Plane & Pilot
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Great Handheld Gadgets!


Glass-cockpit functionality in a carry-on package


Great Handheld GadgetsMost airplanes in the general aviation fleet were built more than 20 years ago and have old-fashioned “steam gauge” panels that induce glass-cockpit envy among pilots who get a peek at the latest flight decks from such companies as Avidyne, Chelton and Garmin. Fortunately, there’s an amazingly simple cure: A wide range of carry-on gadgets are available that provide glass-cockpit functions in a handheld package. In this issue, we briefly cover more than a dozen products that span the gamut, from simple digital E6B computers to full-function portable multi-function displays!
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Production Software eFAD 1.31
Electronic Facilities & Airport Directory (eFAD) features airport and navaid information, runways, Land and Hold Short Operations, ILS, pilot-controlled lighting, control tower information and weather data (including METAR/TAF, winds aloft, pilot reports and NEXRAD radar graphics). Among other things, airport information includes FBOs, repair stations, parachute-jumping areas, FAA Flight Standards Offices and Flight Service Stations, NOTAMs, special-use airspace, airline service, NTSB reports, tail numbers, approach charts and diagrams, E6-B functions, an aviation dictionary, Federal Aviation Regulations, traffic statistics, location maps, en route radio stations and travel information (including transportation, lodging and restaurants). Suggested price is $79.99 for a one-year subscription.
Contact: www.pspda.com, (800) 818-1168.

ASA CX-2 Pathfinder Flight Computer
Why struggle with an old-fashioned analog E6B when you can have a bright digital display? ASA’s CX-2 offers standard E6B functions, such as true airspeed, groundspeed, Mach number, density altitude, fuel calculations, headings and courses, time/speed/distance calculations and wind, as well as weight and balance. It runs on four AAA batteries, and is accepted for use in FAA and Canadian aviation exams. Suggested price is $79.95.
Contact: www.asa2fly.com, (800) 272-2359.

ASA Flight Timer 2
While many pilots wear an oversized “pilot watch” with chronometer functions, a rough day in the soup is the wrong time to squint at your wrist, trying to figure out which button to push. ASA’s Flight Timer 2 is a dedicated pilot’s timer with a large backlit display, local and Zulu time, three simultaneous timers, digital notepad function for squawk codes and frequencies, up to 12 memorized approach times, audible and visible alarms, fuel timer and a 10th and 100th of a second stopwatch. The suggested price is $49.95.
Contact: www.asa2fly.com, (800) 272-2359.

Jeppesen NavSuite
Since the 1930s, airline pilots have relied on Jeppesen’s loose-leaf airway manual for en route and approach navigation. Today, Jeppesen’s navigational database is available in state-of-the-art software that combines flight-planning, electronic-charting and moving-map functionality. Based on Jeppesen’s worldwide database of terrain, navaids, special-use airspace, airports and other relevant data, NavSuite provides electronic access to VFR and IFR en route charts, approach plates, approach and departure procedures, airport diagrams and much more. It’s compatible with Windows-based PCs for use on the ground, and Windows-based Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) hardware in the air. Prices vary depending on coverage and are generally comparable to those of paper chart subscriptions.
Contact: www.jeppesen.com, (800) 621-5377.

King Schools Pocket PC E6B Software
King’s Pocket PC E6B Software turns Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system into a graphical E6B with some 40 flight-related features including graphical weight and balance, density altitude, speed, distance, Zulu time conversions and dual independent timers that operate in both countdown and elapsed-time modes. Suggested price is $49.95.
Contact: www.kingschools.com, (800) 854-1001.

Garmin GPSMAP 496
Garmin calls their amazing GPSMAP 496 a “mini-MFD,” and it certainly offers a plethora of features more commonly seen on MFDs in modern glass-cockpit aircraft, including 12-channel GPS-WAAS navigation, moving map, terrain and a simulated control panel that provides emergency instrumentation. Other features include complete databases of navaids, airways, Garmin’s exclusive SafeTaxi feature for more than 650 U.S. airports and data from AOPA’s airport directory. The unit can display weather data from an optional XM Satellite Radio receiver—all in a package that weighs less than one pound. Suggested price is $2,995.
Contact: www.garmin.com, (800) 800-1020.

Digital Cyclone Pilot My-Cast
Up-to-date weather is critical for every pilot, and with Pilot My-Cast, a customized aviation weather report is as close as your cellular phone. Features include animated color NEXRAD Doppler radar, METARs, TAFs, satellite loops, moving weather maps, TFRs, AIRMETs, SIGMETs, PIREPs, winds aloft and even lightning data. A subscription costs $12.95 per month plus a $9.95 setup fee or $129.95 per year.
Contact: www.my-cast.com, (866) 669-2278.





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