September 30, 2008
By Thomas B Haines
Bendix/King, long missing from the handheld GPS market, has other handheld manufacturers looking over their shoulders with its recently introduced AV80R, a touch-screen, handheld GPS that can be connected to an XM receiver. The AV80R can be used both on the road for turn-by-turn directions and in the air, providing flight planning and moving map navigation—including a look-ahead contour presentation and the ability to overlay datalink weather.
And the capable AV80R does so at a reasonable cost—about $700 not including the datalink receive/antenna. Garmin lowered the cost bar for datalink weather with the Garmin 396 handheld GPS that included an optional XM receiver. Others have followed with portable solutions offering weather overlays.
The AV80R’s 4.3-inch screen is exceptionally bright and crisp. I flew with it in a variety of light situations and had no readability problems. The battery lasted for nearly four hours, meaning if I didn’t need the weather, I could fly with NO wires attached at all for all that time since the internal GPS antenna is so good (and it acquires position amazingly fast). The unit comes with an GPS external antenna, but you probably won’t need it. The system also comes with two mounts—one for the airplane yoke and one for the car windshield.
Look for a complete report in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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