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Aviation Products

Get the scoop on the latest in aviation products and services. Read aviation product reviews on everything from handheld gadgets to the newest panel-based instruments.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lightspeed Zulu

So comfortable and quiet, you’ll want to experience it beyond the airplane

tech-talkI first learned about the Lightspeed Zulu from a friend at the Reno Air Races last September. He was as pleased as he could be, enough so that he seemed like a walking advertisement for the product. I was a little skeptical about the durability of a Lightspeed headset in my aerobatic Edge 540, but he insisted it was truly great and described a change that had occurred within the company. Lightspeed has always focused on providing a good value headset with great comfort and outstanding customer service, but now they have such a high-quality piece of equipment that there’s little need to use their world-class service department. The active noise-reduction (ANR) headset includes features such as Bluetooth wireless capability, an audio-in jack for MP3 players and leather ear seals.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 2008 Readback

readbackAviat Aircraft announced that the first Husky A-1C is on the flight line; it will be delivered to a buyer in Wichita, Kans. The new 200 hp model has strengthened main and tailwheel gear components and a total gross weight of 2,200 pounds. Other changes include a lowered angle of incidence for the horizontal stabilizer and a new tachometer.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Home Sims Fly To New Levels

Take off from your den!

home simsThe world of flight simulation has changed quite a bit since Edwin Link invented the first flight simulator in 1931; today, realistic simulation is available in packages that range from software that can run on a desktop computer up to multimillion-dollar systems used to train airline and military pilots.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Flight Guide Online

So much for so little

tech-talkFlight Guide Online, by Airguide Publications Inc., offers pilots a vast amount of information with their subscriptions. It’s also low in cost and physically small (it resides on your laptop, as if it were paper, but it’s not paper, it’s more convenient and has a lot more features).
Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 2008 Readback

readbackWith an auction bid of $26.4 million on November 28, 2007, Cessna Aircraft finalized its purchase of select assets of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which had declared bankruptcy. The Bend, Ore., factory will now carry the Cessna name and the Columbia low-wing, high-performance, all-composite, single-engine aircraft will be branded as the Cessna 350 and the Cessna 400. Cessna Parts Distribution and the company’s network of authorized dealers and service centers have already begun plans to integrate sales and support of the new Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 aircraft.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

A-Star Delivers Ballots

General Aviation brings election results home faster!

ballotsWhen the voting polls closed last night in California, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s aero department was set into motion. We joined them in an AS350-B2 Astar flying the ballots in sealed, locked bags, from the ramp at Santa Monica Airport to the counting station at the office of the Registrar Recorder in Norwalk. These shuttle flights were part of a larger network encompassing six general aviation airports, all aimed at bringing in election results as soon as possible.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mar-Apr 2008 On The Radar

radarIn late November 2007, Cessna’s bid for Bend, Oregon–based Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company was accepted, bringing the speedy Columbia 350 and 400 under the Cessna banner. As with all current Cessna products, Cessna Parts Distribution and the Cessna network of authorized dealers and service centers will take care of sales and support of the rebadged Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 aircraft.
Friday, February 1, 2008


Portable collision avoidance with direction

zaonZaon’s PCAS (portable collision-avoidance system) XRX is “the first ever portable, passive, stand-alone collision-avoidance system for general aviation to offer direction from within the cockpit.” After flight-testing one at four busy airports one recent Sunday afternoon, I can confirm that it does exactly what Zaon claims.
Friday, February 1, 2008

February 2008 Readback

readbackCirrus Design announced that its fleet surpassed a milestone of two million flight hours with just more than 3,500 aircraft. Cirrus likened this mileage to more than two round trips to the sun, or more than 15,000 trips around the world. “When we began development of the SR line, it was our intention to produce a product that gives our customers great utility, based on comfort, performance and, most importantly, safety,” said Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier. “Achieving the two million flight-hour mark demonstrates our commitment to our customers and determination to grow the industry.”
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Staying Safe

A guide to gadgets that will keep you and your passengers secure

staying safeRemember when CB radios were actually useful? Like CBs and just about everything originally intended for emergency purposes, many of the safety items listed in this article are for situations of distress, where life, eyesight or organ health is in danger. Let’s all be careful and professional when using PLBs (personal locator beacons) and ELTs (emergency locator transmitters).
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 2008 Readback

readbackLiberty announced the closing of a major debt financing, arranged by Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), which will allow the company to expand its production capacity. “The decision to raise finance was based on the strong worldwide demand for Liberty’s XL2 aircraft,” said the General Manager of Kuwait Finance House, Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat. “The finance is important, as it gives strength, stability and resources to Liberty, which will culminate in Liberty’s further success in aircraft sales.”
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Buyer’s Guide: The Active Pilot’s Flight Bag

Consider one of these exciting new products

garmin gpsFlight bags have certainly changed over the years, but what has changed most is what today’s pilots consider “must have.” My first flight bag was a military flying suit with pockets everywhere, each stuffed with some necessity.
Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 2007 Readback

readbackBritish race pilot Paul Bonhomme was victorious at the penultimate stop in the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series. More than 50,000 spectators gathered around the San Diego Bay as competing pilots sped around a challenging course marked by inflatable pylons. Bonhomme’s finishing time was 1:23:80; placing second was U.S. pilot and last year’s series winner Kirby Chambliss at 1:24:69, only fractions of a second behind. This year’s series champion will be determined in November at the final race in Perth, Australia.
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Handheld Avionics

Using portable gadgets to fly safer

handheld avionicsI’m sold on the concept that using portable avionics in the cockpit will make the flying experience safer and more convenient. As a flight instructor, I teach in aircraft with large differences in avionics, ranging from the latest and greatest in glass panels to ships with no radio or electrical system. Regardless, it’s always comforting to have my trusty Garmin GPSMAP 496 along for the flight to help with situational awareness and to have the latest weather at my fingertips.
Thursday, November 1, 2007

November 2007 Readback

readback opener After introducing the 300 Knot Club, Columbia began to receive photographic evidence from aircraft owners of groundspeeds in excess of 300 knots. The company has subsequently inducted these pilots into the club. “The 300 Knot Club is simply a way to celebrate what a purpose-built speedster can accomplish in the hands of a skilled aviator,” said Columbia Aircraft VP of Sales Randy Bollinger.
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nov-Dec 2007 On The Radar

XLS+ Completes First Flight

xls+ first flightThe latest version of the world’s best-selling business jet model, the Citation XLS+, recently completed its first flight. “With the flight progressing as planned and the aircraft performing as expected, this first flight was a great success,” said Cessna Citation XLS+ Program Manager Kevin Steinert. “The integration of the new Collins Pro Line 21 and Pratt & Whitney’s FADEC-equipped engines went smoothly, and we look forward to continuing this program on schedule.”
Monday, October 1, 2007

October 2007 Readback

oshkosh 2007More than 560,000 visitors and 10,000 airplanes flocked to Oshkosh, Wis., for EAA AirVenture 2007. There was something for everyone, including daily air shows featuring performers such as the Red Barons, Patty Wagstaff and Michael Goulian.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Products to Watch

Fly Faster, Smarter, Better And Safer

I love the aviation industry; it’s always innovating and producing newer and better things to help us fly faster/smarter/better/safer, etc. When Plane & Pilot asked me to subjectively investigate “what’s cool and what’s new,” I jumped at the prospect. So, here’s our take on what’s new, what’s cool and what’s on the horizon.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sept-Oct 2007 On The Radar

cirrus personal jetOn June 28, Cirrus Design Corporation finally lifted the veil on “the-jet,” the much-anticipated clean-sheet design for its “personal jet.” “We’re calling it a ‘personal jet’ not because of its size, but because it’s a natural extension of our SR22 line,” said Cirrus cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier. “Like the SR22, the-jet is designed to be owner flown, and it will be loaded with innovative features, including the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. While it’s technologically advanced, it’s also designed to be exceptionally easy to fly, offering customers the opportunity to grow into yet another lifestyle change with Cirrus.”
Sunday, July 1, 2007

July-Aug 2007 On The Radar

pilatus aircraftThe year 2006 was the best for Pilatus since the company was founded. They recorded a double-digit increase in number of aircraft sold; additionally, sales and operating income have been on an upward curve for the past four years. More than half the company’s sales (51%) were generated in North and South America, and more than a quarter (29.2%) in Europe, followed by Asia (9.2%), Australia (7%) and Africa (3.6%). In 2006, 102 aircraft were manufactured—13 more than in the previous year. With 90 aircraft, the PC-12 represented the highest proportion, followed by seven trainer aircraft and five Pilatus Porter PC-6s.