Garmin Pilot is the only real option for a full featured navigation suite on the Android platform, but it looks like they aren’t resting on their laurels. In the last major update they added train and obstacle identification into their database, and while 5.0 doesn’t have many big new features it does sport a brand new user interface. Gone are the huge buttons on the screen, replaced with a more Android-esque hamburger menu and other nice UI improvements that do make it easier to navigate around the app while in the air.
Technology has moved on a little bit since my Cherokee was manufactured in 1963. Looking through the logbooks I can see that the avionics have changed over time — an ADF removed here, a new CDI replaced there — but modern technology is moving faster than ever, and getting a panel mounted solution for the latest tech might not be the best idea given the expense of installation and uncertainty of how long it will be in vogue. One innovation that has remarkably improved my driving experience on the ground is the ability to link my cell phone to my car’s stereo for making phone calls and listening to music. To duplicate that in the airplane I could either get a panel mounted solution with Bluetooth for $1,500 plus labor, or for a mere $249 I could get an inline adapter that could do all the same functions called the BluLink Adapter.
Nestled in bucolic “Happy Valley” Pennsylvania, the University Park Airport is the closest large commercial airfield to The Pennsylvania State University. The airfield operates regularly scheduled regional flights out of the commercial aviation terminal, but just to the east of that on the field is the General Aviation terminal which acts as the FBO for private aircraft. The location of the airfield smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania makes it very appealing for pilots looking for a quick fuel stop, and the long runway and ILS landing system put this strip on the list for my top favorite airports in the United States to visit. Whether you’re just passing through or spending some time in Happy Valley this airport is a wonderful gateway to central Pennsylvania.
The problem with unanticipated emergencies is that when they happen it takes forever to identify them. Things like engine failure or blocked instrument probes are common enough among the bug smashing piston pilots that it’s something we consider every single flight, and preparing for those emergencies is the primary focus of initial flight training and instrument flight training. We pay lip service to other less common emergencies but their rarity doesn’t detract from their lethality. During one trip to Florida one of the rarer in-flight emergencies threatened to end my flying career, but thanks to a small piece of aluminum I lived to see another day.