September 1, 2009
By Ian J. Twombly
Owners of older airplanes with notoriously poor interior lighting now have an inexpensive, creative, and simple solution to the problem. Make-It Manufacturing has introduced two new cockpit lights—the Pilot Light Pro and the Map Light Pro.
The Pilot Light Pro is designed as an overhead LED replacement light. It comes in red, green, or blue, and features a moveable head designed to shine on the panel, and a rheostat to control the amount of light. It also has two white moveable overhead lights. Although the company claims installation with airplane power is available on certificated aircraft, users not wanting the expense can also just use the included 19-hour batteries.
Make-It Manufacturing’s second new light, the Map Light Pro, is a small light with two white LEDs and a 30-hour battery life made to fit under a yoke. Best of all, the lights are moveable, meaning their somewhat narrow beam will do a fine job of illumining a chart or checklist.
Both lights affix in the cockpit with Velcro. In the case of the Pilot Light Pro, that Velcro is a hard plastic that is extremely strong and will fare well in turbulence. If leg clearance is an issue on your yoke, however, the Map Light Pro could become a nuisance as you constantly knock it with your leg. But for those pilots flying their older airplanes with their flashlights constantly on to compensate for poor cockpit lighting, the Pilot and Map Light Pro are two great additions.
Price: $124.95 for the Pilot Light Pro; $74.95 for the Map Light Pro Contact: www.pilotlightpro.com; 805-237-8800
Checking tire pressure on an airplane can be cumbersome, especially on a low wing. A new electronic tire pressure monitor from Southern Precision Components makes checking the pressure easy thanks to its portable electronic display. The entire system consists of three small valve caps and a handheld monitor. Simply put on the new valve caps, turn on the monitor, and you’ll get an instant reading of tire pressure plus or minus less than a pound, and temperature plus or minus less than a degree. The monitor can also be set to alert the user when pressure goes above or below a certain range.
Price: $289.95 Contact: www.aircraftspruce.com; 877-477-7823
Sporty’s Pilot Shop recently debuted three new titles in its What You Should Know series. WAAS Approaches takes viewers through a number of different approaches using the Garmin GNS430W/530W and the Garmin G1000. Information on the differences between LPV, LNAV/VNAV, and other WAAS approaches is discussed. The DVD is $29.95 or can be downloaded as either a 430W/530W or G1000 video for $9.95 each.
Pilot’s Guide to Modern Autopilots is a basic course in autopilot operation, structured around a scenario-based lesson with the S-Tec Fifty Five X and Garmin GFC700. The video is available as either a DVD or a download for $29.95.
Garmin G1000 Checkout is a more complete course, with a 109-minute DVD that covers all the buttonology, a software simulator, a syllabus, and a cockpit poster. It is available on either a DVD and CD-ROM, or as a download for $89.95.
Contact: www.sportys.com; 800-776-7897
A few companies on the market already offer electronic versions of the NACO airport diagrams with georeferenced aircraft position as part of larger software packages. But Approach Systems is now offering its version called EasyTaxi for free.
The idea is simple—download the software into your laptop, netbook, or any other Windows Vista/XP device and get a Bluetooth GPS. The software then places the airplane on the chart for an instant heads-up of the aircraft’s location on the surface at all times. Obviously the one major drawback is that airport diagrams are only available for approximately 700 airports, but since Approach Systems is offering the software for free, the only investment is a small GPS.
Contact: www.approachsystems.com; 801-802-8079
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
Or 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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