Plane & Pilot
Friday, November 1, 2013

Fab Fall Mini Roundup

A new powerplant, LSA, air-conditioner, avionics and iPad apps for your Santa’s list

What red-blooded stick jockey doesn't get his or her "need for speed" jollies met by the debut of a new, beautiful engine package?

French engine maker SMA/Safran, which brought smiles to motorphiles with its four-cylinder diesel SMA SR305-230E a year ago, now pops eyeballs with its new six-cylinder diesel offering, the SR460.

The SR460 powerplant (460 cu. in./7.5 l...hey, can I put one in my 1965 Cobra car kit?) should debut in high-profile airframes soon. The company so far remains coy as to which ones, since it's reportedly still in negotiation with several GA single and twin-engine airframe OEMs.

The compact, low-profile package comes in at 595 pounds and delivers 330 to 400 hp depending on configuration. Maximum ceiling is spec'd at 25,000 feet—with full power promised up through 10,000 feet MSL. That'll work!

There are the two turbochargers mounted behind the engine. The kerosene-fueled mill sports camshaft-driven fuel injection pumps. A single-stick digital engine control system simplifies cocokpit ops for pilots and boosts fuel economy.

The engine will weigh 595 pounds dry and deliver 330 to 400 hp. Maximum ceiling is 25,000 feet, and full power will be delivered up to 10,000 feet MSL.
FAA and European EASA certification are expected by 2015 with first deliveries planned for that year. Contact:

ARINC Direct Xplore is a new mobile onboard satellite communications module that's controlled by an Apple iPad, and brings data services to pilots and passengers on larger GA business aircraft.

It taps into ARINC's subscription ($750/month) Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) digital datalink network for transmission of short, relatively simple messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite.

The Xplore is small: just two inches thick and about the width of an iPad. It's completely portable: no installation is needed.

Users connect the unit to aircraft power and an external antenna to access Iridium satellites.

The Xplore comes loaded with features, including:
access to ARINC Direct's ACARS communications system for pilot iPad display
moving map
easier to use than a typical FMS interface
instant messaging/texting, text-based email and air-to-ground, high-quality VOIP (voice over IP) phone calling for passengers with smart phones or iPads
graphical and textual weather display
Notams, Metars, Tafs info, not restricted to the current leg of a flight plan
Arinc Direct full lightning database
flight planning and changes to flight plans
predeparture and oceanic clearances
instant Messaging and SMS capabilities
managed Blackberry email

Price: $25,000 (Xplore module). STC'd Iridium/GPS antenna installation: approx. $5,000. Contact:


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