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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PDA-Based Moving Map Solutions
HP 5915 With Anywhere Map:
Anywhere Map offers a full suite of portable, modular avionics including navigation, XM datalink weather, approach plates (NACO and Jeppesen), traffic avoidance using the Zaon XRX and even fuel prices from Anywhere Map’s Website. The support for displaying electronic approach plates, XM weather and Zaon XRX traffic are available as options. Anywhere Map has many exclusive features such as Cones of Safety and Emergency Descent Assistance. With Cones of Safety, a ring is drawn around suitable airports representing the no-wind gliding distance. With the Emergency Descent Assistance, the pilot can quickly select an airport to glide to while Anywhere Map displays an arc showing the distance to field elevation at the current descent rate and groundspeed. The HP 5915 Travel Companion is the latest PDA and best one ever made. This is the first PDA with a built-in GPS and four hours of totally wireless operation. It also has a sunlight-readable touch screen and TomTom street mapping for all of North America. Anywhere Map also runs on tablet computers such as the Motion LS800, and the company offers many exclusive accessories for those systems. For more information, visit

TeleType GPS Pro Aviation Software:
TeleType offers software and mapping for both aviation and car navigation. The company produces software bundles with Sirf III Bluetooth GPS for excellent positioning accuracy. The TeleType GPS software includes U.S. street maps for navigation on the ground as well as the complete aviation complement of maps for VFR and IFR reference. Along with the TeleType Aviation navigation software, the company includes an E6B flight calculator and utilities. The aviation software includes support for Victor and Jet Airways, Airspace and navaids, terminal procedures and terrain avoidance. The software runs on a PDA that must be purchased separately. The Teletype GPS 20 Channel Sirf III Bluetooth receiver has enhanced functionalities to provide fast lock-in. The Bluetooth wireless operates up to 30 feet between GPS receiver and PDA. The replaceable Li-Ion rechargeable batteries last up to 10 hours of use! The small, sleek, lightweight GPS easily fits in the palm of your hand or your shirt pocket, and the “grip” padding on the bottom allows the receiver to stay put! It has a WAAS-enabled, 20-channel receiver with enhanced position accuracy. For more information, visit

Portable GPS Units

This belongs to the new generation of portable navigation systems for the aeronautical market. EKP features a seven-inch, color, LCD display that’s sunlight-viewable. Menu keys are strategically positioned along the sides of the case to support easy switching between portrait and landscape modes. The EKP-IV utilizes a 512 MB compact flash. The cartography is fully detailed and integrates regional road charts, Jeppesen’s aeronautical database and the FAA’s Private Airport Database. Support is provided to display the Low (Victor) Airways and TAWS function. Multiple views are supported, including full or split HSI screens with data fields, nav data or full-map view. The land elevation is color-coded to show the terrain altitude. The EKP-IV comes with a cigarette-lighter power cord and will operate on 11 to 35 volts DC. It uses six AA rechargeable NiMH batteries intended for up to 1.5 hours of emergency use. The EKP-IV comes with an internal Sirf Star III 20-channel GPS receiver. AvMap plans to add optional support for XM weather in the near future. For more information, visit

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