Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Top Products

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

Plug & Play Avionics
No more expensive, complicated hand wiring of instrument components for you! Approach Systems teamed up with Park Rapids Avionics to create and market the Fast Stack modular wiring system for avionics components. The hubs are showing up in lots of airplanes these days, from GA to LSA to experimental, for both new and retrofit applications.

The system interconnects avionics components with a central plug-in hub through preconstructed cables. Most avionics units out there work with Fast Stack hub models. Which one you choose depends on the components you hook up in your own private flivver.

The Approach Pro-G Wiring System accommodates a Garmin-centric, IFR-loaded panel. The Approach Pro Hub and Cable System works with most avionics, from NAV/GPS/COM and audio panels to HSI, RMI and moving maps.

Custom-built cable harnesses have a DB type connector on one end and the avionics-specific target connector on the other, and are double shielded to avoid electronic ground looping. Visit

Flight Guide For The iPad
Flight Guide, the company that makes those indispensable little leather-bound books with fingertip access to tons of aviation information (airport listings, detailed airspace maps, navigational aids and so much more) has ported over its info-jammed guides to the new Apple iPad. The application (“app”) is called Flight Guide iEFB.

The lap-sized, portable, big-view iPad ought to be a perfect fit for gadget-loving pilots, as its touch-screen interface allows quick fingertip navigation to everything Flight Guides are famous for providing. There are three versions: VFR, IFR and PRO. The VFR version includes airport info as well as sectional and terminal area charts. All versions are georeferenced and can be zoomed in, just like on the iPhone, with two-finger pinch/drag interfacing. Very cool!

Similar to the iFly 700 GPS, by touching a specific airport on a sectional, you can call up airport diagrams with taxiways identified, airspace class graphics, NAV and COM frequencies, FBOs, fuel prices, food, lodging—yes, the information superhighway has come to the cockpit.

The app uses between 4 and 6 GB of iPad memory, and data subscriptions range from $9.95 to $19.95 monthly. Visit

Golden Baron
For good old GA robustitude, you can’t beat a Beechcraft Baron G58 twin. To celebrate the type’s 50th anniversary, Hawker Beechcraft offers a limited signature edition with some real “wow!” power. A luscious interior extreme makeover, four distinct paint schemes and high-performance Hartzell Scimitar props top the list of tantalizing goodies.

The regal Baron has racked up more than 6,700 sales since 1960, an auric success story to be sure. Some of the eye-candy accents of the golden-anniversary edition include 14K gold “Baron” and “50-year” emblems on the power quadrant and both control yokes. Matching leather seats and removable headrest covers carry the Beech shield, and leather-wrapped yokes, velvet carpeting, Rosen visors and top-o’-line Lightspeed Zulu headsets finish the presentation.

But it’s not just aesthetics. The Scimitar props come with unfeathering accumulators to boost performance. Two 300-horse Teledyne Continental IO-550 engines muscle the bird up to 202 knots at 6,000 feet, lifting a useful load of 1,504 pounds. Golden? You bet. Visit


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