Plane & Pilot
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.
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Portable GPS Units

AvMap EKP IV Pro: This advanced GPS navigator is an upgrade to the popular GeoPilot Plus. The original unit could be used for navigation in the air and, with appropriate surface-mapping software, on the ground. The unit has a clear and easy-to-read display of 5.6 inches. The upgraded Pro also has three preset search-and-rescue flight patterns that can be selected at the push of a key. The Pro can also access Tele Atlas Street Data. This unit is a natural for law-enforcement departments and any other organization that’s in the business of searching in the air or on the ground. Suggested Retail Price: $1,999. Contact: AvMap Navigation, (800) 363-2627,

Garmin GPSGarmin 496 GPS: Pilots thought the Garmin 396 was outstanding until they started using the new 496. Besides the normal duties of any advanced GPS, you can view your position on taxiways of the 650 airports that have been preloaded into the database. You can access the AOPA Airport Directory to look up rental cars, FBOs, local restaurants, local lodging and even local attractions. The 496 displays your flight route over contour terrain mapping, with alerts if you wander into danger. You also can add high-resolution weather with a subscription to XM WX Satellite Weather. Weather info includes NEXRAD, METARS, TAFs and even TFRs. When you add a Garmin Mode 5 transponder, the 496 will even alert you to surrounding traffic. Suggested Retail Price: $2,395. Contact: Garmin, (913) 397-8200,

Lowrance Airmap 2000 C GPS: This product won “Best Product of the Year” at 2007 EAA AirVenture. This GPS has a large, five-inch diagonal, 256-color TFT display. It features a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The cold cathode screen is backlit for nighttime viewing with fast refresh rates. The display has color-coded topographic terrain along with airspace and terrain features that show airspace, tower obstruction, imminent terrain and projected flight-path course line. It has a 12-parallel-channel GPS/WAAS receiver with fast, precise tracking. The unit offers a built-in antenna and remote amplifying. It displays positioning, altitude and velocity. It has an easy-to-access nearest-airport readout. Power is supplied by four AA batteries in the unit, or via the power receptacle on the instrument panel. This is a versatile GPS unit. Suggested Retail Price: $685. Contact: Lowrance, (800) 324-1356,


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