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Aircraft Accessories

What are pilots saying about the latest aircraft accessories? Our flight accessory and electronics reviews shed light on some of the latest electronics for pilots.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spidertracks Aviator & FleetPro


Portable Satellite Tracking Solutions



Spidertracks Aviator & FleetProWhen you’re flying over rough terrain or desolate areas, you tend to have certain thoughts.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 New iPad Apps!


Turn your iPad into the ultimate cockpit resource



20 New iPad Apps!The iPad is slick, dazzling and infinitely upgradeable, with over 100,000 applications in Apple’s App Store.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aspen Glow


With Aspen Avionics’ multi-unit flight display, you can go all-glass on a budget



Aspen GlowThe last of the AeroShell Aerobatic Team T-6s lets out a sonorous belch as its propeller spins to a stop, and I walk up to its hefty wing to meet Gene McNeely, slot pilot for the team.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Garmin Aera


Touch screen comes to GPS



Garmin AeraPilots tend to be a fairly ethnocentric bunch. We think the world revolves around (under) us, and if it doesn’t, we all know it should.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SolidFX FX10


Portable aviation information manager



SolidFX FX10For years, U.S. instrument pilots have had a choice between charts from the FAA’s National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) and from Jeppesen, the overwhelming choice among commercial pilots.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spot Satellite GPS Messenger


The next-generation tracker arrives



Spot Satellite GPS MessengerOn long cross-country flights, I always bring my Spot Personal Tracker along.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

AV8OR Ace


With its touch-screen interface and loads of new features, the AV8OR Ace is a winner



AV8OR AceWe’ve reached the point in aviation GPS technology where we’re no longer comparing “bad” units to “good” ones. Instead, we examine a unit’s overall look and feel (i.e., its quirks, nuances and exclusive features) to see if it fits our specific needs—the quality of the unit is a given.
Monday, October 26, 2009

FlightPrep ChartBook


A digital replacement for most cockpit paper (but keep your clearance pad!)



FlightPrep ChartBookOver the years, we’ve reviewed quite a few electronic flight bags (EFBs) and other devices that have claimed to eliminate paper from the cockpit.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PilotPlates & Reader Plates


Approach plates meet electronic books



PilotPlates & Reader PlatesTen years ago, I started off on my first really long cross-country trip: a two-week flying vacation from my home base in Modesto, Calif., to Parkersburg, W.V. I literally started out with a suitcase full of charts, including approach plates for the entire route.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beyerdynamic HS 600 DANR Headset


Advanced noise reduction from Germany



Beyerdynamic HS 600 DANR HeadsetThere still are a few older pilots who fly without headsets—and most have hearing damage as a direct result.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Qref Books & Checklists


Quick reference for your GPS



Qref Books & ChecklistsFor most general aviation pilots today, a GPS is standard equipment, whether it’s in the panel, on a yoke mount or in a flight bag as a backup device.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

VirtualHUD


Low-cost HUD–coming to a propeller near you



VirtualHUDWilliam Steele was working on developing a low-cost HUD (Heads Up Display) product when a eureka moment transpired
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avidyne Entegra Release 9 Integrated Flight Deck


The next-gen glass cockpit arrives



tech talkFor all their dazzling screen displays and computational wizardry, glass cockpits can be complex to learn and challenging to operate. Avidyne, which introduced the glass cockpit to general aviation in 2003, aims to change all that with its Entegra Release 9 Integrated Flight Deck, which is now nearing FAA certification.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The New Peltor 9500 Digital Headset


Peltor’s new headset aims for the cockpit



The New Peltor 9500 Digital HeadsetHeadsets are funny things. Even though there are scores of them on the market and their job is essentially the same, each headset has its own “personality” and unique feel. Among professional headsets, I’ve found that the “right” one is different for each individual wearer and is a matter of personal preference. It was with that fact in mind that I opened the package containing the brand-new Peltor ANR 9500 digital headset.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Honeywell Bendix/King AV8OR


GPS and weather in your hands



Honeywell Bendix/King AV8ORBy now, almost every pilot has had some experience with a portable GPS unit, and the AV8OR does everything that you’ve come to expect from these devices, and more. Bendix/King’s new MFD integrates GPS, navigation database, graphical terrain and XM weather into a single portable device. The affordable unit’s list price is $799, and the XM WxWorx weather receiver add-on is available for an additional $523 (though, through the end of 2009, the AV8OR includes a $200 rebate coupon for the receiver). The AV8OR has a beautiful, bright 4.3-inch diagonal display with 480x272-pixel resolution. The touch-screen interface is easy to use and provides excellent tap and double-tap access to information.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

JH Audio Aerous VX-Series Headsets


In-the-ear sound for audiophile aviators



tech talkFor most pilots, aviation headsets are a necessary evil. They protect your hearing from long-term damage due to engine noise and make it easier to hear passengers, other pilots and ATC on the radio. But most do so by clamping down hard over your ears to block out sound; if worn for more than a few hours, they can give you a headache. I started with the generic passive headsets sold at my flight school, and when I started making long cross-country flights (up to 10 hours in a day), I upgraded to somewhat lighter and more comfortable automatic noise reduction (ANR) models. With those, the clamping pressure is less, the background noise is cut down, and it takes longer for me to get a headache—but I still get it.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tech Talk: Spot Satellite Personal Tracker


It could save your life



tech talkMy first exposure to the Spot Satellite Messenger came on a rainy March afternoon when air show pilot Gene Soucy arrived at the NAS Meridian Air Show in Meridian, Miss., where we were both performing. Gene got out of his Showcat biplane, shook my hand and said, “hello,” then pulled a little orange device out of his pocket and hit a button. He explained that he had just checked in with his coperformer, Theresa Stokes, by sending her a message that he had arrived safely. I asked the obvious question, and he said, “It’s a Spot, man, you need to get a Spot.”
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tech Talk: Garmin G600 Glass Panel


Retrofit glass for steam-gauge six-packs



tech talkJust a few years ago, state-of-the-art instrument panels for GA aircraft included a traditional “six-pack” of flight instruments connected to a panel-mounted moving-map GPS. Those panels look dated in comparison to modern glass panels, which replace all flight instruments with a single primary flight display (PFD), and provide moving-map and other functions on a companion multi-function display (MFD).
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Control Vision Anywhere Map XP & ATC


Portable moving maps with weather



For years now, Control Vision has offered GPS moving-map software on portable devices based on assorted versions of Microsoft Windows. When I first looked at Anywhere Map, it ran on a Pocket PC and required cable connection to an external GPS; the result was a nice (but small) color moving-map display.
Monday, September 1, 2008

X-Plane 9.0 Flight Simulator


Better airplanes and scenery for your home computer



tech talkYou may view a home flight simulator as akin to a game. True, simulators can be fun to play with, but X-Plane is much more than a game. Twelve years ago, I bought X-Plane 1.0, the work of one pilot, aeronautical engineer and programmer, Austin Meyer.