"Gear Of The Year": Twin Star, Garmin GPS

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Aviation Consumer (AVweb's sister publication) named Diamond Aircraft's DA42 Twin Star as its "Airplane of the Year" in the August 2006 issue. The magazine was impressed with Diamond's use of Theilert aerodiesel engines, especially with the price of 100LL reportedly peaking above $7 per gallon in some areas. According to Aviation Consumer, the aircraft addresses the "head-in-the-sand blind hope that fuel prices will somehow decline again." The Twin Star "has decent cruise speed [172 knots], a comfortable cabin and exceptional economy [12.5 gph of Jet A]. If the future of GA lies in more efficient airplanes and powerplants, Diamond is leading the way." Product of the Year was the Garmin GPSMAP396, and other favorites were chosen from airport bikes, EFIS displays and more. The 396 was chosen as the "most capable portable GPS ever marketed," with a note to watch out for its successor, the 496, which was unveiled at EAA AirVenture last month. Other favorites were the Dahon Helios bike, Chelton's Flight Logic and more.