Top Letters And Comments, June 24, 2022

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The Avionics Market Was There For The Taking. So Garmin Did

For a VFR flyer, Garmin’s competition in avionics is the device I’m posting from. Installed avionics are one of the few things that make an Apple product look like a bargain.

Steam gages and a recent iProduct for SA (or droid if so inclined) cut out the more expensive forced obsolescence, database updates and arcane GUIs. While you can argue about the last one, no one can question that having the GUI available to poke around in (including planning and flying with the same device whenever/wherever) makes GUI self-training much more natural/pervasive. Don’t get me started on the Vegas style avionics color explosion or tapes for no good reason…nominal indication should be monochrome and needles aligned, and all tapes full range. Save the color for where it highlights a change…a little more consistent human factors over marketing pretty would help all.

Any of the above, and the ability to xref terrain databases for vertical nav, access external weather/traffic data in a graphical display puts Uncle Sam’s finest in my career to shame, but that has yet to convince me that spending my engine reserve on avionics provides any extra utility for VFR…but the folks competing there represent the innovation that will invade Garmin’s profitable general population market.

Rich R.

Good article, Paul. Garmin is, indeed, an interesting company that has taken on several “Goliaths” and walked away the winner. To me, they have a lot in common with Apple, but for a more diverse group of customers. Both are single-minded in innovation and coming up with the next indispensable product. Their victory over Bendix-King is a tour de force of how the senior company developed corporate sclerosis while the more nimble upstart outmaneuvered them at every turn. B-K is now basically a seller of rebranded products from other companies. To me, their one big mistake was to not build the GTN line (650 & 750) plug and play with the GNS series. That gave Avidyne an intro by making their 440 and 540 line direct replacements for the aging GNS units. My personal preference is that the Avidyne boxes are more user friendly than the GTN series, but that is just me. Garmin makes excellent and reliable products and deserves to be the big dog in avionics. It is hard to imagine anyone ever replacing them, but then, that is probably how Bendix-King felt in the early ’90s.

John Mc.

If you all remember, part of what also harmed BK was high prices. They ‘had’ the market so they could do what they pleased and sat on their laurels vs inventing new lines. Along comes youthful Garmin with a better product — in some cases a revolutionary new product like the GNS and G1000 — and just totally gobbled up the market before B-K knew what hit them. If you think back to the late 90’s era lines of airplanes filled with Silver crown one year and suddenly filled with Garmin stuff, it happened in the blink of just a few years.

I think Garmin better be careful that they don’t go down the same rabbit hole with prices or planned obsolesce, too. One wrong move and Dynon or uAvionix could do the same thing to them. One innovative product could infuse capital into those companies and they’d be off and running. In fact, I’m eyeing new functions for my airplane and will be paying close attention to stuff offered by those companies.

Airventure 2022 will be interesting. IF MOSAIC does what we all hope it will, it could be another game changer.[…]

Larry S.

FAI Celebrates Anniversary Of 50-Year-Old Altitude Record

My dad Paul M. Smith was a British born Aerospace engineer trained at Westland Aircraft and was hired by LTV from Canadair to develop LTV XC-142 Tilt-Rotor. He was LTV Helicopter’s Employee of the Year in 1972. We lived in Marseille, France during the same time. I have color Super 8 movies of Jean Boulet flying my family through the French Alps in a Aérospatiale Alouette III. I remember my Dad telling me he had set the World Altitude record. Thanks for the article, it brought back some great memories from my childhood.

Kevin Smith

Poll: Are You Ready For Your First Amazon Delivery By Drone?

  • Don’t care about the delivery, just don’t want to meet them in the air.
  • Yes! I wish they would do it where I live.
  • This is a recipe for chaos; lost product, liability for dropped objects and drone CFITs. Should be entertaining!
  • It seems there is now an Amazon warehouse within 20 miles of EVERYWHERE. A good cannon with GPS activated parachute should work faster.
  • Drone delivery = Fantasy
  • Who cares so long as it gets there on time?
  • I’m ok IF they can safely integrate with existing aviation infrastructure.
  • They should not be allowed.
  • Oh goodie! More packages left out in the rain.
  • Neighborhood kids will take care of it.
  • I’m okay with Amazon’s attempt, but more important is the first crash that injures a bystander.
  • USPS at the door, thank you.
  • I will not hold my breath!
  • Would never make it to our location.
  • I really don’t care one way or the other.
  • Let’s see how well it works.
  • I have too many trees around my house.
  • If it gets me my toothpaste, I don’t care if it comes by llama.
  • Sceptic. Maybe in time.
  • Yes Siree, I live on the second floor of an apartment block.
  • If I need something and they deliver it by drone (which is highly unlikely where I live) then that’s fine but I’m not waiting.
  • I’ll wait and see how it goes before trusting it with my pizza!
  • Not applicable – live in the shadow of an airport.
  • Too rainy and wet in FL for boxes to sit unprotected.
  • I doubt that drones will be allowed to fly in urban areas.
  • Hope they navigate through holes in forest canopies.
  • It will be a non-event for me.
  • I don’t like the idea of drones operating in my area controlled by a stranger.
  • Aren’t drones targets? Or am I out of date again…
  • Who will fish it out of my trees?
  • I’m still waiting on the last order.
  • Pigeons are faster and more reliable.

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