June 1, 2009
By Ian J. Twombly
EZ Clear is distributed by Plastek LLC and is primarily a polymer-based cleaner (no alcohol) for aircraft windows, instruments, and LCD screens. Although the large manufacturers of glass-cockpit technology have not yet endorsed the cleaner, the ingredient that can damage glass-cockpit screens is alcohol. Plastek officials continue to talk with the manufacturers.
We tried it on the windows of a Piper Archer, both on the front and the side. After cleaning a small spot, the supplied microfiber cloth from Plastek slipped easily over the clean portion as though it had been waxed, while encountering stiff resistance outside the spot used for the test. The entire side window was cleaned, first spraying Detailer’s All-Spray from an eight-ounce EZ Clear bottle, then using the EZ Clear microfiber cloth (actually a paper-fiber towel with small holes). Before using EZ Clear the window appeared clean, yet it was impossible to see into the cockpit from the outside in the bright sun. After cleaning, there were no micro particles of dirt and dust to reflect the light, and it was easy to see into the aircraft interior as though looking through a polarized window.
A Plastek official said the cleaner can fill scratches of one to two microns, and one of our observers said it appeared some of the scratches had been reduced.
Price: $28.44 for the kit pictured, or $2.95 for individual packs (shown as part of the kit)
—Alton K. Marsh
In what it’s calling the first of its kind, startup Abingdon Watches introduced two watches incorporating E6B flight computers that are designed specifically for women. Amelia and Jackie, as the two models are called, both offer the E6B, luminous hands, a date window, and steel construction. The Amelia is the less-expensive model and features a leather band. Either a white or black face is available with the matching color leather band. The Jackie is a chronograph with a steel band and 64 faux diamonds inlaid in the bezel. It is available with a mother of pearl face in pink, green, or pearl.
Our female pilot testers found the watches to be of excellent quality with useful features. But with a case size of around 40 mm for the Amelia and more than 41 mm for the Jackie, these are not small accessories.
Price: $400 for the Jackie, $250 for the Amelia
Contact: www.abingdonwatches.com; 310-736-5673
Popular aircraft tracking Web site FlightAware recently debuted free online flight planning software. Although the application provides many traditional flight planning data points, such as heading, distance, fuel required to make the trip, and time en route based on forecast winds aloft, the interface and additional offerings are unique and useful.
Planning a flight takes only a minute or two because of the application’s preloaded airplane profiles. Filing a flight plan requires specific aircraft information, but planning can be done with the presets, which are accurate. Other unique inputs include an altitude range for planning, and fuel prices. With that information, the program calculates the time, fuel burn, and cost of flying at different altitudes along different routes. The route options are usually direct and those ATC has recently assigned. Times are calculated with respect to the forecast winds aloft. It presents the information in an easy-to-understand matrix that is color coded to show the shortest and cheapest routes. Click on the preferred selection and the navigation log comes up.
On the navigation page, pilots will recognize the standard navigation log, but added benefits include direct links to the approach procedures for both the departure and destination airports, the current METAR and TAF for both, and car rental information. FlightAware says new features are always being added, so the program should become even more robust in the future.
Eagle One has developed a new cleaning solution that it claims makes drying airplanes a thing of the past. Easi-Dri uses a proprietary formula that sheets off water when the airframe is rinsed, negating the need to dry your airplane. What could be better than saving a laborious step in the washing process?
Price: $5.99 for a 64-ounce bottle
Contact: Available at local auto parts retailers, www.eagleone.com
Owners of headsets without a Bluetooth link to their cell phone or music device can now add the capability, thanks to a new adapter from Pilot USA called Blulink. Blulink connects in-line to the headset through a standard set of plugs, and allows users to make phone calls directly through a headset. Although music connectivity is also available, a separate unit must be purchased.
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.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
Safety and Education,
The FAA encourages pilots to do a number of things in order to increase safety, but does not require them. Check out these three actions that are recommended.
Among the very first lessons a pilot learns is that a control yoke is not a steering wheel. Research underway in Europe could change that.
AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Foundation Executive Director Jim Minow are challenging one another to see who can recruit the most Hat in the Ring Society members for the foundation before the end of the year.
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