As the days get longer and warmer, pilots head for the airport — perhaps after a few months' break, or just with more enthusiasm than before. We've rounded up some new products to help you accomplish this year's aviation goals and prepare for a busy summer of flying.
King Schools has debuted its latest multimedia training system, Cleared for Flying the Garmin G1000. The course includes seven CDs tailored for pilots flying airplanes equipped with the Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck (which features a primary flight display, multifunction display, VHF and GPS navigators, audio panel, and associated controls).
The focus is on flying with the Garmin G1000 in a Cessna single-engine airplane, whether you fly it under visual flight rules (VFR) or instrument flight rules (IFR). A series of questions follows each lesson, and the variety of questions is good. Additional tips are included as "bonuses" after you complete each question. For most questions, you manipulate a G1000 simulation to complete the task featured in the question. While some of the knob twisting and button pressing are condensed, you need to know when to turn a knob and when to push a button to complete the task. A dialog box prompts you on the action selected, and how you would use the knobs and buttons correctly to complete the task. While the course features the G1000 as installed in Cessna aircraft, most of the functionality of the integrated flight deck remains constant in other single-engine piston aircraft — and the course could easily be used to supplement your training for those aircraft as well.
Contact: 800/854-1001 or 858/541-2200; www.kingschools.com
The folks at Sporty's Pilot Shop have recently revamped their flagship instrument-training course; The Instrument Pilot has been re-edited and digitally remastered, and it includes new content.
The Instrument Pilot contains seven DVDs plus an Air Facts sampler DVD (with clips from the 27 Air Facts DVD titles in Sporty's catalog). Each DVD contains several chapters and a quiz at the end. The course begins with a video featuring a short IFR trip that introduces many of the key elements of instrument flight, giving purpose for the course and a real-world example for pilots to recall as they go through the subsequent lessons.
The Instrument Pilot also includes a training course outline and practical test standards study guide. The PTS study guide includes both the PTS for the instrument rating and sections outlining key concepts for each DVD in the course.
Updates to the course include information on flight simulators, and training in glass-cockpit aircraft and with advanced avionics. The latest updates to the instrument PTS (which went through a major renovation in October 2004) are considered. A graduation certificate is included.
Contact: 800/776-7897 or 513/735-9000; www.sportys.com
ZD Publishing has produced several guides to learning the operation and nuances of various avionics on the market. Its latest offering, The Garmin GPSmap 396: A Pilot-Friendly Manual, starts users off on the right foot. By using a flight plan as an example, author John Dittmer walks you through all the important features of the 396. In section three of the manual, advanced operations are covered, including user waypoints, vertical navigation, and OBS (omni-bearing selector) mode. The appendices follow, detailing startup, map, and panel pages, among others, as well as the information accessed on each "tab." Appendix K goes into automotive mode for use of the GPSMap 396 on the ground.
Price: $34.95 for the GPSMap 396 manual
Contact: 888/310-3134 or 316/371-3134; www.zdpublishing.com
The latest installment in Sporty's Pilot Shop's What You Should Know series offers instruction in using the GPSMap 396. Host Richard Collins has a lot of experience navigating weather in light aircraft, and using cockpit resources as a single pilot — and it's the strategies that he imparts in the DVD that are the big takeaway from its 28 minutes. Some are simple (always load a flight plan), and some are less obvious (use the horizontal situation indicator on the panel page as a replacement for installing an expensive one in the airplane). The program uses actual flights to demonstrate the use of the XM WX Satellite Weather service on the GPSMap 396, and the discussion of how to interpret the various weather products is good. Collins discusses the instrument approach procedures loaded in the unit, as well as how to use the terrain warning functions.
Contact: 800/776-7897 or 513/735-9000; www.sportys.com
Two new DVDs by sport pilot expert Paul Hamilton are available from Aviation Supplies & Academics (ASA) that explore the flying of light sport aircraft. Preflight a Fixed-Wing Light-Sport Aircraft for Sport Pilots takes pilots through the preflight inspection of a light sport aircraft (LSA). Be a Sport Pilot: Learning to Fly a Fixed-Wing Light-Sport Aircraft takes the lessons a step further by introducing the pilot to what it takes to obtain a sport pilot certificate. Hamilton and instructor Jeff Reynolds discuss pilot training, from first flight to solo to sign-off. The two DVDs are available separately or in a kit that also includes Weather to Fly for Sport Pilots and the Sport Pilot Logbook.
Price: $49.95 for each DVD; kit price is $99.95
Contact: 800/426-8338; www.asa2fly.com
Samuel L. Miller, founder of SLM Inc., offers detailed aircraft cost analysis online using a Microsoft Excel-based program, the Aircraft Cost Analysis Model. The program requires that you have Excel 2000 installed on your computer; it has not been tested on Apple computers. The model will work with any type aircraft, from single-engine piston airplanes to jets, from rotorcraft to agricultural aircraft. You input your actual or estimated fixed and variable costs for a given aircraft, and financial information regarding taxes, aircraft loans, and depreciation. The program then can be used to look at the benefits of individual and business ownership of an aircraft, fractional ownership, commercial rental or leaseback operations, and charter use.
Price: $580 for a three-user license
Contact: 501/327-2224; www.aircraftcostanalysis.com
You may recognize the brand name from the shelves at your local hardware store. Spray Nine Corp. recently debuted its latest cleaning product, AV-8, which can be used on a broad range of aircraft alloys — painted and bare metal aircraft exteriors. A proprietary blend of corrosion inhibitors makes the Type-IV (heavy duty) cleaner particularly effective and safe; the product meets military specs for use on aircraft. The concentrated formula contains no ozone-depleting substances, hazardous air pollutants, carcinogens, or volatile organic compounds. It's nonflammable and biodegradable.
Spray Nine AV-8 is water-dilutable and available in 24-ounce, five-gallon, 55-gallon, and larger sizes at hardware stores and home improvement stores nationwide.
Price: $4.19 for 24 ounces; $20.70 for one-gallon suggested retail price
Contact: 800/477-7299; www.spraynine.com
Unless otherwise stated, products listed herein 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. Links to all Web sites referenced in this issue can be found on AOPA Online.