Avionics

The Road to Certification: GFC 500 for the Retractable 182s

The Road to Certification: GFC 500 for the Retractable 182s

Garmin’s GFC 500 autopilot is still very new, and supported aircraft are being added all the time. TROY WHISTMAN, a Cessna Flyer Association member, was selected and agreed to loan his 1980 Cessna TR182 Turbo Skylane RG as a test aircraft for Garmin’s certification of the autopilot in retractable Skylanes. Here is his story, including tips for how you might improve the chances of your aircraft being selected, too. The morning of Monday, July 15, 2019, dawned over Olathe, Kansas, with a beautiful sunrise, as I awoke with a burst of excitement. Today, with any luck, I’d be picking up…
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Tips & Tricks for Flying with the Garmin GFC 500 AFCS Autopilot, Part 2

Tips & Tricks for Flying with the Garmin GFC 500 AFCS Autopilot, Part 2

In the last article, we left off with our shiny new Garmin GFC 500 autopilot fully configured for departure. We’d been instructed to “fly heading 180, climb and maintain 3,000 feet.” Takeoff: From runway to airborne With the preflight work done, take off as normal. Saying “Gear up, flaps up, yaw damper on,” will make you feel like one of the big kids, as you press the “YD” key and let the servos handle the rudder. Above 800 feet agl with the airplane cleaned up, reach over and enable the autopilot by pressing the “AP” button whenever you’re ready. If…
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Tips & Tricks for Flying with the Garmin GFC 500 AFCS Autopilot, Part 1

Tips & Tricks for Flying with the Garmin GFC 500 AFCS Autopilot, Part 1

Author TROY WHISTMAN walks you through preparation for a flight with the state-of-the-art Garmin GFC 500 digital autopilot. With Garmin’s introduction of the GFC 500 digital autopilot, more accurately an Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), capabilities previously absent in small General Aviation aircraft are now available for about $25,000 installed. Your vintage Cessna may have come from the factory with a single-axis Cessna Nav-o-Matic that could “kind of” hold a heading or scallop along a VOR course utilizing analog inputs, while you managed altitude and trim settings. Newer digital systems like the GFC 500 from Garmin, the DFC90 from Avidyne,…
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The AeroVonics AV-20-S

The AeroVonics AV-20-S

Contributing editor MICHAEL LEIGHTON reviews AeroVonics’ new MFD and shares his interview with one of the company’s owners. AeroVonics is shipping the experimental version of the AV-30 3-inch PFD, and is taking preproduction orders for the STC’d version. In 2016, the FAA established a new certification process called NORSEE. That stands for Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment. Since that time, several companies have availed themselves of this process that allows aircraft owners to permanently install things like carbon monoxide detectors, USB power receptacles and sun visors in our certificated GA aircraft with a simple logbook entry from an A&P. Fast forward…
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ADS-B vs. SiriusXM

ADS-B vs. SiriusXM

Perhaps the most significant safety improvement in aviation in the last 20 years is the availability of cost effective, quality, real-time weather and traffic in flight. Once found only on high-end corporate aircraft, real-time weather is now available to any pilot with an iPad using a portable receiver. The most popular portable options are the Stratus 2S ADS-B receiver from Appareo and the SXAR1 receiver from SiriusXM Aviation. I did a side-by-side comparison of both systems with each receiver dedicated to one of two iPads. My test flights were conducted in a single-engine piston and a single-engine turboprop. Similarities Both…
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What Can ADS-B Out Do for Me?

What Can ADS-B Out Do for Me?

Steve Ells extols the benefits of ADS-B Out and provides information on a couple of new products in the field. The Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B mandate is coming for GA airplane owners. This mandate requires the installation of equipment to broadcast coded information to ATC, and to other aircraft in a format known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B. Why do we need to upgrade to an ADS-B system? Simply put, every aircraft equipped with an ADS-B datalink will automatically transmit its precise position, its velocity (both vertical and horizontal), as well as its altitude and other information to controllers…
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Can an Engine Monitor Save Your Life?

Can an Engine Monitor Save Your Life?

by Jeffrey Chipetine A harrowing ordeal creates a customer for life for Electronics International. The restoration of my R182 Skylane was proceeding as expected, and that included replacing the hazy windscreen with something that had a bit more transparency than “a pair of stove-lids,” to steal a phrase from Samuel Clemens. Sweat equity and a liberal application of dollars were slowly transforming the Ugly Duckling into something more acceptable. Sticking out of the Skylane’s scratched windscreen was an old school rump-roast-style OAT thermometer coupled with an old bow-tie glideslope antenna at the top. The replacement plan included dispensing with both…
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The Early Bird: Installing ADS-B In

December 2015 It’s been nine months now since I started my ADS-B installation project. Along the way I’ve sold most of my old avionics, researched and purchased new avionics, and babysat the installation processes. In addition, I’ve had a complex annual inspection that found corrosion needing repair and have installed auxiliary fuel tanks.
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Troubleshooting Your Navcom

Troubleshooting Your Navcom

Try these troubleshooting tips before you visit your favorite avionics shop for service. We all know it takes fuel to fly our aircraft from point A to point B, but we sometimes take for granted that communicating and navigating along the way is just as important to knowing how to manage your engine and fuel reserves. After more than 20 years running an avionics shop, I have seen, heard and experienced many different types of navcom problems. Some are really complicated, but many times the issues can be very simple.
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It’s 2015. Do you know where your iPad is?

It’s 2015. Do you know where your iPad is?

If you're not using an iPad in the cockpit, you could be missing out on one of the greatest and most cost-effective innovations for aviation in decades. May 2015- No question, the iPad has changed the way we fly. About a year ago, I stopped carrying paper charts completely, and I carry two iPads instead. I even cancelled my Jepps approach plate subscription—which I've had since 1980—because it's all in the iPad now. A few years back at the Gathering in Waupaca, I spoke to association members about Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) technology and specifically about using an iPad in…
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The ABCs of ELTs

The ABCs of ELTs

A clear understanding of FAR 91.207 is just the beginning for pilots looking at installing a new ELT. March 2015- "ELTs are specialized radio transmitters that sit in the aircraft and are designed to do nothing," says Joan Goodman, president of Emergency Beacon Corp. based in New Rochelle, N.Y. "And they should do nothing—that is, they are designed not to interfere [with other equipment]."That is, until they're needed. "In the event of an incident, the ELT will either trigger automatically, or can be manually activated," Goodman explained. Automatic ELTs begin transmitting an emergency distress signal only after a significant change…
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The Soul of a New GPS: Avidyne’s IFD540

The Soul of a New GPS: Avidyne’s IFD540

In 1982, journalist Tracy Kidder won a Pulitzer Prize for "The Soul of a New Machine," a book that described the development of a next-generation computer by Data General Corp. and its competitor Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). For engineers in the story, the time-to-market pressure was constant. As Wikipedia notes, "The 'soul' of the new machine comes from the dedicated engineers who bring it to life with their endless hours of attention and toil. The soul is theirs, stored in silicon and microcode." February 2015- Thirty-three years later, a similar narrative is playing out just 30 miles from the site…
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