One of the things all of us love to do at any air show where there are a lot of vendors with aircraft parts, avionics and pilot supplies is to browse. Yep, face it guys. You go to shows like Sun 'n Fun as dreamers; and a few of us actually warm up the plastic. I once accused my husband of melting the numbers off one card (in the days before chips). He's more of a doer, less of a dreamer. But even he is guilty of the occasional air show impulse buy.
I am his devil's advocate in that realm. I look at the newest and the coolest and secretly want it all—don’t get me wrong. I just have this annoying practical streak that gets in the way of actual purchases.
Take here at Sun’n Fun 2016. I was at the iLevil booth. I really like their one-box product, and on this particular day I asked myself if I maybe needed to consider adding some sort of ADS-B to the Kitfox IV I’ve been flying for 24 years. I love my Navworx ADS-B in/out UAT system in the RV-10. So why not?
The iLevil2 AW was extremely tempting, because it would do much more than just port in weather and traffic. With an iPad Mini (no, I don’t own one of those, so, yeah, something else to buy) and the iLevil2 AW app I could replicate all the missing instrumentation in my Kitfox. I’d have direction and attitude indicators (okay, I’ve got a compass that sort of indicates direction, but mostly I fly section lines and roads and coastlines). The box has AHRS plus ports for bringing in pitot-static information to enhance airspeed and altitude accuracy. And it works with the GRT EIS that has provided me with engine information for 15 years. Yep. Love that little box.
So, did I get it? Well, you know I didn’t, but I sure did salivate over it for a bit, and came back twice.
I asked myself over and over, “why do I want all that in my Day VFR-only kick-around-the-block airplane?” And all I could come up with was “traffic would be nice.” Hmmm…consider this a story in progress. As of right now, I’m not convinced that is the best use of nearly $1,500. After all, Rotax has that new engine….