Garmin Goes Titanium With D2 Bravo Pilot Watch: With new features and updated styling, Garmin’s latest pilot watch is a nice upgrade to a popular product
A couple of years ago, it looked as though newfangled smart watches were going to be a must-have item for every connected pilot. Turns out the interest in the technology far outweighed its actual appeal. While glorified step counters are selling like hotcakes at their mostly sensible price points, smart watches like Apple’s haven’t inspired consumers with anything resembling the passion they had for the company’s seminal iPhone and iPad products.
My argument is that consumers aren’t as sheepish as marketers think they are. In the case of both of those successful Apple products, the proof was in the utility. iPhones and iPads do a lot for you. Watches, as it turns out, aren’t yet as useful as everyone hoped they would be.
With the noteworthy exception of watches designed to do something very specific, like keep track of your running or…perhaps your flying?
The Garmin D2 Bravo, introduced just over a year ago, is that useful watch with noteworthy shortcomings. Some would say it’s too big, I would say it’s clunky looking, and still others might argue that it’s too expensive for what it does. One might make the same argument for the new D2 Bravo Titanium model, except for the second one. It’s pretty slick looking. With its gunmetal finish and steel band, the Titanium looks not just like a watch that’s worth what it costs ($899 retail price), but arguably even more.
As far as the “too big” complaint is concerned, I say hooey. Pilots for whatever reason really do seem to like big watches and are willing to pay for models costing many thousands of dollars from companies like Breitling and Bell & Ross, even though they’re essentially just watches.
The Titanium is about the same size and weight as the D2 Bravo—Garmin says the new model is lighter and thinner, but it’s not a dramatic difference. In terms of functionality, though, the Titanium has all the functions of its predecessor, including “Direct To” and “Nearest” functions, and it’s easy to access weather for whatever airport you might want to call up the data for.
You can sync METARs and TAFs with selected smartphones now that Garmin’s free software update is available. Owners of the D2 Bravo, which is still available, can upgrade to the new software for free, too.
One function not found on the earlier model is the heart rate sensor, which takes your pulse through the back of the watch bezel by listening to your wrist. There’s also a built-in adjustable baro altimeter, which can be programmed to give you altitude alerts, reminding when you get to 12,500 feet, for example.
Automated logging is all the rage these days, and the Garmin D2 Bravo Titanium can help with that, too, automatically logging your flights and then syncing with Garmin Pilot, the company’s fine iPad/iPhone and Android app. —Robert Goyer • garmin.com
Mountain Flying Of Another Kind
Pilots looking to stay mobile after flying into the
backcountryor on a weekend mountain getaway can carry the lightweight Montague Paratrooper Highline ($1,249). The rugged mountain bike weighs about 30 pounds and folds down in only 20 seconds to a 36x28x12-inch size, making it easy to stow.
It’s built for rough terrain, with a 2x10 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and fat 27.5-inch tires that provide superior rolling ability over obstacles. Like all Montague bikes, the Highline is designed to fit on the bus or train, and in the trunk, too.
Two frame sizes are available: 18 inches (for riders 5’7” to 5’11”) and 20 inches (for riders 6’0” to 6’4”). montaguebikes.com
Milestones Of Flight
A major renovation of the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall is underway at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and much of the exhibition’s history of flight can be explored in the new companion book, “Milestones of Flight: The Epic of Aviation with the National Air and Space Museum” (Zenith Press, 208 pages, $35).
The book illustrates these milestones with beautiful, large-scale photography and little-known facts, anecdotes and insights. Experience the world-class aviation collection, from the “Spirit of St. Louis” that Lindbergh piloted solo across the Atlantic to a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. Authored by Dr. Robert van der Linden, a leading expert on aviation and Chairman of the Aeronautics Department at the NASM, the book is a breathtaking profile of the advancements in flight.
Available from online retailers. quartoknows.com
Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet in the cockpit today, and these devices demand that you touch the screen to activate their talents. Of course, that inevitably leaves telltale fingerprints. Enter iCloth Avionics Wipes ($24.99/48-count), a soft Dupont Sontara material pre-moistened with purified water, isopropyl alcohol and proprietary ingredients to cut grease, specifically designed for cleaning any kind of glass or plastic screen.
The liquid doesn’t contain ethyl alcohol, ammonia or silicone, so it’s safe to use on any surface. The antistatic wipes are used by the airlines and approved by touch-screen manufacturers to clean flat-screen displays, and they’re appropriately large by eyeglass or screen-cleaner standards at 5.25x7.25 inches. Made in the USA, the wipes come in a variety of sizes and quantities. —Bill Cox iclothavionics.com
3-In-1 Flight Tool
The ThermoTorch 10 ($89.99) provides heat, light and power in the cockpit, whether running a winter preflight checklist in your 172 or navigating at night. This rugged tool features a tactical three-mode flashlight, hand warmer and portable power bank for personal electronics. Rated at a bright 300 lumens max, the flashlight uses a 5W LED bulb.
The hand warmer is good for a full day of heat (up to 10 hours) at temperatures up to 114°F, and the 10,000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery can charge smartphones and GPS devices multiple times, as well as completely charge most tablets. Dual-out ports allow for charging two devices simultaneously, and the auto-charge feature means no buttons to push. The housing is IP65-rated—water-resistant, dust-proof and drop-tested. sportys.com/pilotshop