Gleim FIRC — Easy Does It »

Lately, things have become a lot easier for flight instructors in need of a refresher course. If, like Glenn Daly, you dislike freeways and crowds, and you're, shall we say, "thrifty," you might consider doing your next FIRC online. Read on for Glenn's first experience with Gleim's offering. More

Vacuum Pump Substitutes from $500 to $300,000 »

Flying around in a single-engine airplane usually means depending on its lone vacuum pump to turn some gyros. Even piston-powered twins have a weak link or two in their systems. Despite training in no-gyro procedures, recent high-profile accidents have demonstrated that failure of the vacuum system is both insidious and a bona fide emergency. In a follow-up to his recent article on vacuum system failures, AVweb's Scott Puddy takes a look at some of the choices available on today's market to back up your vacuum pump. There are a lot of options and a wide range of price points. Which is the best solution for you? More

LightSPEED's Hybrid Headset: The QFR Cross Country »

LightSPEED has dominated the ANR aviation headset market since it first broke the magic $500 price barrier in 1997. Four years later, that same $500 will buy you TWO of the company's QFR Cross Country headsets a lightweight design that combines the best of passive and active noise reduction technology. AVweb's editor-in-chief Mike Busch has put 10,000 nautical miles on LightSPEED's latest offering during the past few months, and found it to be thoroughly delightful and a truly astonishing value. More

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2002 PE »

For some years now, companies like Elite and Jeppesen have sold software that can power PC training devices on which students can actually log training time. Microsoft has sold a similar product for entertainment purposes. Well, look out Elite; watch it Jeppesen. Microsoft has upped its game with the issuance of the 2002 version of MSFS 2002 PE -- and sells it for around $70. Rob Guglielmetti takes it for a test flight in this product review. More

Big-Screen IFR: Garmin's GNS 530 »

Garmin touts its top-of-the-line GNS 530 as "the world's finest panel-mounted IFR navigation/communications system," and at $15,000 plus installation, it darned well better be! One glance at the 214-page owners manual makes it clear that this isn't your father's GPS. After flying behind one of these puppies for four months, AVweb's Mike Busch reports that the learning curve is steep but the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. If you fly serious IFR, he says, this box is truly the ultimate driving machine. Interface it to a Sandel SN3308 EHSI and an autopilot, and IFR flight becomes so automated that you may be tempted to curl up in back and take a nap! In this in-depth review of the GNS 530, Mike puts the big Garmin through its paces on a flight into and out of LAX, and invites you to ride along. NOTE: This article has a lot of large graphics -- be forwarned if you're on a dial-up Internet connection! More

JPI's FS-450: An End to an Aviator's Avgas Anxiety? »

Obtaining the maximum range from our aircraft can often be guesswork: "Did I lean this correctly? How much fuel was consumed in that climb to escape icing?" A digital fuel totalizer can help ease the anxiety of these and other questions. AVweb Special Projects Editor Dave Higdon recently installed a J.P. Instruments FS-450 fuel totalizer in his Comanche. Was it worth it? More

Malibu Meridian: Piper's Perfection? »

New Piper's current flagship product, the Malibu Meridian, is much more than simply bolting a PT-6 on the front of a Mirage. Instead, as AVweb's Dave Higdon writes, from the cabin to the panel to the spinner, New Piper's turboprop single is top of the line. Just be sure to balance what's in the tanks against what's in the cabin. More

Don't Toss That Headset — Hand Me the Pliers »

One of the better applications of microprocessor technology in general aviation has been the ANR (active noise reduction) headset. But early ANR headsets were pricey and many still are. Enter Headsets Inc. and their conversion kits for many major brands of passive (non-ANR) headsets. AVweb's Contributing Editor Dave Higdon recently upgraded his David Clarks with the Headsets Inc. kit and found it to be an easy, worthwhile modification. More

Free Flight: James Fallows's Vision of General Aviation's Future »

With a title like "Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel," the new book by James Fallows should be flying off the shelves of airport bookstores everywhere. Fallows, a recent "convert" to general aviation, paints an eloquent picture of the industry's status while describing how current and future GA technologies can be used to help realize the dream of simple, safe, reliable travel for the general public. AVweb's Pete Yost takes a look at Fallows's book and its promise in this review. More