August 19, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
With winter nearly around the corner, it's time to begin planning for cold temperatures. That means engine preheating solutions. FST Regal introduced a remote switchbox last year that enables users to turn on and off their engine preheater with simply a phone call or by interacting with a free smartphone application. Now the device comes with two new features.
A smartphone is the easiest way to operate the switchbox, and now Android users will have the option to do so with a new application. The free software can turn on and off either of the switchbox's two outlets. So you can turn on the preheater a few hours before coming to the hangar, and the coffee pot a few minutes prior.
This feature, as well as the standard phone interface, works through a cellphone card installed in the box. That card needs to be updated in order for the remote features to continue working. Trying to explain this process to an AT&T representative can be a challenge. To ease the pain, FST has developed a concierge service that manages the cellular card, negating the need for owners to do anything. The service is a bargain at $80 a year.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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