Its one of the very first entries in Part 91 of the FAR, so important for every single flight that by the time my checkride came around I could recite it from memory. 91.103 requires pilots to complete the vital performance calculations for their aircraft and the specific conditions of the day to ensure that they can take off and land safely. There have been some apps to make this process easier but generally they feel clunky and complex. The folks at Gyronimo have come out with an iPad app which aims to not only make the process easier but also much more informative.
There’s little doubt that David Clark’s H10 headset is the gold standard for general aviation. When I started flight training that was the very first purchase I made, and over the years they have served me well. For short hops around the local area they really can’t be beat — they are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and do a great job of blocking out the engine noise so you can focus on communicating on the radios. But as soon as my flights started pushing past the two hour mark I realized that I needed something better. That’s when I decided to give the Halo headset from Quiet Technologies a try.
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.
I started instrument training not too long ago and pretty quickly I came to the realization that paper charts needed to go. Besides the fact that it was difficult to find what I needed while flying, all the required publications take up a lot of space in my flight bag and weigh a metric ton. Add in the fact that they expire every 56 days and keeping up with the FAA can start to eat into your AvGas budget. I have a Nexus 9 tablet running Garmin Pilot that has all the charts I need and could be a great substitute for the paper versions, I just needed a way to secure it in the airplane that was quick, easy, and didn’t obscure any of my view out the window or of the instruments. MyGoFlight’s Universal Kneeboard Folio C seemed like the perfect fit.
There are a few things that I never leave home without, and a good watch is high on that list. For just about everything that you do in the air, time is a valuable commodity and measuring it is essential — whether you’re doing a timed 180 degree turn out of a cloud bank or just trying to get the plane back on the field before your rental window closes, an actual physical chronometer is a handy piece of equipment. I’ve been looking for an aviation specific watch for a while now, and I think I may have struck gold with the Citizen Nighthawk.
I rent my wings, which means that I need to truck all my aviation related junk to and from the airfield with me every single time I fly. I tried using a range bag that I had acquired through my alter ego, but it wasn’t the most elegant solution. To make that process easier I wanted to see if there was a better bag out there that would give me quick access to all my gear while in flight yet contained enough to not take up my entire trunk. After going through a few different bags, I finally settled on my #1 choice: the 5.11 Rush 12 Back Pack.
I love high-wing airplanes. They give a great view of the outside world, and are very easy to fly and land. But there’s a problem with high-wing planes that low-wing planes don’t experience: the GPS signals are blocked in the cockpit. Because the wing spars are above your head, simply holding a GPS in your lap isn’t going to cut the mustard. You need a remote GPS device somewhere with a clear view of the sky, linked to your electronic flight bag of choice. One solution: the Dual Electronics XGPS150A.
NOTE: This review features Garmin Pilot prior to version 4.3. I have been tracking the updates as they happen and here are the major milestones (and associated discussion):
- Version 4.3: Terrain, Obstacles, and X-Plane Integration
- Version 5: User Interface changes, Lockheed martin flight plan filing, ICAO flight plans
The basic functionality of the app is still as cited below, but the look and feel has changed. Once you’ve read this review feel free to check the articles about the updates.
I can’t stand Apple devices. Their “walled garden” approach to apps might be good for security and stability, but when you start using that power to ban images of things that don’t fit your personal beliefs it goes a step too far. Censorship just isn’t my cup of tea. So when I started flying, I bought myself an Android tablet thinking that I’d use that for my Electronic Flight Bag and never have to worry about paper charts or pencil-and-E6B trip planning again. Little did I know that while Apple devices have a smattering of brilliant apps for that specific purpose, Android devices have been pretty much ignored. It took me a while, but with Garmin Pilot I think I finally have an app I can live with.
I don’t own an airplane — I rent them by the hour from FBOs. And while G1000 equipped airplanes are available, the cost associated with those planes is much higher than a normal steam-gauge Cessna 172. There’s also no way to know if the charts have been updated recently, and if you want to enter a detailed custom flight plan you’ll need to do it while on the ground burning gas prior to takeoff. For me, having a tablet to fulfill all of my navigational needs is ideal since I can configure it exactly how I like and program everything for my flight before I even leave home. But there’s a problem: how do you mount it on an airplane, especially one where you can’t alter anything and the configuration can vary wildly between FBOs? MyGoFlight has a solution: the Universal Flex Suction Kit.