Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 12 Tech


With aviation and technology merged forever, we take a look at what’s coming to a cockpit near you


AvMap GeoPilot II Plus
AvMap introduced the world to the seven-inch display on portable GPS units. Still an innovator, AvMap brings us the upgraded GeoPilot II. A new 300 MHz processor makes the unit faster than before, and it’s a true portable, sporting a five-inch display. The unit can store 15 flight plans with 100 legs each, and it allows pilots to download stored waypoint data to Google Earth for viewing—a great feature for student pilots. The GeoPilot II comes with a simulator mode with speed and heading, and includes new picture-management software that allows users to store airport or other photos. It also includes editable checklists to do away with cockpit clutter. Price: $799. Contact: www.avmap.us.

Bendix/King AV8OR ACE
One of the ACE’s unique features is its useful touch-screen interface. It’s intuitive right out of the box, and the tapping action feels satisfying. What else sets this unit apart? For one thing, it’s available with both aviation and automobile databases, and the driving mode is superb. The built-in multimedia interface allows users to listen to music or watch movies, and it also functions as a chart and e-book reader. The unique Smart-Profile display shows vertical terrain profiles, and the unit interfaces with traffic-avoidance receivers and XM satellite products. It even has a built-in Bluetooth interface for your cell phone. Price: $1,890. Contact: www.bendixking.com/AV8OR/ACE.

Dynon SkyView
Dynon Avionics has introduced a full-function glass panel for LSA with a price tag under $4,000. The new SkyView comes standard with PFD, synthetic vision and terrain mapping. For $600 more, you can add an engine-monitoring module and sensors to make the unit a fully rounded glass panel. SkyView will soon come with integrated autopilot software (at no extra charge), and will work as a two-axis autopilot with the addition of pitch-and-roll servos. The seven-inch display can be upgraded to dual 10-inch displays with a backup battery. Price: $3,900. Contact: www.dynonavionics.com.

Electronics International MVP-50P
The MVP-50P is now TSO’d and STC’d! The unit really is a systems manager in that it displays a lot more information than just engine performance. The MVP-50P offers onboard data recording, giving pilots a complete, downloadable history of every flight. Three buttons and a knob mounted below the crisp display screen allow navigation through various screens that monitor dozens of parameters. The unique System Screen allows monitoring of flap, trim and rudder settings. Flight-plan capability also makes the unit a full-function cockpit organizer. Price: $4,995. Contact: www.buy-ei.com.

Garmin GPSMAP 696
Garmin hits it out of the park with this one. Sure, it seems that all GPS units are starting to look and feel the same, but this one introduces some innovations to make it stand out from the fray. Much more than a navigator, the 696 is a true all-in-one multifunction aviation device. Highlights include a full seven-inch, daylight-readable display that lets you see an entire approach chart. The FliteCharts capability gives the unit Class 1/Class 2 EFB capability with an IFR map mode that selects the right approach chart based on your flight plan. Other useful tools include SafeTaxi diagrams, a unique joystick for navigating the options, and a Smart Airspace feature that automatically highlights airspace ahead of you and deemphasizes what’s behind you. Price: $3,595. Contact: www.garmin.com.

Hilton Software WingX 3.6 For iPhone
Even if WingX had not been named one of the best aero software products at Oshkosh, we’d still think it was cool. This software app for your smartphone is revolutionizing flight planning. Version 3.6 brings the leading product to the iPhone and adds high-quality, animated DUATS weather images; GPS-enabled moving-map terrain displays; route line and identifiers; moving airspace display (including special-use airspace); and integration with AOPA’s Airport Directory. One of the neatest additions is integration with yelp.com for restaurant and hotel reviews. Various versions are available for BlackBerry and other smartphones. Price: $99. Contact: www.hiltonsoftware.com.



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