1 Stop asking “Where are we?”
Believe it or not, there are still lots of pilots out there who are flying without a GPS. There are many portables, such as the Airmap 500, Garmin 196 and 295 and the Skymap IIIC, that will not only make flight navigation easier, but also help you find a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant or the best fishing spots around town.
Prices: $500 and up
2 Smarter than GPS.
In addition to the moving-map GPS functions, the WAAS-enabled Flight Cheetah FL250 is smarter than your average bear. Live NEXRAD weather images, obstacle information, approach overlays, digital charts and e-mail capabilities make it unique.
Price: $5,295, including datalinking
Resource: Flight Cheetah FL250, (888) 948-9657, www.echoflight.com
3 Keep talking!
There’s really no excuse for you to not have a handheld radio. Not only is it a must in case you have a radio malfunction, it’s also great for eavesdropping on the ground. Features from models such as Sporty’s SP-200, Icom IC-A23 and Vertex Standard VXA-700 vary, including navigation and FM radio.
Price: $300 and up
4 Portable traffic report.
The TrafficScope from Surecheck displays traffic information digitally and an audio alert will sound when an aircraft poses a threat. The pilot can select the target range for the audio signal.
Resource: TrafficScope, (800) 854-1001, www.kingcatalog.com
5 Are we there yet?
Measure distances in miles or kilometers with the Electronic Map Measure And Emergency Tool on any type of map by simply rolling a wheel. This keychain tool also includes a clock, timer, calculator, compass, thermometer and flashlight.
Resource: Electronic Map Measure And Emergency Tool, (800) SPORTYS, www.sportys.com
6 Portable ground transportation.
Cruise around your destination at speeds of up to 20 mph on the lightweight, electrically powered GoPed Sport Scooter. At only 20 pounds, it won’t hamper the useful load, and the foldable design makes it easy to stow in spaces as small as 2.5 cubic feet.
There’s also the HUMMER Tactical Mountain Bike, which can be used for anything, from cruising around town to hardcore mountain-biking. One quick-release lever collapses the bike in less than 30 seconds into a 3x3x1-foot pack that easily fits into any airplane.
Price: GoPed Sport Scooter, $395; HUMMER Tactical Mountain Bike, $699.95
7 If it’s broke, fix it.
The Educated Owner’s “Fly-Away” Tool Kit was developed especially for aviators and includes everything you need for emergency maintenance, such as safety-wire twisters, an aircraft spark-plug socket, a ratchet driver, vise grips, a screwdriver, a hex-wrench set and a flashlight, just to name a few.
And, if you’re looking for a pocket-sized tool, the Multi-Plier 700 Urban Legend from Gerber Tools includes all the necessities for small jobs, such as needle-nose pliers, a carbide cutter, a knife blade, scissors, several screwdrivers, a lanyard, a bottle opener and tweezers.
Price: Educated Owner’s “Fly-Away” Tool Kit, $119.95; Multi-Plier 700 Urban Legend, $83.20
8 Get the picture.
Who’s going to believe you actually flew cross-country if you don’t have the pictures? Minolta’s DiMAGE Xt is truly a “shirt pocket” camera, measuring only 3.4x2.6x0.8-inches and weighing a mere 4.2 ounces. Despite its small size, the DiMAGE Xt is equipped with 3.2 megapixels, houses a 12X zoom lens and features a lightning-fast 1.1-second startup time.
Resource: Minolta DiMAGE Xt, (800) 843-2489, www.circuitcity.com
9 Hands-off lighting.
Headlamp, hand-held flashlight, bike light or table lamp, the Photon Fusion LED Light does it all. Auto shutoff, a strobe, three levels of brightness and four colors of light are just a few of the many features of this versatile, water-resistant light.
Resource: Photon Fusion LED Light, (877) 584-6898, www.photonlight.com
10 Save yourself.
In case of a forced landing, the Two-Man V.I.P Survival Pack becomes a potential lifesaver. The 20-pound kit includes first aid and shelter equipment, fire and cooking supplies, signaling devices, food and water, and other emergency devices.
Resource: Two-Man V.I.P. Survival Pack, (877) 4-SPRUCE, www.aircraftspruce.com
11 Entertain yourself.
Music can make long cross-country trips literally fly away. The iPod MP3 Player stores up to 10,000 songs, fits in a shirt pocket and is lighter than two CDs put together. Slim earpieces slip under a pilot’s headset.
Now, you can hook your entertainment system into your headset with The Muse from PS Engineering. The circuitry decreases the volume whenever the radio or intercom becomes active, so ATC calls won’t be missed.
Price: 20 GB iPod MP3 Player, $499; The Muse, $199.95
12 Have a seat.
Relax at your destination with the Travel Chair Ultralight Arm Chair and enjoy an after-landing beverage while resting it in the built-in beverage holders. The chair opens and folds in a flash and weighs just over six pounds.
Resource: Travel Chair Ultralight Arm Chair, (800) 426-4840, www.rei.com
13 Work with the wrist.
The T1 Flight Computer Watch from Torgoen can be used to calculate time, distance and speed equations, or any other mathematical conversion in a snap. Choose between a black or white mineral crystal dial, and stainless steel or leather strap.
Resource: T1 Flight Computer Watch, (201) 560-0101, www.torgoen.com
14 No messing around.
Designed to work for men, women and children, the Travel John could prevent a major mess in the cockpit. The urine is instantly turned into gel, preventing it from leaking or spilling, even if the bag is punctured.
Price: $5.95 for a three-pack
Resource: Travel John, (800) SPORTYS, www.sportys.com
15 Entertain your passengers.
Sharper Image Design’s new Personal Entertainment Center is a book-sized portable machine that lets your passengers choose from several features, such as a movie on DVD, sports on TV, music on CD, news on the radio and any of 20 relaxing sound-soothing functions.
Resource: Personal Entertainment Center, (800) 344-4444, www.sharperimage.com
16 Take a closer look.
Nikon’s Eagleview Zoom II Binoculars gives a crystal-clear, close-up view of any points of interest along the route with 8X to 24X magnification. They work great with or without eyeglasses.
Resource: Eagleview Zoom II, (800) 426-4840, www.rei.com