Pilot Products

January 1, 2009

Aerous VX3 by JH Audio

It’s not often that a completely new headset design comes along, so we were excited when we first heard about the Aerous VX3 from JH Audio. The VX3 is an in-ear headset with custom molded earpieces designed by longtime music engineer Jerry Harvey.

In-ear headsets have gained traction over the past few years as pilots look for relief from clamping pressure and bad hair days. The new headset from JH Audio is priced to compete with the best circumaural (around the ears) headsets, and it fits well in that category.

When you first receive the headset, you know there’s something different about this product and this company. The case is carbon fiber and features the buyer’s name. Inside, the instruction booklet clearly makes fun of manuals written to the lowest denominator when it says things such as, “If you can handle a constantly exploding pressurized steel tube as it rockets thousands of feet above the ground, you probably know how ‘volume control’ works.”

The fun continues with the headset itself. The microphone resembles a stage mic, and is available in black or silver. But this headset is not just about cool looks and a fun company. It really performs. Harvey clearly knows how to bring sound perfectly through this earpiece, which is no surprise considering that he invented in-ear monitors used by serious musicians around the world. The microphone is also crystal clear. Numerous flight tests with the Aerous were a joy, with crisp and clear ATC communications.

The Aerous is a passive earpiece, providing between 28dB and 34dB of attenuation. Since it is a closed piece, the user needs to tweak it slightly on climbs or descents to clear his or her ears. The company will make an earpiece with the proper filters so no manual clearing is necessary, but a minor amount of attenuation is lost.

Although the Aerous would fit in any cockpit, the place where it really shines is music. If you are the type of pilot who often listens to music while flying, the Aerous is the best headset for the job we’ve seen. There are things that come through the custom earpiece that can’t be heard on a home stereo.

Each headset is handmade to customer specifications and fully supported. If you’ve been thinking about an in-ear headset and want a custom fit with great sound, or even if you are tired of clamping pressure from a standard headset, check out JH Audio’s Aerous.

Price: $999. Less expensive models available

Contact: www.jhaudio.com; 866-485-9111

Jeppesen Garmin G1000 Training; IFR Procedures

Jeppesen has completed its release of two G1000 training products with the Jeppesen Garmin G1000 Training; IFR Procedures. The previous release was the slightly more expensive basic core knowledge you’ll need to understand the G1000. What you’ll see in the box is a single CD covering six categories: Departure Scenarios, En Route Scenarios, WAAS Overview, Approaches, Quick Tips, and Common Mistakes.

Already comfortable with the G1000? You’ll still appreciate the last two topics.

Every topic is basically taught three times. In Demo mode you’ll hear a description of what you need to learn and watch a cursor that moves to the correct buttons that are then pressed, resulting in the correct actions. In Training mode you’ll read a text description of what you need to accomplish (such as, “Open the flight plan menu”). It lets you cheat, pointing to the correct button that, once pressed using your computer mouse, actually opens a flight plan menu that looks just like the one on the real G1000. Finally, in Solo mode, you read a description of a function you need to perform, but with no clues. Make just a few mistakes, and you’ll get credit for the topic. Make too many, and you won’t. To get the most out of the program, you’ll want to leave each section with “credit.”

Sometimes an incorrect answer is not your fault. Any course calling for the operation of simulated interactive knobs using a computer mouse comes with frustrations. You can scrub up and down on the drawing of the knob to change and enter correct values, but a slip of the mouse means “Incorrect” will flash on the screen. The correct answer, such as an airport identifier, stares back at you from the screen while the pop-up menu insists you’ve erred. What has happened is that your mouse moved a millimeter too far, but not far enough to change the identifier to an incorrect answer.

The disembodied narration is clear if somewhat robotic. Competing courses switch on-screen instructors every few topics, giving needed variety to what are, by requirement, highly technical topics.

What’s hot is the scenario-based, real-world training approach pioneered and pushed by the FAA, and the Solo mode that determines if you really know the material. What’s not is the lack of on-screen instructors and a wider variety of multimedia methods that could make the medicine, or knowledge, go down just
a little easier.

Price: $229.95

Contact: www.jeppesen.com; 800-353-2107

Alton K. Marsh

Quick hits

King Schools recently updated its PC-based training software for the Garmin GNS430/530 to include information on the wide area augmentation system, or WAAS. Flying the Garmin 430/530 is a full course designed to teach the user every facet of this complex, but highly capable piece of avionics. WAAS takes the GPS to its highest level, and the King Schools course can teach you all about it.

Price: $249

Contact: www.kingschools.com; 800-854-1001

Trolltune Corporation’s Fresh Pick now has an STC available to increase the maximum gross takeoff weight of the Cessna 182P and 182Q models. The STC allows for a maximum takeoff weight of 3,100 pounds, while keeping the present maximum landing weight. This results in a 150- to 160-pound increase for the Skylane. The STC requires no parts or installation.

Price: $750

Contact: www.182stc.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 the products editor at ian.twombly@aopa.org.