Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Staying Safe

A guide to gadgets that will keep you and your passengers secure

staying safeRemember when CB radios were actually useful? Like CBs and just about everything originally intended for emergency purposes, many of the safety items listed in this article are for situations of distress, where life, eyesight or organ health is in danger. Let’s all be careful and professional when using PLBs (personal locator beacons) and ELTs (emergency locator transmitters).
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staying safeVertex Standard VXA-220 Pro VI
Vertex Standard introduced its marine-cased VXA-220 Pro VI at EAA AirVenture 2007. Its ease of use, rugged construction (it’s submersible) and quick-operating features (such as one-touch 121.5 tuning, auto-tuning to NOAA’s National Weather Service, instant recognition of frequencies so you don’t have to type numbers, auto-squelch and voice activation) have made this inexpensive (advertised price is just above $200, street price is often lower) transceiver a hit. With 250 memory channels and a bright display, this NiMH-powered radio is smaller than most; and its large speaker is also quite loud—one of the happy byproducts of its marine heritage. It comes with a headset cable, drop-in charger and helical antenna; options include other chargers, a speaker-mic and antenna-installation adapters.
For more information, contact: Vertex Standard, (714) 827-7600,

staying safeZaon Flight Systems PCAS MRX
Zaon’s PCAS MRX—“the world’s smallest traffic alert device”—is a self-contained, portable traffic-alert system that runs for six to eight hours on a pair of AA batteries. Traffic that uses Mode C or Mode S transponders is monitored and relayed to the pilot with bright-red symbols that show their relative distances and altitudes, and indicates if the bogies are climbing or descending. As other aircraft approach, you receive three levels of notification; the ranges (including relative altitude) are pilot preferences within the unit’s operating sphere (useful for tuning your alerts in various levels of congested airspace). It’s great for renters or pilots with multiple aircraft, and it’s a real treat for CFIs who are always flying in high-traffic areas that are often populated with unpredictable flight ops.
For more information, contact: Zaon Flight Systems, (800) 496-9430,

staying safeWinslow LifeRaft
We spend a lot of money on things we don’t want to use—health insurance and gym membership, for instance—but we realize that life is unpredictable, so we prepare for the worst and count on that preparation to see us through. And so it is with life rafts (or their little brothers, “rescue rafts”). Winslow has a complete line of the highest-rated rafts in the business tailored to aviation—from “small and light” to “all the comforts of home” (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration). What you select depends on your probable routes, your aircraft’s capacity for people and cargo, certification and overflight requirements, how much floatation you think you’ll need, and the nature of…nature along your route.

The company’s Website and many professional users offer good advice on how to match the Winslow raft to your mission. In fact, Winslow will custom-pack a life raft to almost any shape to meet storage requirements.
For more information, contact: Winslow LifeRaft Company, (800) 838-3012,


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