Garmin G5 Low-Cost Attitude Replacement
The hottest product in aviation right now is the Garmin G5, a standalone, plug-and-play attitude indicator that sells for $2,100. The instrument was developed from Garmin’s offering in the Experimental market, but it’s FAA-certified to be installed in hundreds of models of certified airplanes. Why is the product so important, and why will a lot of you want one? The short and sweet answer is that the G5 will immediately give pilots of vintage airplanes a digital attitude source—say goodbye to your vacuum pump worries—while offering pilots of glass panel planes a backup/standby source. Part of the magic of the G5 is that Garmin designed it to be installed in a certified plane by a professional shop—no DYI’ers, in this case—in a matter of an hour or less. To underscore this fact, Garmin ran a video of the instrument being installed by one technician in a vintage Grumman American single at AirVenture. Because there’s no panel cutting involved, the avionics tech was able to simply remove the old instrument and plug in and button up the new one.
The Experimental version of the G5 (and the G5 itself) is a multifunction instrument, but as a certified instrument it’s only an attitude indicator. So the other elements—airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and skid/slip—aren’t technically certificated as part of the instrument. Neither are they prohibited from being in the panel. They are, in a sense, value-added data, though they’re not to be used as a primary reference. The G5 was not yet shipping by mid-August, but should be available for purchase by the time you read this. garmin.com
This rugged duffel bag may have backcountry looks, but it’s a fully functional cockpit companion, whether you’re flying a light jet or a seaplane. The Bush Pilot Bag ($139.95) has room for an extra headset and protective pockets for expensive aviation gear, but it’s also suitable for use as a travel bag, with plenty of space for extra clothes or other miscellaneous items that don’t stay in the plane. The canvas bag has leather accents, and inside has the signature Flight Outfitters orange lining, making it easy to find gear in a dark cockpit. There are two large, padded side pockets for headsets, and the large front zip pocket has four organization pockets for smaller accessories. The Bush Pilot Bag also features a pass-through strap on the back to slide over rolling luggage handles, plus a leather shoulder strap pad. flightoutfitters.com
Keeping iPads Cool In The Cockpit
The X-Naut Active Cooling Mount ($199.99) is a great solution to a common problem: preventing our iPads from overheating and shutting down at a critical time in the cockpit. The lightweight mount utilizes quiet, built-in, avionics-grade fans to circulate cool air directly to the iPad’s main hot spots. Powered by 8 AA batteries with a 10-hour runtime or a micro USB cable, the X-Naut features a spring-loaded latch that makes loading your iPad easy and keeps it secure. The electronics are dust and moisture resistant. Compatible with MYGOFLIGHT and RAM mounts, it can be converted to a 360º rotating kneeboard. For iPad Air 1/2 and iPad Pro 9.7”. An iPad mini system ($179.99) is available. x-naut.com
AeroLEDs has introduced two new PMA-certified lights—the SunSpot 4596 landing light ($650 each) and SunSpot 4587 taxi light ($650 each). The 4596 is a drop-in replacement for the 250-watt GE4596 bulb, while the 4587 is a drop-in replacement for the 250-watt GE4587 bulb. The SunSpots draw only 100 watts of power each. Featuring built-in thermal protection and polycarbonate lens material, the lights have a voltage range of 28VDC at 3.5 amps max current draw. Total LED count is 15, with 6000+ total LED lumens. Temperature range is -55º C to +70º C. Weighing 10 ounces each, both lights have a height and width of 4.4 inches (diameter/round) with a depth of 1.86 inches. Rated life is 50,000 hours. aircraftspruce.com
“Roadside Assistance” Plan From Sporty’s
For pilots who worry about getting stranded by a mechanical problem at an airport far from home, Sporty’s has a new plan, called the Breakdown Assistance Program, designed to give pilots the kind of concierge assistance they need in just such a case. The program, available at sportys.com, lets members call for help and take advantage of the wisdom of the Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management network in determining whether or not it’s safe to fly with the problem. If it’s not and the diagnosis is “fix it now,” the on-duty AP/IA on the other end of the cell phone line will connect you with help as fast and easy as possible.
The program is surprisingly affordable—$149 for piston singles, $199 for piston twins and $299 for single-engine turboprops. There are understandable restrictions. Among them, the breakdown must take place at least 50 miles from your home airport, the airplane must be one you operate on your own (no charter or rental planes), and the service isn’t for regular maintenance, like oil changes or inspections. Finally, there’s a 48-hour waiting period for service activation, so owners won’t be tempted to sign up only after they’ve suffered a breakdown.
While the program doesn’t pay for the parts or labor for any required repairs (how could it for these prices?), what it does provide is in some ways even more valuable: providing pilots who find themselves in a bind far from home some savvy mechanical advice and resource guidance so the pilot can go from being stuck somewhere to flying off again with as little fuss, worry and downtime as possible.