Avionics upgrades priced for your aircraft

Garmin has leveraged decades of experience in avionics in certified aircraft and its existing product line to bring scalable avionics solutions to general aviation. Aircraft owners have the opportunity to take a building-block approach to their panel upgrade, starting with the G5 electronic flight instrument and work up to the G3X Touch flight display. Economical autopilot and GPS navigators add even more value and capability to any panel, all of which are backed by a trusted brand and an award-winning aviation support team.
Source: aopaAvionics upgrades priced for your aircraft

FAA Update on Hurricane Dorian

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is monitoring Hurricane Dorian closely and preparing FAA facilities and equipment along the southeast coast of Florida to withstand potential damage so flights can quickly resume after the storm passes. Restoring air carrier service is critical to support disaster relief efforts.

Travelers

Airlines make decisions about their flight schedules. Flights can stop long before winds reach hurricane strength. Travelers should check with their airlines before heading to the airport for a flight to or from the southeast coast of Florida. The FAA does not direct or advise airlines about cancelling flights.

Airports in the area of potential impact make decisions about closing their facilities. In many cases, airports remain open and do not officially close even when flights have stopped. The FAA does not direct or advise airports to open or close.

The FAA maintains air traffic control radar coverage and provides service to flights for as long as possible. FAA control towers in hurricane-prone areas are designed and built to sustain hurricane force winds. Each control tower has a maximum wind sustainability, which can range from 55 to 75 miles per hour. When winds approach those speeds, controllers evacuate the tower cabs. At busy airports controllers remain in the building at a secure lower level, and are ready to go back to work as soon as the storm passes.

Ahead of the storm, FAA technicians protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible to enable flights to resume quickly after the storm passes. FAA technicians test engine generators and ensure they are fully fueled so they can power equipment and facilities if commercial power fails. We switch to engine generator power before the storm in anticipation of commercial power failures.

After the storm, we assess damage to FAA facilities and navigational aids. We set priorities to quickly re-establish critical equipment. The FAA has equipment, supplies and people ready to move into the affected areas as soon as the storm passes to restore air traffic control facilities that may be damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Teams of technicians and engineers from other locations travel to the affected areas to assess damage and begin restoring equipment and facilities working closely with the local technical teams.

General Aviation Pilots

Standard checklists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilots failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents. Be sure to check NOTAMs, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Aircraft Safety Alerts before you go.

Check out the FAAs Hurricane Preparedness Guidance.

Drone Users

Drone users should check NOTAMs and TFRs and avoid flying in areas where drones are prohibited.

Drone pilots must comply with FAA rules and should:

  1. Avoid flying in the area unless conducting an active disaster response or recovery mission.
  2. Be aware that the FAA might issue a TFR in the affected area. Be sure to check for active TFRs if you plan to fly.
  3. Remember that you cannot fly inside a TFR without FAA approval.

Drone emergency operations and response:

  • During a natural disaster, do not fly your drone in or around emergency response efforts, unless you have special authorization to do so. There are low flying aircraft as part of the storm response mostly in low visibility areas. If you are flying, emergency response operations cannot.
  • You may be able to get expedited approval to operate in the TFR through the FAAs Special Governmental Interest(SGI) process as outlined inFAA Order JO 7200.23A. Submit an Emergency Operation Request Form with your existing Remote Pilot Certificate or existing Certification of Authorization (COA) and send to the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 9-ator-hq-sosc@faa.gov.

Dont Be That Guy!

Be aware that significant penalties that may exceed $20,000 if drone operators interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if aTFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

If you are not certified as a remote pilot or do not already hold a COA, you cannot fly.

Follow the FAA on social media for the latest aviation news!

Source: FAAFAA Update on Hurricane Dorian

How do I mount my tablet or phone in a helicopter?

BoxElder

iPads are changing how helicopter pilots fly, with affordable obstacle alerts, custom helicopter approach charts, and in-flight weather finding their way into more and more cockpits. Where to mount a tablet in a helicopter, though, is a tricky question since the pilot typically has both hands on the controls at all times and there is no yoke to use for mounting as there is in an airplane. The high vibration environment can also pose some unique challenges. Here’s our advice.

Helicopter mount
The Robust Suction Cup Mount for iPhone is a great option in a helicopter like this Robinson R44.

The most universal option is the good old suction cup mount. One thing helicopters have a lot of is glass, so there is usually a convenient part of the side window or windshield to attach the suction cup to that will keep the tablet in the pilot’s view. The standard RAM Mount kits work well, as do the Robust Suction Cup kits. It helps to keep the window clean and to find a relatively flat part of glass for the suction cup, but we have not had any issues with a suction cup failing in flight. If you are concerned about this, the double suction cup mount is an option.

Actually, our favorite mount in a helicopter is the Robust Suction Cup Mount for phones. It holds tight to the window, the phone is a convenient size in a helicopter, and the spring-loaded cradle is easy to operate with one hand. On a long cross country, this is the perfect setup, and most modern EFB apps offer a full-featured version for smartphones. One additional tip on suction cup mounts: shorter arms will generally reduce the vibration, especially if you tighten up the joints well. So if you’re having trouble with a shaky screen, you might opt for the shorter arm length.

For mounting on the cyclic, the new Box Elder system is simple but ingenious. It uses a simple plastic piece that securely fits around the cyclic bar in a Robinson R22 or R44 helicopter, then screws tight with a small thumbscrew. Once the bracket is attached, a variety of add-ons can transform it into a timer mount, GoPro mount or phone/tablet mount.

BoxElder
The BoxElder system is a simple and reliable mounting option for Robinson helicopters.

The $11.99 disk attachment accessory is the best option for electronic devices, but it does require two-sided tape or velcro (there is no cradle for phones). The bracket itself is $19.99 so the total system costs less than $35, a fair value. In our experience, the bracket is both lightweight and sturdy, so it’s not going anywhere. However, a full-size iPad will probably interfere too much to be used in everyday flying.

Finally, kneeboards are a great choice for helicopters, although we believe simpler is better. A bulky kneeboard can quickly get in the way of the controls – a bad situation in a five-foot hover. Two of our favorite options are the Flight Gear Rotating Kneeboard and the MyClip. Both of these hold the iPad securely on your leg, which is the most important feature, but they won’t get in the way.

Whichever solution you choose, make sure you spend some time testing it on the ground before you go flying. With a little experimentation, an iPad can be a valuable addition to any helicopter, but you want to make any mistakes on the ground, with the rotor blades stopped.

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Source: Ipad appsHow do I mount my tablet or phone in a helicopter?

FAA Eases Restrictions on Drone Operations Over Some Federal Facilities

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is working with other federal agencies to minimize the impact of flight restrictions on drone operators flying near select federal facilities.

The FAA is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to establish intermittent restrictions on drone flights within the lateral boundaries of select federal facilities during specified times. Currently, drone operators are prohibited from flying at these locations at all times. The FAA is working to ensure that these restrictions are narrowly tailored and remain in effect only when necessary.

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) will be issued in advance, indicating the sites where these intermittent restrictions will apply. Drone operators will be able to easily identify the status of the airspace at these locations using the FAAs Unmanned Aircraft System UAS Data Display Systems (UDDS) interactive map which will show the following:

  • The airspace shapes will appear gray when the 99.7 (special security instructions) airspace is inactive and no restrictions are placed on drone operators.
  • Approximately 24 hours before restrictions are activated, the designated airspace will change to yellow as a warning that restrictions will soon become active.
  • At the end of the 24-hour warning window, the designated airspace will change to red while the drone restrictions are in effect.
  • The specific activation times can also be viewed by clicking on the individual airspace shapes in UDDS. Operators are urged to check the UDDS website frequently before and during UAS flights, especially when operating near or within the defined airspace to which recurring transient special security instructions are applied.

These changes, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 9/7752, will become effective on Sept.1, 2019. This NOTAM replaces FAA NOTAM FDC 8/3277. Note that there are few exceptions that permit UAS operations within these restrictions, and those must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

Operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties, criminal charges, or the loss of their UAS from counter-UAS activities.

The FAA is continuing to consider additional requests by eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions using the agencys existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 99.7 as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate.

Information on the NOTAM, which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, is available. To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the UDDS also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details. A link to these restrictions is included in the FAAs B4UFLY mobile app.

Broader information regarding flying drones in the National Airspace System, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.

Source: FAAFAA Eases Restrictions on Drone Operations Over Some Federal Facilities

ForeFlight expands map functionality in latest update

The latest ForeFlight update includes a series of small, yet powerful features, that continue to expand the app’s capabilities. What’s interesting about this latest release is that you probably wouldn’t notice any of the new features if you updated and went about using the app in your normal routine. It highlights the importance of keeping up with each update as they become available in the app store and reviewing what’s new to get the most out of the app as it evolves. Here’s what to look for.

US VFR Flyway Charts on Maps

Think back to the pre-iPad days, when you kept a Sectional, Terminal Area Chart (TAC) and A/FD within easy reach in your flight bag. The TAC was especially useful when flying in and around Class B airspace, to see a greater level of detail to help in navigating the complex airspace. You may also recall the secondary resource printed on the back of the TAC, called a VFR Flyway chart, that depicts optimum VFR routing and visual landmarks when transitioning the airspace. It includes route arrows and altitudes to keep you under the Class B airspace and clear of the major Class B airport.

This resource has been in ForeFlight for years in the Documents section of the app, but it’s now available as a geo-referenced layer on the Maps screen. To view it, select the “U.S. VFR (flyway)” layer from the list of options, and zoom into an area that has a Class B airport (or the Florida Keys).

Improved map layers

ForeFlight’s moving map, with a sectional base layer and radar overlay, is fairly easy to view and manipulate. Things can get a little more complicated though when you combine aeronautical map features, multiple weather overlays and dynamic airspace. This often forces you to zoom in tight on the map to tap a specific layer and display more information about it.

The latest update improves this a bit, allowing you to view information about multiple layer types simulataneously on the moving map. For example, in the following scenario, there is a turbulence AIRMET (colored light orange) in effect for the entire zoom level. After tapping the yellow TFR in the middle of the screen, an improved “Map Info” box appears, showing both the TFR and AIRMET. You can then tap on either one for more information. Previously tapping this area would have shown you info on the TFR, or info on the AIRMET, but not both at the same time.

In the next scenario, we tapped on a PIREP that was reported in an area with a TFR and 3 different types of AIRMETs. The Map Info shows preview data for each, greatly simplifying the interaction when attempting to get more info about layers on the map.

FBO info on aeronautical maps

The next to thing check out is the airport diagram depicted when zoomed in tight on the aeronautical map screen. ForeFlight now displays the FBO name and location with a blue dot here – tap it to view FBO information and fuel pricing.

Aircraft Sharing

This next feature is great for groups of pilots flying the same airplane, whether in a flight school, flying club or flight department. After one pilot sets up all the details for an aircraft profile, a new sharing function at the top right of the screen allows you to share it with other ForeFlight users using the standard methods (iMessage, Mail, etc.).

The recipient can then tap the link on their iPad or iPhone to accept the share. Shared aircraft are read-only, so recipients can’t change any of the aircraft’s details, but any changes made by the original owner are automatically synced to any recipients. This can be a big time saver, requiring only one pilot to set up the detailed aircraft equipment data required for ICAO flight plan filing.

What else is new

  • Automatic night time logging – ForeFlight will now use your location and sunset/sunrise data to automatically log night time in the logbook
  • New Document Types – adds support for comma-separated value files (CSV), and Apple Pages, Keynote, and Number files into ForeFlight’s Documents view.
  • Expanded European Coverage – All European subscribers can now download AIPs for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey.
  • European Graphical NOTAMs – Access graphical depictions of European enroute NOTAMs directly on ForeFlight’s map for improved flight planning and inflight situational awareness. Graphical NOTAMs are supported for all of Europe.
  • FLARM NMEA support – Third-party devices that deliver FLARM traffic information in Europe via the NMEA protocol can now display that traffic within ForeFlight. ForeFlight also supports FLARM traffic from third-party devices using our extended GDL90 protocol, as well as via uAVionix’s SkyECho 2 ADS-B and FLARM transceiver.

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Source: Ipad appsForeFlight expands map functionality in latest update