Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Top Products


The flying/buying season is in full swing: Hop on board!


Lightspeed “R” Us
Lightspeed Aviation continues to give evidence that it’s more than a purveyor of quality aviation headsets. Sure, the company has won strong support from the market with its pared-down line of headsets. Its flagship Zulu is a top seller. And after discontinuing its midrange models, the company now re-addresses that segment with the new Sierra, a 16-ounce ANR headset with comfortable, plush ear seals and cups, and Bluetooth connectivity with your cell phone and music connection—most of the functions of the pricier Zulu.

But Lightspeed also addresses the human side of the equation. The company offers excellent customer service. Moreover, the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation gives grants of at least $10,000 to several charities that are nominated by customers, and donates up to $50 from every sale to worthy causes. Lightspeed even accepts trade-ins of headsets from competing companies! Visit www.lightspeedaviation.com.

Jet-A-Burning Piston Engine!
You don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to understand the potential benefits here: a piston engine that burns Jet-A fuel, has no magnetos nor spark plugs, is air-cooled, uses a single control lever and burns 9 gph (as an STC’d test Cessna 182 has amply demonstrated since 2006).

The SR 305-230 engine from SMA, a division of aviation giant Safran Group, addresses the lead-polluting avgas problem. For starters, it uses 30% to 40% less fuel, reduces maintenance, increases durability, enhances safety, is easier to fly and increases range.

The 227 hp SMA engine has lower noise and vibration than conventional engines. Computerized management helps its four-cylinder, four-stroke, turbocharged, horizontally opposed configuration to run efficiently. Designed to retrofit most 180 to 250 hp aircraft, the engine is targeting FAA certification soon.

Long-term fuel savings will be important: The conversion costs about $55,000 more than a comparable avgas burner replacement. Visit www.smaengines.com.



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