| Sep. 19, 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 pulse oximeter, an aircraft security lock, a drill-powered aircraft tug and much more.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.
Franson GpsGate Software
When using your GPS receiver with a portable computer, most systems only allow one application to use the GPS data. But the ability to run several applications at the same time is the key to modern computing. As more applications are becoming position-aware, GPS sharing will become a necessity.
Franson GpsGate overcomes this limitation, and makes GPS users more productive by allowing data from one GPS to be shared between many applications running on a laptop or handheld computer.
Some features include:
- Share one GPS between several applications;
- Garmin USB to NMEA conversion;
- More stable GPS connection; and
- GPS simulation and logging.
GpsGate can simulate a GPS traveling between a set of user-defined waypoints. This is great for indoor demonstrations and development. Data from the GPS can at any time be stored to a log file in NMEA format. A log file can later be played back as if the data came from a real GPS.
GpsGate supports NMEA and Garmin USB as input and creates virtual serial ports for each GPS-enabled application. The virtual serial port supports NMEA.
GpsGate automatically reconnects to the GPS if it turned off and on or when a Bluetooth GPS temporarily gets out of reach.
GpsGate can be configured and accessed from an application without user interaction. The current status of the GPS -- like connection status and GPS fix status -- can be monitored in the task bar. From here all GpsGate functions can be accessed.
GpsGate costs around $30. For more information or to download a 14-day trial, visit the Franson GpsGate Web site.
SPO Medical's Check Mate
SPO Medical has produced the Check Mate, a pulse oximeter to help prevent hypoxia. It is a relatively inexpensive monitor for measuring blood oxygen saturation and heart rate during physically active and high-altitude activities.
Reflectance pulse oximetry technology allows Check Mate to effectively monitor oxygen saturation (SpO2) in almost any physical activity that does not include significant arm swinging (e.g., jumping jacks).
Pilots can use the Check Mate to quickly assess their SpO2 while flying at high altitudes. It slips onto a finger and is non-invasive.
Battery life is claimed to be about 1000 hours, and the unit sells for under $200.
For more information, visit the SPO Medical Web site or online retailers such as AvShop.
Sporty's Leather Control Yoke Covers
Sporty's Leather Control Yoke Covers can transform aging or cosmetically-distressed control yokes into comfortable piloting tools. Leather craftsmen start with lambskin, then hand-sew the leather to form the yoke cover. Each cover is then evaluated on a factory control yoke to check the fit.
With a Velcro closure, the Yoke Cover installs in seconds and may be customized with features such as a push-to-talk switch.
Each Yoke Cover is custom-made and takes approximately three to four weeks to complete. When you specify the year, make and model of your airplane, a price will be quoted by the manufacturer. Most Yoke Covers will cost about $200.
All Sporty's products may be ordered at their Web site.
Chok-Lok Aircraft Security Lock
Responding to increased concerns about aircraft theft, unauthorized use and terrorist threats, Aircraft Spruce has expanded its offerings in aircraft security locks. Their newest addition is the Chok-Lok Aircraft Security Lock.
The lock design employs simple manufacturing techniques that allow application of the device on the wide variety of wheel assemblies currently utilized on existing aircraft. This flexibility helps provide maximum security from a well-tailored fit. Being difficult to remove forcibly, without rendering the aircraft immovable, the design overcomes one of the major disadvantages of "one size fits all." The tight chocking assembly further prevents accidental damage to the aircraft if taxiing is attempted with the lock in place.
The Chok-Lok package includes a caliper, chock assembly, quality padlock, and a tough storage bag. It is available for five-inch and six-inch wheels. It cannot be used with wheelpants in place. The price varies from $289 to $319, depending on wheel size.
For more information or to place an order, visit the Aircraft Spruce Web site.
Production Software Electronic Facilities And Airport Directory
Pilots looking to automate their pre-flight planning and reduce the large number of books required for flying will benefit from a new program called Electronic Facilities and Airport Directory (eFAD).
eFAD allows you to view airport information, weather, and more from your PC, PDA, and/or XHTML mobile phone. eFAD provides detailed U.S. airport and NAVAID information (public & private), weather (METAR + decoder, NEXRAD, TAF, AIRMETS/SIGMETS, winds aloft, weather charts, NWS outlook, RVR and PIREPs), NOTAMs, TFRs, STMPs, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times, FAA airport status, NTSB reports, tail numbers, 13,000+ approach charts and diagrams, user comments, E6-B, dictionary (6,000+ terms), FARs, traffic statistics, location maps, travel information (taxi, rental cars, hotels, motels, and restaurants) and much more. For those who prefer paper, eFAD can also print kneeboard-sized reports.
eFAD requires an Internet-connected device (PC, Mac, Palm OS, Pocket PC, Symbian, etc.) that supports the XHTML-MP, HTML 3.02, or HTML 4.01 standards.
Introductory pricing (until October 31, 2005) is under $70 per year (around 19 cents per day). FBOs can offer eFAD to their customers by purchasing an FBO license.
For an evaluation copy and for more information, go to Production Software's Web site.
Micro Vortex Generator Kits for Beech Aircraft
Micro Vortex Generator Kits for the Beech 19A, B19, M19A, 23, A23, A23A, A23-19, A23-24, B23, C23, A24, A24R, B24R and C24R are now STC approved by the FAA. Once installed, pilots can expect improved stabilator authority, reduced stall speed, and shortened takeoff and landing rolls.
According to the manufacturer, flaps-up stall speed drops 10 knots with the VGs and full-flap stall speed is lowered by six knots. Lighter elevator pressure is required for approach and landing procedures and pilots can expect improved controllability, including crosswind handling.
The Micro VG Kit includes 82 vortex generators that get attached just aft and above the leading edge of the wing, 32 more that are affixed to both sides of the vertical fin and another 60 that go on the underside of the stabilator. All installation tools, detailed drawings and instructions, templates, spare VGs and Loctite Depend adhesive are included with the kit. It takes one day to install.
The VGs, which are only 1/4" high and an inch long, are curved to accommodate airfoil contours. Their placement has the effect of keeping the airflow boundary layer attached to flying surfaces, allowing for higher angles of attack and lower stall speeds. Their effect on ailerons, rudder and the stabilator improves handling and flight characteristics in the slow-speed range. They do not affect high-speed cruise numbers and do not collect ice.
Manufactured under an FAA PMA, using aircraft grade 6063-T6 aluminum, the VGs are alodined and ready for painting. The complete kits sell for $1,450, and for an additional $100 they can be painted to match the aircraft's base color.
Micro AeroDynamics can be reached at their Web site.
Aviat Aircraft Husky Flap Handle
Aviat Aircraft has developed a new flap handle that will be standard on all future Huskys and can be retrofitted to existing aircraft. Designed to provide three settings, 10°, 20° and 30°, the new handle activates the flaps with considerably shorter travel. The leverage point for deployment is always in front of the pilot. The older flap handle required pulling the lever behind the pilot's shoulder.
The new handle offers better leverage, takes less effort and is less cumbersome to operate. It takes about one hour to change out the old flap handle and install a new one. Cost for the complete retrofit kit is $532.
For more information visit the Aviat Aircraft Web site.
Poly Fiber "How To Cover An Aircraft" Book
Anyone seriously contemplating building or restoring a tube-and-fabric aircraft would be well advised to make a nine-dollar investment in Poly Fiber's manual titled How To Cover An Aircraft. The book deals with all aspects of covering or recovering a fuselage and wings, explaining and "demystifying" the process, materials and required tools.
The book's author, Poly Fiber Vice President Jon Goldenbaum, has provided hands-on workshops at Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture for the past two decades, introducing thousands of builders and restorers to the procedures and techniques that are involved.
To order a copy of Poly Fiber's How to Cover An Aircraft for $9, or to acquire one of their practice kits for $56, contact Aircraft Spruce at their Web site.
Garmin Operations Books
ZD Publishing has introduced their two latest training manuals entitled "GPS Operations on the Garmin G1000," and "The Garmin GPSmap 396."
The G1000 manual covers all the navigation options such as flight plans, DME arcs, procedure turns, holding, OBS mode, RAIM prediction, measuring distances, vertical navigation, user waypoints and GPS, VOR and ILS Approaches, and all the page descriptions. It does not cover the PFD and the optional sensors such as traffic awareness, MX weather, and lightning detection.
The GPSmap 396 training manual includes all the aviation functions such as routes, approaches, user waypoints, OBS mode, vertical navigation, measuring distances, terrain and MX weather. It describes the main pages and all the main menu tabs. It also touches on the automotive and marine modes.
Although the manufacturer's manuals contain the official recommendations, ZD Publishing concentrates on a task-oriented format. Each operation is covered in a step-by-step fashion from start to finish. Prices are $35 to $40. Visit their Web site for more information.
Chelton Digital Autopilot For Cherokee Six And Cessna 210
The FAA has granted Chelton Aviation STC approval for installation of their new digital AP-3C autopilot in Cherokee Six and Cessna 210 aircraft. The AP-3C autopilot operates with only three components compared to other autopilot models that may require as many as six items, some of which require routine adjustments. With the STCs in hand, Chelton can now offer Cherokee Six and Cessna 210 owners the first autopilot developed for general aviation aircraft with vertical nav steering (VNAV) when coupled with an EFIS, WAAS GPS or FMS.
Chelton autopilots dampen the effects of turbulence because their altitude holding is based on an attitude gyro instead of traditional, rate-based deviation or averaging formula.
In addition to the Cherokee Six and Cessna 210, STC applications have recently been approved for the Piper Arrow, Grumman Cheetah, Mooney, V35 Bonanza, Twin Commander and Bushawk. The Aerostar and Rockwell Commander are expected to join the list of approvals soon.
Excluding the attitude gyro, DG, or HSI, Chelton AP-3C autopilots sell for $12,650. For further information visit their Web site.
Vthrust Aero Tugger
The new Vthrust aircraft mover from Littlestar Products makes quick and easy work of moving your single-engine airplane, using an off-the-shelf 18V or 24V drill or screwdriver as its power source. The drill's sealed mechanism means that there are no belts or chains to snag, and no adjustments to make. Most applicable drill/drivers have two or even three speed ranges for precise control of the Vthrust, and supply sufficient torque to move a 3000-pound airplane up a 3% grade. The drill/driver chucks onto the Vthrust, and attaches with a simple clamp.
The internal, worm-gear drive mechanism, coupled with the drill/driver's internal brake means the Vthrust stops and starts when you do -- smoothly and precisely. The variable speed of the drill/driver gives you complete control of the aircraft, from a standstill to moving at 40 feet-per-minute. Two versions are available: In the deluxe, steerable model, a simple twist of the stabilizing handle locks and unlocks the steering mechanism for total control. The Vthrust has the capability to deliver up to 325 pounds of drawbar force. Dual drive-wheels deliver good traction and stability on almost all surfaces, and with the optional turf tires or tire chains, you're covered for the rest.
Securing Vthrust to the aircraft involves using a single lever to attach or detach the towbar. Several optional adapters are available, allowing the Vthrust to mate to many light aircraft, tricycle gear or conventional, with wheelpants or without.
The Vthrust aircraft mover weighs 62 pounds and is made from stainless steel. The enclosed worm-gear drive mechanism is maintenance free.
For more information, visit the Aero Tugger Web site. You can order the Aero Tugger from resellers such as Sporty's Pilot Shop.
Home And Hangar Exchange
HomeAndHangar is a home-exchange service especially for pilots. When you arrange an exchange, you have a hangar to park your plane, a home to stay in and enjoy, and a car to see the sights.
Or perhaps you have a long cross country trip. Instead of staying in a hotel, check the list for people willing to host a pilot for an evening. You will save on your hotel, your host may be willing to meet you at the airport, and you can enjoy time with someone who shares your interest in flying.
To help build membership quickly, each state has been allocated a number of free memberships. These are based on the number of active private pilots according to the FAA records. Anyone who does receive a free membership will maintain that membership for one year from the request date.
For more information go to HomeAndHangarExchange.com.
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.