics including aviation policy, transitioning to glass cockpits, and flight instructor concerns, Elite Simulation Solutions now offers weekly podcasts (akin to a Web-based radio program).
Each podcast features an interview with a prominent aviation personality. The focus of the sessions is on flight training topics, but all aviation topics are explored. Price: Free Contact: www.flyelite.com/podcast
A new company called Pilots in Pink is looking to give female pilots more options in pilot apparel and gear. Although the product line is just getting started, the company is offering caps, shirts, flight bags, cosmetic bags, and flight-planning pads all in, you guessed it—pink. Price: varies by item Contact: www.pilotsinpink.com
Unless otherwise stated, AOPA Pilot editors have not evaluated products listed. 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 the products editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety and Education,
Garmin has announced an upgrade making new features and options available to operators of G1000-equipped King Airs in the 200/250/300/350 series.
With a closing speed of about 900 knots, Air Force pilots on a training mission have seconds to aim and shoot heat-seeking and radar guided missiles at a drone target. Their success came from repeated rehearsals. But as author Larry Brown writes, “there is nothing like the real thing to gain experience.”
The GAO released its report “Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots,” and general aviation has a strong interest in its findings.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.