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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LSA Roundup


Light-sport models and avionics to suit all budgets


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Garmin GPSMAP 696

GLASS FOR EVERY PANEL

There’s no shortage of high-tech instrumentation stuffed into many a light-sport panel. Part of that is the marvelous innovation of our technical age. Equally important: FAA certification isn’t required for LSA avionics. That has opened the floodgates to a broad and deep range of sophisticated, compact instruments from scores of companies. Most exciting are the electronic flight information systems’ (EFIS) digital display units. They come as large daytime-readable MFD and PFD units, and cost a fraction of the price of equivalent Part 23 avionics.

Two recent standouts are Garmin’s new GPSMAP 696, a portable, tablet-size (seven-inch-diagonal) MFD, and the seemingly ubiquitous dual-screen system from Dynon, FlightDEK-D180, which combines Dynon’s EFIS-D100 and EMS-D120 (engine monitoring system). The Garmin 696 is a sophisticated unit that’s compatible with XM weather and radio and includes moving map, built-in HSI, terrain alerts and 3-D map views. Dynon’s duo package integrates all flight instrument displays, G-meter, voltmeter, airspeed, vertical
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Dynon Avionics FlightDEK-D180
speed and much more.

Garmin is keeping one foot firmly planted in the future with its G3X concept, which features components built around the GDU 370 and GDU 375 (the panel-mounted versions of the 696). The integrated G3X panel will show real-time weather, traffic, terrain and charts, and include an air data, attitude and heading reference system (ADAHRS), an engine information system (EIS), a magnetometer and a temperature probe.

Also available are an abundance of new “steam-gauge” conventional instrument flight packs. Digital tech has made inroads here too, with round gauges such as MGL Avionics’ 2¼-inch Infinity and 3.125-inch Velocity singles, which sport high-resolution LCD graphics.
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Blue Mountain EFIS/Sport

There are even inexpensive (under $1,500) collision-avoidance alert systems, such as the Zaon PCAS XRX, that can stand alone or link to GPS units and display traffic in TCAS-like symbology.

Two impressive glass displays from Blue Mountain are the EFIS/Sport and EFIS/Lite Plus. The Sport has an 8.5-inch, sunlight-readable, vertical screen that shows the map, ADI and HSI, engine monitor, etc. The Lite Plus has a five-inch screen for ADI, HSI or GPS moving map and optional engine pages.

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AFS Advanced Deck
Advanced Flight Systems (AFS) offers a variety of EFIS decks, including the new Advanced Deck with an 8.4-inch display, which can be accessed through an eight-way joystick knob. All AFS systems have full-featured voice-alert systems.

MGL Avionics offers the 10.4-inch-diagonal Odyssey “Big Daddy” EFIS platform complete with an integrated software application system and sensors such as for attitude and heading.

AvMap makes the impressive EKP IV portable navigation unit. The seven-inch display can operate in either landscape or portrait mode, utilizes a CompactFlash card for data updates, and stores up to 15 flight plans, 1,000 waypoints and custom point-of-interest settings.

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AvMap EKP IV
Fancy glass decks aren’t the only news in LSA avionics. SportairUSA collaborated with I-K Technologies on its electronic GreenLine EMS. In addition to rpm, CHT, oil pressure and other digital readouts—all visible in one compact display—there’s a horizontal color bar that turns yellow or red for each monitoring segment if anything is amiss.

Let’s not forget cockpit chatter. PS Engineering’s PM3000 six-channel stereo intercom is even configurable with an iPod jack for custom in-flight entertainment. And there’s no shortage of autopilots, controlled either through EFIS modules or by stand-alone units such as the TruTrak DigiFlight II VSGV, which fits into a 2¼-inch round hole. We haven’t even talked about NAV/COMs and Mode C transponders such as Garmin’s SL30 and GTX 327. That’ll have to wait for the comprehensive LSA avionics roundup coming soon. Stay tuned!

RESOURCES

Advanced Flight Systems: www.advanced-flight-systems.com
AvMap:www.avmap.us
Blue Mountain Avionics:www.bluemountainavionics.com
Dynon Avionics:www.dynonavionics.com
Garmin: www.garmin.com
I-K Technologies:www.i-ktechnologies.com
MGL Avionics: www.mglavionics.co.za
PS Engineering:www.ps-engineering.com
SportairUSA:www.sportair.aero
TruTrak Flight Systems: www.trutrakflightsystems.com
Zaon Flight Systems:www.zaon.aero





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