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Pilot Products

The AOPA Pilot staff will be reporting on new products from AOPA Expo in Palm Springs in November. Check out the coverage at Virtual Expo.

Sporty's Pilot's Guide to Runway Safety DVD

An accident earlier this year involving a Canadair Regional Jet at Lexington, Kentucky, has underscored the importance of constant vigilance when operating on our airports (see " Safety Pilot: Wrong Runway," page 50). The latest program from Sporty's is designed to educate pilots about ground operations at airports and help them prevent runway incursions.

The video and animations in the Pilot's Guide to Runway Safety DVD support each chapter covering various aspects of safe airport ground operations and takeoff and landing operations. Case studies of accidents illustrate what happens when the system fails. The DVD also features an interactive checklist displaying recommended procedures for each phase of operation on and around the airport, and the package includes a printed guide to airport signs and markings for review.
Price: $29.95
Contact: 800/776-7897;

Heads Up Flight Desk

SafeAviator has introduced a yoke-mount clipboard that incorporates a flexible-neck miniflashlight. The rugged aluminum board has a rubber-coated clip at the top, and a mount attached to the back. Velcro strips are provided to give additional stability to the board when it's installed on the yoke — so it doesn't slide back and forth when you move the yoke.

The board features a printed list of "pilot briefing aids" targeted to single-engine general aviation airplanes. These include before-takeoff passenger and pilot briefings, abbreviated checklists for an engine failure after takeoff and in cruise flight, and a prelanding checklist.

You can access the four 1.5-volt alkaline button cell batteries in the light-emitting diode flashlight without removing the flashlight from the board. The flashlight is mounted using a screw plate to the top of the clipboard, and this can be removed for replacement of the flashlight itself, if necessary. The bulb in the flashlight is rated for 100,000 hours; typical battery life is 100 hours.
Price: $39.95
Contact: 952/935-8153;

AlphaTrainer 3D

Five years ago, corporate pilot Tom Schefchunas introduced the AlphaTrainer, an aid designed to help pilots understand angle of attack and its relationship to lift, airspeed, and stalls. He created an AlphaTrainer CD in 2003 to expand upon the supporting materials for the trainer, and to improve the graphical representation of the trainer's concepts. But now, Schefchunas has teamed up with X-Plane flight simulator designer Austin Meyer to create AlphaTrainer 3D, a plug-in to X-Plane version 7 that allows pilots to observe the generation of lift in simulated flight.

The AlphaTrainer 3D depicts vectors and angle of attack dynamically for six different aircraft "flown" within the X-Plane program. Each aircraft is a generic type developed specifically to work with the program, so its behavior does not match exactly the behavior of a specific model of airplane. You can choose from a low-wing trainer, a light sport aircraft, a high-wing tailwheel aircraft, an aerobatic airplane, a light twin, and a mid-size business jet.

The X-Plane program is uniquely suited to be the platform for the AlphaTrainer, says Schefchunas, because its flight modeling is based on constant calculations of lift made at hundreds of points on the aircraft. The AlphaTrainer plug-in provides the vector depictions of lift (on each wing and on the horizontal stabilizer), drag, thrust, and weight. A protractor overlaid on the wing lift vectors to show how close the airplane is to a stall (green is good, yellow means caution, and red says the wing is stalled).

The AlphaTrainer is available in two versions — a basic version has two aircraft (the trainer and the aerobatic airplane) and shows only backgrounds from Florida. The Pro version contains all six airplanes, with backgrounds for the full X-Plane program. If you already have the X-Plane 7 program, the basic plug-in is $39.95; the Pro version is $69.95.
Price: $59.95 for the AlphaTrainer plug-in and X-Plane software; $89.95 for the Pro version plus X-Plane
Contact: 877/542-1112;

Kool Scoop

Every pilot who has taxied a Piper Cherokee, Beechcraft Bonanza, or Mooney M-series airplane in warm weather has done so with his or her right hand — so the other one can be held out the vent window as a makeshift air scoop, bringing precious airflow into a hot cockpit. Dorcliff-Aerocrafts introduced its Kool Scoop, which redirects a large volume of air from the propeller slipstream, for left-hand-opening vent windows. Now it offers a right-hand window scoop to bring relief to even more pilots during ground operations.

The Kool Scoop swings out into the airflow for ground operations, and stows inside for flight. Installation doesn't require tools; the scoop attaches with adhesive onto the window and pivots into the vent opening. The scoop is molded from clear acrylic with stainless-steel fasteners to adjust hinge tension. The Kool Scoop fits vent windows on most low-wing airplanes.
Price: $31.85
Contact: 602/740-5546;

Avionics Training Unlimited online courses

Flight Instructor Judy Cadmus specializes in helping pilots get the most out of their avionics, particularly the Garmin GNS 430 and 530 and GNS 480 navigators.

For those who cannot attend an Avionics Training Unlimited seminar (most of which normally take place at the company facilities at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia), Cadmus has debuted several online courses. Each course focuses on a specific topic using a specific navigator. In fact, a couple of the short courses are free, a great introduction to the longer courses.

I sampled two courses designed for instrument pilots, IFR Departure Procedures With the Garmin 430/530 and Garmin 430/530 Missed Approach Procedures. Each gives an overview of the procedures involved in completing the instrument maneuver — departure procedure or missed approach — on the 430 or 530, and then uses three procedures as examples, combining text, screen captures, video, and interactive exercises to develop your understanding of the concepts and steps.

Additional questions pepper the examples, with a quiz at the end of each section.

Downloads come from the Avionics Training Unlimited Web site. After you make your purchase you are e-mailed a registration key and link to the dedicated download page. The downloading process went smoothly, and download times will vary with the Internet connection you possess.
Price: $5.99 to $9.99; sample courses are free
Contact: 610/405-5243;

Quick Hits

Aviation Supplies & Academics has developed a free set of scenarios for its On Top Version 8.1 desktop flight simulator. Based on research from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Nall Report, the 10 downloadable scenarios give the opportunity to refine your judgment and decision-making skills on your home PC using real-world accident reports.
Price: free
Contact: 800/272-2359;

Mr. Funnel Fuel Filter is a new funnel that filters impurities, including water and other contaminants, during the fueling process. Four models come in various sizes; the F8 size can handle 5 gallons per minute.
Price: $39.95
Contact: 772/287-6157;

Selkirk Aviation, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, has introduced two new supplemental type certificates (STCs) for Cessna singles. An extended baggage kit, made from fiberglass, for 1963 to 1986 172s, holds 50 pounds and replaces the factory kits for later-model 172s. Composite cowlings also are available for early 180 and 182 models with and without cowl flaps.
Price: $600 for baggage extender kit; from $6,500 to $7,000 for cowlings
Contact: 800/891-7687;

Kansas City Aviation Center in Olathe, Kansas, has received an STC for Universal Avionics EFI-890R display installations on Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. The large-format displays replace the PC-12's existing attitude indicator, horizontal situation indicator, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, airspeed indicator, and other instruments.
Contact: 913/782-0530;

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.

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