| May 1, 2006
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 logbook software, an airspace & weather review DVD, virtual radar and much more.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.
Sporty's Airspace and Weather Format Review DVD
Sporty's latest DVD, Airspace and Weather Format Review, provides an introduction to -- or refresher of -- aviation weather and airspace.
With 3-D graphics and animation, this program demystifies the complex types of airspace in use today. The DVD describes and explains the various classes of airspace, their operating rules, dimensions and charting symbols.
Examples are given for each class of alphabet airspace as well as special-use airspace. Also included are sections on TFRs, national security areas, military-intercept procedures and the Washington, D.C., ADIZ and its laser-based visual warning system. This is essential information for all pilots.
The Weather Format portion of the DVD takes you step-by-step through the ICAO weather formats and abbreviations of METARs and TAFs. You will learn to read and interpret aviation weather reports and extract additional clues they provide about atmospheric conditions.
This program also covers the basics of ASOS and AWOS reports and includes an interactive, on-screen weather decoder that puts more than 1,500 weather contractions at your fingertips. A list of contractions for METARs, TAFs, PIREPs and others is included.
Airspace and Weather Format Review is available for about $30 and may be ordered from Sporty's Web site.
LoPresti SpeedMerchants has introduced a new polymer formulated for aircraft surfaces.
Knot Wax is a two-part catalyzed polymer applied much like an epoxy coating. The aircraft is cleaned and the polymer base is applied with a soft applicator. The hardener is sprayed on and the material catalyzes immediately. After a light buffing, Knot Wax begins a hardening process that continues for up to seven days.
The manufacturer claims that they have poured battery acid on an aluminum part with the Knot Wax coating and there was no damage. They also claim that Knot Wax does not wash off or thin out over time, and provides complete surface protection against corrosion, salt, mold, mildew and UV damage.
Jim Lopresti, drag reduction specialist at SpeedMods, says the additional reduction in laminar separation is giving three or more knots at cruise in most applications.
More information is available from the LoPresti Web site.
King Schools' Practical Risk Management For Reluctant Passengers and Their Pilots CD-ROM
If you're like many pilots, then you remember the excitement of taking your spouse, significant other, or close friend flying only to have them clearly dislike the experience and in many cases swear never to fly again. King Schools' Practical Risk Management For Reluctant Passengers and Their Pilots can help you turn this fear and anxiety into productive participation and fun.
This interactive course lets passengers and their pilots work together to create meaningful pre-flight and in-flight roles that lead to shared enjoyment and roles in the risk management of the flight.
Subjects covered include:
Practical Risk Management For Reluctant Passengers and Their Pilots contains two CD-ROMs with a run time of 53 minutes before interactive questions. The course qualifies for Avemco Premium Credits and it is approved for the FAA WINGS Program. Upon completion, the passenger and pilot can each print out graduation certificates
The CD-ROM course is about $50 and can be ordered from King Schools' Web site.
- What Pilots and Non-Pilots Each See
- Sharing Control is Key
- The Magic Word That Can Change Everything
- The Passengers Bill of Rights
- Choosing Your Standard Operating Procedures
- Creating Your Toolbox of Standardized Phrases
- News About Accidents That May Surprise You
- PAVE Your Way to a Safe Flight
- Risk Factors Are Cumulative
- Use CARE in the Air
- ... and more.
AerFlight Virtual Radar
It is now possible to tune your computer into real-time imagery of all aircraft airborne with Mode S signals. AerFlight Virtual Radar gives you much the same image that ATC works with in tracking aircraft. According to the manufacturer, it is now possible to track aircraft at any point in the world.
AerFlight VR captures the signals emitted by aircraft and presents them in ATC-style view on a virtual radar screen that any PC with Windows 98, or later, can provide. Users can control a wide range of parameters such as range, data displayed, waypoints, geographic outlines and other features. Online databases provide extensive details for each individual aircraft. AerFlight VR software can communicate with other users, providing real-time, live airspace traffic positioning around the world.
Anyone with an interest in the airspace above them -- including pilots, ground crews, instructors and aviation enthusiasts -- now have access to the worldwide infrastructure for aircraft tracking via Mode-S signaling. The AerFlight Virtual Radar sells for about $900 and is available through Aircraft Spruce and Specialty at their Web site.
Wingspeed XLLink Tracking System
Wingspeed Corp. has developed two XLLink System models designed for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. With the new XLLink System Model L and Model H, fleet operators can have a communication systems for advanced flight tracking, two-way text messaging and voice calling, and a broad range of aircraft communication addressing and reporting system (ACARS)-type data services.
The rugged and compact XLLink System Model L will retail for approximately $3,500. The System generates and sends messages containing aircraft GPS information to Wingspeed's ground-based servers via the Iridium Satellite Network. Wingspeed properly formats and routes data via a secure internet connection to customers' operation centers anywhere in the world.
XLLink is integrated with Flight Explorer's flight tracking software in the customer's operation center to manage and track aircraft. With only a personal computer and access to the internet, Wingspeed XLLink System customers worldwide can use Flight Explorer's software to globally track and manage their fleet of aircraft.
The other part of the XLLink product line is the XLLink System Model H. In addition to flight tracking, the Model H offers voice calling capability, free-text messaging, and ACARS-type data services via the Iridium Satellite Network.
The Model H can utilize a hand-held PDA or electronic flight bag (EFB) in the cockpit to turn the aircraft into a node on the network. The complete Model H system (not including PDA or EFB) will retail for approximately $9,000 per aircraft.
All XLLink System models are line replaceable units (LRUs) sharing the same equipment footprint, standard aviation sled and ARINC connector. More information is available from the Wingspeed Web site.
ECi TITAN EXP IOX-340 Stroker KitEngine
ECi has introduced the TITAN EXP IOX-340 Stroker engine. With less weight and more power, the new engine is sized and priced for the experimental airplane market.
Derived from the basic 320 engine kit, the IOX-340 Stroker KitEngine features a 0.25-longer stroke crankshaft, which results in larger engine displacement and increased power. New venturi intake seats help to optimize airflow and allow a larger fuel/air charge into to the cylinder during the crucial initial valve opening. A thicker crankshaft flange, flow-matched cylinder heads and a 9.0:1 compression ratio are just a few of the features that help create more power than a standard 360 engine.
One of the most visible features of the IOX-340 Stroker engine is the tapered-fin cylinder barrel, available for both the TITAN EXP Experimental KitEngine and TITAN EXP cylinders. The reduced cylinder weight (by 0.75 pounds) still allows for proper cooling, minus the extra mass.
The IOX-340 Stroker KitEngine also features the TITAN EXP Fuel Injection and Cold Air Induction System. A gear-driven fuel pump sends fuel to a simple throttle and control that has no venturi and then the metered fuel is sent to the flow divider and directed to each cylinder. The intake air charge is isolated from the hot engine oil in the sump because it passes through the plenum and then directly through to the cylinder intake port. The cooler air charge increases available power and performance.
More information is available from the ECi Web site.
Sporty's Briefing Cards
Cockpit organization is easier with Sporty's Briefing Cards. Designed by Sporty's staff of active pilots and CFIs, these cards are ideal for organizing flights. These kneeboard-size cards are designed specifically to record vital flight information such as weather, clearances, takeoff and landing data, frequencies, airport information and other notes.
The Briefing Cards are two sided, with fields for departure airport information on one side and arrival airport information on the other side. Created for IFR flights, these Briefing Cards are also handy for VFR pilots.
Measuring 5-1/2" by 8-1/2", Sporty's Briefing Cards are available in a pad of 50 for about $4. All Sporty's products may be ordered from their Web site.
Flight Level v8
Flight Level Corp. announced the release of Version 8 of their logbook software for pilots flying under FAR Parts 121, 135 and 91 and all branches of the military.
FlightLevel Logbook provides pilots with an easy and flexible way to log flight time and print reports. The new interface follows the protocol of Microsoft's Office 11 with many new enhancements to speed the process of data input and the retrieval of totals with a single mouse click. There is an open dataset of 17,000 world airports and over 400 aircraft models included.
Some of the features available in FlightLevel Logbook include:
- All views are available at the click of the mouse using the convenient navigation pane.
- Easy-to-use grid with user-definable column titles, drag and drop column placement, multi-select capability, user-defined font, color, display format, visibility and appearance.
- Automatically calculated columns for complex, high performance, turbine, turboprop, turbojet, ME over 12,500, tailwheel, airship, free balloon, glider, gyroplane, helicopter, AMEL, AMES, ASEL and ASES.
- Column totals are always available for every time and count column.
- Multiple pilots can use FlightLevel Logbook by using either separate files or by using tags with one file.
- Check box fields for FAA tracking and holding currency requirements.
- Complete currency report.
- Flight time totals can be created and printed for aircraft model, aircraft category and class, rating category and class, number of engines, type of engine and propulsion, tail number, weight, performance, landing-gear type and configuration and operations regulations.
- Flights and totals can be filtered by date, aircraft model, and aircraft identifier or up to three user-defined criteria (for example, PIC>0 and Night>0 and Actual IMC>0).
- Aircraft database with ICAO aircraft designators. FlightLevel Logbook keeps track of aircraft category and class, rating category and class, number of engines, type of engine and propulsion, weight, performance, landing-gear type and landing-gear configuration.
- Current airport database with more than 5,000 U.S. airports.
- FlightLevel Logbook keeps track of the flight regulations you fly under and allows you to define your own regulations.
- FlightLevel Logbook can track both air time and block time. Fields are available for Off Block, Take Off, Landing and On Block times. Block time and flight times are then automatically calculated.
- Easy mobile-device support and integration.
- ... and more.
For further information about Flight Level Corporation, please visit their Web site.
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.