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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Masters Of Glass: LSA Avionics Roundup

High-tech, affordable glass panels continue to impress with amazing innovation

Trio Avionics Pro Pilot
The Pro Pilot is a two-axis autopilot system popular for its light weight and precise navigation and altitude control. Backlit buttons and either instrument or stack mount configurations are available. Along with vertical and horizontal control, climb/descent (with airspeed limiting) and altitude preselect, Trio's Automatic 180 Turn feature can be a lifesaver after accidental VFR-into-IMC conditions.

Trio's Gold Standard servos, just 26 ounces each, translate control inputs to flight surfaces but don't inflict drag on the control system when disengaged.

Other models include GX PRO (for full interfacing with Garmin's G3X EFIS system) and EZ Pilot. EZ Pilot is a budget offering with several advanced features, including Pilot Command steering, precise navigation and GPS flight-plan tracking, yet weighs under eight ounces. Price: $3,995 (instrument); $4,095 (stack); $1,120 (EZ Pilot). Contact: www.trioavionics.com.

AvMap's latest EKP V GPS is fully portable but rich in features. The 7-inch display has a built-in battery yet is just 0.8-inch thick. Easy connectivity for autopilot, XM weather, TAWS, CAS is a breeze through USB and serial ports in AvMap's Docking Station, which turns it into a portable MFD (PMFD for you acronym lovers) for a full range of flight data. The u-blox 5 high-sensitivity GPS receiver with WAAS position accuracy is at the heart of the electronics.

A fully customizable-layout configuration displays maps, weather, vertical map profile, NAV data, HSI and EFIS. Profiles for different aircraft and even different hard-key configurations are possible.

A newly designed keyboard includes configurable key, progressive joystick and smart wheel selector. And a new graphic interface and full qwerty virtual keyboard simplify use. Price: $1,995. Contact: www.avmap.us.

Vertex Standard Handheld Radios
Vertex has a variety of compact handheld airband transceivers for aircraft and ground comm needs. Several units include these two popular models, both submersible (heads up, amphib pilots): VXA-220 Pro VI uses the International Band and receives the Navigation Band and all 10 NOAA weather broadcast frequencies. It also scans for nearby NOAA stations and has 8.33 kHz steps for the new narrow-band channel plan. Omni-Glow backlighting is easy on the eyes at night, too.

The VXA-300 PILOT III carries many of VXA-220's features and enables VOR and CDI navigation on the NAV band. It has 150 memory channels and 100 programmable channels with 8-character labels. Price: $189 (VXA-220); $220 (VXA-300). Contact: www.vertexstandard.com.

Adventure Pilot iFly700
Adventure Pilot iFly 700 GPS
This low-cost, revolutionary, 7-inch, color, touch-screen sectional moving-map-based GPS blew everybody away at Sun 'n Fun and Oshkosh last year with its robust feature set and ridiculously affordable price. The iFly 700 has since been a big hit with pilots and is finding its way as a standard installation or OEM option with LSA manufacturers.

The lightweight, external battery or cig-lighter-powered unit can be handheld, yoke-mounted or panel-installed. RAM mounts are popular too for customized placement.

Some highlights are: entire U.S. sectionals charts, IFR Low Enroute charts, approach plates, airport diagrams, touch-screen waypoint placement and quick-draw revision, annual data subscription starting at $69, easy online chart updates, highlighted TFRs and a lot more. I take mine with me in a J-3 Cub! Price: $549. Contact: ifly.adventurepilot.com.


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