World's Leading Independent Aviation News Service
Volume 25, Number 30b
July 24, 2018
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Garmin's AirVenture Product Announcements
Larry Anglisano

AirVenture might be the ultimate playground to introduce new pilot gadgets and that’s just what Garmin did this year with its GPS-enabled D2 Delta series pilot smartwatches. Garmin’s latest generation aviation watches include three models: the $1249 D2 Delta PX, which has a wrist-based pulse oximeter; the $899 D2 Delta S (with a lighter and smaller profile for smaller wrists); and the $949 D2 Delta, which has a silver titanium bezel and a brown leather strap. 

All of the watches connect to the Garmin Pilot app, the GTN750/650 panel navigator and the latest G1000 NXi for flight plan transfer when equipped with the Flight Stream 510 wireless cockpit hub. The watches have integral music storage for 500 songs, which can be wirelessly streamed to Bluetooth headsets and audio panels. There’s also Garmin Pay, a built-in wireless payment system.  

Garmin made it clear that the PX model, with its pulse oximeter function and 18 hours of battery life, isn’t a substitute for traditional pulse oximeter medical instruments, but can be used for trend monitoring and general awareness. 

At the show Garmin also announced new STC certifications for its GFC500 and higher-end GFC600 autopilots. The Bonanza/Debonair (C33, E33, F33, G33), Cessna 210 and Grumman AA-5 series will soon be approved for the budget-based GFC 500 autopilot, while the Beechcraft Baron (58P, 58TC) and Cessna 208B will add to the list of approved applications for the GFC 600. 

The GFC 600 and GFC 500 now have vertical navigation (VNAV) functionality, through a button on the autopilot mode controller for flying a fully coupled VNAV profile when the autopilot is paired with the GTN 650/750 touchscreen navigators and the G5, G500 TXi/G600 TXi or G500/G600 displays. 

Garmin also announced that the G5 electronic flight display can be installed as a legal STC’d backup to the G500/G500 TXi flight displays. Previously, this interface required an FAA field approval. The technical interface is expanded, too. Any adjustments made to heading bugs, altitude select, airspeed bugs and baro settings are automatically synced from the G500 TXi or G500 displays to the G51. Flight director and autopilot mode annunciations from the GFC 500 can also be viewed across all displays, including on the G5. No, the G5 isn’t approved for backup in Cirrus models.

If you’re considering Garmin’s EIS engine instrumentation information system TXi display, the Garmin Pilot app can display the engine data via the Flight Stream wireless hub. The system has datalogging and is wirelessly uploaded to the flyGarmin website for playback and analysis.

See a product announcement summary in this video and visit

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Great Time to Be A Pilot: Boeing
Kate O'Connor

The 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook from Boeing is projecting that 635,000 commercial aviation pilots will be needed in the next ten years. The estimate is down slightly from the 637,000 pilots needed that the company projected in last year’s report. One of the reasons for the future demand, Boeing says, is the company’s estimates that the global fleet will almost double in size from 24,400 to 48,540 aircraft over the next twenty years.

As has been the case for quite some time now, the estimated number of civilian pilots needed over the next decade significantly outstrips the number of new pilots entering the workforce. The same is true for aviation technicians and cabin crew, with Boeing anticipating 754,000 technicians and 890,000 crew members needed worldwide through 2037.

In a press conference at AirVenture 2018, the company emphasized that the much-discussed pilot shortage is and will continue to be affected by a variety of factors, including the difficulty of finding pilots qualified to serve as airliner captains, insufficient training capacity and retirements—over 8,000 pilots in the U.S. alone are scheduled to retire over the next five years.

Trainer Sales Drive Growth For Piper
Kate O'Connor

Compared to last year, Piper Aircraft has had marked increases in sales, deliveries and revenue during the second quarter of 2018, the company announced at AirVenture 2018. The growth is strongly driven by trainer sales, with Piper reporting a 126 percent increase over a similar time period last year. The company says its order backlog in both single- and multi-engine trainers extends into Fall 2019.

Piper delivered a total of 34 trainers in Q2 of 2018. Seminole deliveries saw the most growth with 150 percent more than in 2017 and the company says that it’s selling more of the twin-engine trainers than it has in at least 15 years. Arrow and Archer deliveries showed a combined growth of 85 percent for Q2. Piper says it is on track to deliver more than 100 PA-28s in 2018. According to the company, “the increase in demand for Piper trainers can be directly attributed to the looming pilot shortage and the resulting demand for pilots.”

Piper also delivered 11 percent more M-Class aircraft. Overall, the company’s Q2 2018 aircraft revenue came in at $62.3 million on 53 deliveries versus $52.1 million on 32 aircraft deliveries in Q2 2017. So far, Piper has delivered 84 aircraft this year compared to the 57 it had delivered at this time last year.

Redbird GIFT Available At Home
Kate O'Connor

Redbird Flight Simulation’s Guided Independent Flight Training (GIFT) program will now be available for all of the company’s simulators, including the at-home Jay and TD models, Redbird announced at AirVenture 2018. GIFT, which was introduced at AirVenture last year, is a series of smart simulator scenarios that can be used to augment private pilot training. Redbird’s Vice President of Marketing Josh Harnagel told AVweb in an exclusive podcast that the company has more planned for GIFT in the future.

At the moment, GIFT is made up of 31 modules that cover private pilot missions from learning to taxi to a long cross-country. Each module has a video, text briefing and simulator mission. While the student is in the simulator, the program tracks performance data—including airspeed, heading, altitude and even G-force— allowing student and instructor to conduct detailed reviews of the student’s progress on maneuvers.

The program is currently available for Cessna 172 (G1000 or round gauge) and Cessna 182 setups. Harnagel says that the company is working on adding the Piper Archer to that list, with other aircraft to follow based on market demand. Redbird is also in the process of developing modules for instrument training. A GIFT license, which can be used with any compatible simulator, costs $249.

FAA May Discontinue Some Wx Broadcasts
Mary Grady

Since the early 1980s, the FAA has provided for pilots the Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS), a continuous broadcast of weather advisories over a limited nationwide network of VORs, but this week the FAA said it wants to eliminate the service, which is less needed now. “Currently, multiple sources are available that provide access to weather and aeronautical information to pilots in the cockpit, often presented in a graphical format, making it easier to visualize what is going on along the route of flight,” the FAA said in a notice posted in Monday’s Federal Register. “Demand for inflight services has diminished.”

In the early 1980s, more than 3,000 specialists worked in more than 300 facilities, the FAA said; now there are just three hub facilities. This year, radio contacts are down to less than 900 per day, from an average of 10,000 radio contacts per day. “Pilots no longer need to contact a Flight Service specialist to adhere to 14 CFR 91.103 and maintain awareness of hazardous weather advisories along their route of flight,” the FAA said. Pilots are asked to file comments on the proposal by August 22.

Beringer Showcases Shock Absorption Tech
Kate O'Connor

Wheel and brake company Beringer came to AirVenture 2018 with a freshly patented shock absorbing wheel, certification for its Alaskan Landing Gear (ALG) and two new STCs for wheel/brake/master cylinder packages. The company is in the process of developing a bolt-on oleo strut system it is calling the Shock-Wheel. The Shock-Wheel is intended for flight school aircraft or other rough-use scenarios. Testing on the recently patented system begins this summer.

After three years of research and development, Beringer has completed certification for its Alaskan Landing Gear. The company says the ALG high energy absorption system was designed to improve safety for backcountry taildraggers. It is available for several aircraft models including the Piper Carbon Cub, Just Aircraft Highlander and Zlin Savage. Prices range from $6,240 to $6,990. An STC for the Piper SuperCub is in progress.

The company also announced STCs for Piper M350/M500 and Diamond DA-40 bolt-on wheel/brake/master cylinder packages. Both packages include three wheels, four master cylinders, wheel axles and brake lines. The Piper package also comes with tubeless tires, which the company says reduce the risk of tire punctures by 80 percent. The Piper package costs $11,800. Price for the Diamond package has not yet been announced.

AirVenture Time Capsule: 2003
AVweb Staff

In 2003, AirVenture was packed with announcements aimed at the anticipated light sport market. Mooney was talking about an LSA venture, BRS arrived with a new LSA parachute system and Maule showed up with its M-4-100, which it hoped would qualify under the not-yet-finalized light sport aircraft certification standards (it didn’t, and the prototype was eventually disassembled). Maule brought along an M-9 outfitted with an SMA SR305-230 diesel engine as well. The company stuck with the idea for several years, but no longer seems to be pursuing diesel options.

Mooney Aerospace Group made headlines when it showcased plans to build a two-place sport aircraft once LSA rules were passed, making it the first mainstream U.S. manufacturer to announce an LSA project. The Mooney Toxo, which never happened, was based on Spanish manufacturer Construcciones Aeronauticas de Galicia’s Toxo airframe. On the successful side of early LSA ventures, whole-aircraft parachute maker BRS announced that it had a system ready to go and available for sale for light sport aircraft. Today, BRS systems have been installed in more than 35,000 aircraft in total—including LSAs—and the company continues to expand the list of models its chutes are available for.

Unrelated to LSAs, Garmin came to AirVenture 2003 with the announcement that it was acquiring United Parcel Service subsidiary UPS Aviation Technologies (UPSAT) to the tune of $38 million. The purchase gave Garmin a strong position in the fledgling WAAS-enabled GPS market. Fifteen years later, that’s looking like it might have been the right call.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
AirVenture Gallery, July 23, 2018
AirVenture 2018 is underway. Here are a few sights from early events.

See all submissions

First Flight For BelugaXL
Mary Grady

The first of a fleet of five BelugaXL aircraft in development by Airbus flew for the first time last week, in France, the company has announced. The flight lasted four hours and 11 minutes, with two pilots and a flight engineer on board. Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the unusual aircraft is designed to be flown only by Airbus, to transport large aircraft components between the company’s 11 production sites. It’s powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear end and tail were developed jointly with suppliers, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. The XL program launched in 2014 to ensure Airbus would have the transport capacity needed for its A350 XWB production.

The XL cabin is about three feet wider and 21 feet longer than the original Beluga’s, and can carry 12 percent more payload. By 2023, the XL will replace the current fleet of Belugas, which first launched in 1996. Besides fulfilling Airbus’s freight needs, the current fleet has been used to transport a variety of bulky items for space programs in both Europe and the U.S. In 2009, a Beluga conveyed the Tranquility module of the International Space Station from Italy to the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. In 2005, a Beluga flew humanitarian aid from Europe to help victims of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The BelugaXL will undergo about 600 hours of flight test over the next 10 months, with type certification and entry into service expected late in 2019.

Aspen Introduces New Max Flight Displays
Paul Bertorelli

Continuing its evolutionary improvement of easy-to-install EFIS products, Aspen Avionics introduced the Evolution Max flight display system at AirVenture 2018 on Monday. The Max has a new, brighter display, a faster processor and larger font options, all of which current Aspen owners can apply as upgrades to equipment they may already own.

The Max has improved graphics processing, audio panel interface, including alerts for altitude and verbal notifications, METAR flags, more zoom levels and countdown timers. The new products will retail for $9995 in the PFD version and $5495 in the MFD variant. Current owners can upgrade their Evolution series displays for $2995.

Aspen’s John Uczekaj told AVweb before the show that in introducing the Max, Aspen wanted to continue its tradition of adding features owners can upgrade to without having to buy and replace entire systems already installed in their panels. “We are continuing to implement our strategy of taking care of our customers going forward and going backward. Our competition comes out with a new platform and they tend to leave their old customers behind," Uczekaj said.

In addition to the improved display and processing, Uczekaj said next generation electronics will improve overall reliability. The Max series is expected to be available by the third quarter of 2018. For a video preview of the Max, see AVweb's AirVenture 2018 coverage.

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