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Sunday, January 1, 2006

Year In Review


A salute to the most important developments and events of 2005


Ready or not, here comes a new year in aviation. And if 2005 is any indication of what we can expect, 2006 should be nothing less than remarkable. In the last year alone, general aviation (GA) has seen an unprecedented boom in new types of aircraft, pilots and technology. So here’s a recap of what made 2005 special— highlighting the most important developments—with an exclusive look at what we can anticipate in 2006.

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2006 Outlook
Avidyne’s FlightMax Entegra will appear in the Adam A500, which starts deliveries in 2006. The Entegra-equipped A700 will soon follow. The Avio, Avidyne’s next-generation integrated flight deck, will appear in the Eclipse 500.

Garmin likewise made plans of its own. Both the Cessna Skyhawk 172S and Tiger AG-5B received FAA type certification to fly with the G1000. Quest Aircraft has also selected the G1000 as standard equipment on the KODIAK, a turbine STOL aircraft with a Pratt & Whitney PT6 750 shp engine.

2006 Outlook
Raytheon expects certification of the Beech Bonanza G36 and the Baron G58 with Garmin G1000 glass panels. The Quest KODIAK plans on coming to market in early 2006 with the G1000 as well.

Garmin also added near-real-time XM WX and radio to the G1000 using its GDL 69A Data Link Receiver, a new remote sensor that brings weather information and audio entertainment to the cockpit. It appeared on all Cessna single-engine aircraft (except the 172 GA aircraft), the Tiger AG-5B and Mooney GX models.

2006 Outlook
Mooney will celebrate its 60th year with a special edition of its Ovation and Bravo lines.

Safety First
Safety features unlike those we’ve ever seen before also made their presence known in 2005. The AmSafe Aviation Inflatable Restraint (AAIR) system and airbags were offered as standard equipment on all new Cessna 172s, 182s and 206s, Mooney’s Ovation 2 and Bravo GX aircraft, and the Tiger AG-5B. The company also received an STC to install the AAIR system on Mooney’s M20K, M20M, M20R and M20S models. The system deploys much like an automotive airbag, using a three-point restraint system that the company claims minimizes head and neck injury.

Ever since Cirrus made the BRS parachute system standard equipment on its SR20s and SR22s, consumers and airframe manufacturers have taken notice. Flight Design, which produces the Flight Design CT, a certified LSA, and Symphony Aircraft, makers of the two-seat SA160, will offer it as an option to customers.

2006 Outlook
Expect a continuing series of press releases throughout the year from a variety of manufacturers announcing the addition of airframe parachutes.

New icing protection systems also made their mark in 2005. New Piper announced its Piper Inadvertent Icing Protection System (PIIPS) as optional equipment on its Saratoga II HP, Saratoga II TC, Piper 6X and Piper 6XT. Based on the TKS weeping-wing technology, the system pumps a glycol-based fluid onto the leading edge of the wings, horizontal stabilizer and propeller, and is controlled by the pilot with just a push of a toggle switch.

Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing (CAM) also came out with a deicing system called E-vade. The $25,000 option started shipping in the latter part of 2005, with retrofits in the works for older Columbias. The company also came out with its new “set and forget” climate-control system that allows pilots to set their desired cabin temperature using a digital display on the panel.





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