September 1, 2008
By Ian J. Twombly
You’ll find 10 CDs in the King Schools binder that teach everything you need to know about the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. Separate courses cover VFR and IFR operations, while a final CD covers the new GFC700 autopilot. It’s much more than a button-by-button, screen-by-screen tour.
What’s worth more than the $249 you’ll pay for the course is the experience of John and Martha King, the two instructors for the course. When they say, “I recommend...” you sit up and listen because they are both pilots, not just announcers. They’ll also tell you about the gotchas, such as the system’s willingness to fly you to the ground during an instrument approach because, well, you told it to. There’s even a note indicating a turboprop crew did exactly that and crashed.
They warn you a number of times that just taking this excellent course doesn’t clear you for flight into the clouds. You’ll still need to practice with an instructor. Finally, they warn you about risk assessment based on the usual factors of aircraft and pilot health, but also on your recency of experience in operating the G1000.
There are 12 segments divided into three distinct courses, with the final course on the autopilot having only one segment. Each segment has from one to six or more video lessons. After each there is a quiz that can involve operating the buttons of a G1000 simulator included with the question, or dragging lines from a picture of G1000 screen indications to what you think is the correct text block describing what is happening. At the end of the first two segments you can print both a diploma and a certificate good for the ground portion of the FAA Wings safety program.
You’ll learn not only the usual information about airplane systems management and navigation, but also about weather displays, traffic awareness and warning systems, and the traffic information system. There is even a segment describing the wide-area augmentation system that makes your system far more useful than a standard GPS.
You’ll make more efficient use of your expensive time with an instructor in the air if you take this course first, and your instructor will thank you, too.— Alton K. Marsh Price: $249 Contact: www.kingschools.com, 800-854-1001
WSI Corporation has come out with a new version of its popular Pilotbrief Pro online package of weather information. The new version has an interactive map—WSI calls it the IMap—that lets you layer various levels of weather data on the display screen. This, in addition to providing independent access to the traditional charts—radar imagery, winds aloft, TFRs.
Three drop-down menus let you set the screen. By clicking on the “layers” menu, you can depict sigmets, convective sigmets, airmets, METARs, watch boxes, and WSI’s Flight Plan Guidance (FPG) information—on the same display. It gives predicted positions of sigmets and airmets for the next three, six, and nine hours. Once the layers have been selected, you mouse over the highlighted graphics and airports, and up pops the relevant text information.
Other drop-down menus let you select radar and satellite image overlays (including Bahamian and Canadian radar imagery), and low- or high-altitude airways, terrain, and roads.
A flight plan routing tool depicts the most recent clearances issued by ATC for your route. Type in the departure and destination airports, and a list of recent routes appears in another drop-down menu. Select the one you want, and the route plots on the screen. You can zoom in and out on the map display at any time, using a mouse thumbwheel or a zoom slider on the left of the screen. You can also pan the map, and even go around the world to check for radar and other weather data. WSI uses its proprietary “pseudo radar” model to depict radar returns overseas.
The interactive menu lets you call up a video briefing. A meteorologist comes on screen and reviews the synoptic situation across the continental United States, which is updated twice-daily.
Flight-plan filing is also possible with this version of Pilotbrief Pro, as is access to text-only preflight briefing products.— Thomas A. Horne Price: $39.95 for AOPA members Contact: www.wsi.com; 800-872-2359
Electronics International’s long-antici-pated MVP-50 has received TSO certification. The MVP-50 is an electronic engine-monitoring and gauge system with 50 possible display functions. The digital engine display box is available to the experimental market, but this is the first time pilots of certified aircraft will have the opportunity to install the unit. A supplemental type certificate is expected and owners will be able to use the MVP-50 as a primary replacement. Price: $5,995, four-cylinder; $6,485, six-cylinder Contact: www.buy-ei.com
The preflight Web resource www.fltplan.com is now offering a free digital airport and facility directory downloadable to a PDA. The Cockpit/Airport FBO Info Guide requires no Internet connection to operate. It features fuel, frequency, customs, runway, and FBO information on more than 5,000 airports in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Price: free Contact: www.fltplan.com
Xerion Avionix, maker of the new AuRACLE digital engine-monitoring system, has received supplemental type certificate approval for all four- and six-cylinder Cessna and Piper models. The AuRACLE is a 5-inch color digital display of all the airplane’s engine instrumentation, including fuel, EGT, CHT, rpm, and everything else the pilot needs to keep track of and properly monitor engine health and performance. Price: $6,995, four-cylinder; $7,495, six-cylinder Contact: http://xerionavionix.com; 800-405-8608
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Able Flight has received and $8,000 check from the AOPA Foundation.
Preheating is about far more than just oil temperature. Proper preheating involves heating the entire engine, so that all critical engine parts can be brought into the ‘safe’ temperature range.
Question: On a VFR sectional chart, you see an airport symbol that is magenta with the letter “U” inside the circle. What does that tell you?
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