Sandia SAI 340 Quattro Plus
The SAI 340 Quattro Plus ($3,595) is an upgrade on Sandia’s SAI 340 Quattro. With the FAA recently granting TSO authorization for (i)VSI—instantaneous Vertical Speed—the SAI 340 Quattro Plus gives nearly immediate vertical speed indications in both digital and tape formats. The SAI 340 is a stand-alone attitude indicator.
In addition to (i)VSI, it provides airspeed, attitude, altitude and slip indications. It’s designed to act as a backup for glass cockpits or as a steam gauge replacement in older aircraft. Its internal battery is capable of powering the device for two hours in the event of aircraft power loss. Owners of the original SAI Quattro can contact Sandia for information on upgrading their systems with the Quattro Plus software.
Learn more at Sandia Aerospace.
Flight Gear HP Tailwind Backpack
How best to carry everything you might need for a flight is a question all pilots run up against. The Flight Gear HP Tailwind Backpack ($99.95) offers a nice balance between easily portable and roomy enough for all the necessary equipment. In addition to a headset hanger and external pockets for fuel testers and flashlights, this backpack has padded sleeves for your computer and iPad. The HP Tailwind has pockets for everything. Exterior pockets have enough room for water bottles or backup radios. There’s even a felt-lined pocket for items that need a bit of protection and another with a key holder.
On the inside, there are mesh loops for hanging small equipment or attaching carabineers and straps. The padded shoulder straps have quick-pull loops for easy adjustment. The HP Tailwind is designed to have a highly visible interior so small things don’t get lost in the corners. It’s also customizable. You can add and remove specially designed Gear Mod pockets to help keep your equipment organized and separated. The Gear Mods can also attach to some Flight Gear kneeboards for easy-access storage.
Learn more at Sporty's Pilot Shop.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan, especially if you’re going to travel a bit more off the grid. With the ACR ResQLink+ personal locator beacon (PLB) ($279.95), you don’t have to rely solely on the ELT in the event of an emergency landing. The ResQLink+ is designed to bring help right to you. Using GPS positioning, a 406 MHz signal and 121.5 MHz homing capability, this device can guide rescuers to within 100 meters of your position. The ResQLink+ can broadcast for about 30 hours.
If you end up needing to signal approaching assistance at night, it also has a bright LED strobe light. The ResQLink+ doesn’t require any kind of subscription fee, and if you end up having to use your PLB, the company will replace it for no charge. In the event of a water landing, the ResQLink+ is buoyant. It weighs in at only 4.6 ounces and has self- and GPS-test functions so you can make sure everything is working properly without alerting the rescue squad. Pay attention to which model you’re buying: They’re country-specific.
Learn more at Aircraft Spruce.
Casio Gravity Master Aviation Watch
The easy-to-read and impossible-to-lose Gravity Master Aviation Watch by Casio ($250) is made for flying. It can measure temperature, act as a timer or a stopwatch, and can be calibrated for 31 time zones (daylight savings, too). The Digital Compass Mode allows the wearer to turn their time-keeper into a direction finder. You can even temporarily save a compass reading for later reference.
Along with the usual watch options like alarms (five of them) and a calendar (good through 2099), the Gravity Master will also help if you need to fly at night. It comes with a black light LED that will illuminate the numbers and hands of the watch face without needing to resort to night vision-altering light sources. The Gravity Master shows readings in both digital and analog, and comes in a variety of eye-catching colors. It’s also water- and shock-resistant.
Learn more at Pilot Mall.
Garmin aera 796
The Garmin aera 796 GPS ($1,699) is not only a Class I/II electronic flight bag, it’s also Garmin’s first handheld to offer their 3D Vision technology. 3D Vision creates a virtual image of surrounding terrain, obstacles, runways and more using the unit’s database and GPS location. The program shades obstacles green, amber or red to indicate areas of potential conflict along the aircraft’s route.
In addition to the 3D Vision mode, you can also get a top-down view of your route. The aera 796 comes preloaded with VFR sectionals and IFR enroute charts. It can show your aircraft’s position directly on the relevant chart. This 7-inch touch-screen device is designed to fit either on the yoke or on a kneeboard. There are plenty of add-on options for the aera 796, from ADS-B traffic to high-resolution weather and radio.
Learn more at Garmin.