September 26, 2013
By Dave Hirschman
Garmin has entered the action cam market with the new VIRB.
Garmin is jumping into action cameras with the VIRB, a compact, well-engineered unit sure to begin showing up in cockpits immediately.
Garmin takes on market leader GoPro with a few features that its rival lacks: a battery that lasts up to three hours and a viewfinder. Since the VIRB isn’t stored in a protective housing, it shouldn’t be susceptible to the same fogging problems at altitude that sometimes afflict others.
The VIRB is waterproof, and it’s tough—but not indestructible.
I took a VIRB flying at speeds up to 200 mph, and its mount was rock solid.
I liked the VIRB’s form factor, ease of use, viewfinder, and mount. The camera is nearly foolproof to turn on and off—and you can play back videos on the spot to make sure the action was recorded. Also, VIRB videos don’t begin and end with the camera operator’s squinty-face that GoPro users know so well.
Garmin is going for mass-market appeal with the VIRB and hasn’t yet customized it for aviation use. There’s no filter to eliminate prop distortion, and no audio cables with headset jacks to record cockpit communications.
But as you’d expect from Garmin, the VIRB does have an internal GPS. Look for a full review of the VIRB in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot.
The FAA has asked the National Transportation Safety Board to review a judge’s ruling reversing a fine it levied in an unmanned-aircraft case.
The Tucson Soaring Club is trying to grow the sport by training the next generation of glider pilots.
Able Flight has received and $8,000 check from the AOPA Foundation.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.