's Fuel Route Planner in Beta’s new fuel route planner, in its final beta version, was displayed at AirVenture this year. President/CEO Jeffrey Carrithers anticipates that the finished screens, airport reports and icons should be finished by November 2008. The service is intended for the cross-country piston pilot, and he estimates that the subscription would run between $10-15 monthly.

Carrithers gave us a quick look at its capabilities. When you input your point of departure and destination, the planner takes your aircraft’s range, lays out the number of stops and displays the nearest airport. Click on that airport, and will do a radial search for the best fuel price. It will also show alternate airports in the area, including airport information and fuel prices.

Where GlobalAir differs is that the fuel prices are reported directly from the FBOs, not pilot reports. The fuel prices are updated every 30 days, and if an FBO doesn’t update, it’s removed from the system automatically—no false hope from outdated fuel prices.

Stewart Systems Debuts Nontoxic Epoxy Primer

Stewart Aircraft Finishing Systems introduced EkoPoxy, a new waterborne two-part catalyzed epoxy primer that also contains a proprietary corrosion inhibitor. No oxidation, no rust, no toxic vapors. Pretty cool. Oh, and it’s tough enough to resist a pretty good thumb dig into a coated fabric fabric surface. (It recovered shortly thereafter.)

Company principal Doug Stewart told us EkoPoxy was developed to protect the metal fuselage and any steel parts from corrosion. “It’s an extremely durable, tough paint, and we’re trying to keep those metal airplanes from rusting. With a lot of primers, you have to be very careful what type of paint you put over them because they dissolve them. This primer is impervious to just about anything we can throw at it: MEKs, lacquers, all your high-solvent rubs, even long-term exposure in warm salt water or salt air.” Good news if your plane’s on floats, or if you tie it down in a salt air environment.

EkoPoxy is also STC’d, and the company is working on getting its paints Mil-Spec’d. Stewart added, “We work to a higher standard. We’re the only fabric and paint system in the industry that’s totally nonhazardous, meets all OSHA EPA requirements and is noncombustible. You can use it indoors in a closed-room environment all day, with no health or hazard issues. It’s a catalyzed product that doesn’t require a fresh air breathing system. It’s safe to use—we just require a good-quality charcoal respirator. And you’re not going to blow your shop up because it will absolutely not burn in a liquid or a cured state.”

Stewart noted that their technology has been around for about 14 years, and that solvents are on their way out. They can ship the materials worldwide with no hazmat or special shipping requirements. He added they hadn’t received any reports from the field about cracking or crazing on fabric aircraft.

EkoPoxy can be cleaned up with water, and is now available. Check out Stewart Aircraft Finishing Systems’ Web site for more information, or call them at their Cashmere, Washington, facility at 888/356-7659.

Zodiac CH 650 Surprise Introduction

Drafting behind the more widely publicized STOL CH 750, Zenith Aircraft’s second debut at AirVenture was the new Zodiac CH 650. Available as a kit, plans-built plane or factory-built SLSA by AMD, the CH 650 is based on the Zodiac CH 601 XL model. Developed in response to builder feedback, the 650 has a larger cabin than the 601.

A major improvement is the larger canopy with increased headroom. Staff engineer Caleb Gebhardt noted, “We changed the latching system so it’s simpler and easier to build. The lighter canopy is easier to control in windy conditions, and when you’re sitting on the ramp, it won’t pop up on you.” The 601 XL latch is in the canopy frame, and the studs are on the fuselage. On the new system, the latch is built into the fuselage so you keep the heavy pieces of the system on the fuselage; the studs are built into the framework. It also offers rollover protection in the canopy system using vertical tubes.

Gebhardt adds, “The 650 is a combination of the XLs in different markets: the European XL, the AMD factory-built plane and the kit-built XL. We took what we liked best about all three and put them into one aircraft. We think it’s a major improvement.”

Well, what about the 601 XL you’ve completed (or are still completing)? No worries. Gebhardt told us, “We worked hard to make sure that the major portions that we changed were retrofittable for the XL. The rudder has been swept back for greater efficiency and a cleaner look. We changed a lot of little things to make it easier to build that aren’t necessarily obvious. They’ll reduce build time, and will remove confusion in reading the plans or looking at parts. It’s more streamlined and more clear.”

The CH 650’s takeoff roll and landing distance are booked at 500 feet, with a 1000 fpm climb. Using a 110-hp Jabiru 3300 as an example engine choice, max cruise at 75% power is 138 mph, with a stall speed of 44 mph with flaps, and 51 mph without. With an empty weight of 695 pounds and a gross weight of 1320 pounds, the 650 allows a useful load of 625 pounds; fuel capacity is 24 gallons. Of course, your personal engine choice and the resulting performance figures may vary.

The introductory rudder kit (tools not included) runs $375, a good way to get the feel of Zodiac construction before you commit to the kit. The detailed blueprints and manual, including the serial number, are available for $495 if you want to build from scratch or examine the design and construction prior to building a kit. The airframe kit is $14,275, and the finishing kit (including spring gear, wheels with brakes, canopy, seat belts and more) is an additional $4225. If you prefer to pay as you build, separate component kits are available from the factory.

Want a fly-away factory-built 650? You can buy the American-made factory-assembled and certified Zodiac CH 650 LS Light Sport Aircraft from AMD. An IFR certified model is also available; check with AMD for pricing. The IFR-equipped CH650 LSi on display, with a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine, featured a show special price of $114,900.

JPI Rolls Out Four New Instruments

J.P. Instruments announced three new displays for twin-engine aircraft, as well as a fuel quantity instrument—all will be available in January 2009.

JPI's Ottis Cameron gave us the rundown of each display, starting with the 6.5 x 5-inch single display Twin EDM-960. Expected to sell for about $15,000 for a six-cylinder display, including all probes and leads, the all-in-one instrument displays the manifold pressure and rpm for both engines in a conventional arced display with a dual needle. In addition to the graphical display, both MP and rpm readings are displayed in a large blue box with the digital readout.

Vertical bars with dual needles display your oil temp, oil pressure, fuel pressure, volts, fuel flow and fuel quantity on the right-hand side of the display. The screen is laid out in a logical, uncluttered fashion—the arcs are clustered together, as are the bars.

The display is bright, crisp and has good contrast; in a busy cockpit, it doesn’t seem as if it would take extra brain power to integrate the information. EGT and CHT information for every cylinder is depicted graphically and numerically in the lower left quadrant of the screen, accompanied by the OAT digital readout. A USB port is installed in the instrument, allowing you to download the data in the plane without hauling your laptop out.

The flat panel EDM-760 for twin-engine planes features a bright new color 3.25 x 4-inch LCD, a real improvement over the traditional displays. Priced at about $5000 when it becomes available, the EDM-760 displays the CHT and EGT for each cylinder full-time in large, bright white digits; the appropriate cylinder number being read is highlighted in white as well. Other features include lean find, shock cooling, and long-term memory with USB downloading incorporated.

JPI’s new twin fuel flow instrument, the 3.125-inch Fuel Scan 450M, will retail for $1695 when available. It features a larger LED format readout for the flow rate, as well as total fuel numbers. It has the same format as original 450, displaying the calculation in the lower window, including total fuel used for the left or right engine, fuel remaining and time remaining.

The FQ-400 is a 2.25-inch dual fuel level capacitance instrument, showing left and right tank fuel quantity. The price point hasn’t been finalized yet, and it’s intended to be a modern replacement for the older aircraft capacitive sensors.

Aveo's RockRack Streamlines Panels

Settled quietly next to the dazzling display of AveoFlash LED aircraft lights, AveoEngineering’s selection of aircraft cockpit rocker switches demonstrated their own brand of brilliance. Called RockRack, this innovative modular system allows you to set up your dash as you wish. The sleek curved modules lock together with a dovetail design, and are backlit with LEDs to enhance readability in both bright and overcast conditions.

Available since July 27, RockRack offers 21 different backlit icons, including master switches, each lighting circuit, fuel pump, alternator and weather. Each switch takes 20 amps, is available in 12 or 24 volts, and includes integrated resistors. They have a mechanical life of 150,000 cycles, so rock away.

A pack of eight switches goes for about $286 from Aircraft Spruce, and can also be installed in certified aircraft.

Beyerdynamic Introduces HS 600 Digital ANR Headset

Beyerdynamic debuted its new HS 600 DANR (Digital Adaptive Noise Reduction) headset at AirVenture, offering a discount to the first 50 "test pilots." Using proprietary software, a microprocessor in the headset adapts to the noise level in the cockpit and reduces background noise. The digital design will allow product updates to be accomplished as needed.

Alan Feckanin, Beyerdynamic’s business unit manager for the Aviation Division, explained: “When you first turn the unit on, you don’t hear that typical ANR unit sound. It’s quiet and waiting to hear noise first.” It also comes with an audio box with an MP3/cell phone interface. The unit may be powered from the panel, using a two-wire, three-pin cable (included), or from two AA batteries, which will be good for approximately 25 hours of use.

Feckanin added that the show price of $599 was available to the first 50 test pilots to get pilot feedback on the units; they may be purchased directly from the company. After the release date, estimated for October 1, the headsets will be available for approximately $699-$749. He noted that the 11-ounce headset’s design had its genesis in the audio studio, where earcup and headband comfort was paramount for the audio engineers who wore them for many hours at a time.

The HS 600 DANR carries a five-year parts and labor warranty, and the German-manufactured units may be serviced in the U.S.

Beyerdynamic plans to offer the “Manufaktur—Build Your Own” program for the HS 600 DANR in the near future. Using the wizard on the company's web site (, you can select the color of the ear cups, ear pads, headband and aluminum design parts. You may also have text printed onto a metal plate on the headset.

For more information, call 239/283-7880 or visit the web site.