Plane & Pilot
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.
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Electronic Flight Bags
Advanced Data Research FG-7000T:
Advanced Data Research (ADR), a provider of electronic flight bags, offers the FG-7000T EFB Kit. The hardware is based on the Fujitsu P1610D tablet computer and can run any Windows-based software. The screen has been modified by ADR to provide wide-angle viewing with reduced reflection and enhanced brightness. Equally as important, ADR added two small buttons for convenient night-flight dimming control; this allows the screen to be dimmed down low enough for the pilot to view the electronic chart, then look out the cockpit window without losing night vision. Flight Command Software (FCS) is provided for in-flight operations; it offers checklists, program access, security against inadvertent deletion, a pop-up keyboard, pop-up pen calibration and a utilities button for commonly needed tasks. The EFB has an 8.9-inch WSVGA LCD with a touch screen (1280 x 768), a 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB standard. ADR’s Airserve WiFi Connect allows multiple EFBs to receive GPS and one system to receive weather data over 802.11b wireless technology. Both XM and WSI weather receivers are supported. An optional solid-state drive is available, which can operate up to 80,000 feet. For more information, visit www.adrsoft.com.

VistaNav CIS-2000:
Mercury Computer System’s VistaNav’s CIS-2000 Synthetic Vision displays 3-D “Highway-in-the-Sky” approaches, which allow the pilot to clearly “see” the approach path and runway environment in real time. VistaNav also includes 2-D maps and approach plates, as well as optional XM weather and 2-D/3-D traffic displays. The system is completely independent of the aircraft, providing an emergency battery-backup system that will provide 3-D approach guidance in the event of a vacuum, electrical or instrument failure. The CIS-2000 system is a portable Class II EFB with synthetic vision, including a WAAS GPS, solid-state gyros, barometric pressure sensor, and processing unit and display. The system comes standard with an extreme-environment 40 GB hard drive rated to 14,500 feet, or an optional 16 GB or 32 GB solid-state drive rated up to 40,000 feet. The VistaNav CIS-2000 system is capable of delivering synthetic vision frame rates of more than 30 frames per second. For more information, visit www.vistanav.com.

AirGator NAVPad 5 Bundle:
This new full-function electronic flight bag is enclosed in a 6.7x3.2x1-inch package, which weighs less than one pound. Unlike a PDA, it’s a full-function tablet PC with Windows XP and can run a full suite of applications designed for a PC. It has a built-in 600 MHz AMD Geode LX 900 processor and a 6 GB solid-state drive. The 4.8-inch display features 800 x 480 pixels and a touch screen TFT (thin film transistor) LCD with automatic rotation between portrait and landscape modes. It has a full QWERTY keypad with numbers and function keys, and an integrated 802.11b/g wireless. Included in the package is Bluetooth WAAS-enabled GPS, a Bluetooth XM WX receiver, NAVAir EFB software, and a single-wire 12/28-volt power harness. NAVAir Approaches are available as an option that contains all the approach charts for the United States. NAVAir Traffic supports the display of traffic from the portable ZAON XRX traffic receiver or from a Mode S transponder or TCAS. AirGator also provides a full suite of PDA and EFB solutions with screens up to 10.4 inches. For more information, visit www.airgator.com.

Hangar B17 WinEFIS Moving Map:
Hangar B17 provides WinEFIS Moving Map software for an XP tablet PC. WinEFIS Moving Map uses a map view with a heads-up styled display. Your airspeed is displayed on the left, altitude information on the right and track information at the top. Airspace at your altitude is highlighted. If you’re within 200 feet vertically of entering airspace, it’s highlighted in yellow as a warning. Smart Charts highlights an airport by enlarging its symbol when within the gliding range. When the nearest airport button is pressed, airports on the charts are marked green, yellow or red to differentiate between those that can be reached, are marginal or are unreachable. All airports and navaids that you fly over have pop-up airport information, which provides frequencies, runway diagrams, services and various remarks. The product offers optional XM WX weather with NEXRAD data. TAF and METAR data is provided for the selected airport and those within a 60 nm radius, sorted from nearest to farthest. This allows the pilot to get a good overview of the surface weather conditions with a single click, even for airports without weather.

The terrain features are high fidelity with each surface pixel representing about 500 square feet. This could be important in mountainous terrain. A new option announced at Oshkosh is support for the Zaon Traffic Collision Avoidance receiver. It overlays the map and can monitor up to nine targets and report on the top three priorities. For more information, visit www.hangarb17.com.




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