| Feb. 10, 2005
What's New -- Products and Services
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a handheld nav/com, a pilot's PDA with GPS, an oil filter wrench and much more.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.
Vertex Standard VXA-300 Handheld Nav/Com
Vertex Standard's newest addition to their line of handheld aviation nav/com products is the VXA-300 Pilot III nav/com, which offers longer battery life and the most powerful audio amplifier available in hand-held airband transceivers.
The new VXA-300 Pilot III offers useful features that pilots need, including:
- A 1400 mAh Nickel Metal Hydride battery, providing over 14 hours of battery life with normal operation (IEAA 5,5,90 method)
- European 8.33 KHz channel spacing (receive only)
- A larger LCD display for easier viewing
- One touch squelch control
- A battery voltage display to better monitor the state of the battery charge
- A powerful audio amplifier for louder receiver audio
- VOR/CDI Navigation Display
- A new PA mode
- Built-in VOX for hot mic operation
- Dual Watch Monitor mode allows pilots to monitor two channels at the same time
- Pitch control, to help tune the receiver audio to suite your hearing preferences
- A stop watch and count-down timer feature
- NOAA weather, with scanner feature to find the NOAA weather broadcasts in your area
- NOAA severe weather alert feature
- A receive battery saver feature conserves current consumption for longer battery life
Accessories included with the VXA-300 are a long-life nickel-metal-hydride battery, battery charger, quick-draw belt clip, headset adapter, and a rubber duck antenna. The VXA-300 can be purchased from aviation equipment dealers such as All Points Distributing for about $370.
Garmin iQue 3600a PDA
Garmin has introduced the iQue 3600a, the first Palm-powered aviation device that is ready to navigate right out of the box. The iQue 3600a package includes a yoke-mounted cradle as well as built-in basemap, terrain, obstacle and Jeppesen® databases. In addition, the device features all of the automotive turn-by-turn capabilities and personal information management (PIM) applications of Garmins iQue product line.
The iQue 3600a has a GPS antenna that folds discreetly into the back of the unit. The iQue 3600a uses Garmins Que technology, a set of integrated applications for mobile navigation. The company has added several new or enhanced Que applications to the iQue 3600a to fit the needs and expectations of todays pilots:
- QueMap: Displays a comprehensive set of mapping data, such as a basemap of North/South America; aviation navaids, airports and airspace; navigation arc overlay with configurable data fields; Sectional chart-like topographic data; and U.S. obstacles like towers and obstructions;
- QueTerrain: Takes advantage of the topographic/obstacles database to alert the pilot of potential terrain conflicts within the proximity of the flight path using pop-up windows;
- QueNav: Displays GPS-derived speed, altitude and guidance features in an aircraft panel format; and
- QueFlights: Keeps a record of flight time, mileage and start/end point as a digital logbook (also interfaces with Garmins PC-based FlightBook software, which is included in the Setup CD).
As a PDA (personal digital assistant), the iQue 3600a features the Palm operating system and has a high-resolution (320x480-pixel) color TFT display, a voice recorder and MP3 player, and a Secure Digital slot for memory expansion.
The iQue 3600a is expected to be available for about $1,100. More information on the iQue 3600a can be found on the Garmin Web site.
Approach Aviation Auto-Torque Oil Filter Wrench
Approach Aviation has released their new Auto Torque Oil Filter Wrench. This tool is intended to make oil filter changes a simple process and to ensure accuracy when installing a new oil filter.
The Auto-Torque Oil Filter Wrench is a heavy duty box-end wrench with a built in ratcheting mechanism and a pre-set torque arm. The tool is sized for all standard general-aviation aircraft oil filters and has a solid lever-arm with a knurled grip. The wrench is compact for areas of limited access and can easily fit on filters in tightly cowled aircraft. Once the new filter is ready for installation, the wrench can be reversed for ratcheting the filter securely back into place. When the pre-set torque limit of 17 ft/lbs is reached, the user will feel a slight "break" or "click" in the handle. No other torque tools are required.
Introductory retail pricing for the "Auto-Torque" Oil Filter Wrench is about $40. It can be purchased directly from Approach Aviation on their Web site
SAircorp Organizer Console for Pipers
SAircorp offers a line of organizer consoles and accessories. The organizer consoles have been designed to add organization, comfort and convenience during flights. The company has units to fit Cessnas and the Pilatus PC-12, and after many requests, they now offer a model to fit the Piper PA-32/PA-34 series. This Organizer Console will fit Cherokee 6, Lance, Saratoga and Seneca aircraft.
Constructed of aluminum and coated with a durable powder coat finish, the Organizer Console for the Piper PA-32/PA-34 series fits between the passenger seats in either club or conventional-style seating. It has several large storage areas and a flip-top armrest pad that opens to a storage compartment. The console comes complete with accessory tracks and is set up so you can attach an additional Pilot Armrest.
The Pilot Armrest mounts in place by way of the accessory track system -- just slide it in place, tighten a couple of fasteners and it's all set. The armrest has a large flip-top pad with a storage compartment beneath it and comes with a track on the front for use of accessories. It easily swings out of the way and locks into place. There are also storage modules available for the front of the organizer that can be easily accessed by the pilot while still using the armrest.
The Organizer Console sells for $650. For more information visit the SAircorp Web site
PS Engineering Audio Panel Adds Sirius
PS Engineering, Inc. has upgraded their top-of-the-line audio panel, the PMA8000 (reported by AVweb last year), into a sound system that they like to call "a paradigm shift of SIRIUS proportions."
The PMA8000-SR is an aircraft audio selector panel that includes all of the functions in the PMA8000 (including a split-com mode, a dedicated cellular telephone interface, a six-place high-fidelity stereo intercom with dual independent music inputs, and a marker beacon receiver), and now has a built-in SIRIUS Satellite Radio receiver.
Dual entertainment inputs for the PMA8000-SR allow the passengers in back to listen to SIRIUS programming, or play their own CD/DVD, while the crew in front can listen to a different Sirius station or just listen to the Com radios.
The PMA8000-SR also incorporates a "SoftMute" circuit that automatically mutes the music when there is a radio call, and then smoothly restores the music level. A front panel control gives the pilot the ability to enter into the "Karaoke" mode, allowing the pilot to listen to the music in the background.
A full-duplex TEL mode allows the pilot access to a cellular or portable satellite telephone. Using the intercom mode switch, various configurations allow individuals or groups to be placed on the phone, while the pilot remains connected to the communications radios.
The internal SIRIUS Satellite Radio has a set of controls on the audio panel's front panel as well as a full-function infrared remote controller. Finally, an antenna is also included, which is designed to be mounted on top of the glare shield.
The PMA8000-SR is pin-for-pin retrofit compatible with the GARMIN GMA340 audio panel. The PMA8000-SR will likely retail for under $2200, and a subscription to Sirius is also required. More information is available at the PS Engineering Web site.
Aspen AT300 Hazard Display
The Aspen Avionics AT300 Hazard Display is now shipping to customers. The AT300 uses a high-resolution 2.5 inch 240 x 480 LCD to provide brilliant, full-color moving-map multifunction display (MFD) technology in a standard 3-inch instrument format. The AT300, which has been designed to replace a legacy VSI, includes a vertical speed indicator as part of its multifunction display, allowing it to be installed in even the most crowded aircraft instrument panel. The system employs an integral terrain database and sophisticated software algorithms to render a detailed, TAWS-like terrain moving map (when connected to a GPS) to alert the pilot to areas of potentially hazardous terrain and/or man-made obstacles along the aircraft flight path.
The AT300 is unique among available MFD systems in its ability to be installed in an aircraft without requiring replacement or relocation of any of the other existing avionic systems (other than the legacy vertical speed indicator), or any structural modifications of the instrument panel. Retail pricing of the non-certified AT300 has been set at under $3500.
The company also announced that the AT300 certification effort, which was initiated late last year, is proceeding on schedule. Based on progress to date, the company remains confident that they will receive FAA certification of the AT300 display later this summer. Pricing for the certified AT300 display will be under $4000.
More details are available at the Aspen Avionics Web site.
Jeppesen Weather Products
Jeppesen is now providing two new worldwide weather products, the Icing Forecast Map and the Turbulence Forecast Map, for users of JetPlan.com, JetPlanner, FliteStar and OPSControl. These new offerings will help both pilots and dispatchers plan flights that avoid areas of potentially hazardous weather. Jeppesen claims it is the first and only company to offer such forecast maps on a worldwide basis.
Both the icing maps and the turbulence forecast maps use intuitive color scales to indicate forecast areas of light, moderate and severe activity. For the United States maps, customers may view data for current conditions, and forecast data for three-, six-, 12-, 18- and 24-hour intervals. Forecast maps outside the United States are available in 12-, 18- or 24-hour intervals. Customers may also choose to view forecast data for a wide variety of flight level increments -- 5,000-foot increments or larger composite layers -- in order to determine the best altitudes to avoid encountering hazardous icing or turbulence conditions.
Details are available from Jeppesen.
Want more? Check out What's New from other months.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.