VistaNAV 3.0 Supports New Hardware and Tricks

The latest version of portable synthetic vision software manufacturer Mercury Computer System’s VistaNAV comes with some pretty cool tricks. First, the program, in version 3.0, has been optimized for the new compact Samsung Q1 SSD tablet PC with touchscreen technology. The Samsung Q1 runs the VistaNAV CIS-1000 Class I EFB and includes moving map on approach plate and integrated synthetic vision 3-D technology, which makes the transition from VMC to IMC virtually seamless for pilots. The $4300 (show price) package includes a solid-state gyroscopic unit with adjustable barometric pressure and WAAS GPS.

“The real beauty of the 3-D synthetic system is that everything it shows you is where you will be in 9 seconds,” says VistaNAV ‘s Jeff Simon. “That allows you to begin your corrections before you actually deviate from your course, so that you fly with incredible accuracy.”

If you are willing to upgrade to the CIS-2000 system ($7000), a Class II EFB, you can integrate Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) into the VistaNAV system. This means you can use the synthetic vision to navigate to the airport. Then, with one touch of a finger on the soft button on the ultra-high resolution screen, your FLIR camera will show you in real time the condition of the runway and any obstacles, animate or inanimate, in your way. “The integration of synthetic vision and FLIR is the ultimate safety enhancement for anyone who flies in low visibility situations or at night,” says Simon.

And Now for Something Completely Different

One of the great aspects of events like Sun 'n Fun is the frequency with which something new shows up. It's unusual for those new things to be really different, but this ZJ Viera is an example of something far from the norm. Light, low to the ground and, from watching it, nimble both on the ground and in the air, the ZJ Viera motors along nicely on its little single-cylinder engine, mono gear and cantilevered wing. Rather than ramble on about its singular traits, well, you can see for yourself that this ultralight definitely represents a departure from your typical very light aircraft.

For more information, visit InterPlane.

Something Old, Something New

It's probably just human nature that ogling what's new occupies so much of the attention of so many people so much of the time at events like the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. After all, it is arguably one of the most important shows on the annual aviation calendar. But periodically it's something old that stops traffic and conversation, and when this American Aviation Eagle ultralight rolled out to the Paradise City runway this week, you could easily differentiate between the relative newcomers to the show and the ultralight veterans who populated the area 25 years ago--back when the Eagle was new and exciting and as exotic looking as it was easy to fly.

As old as the Eagle is, there is another historical note to attach to these photos. The pilot at the controls is none other than John Moody, the 1970s hang glider pilot credited for launching the ultralight movement when he first brought to Oshkosh an Easy Riser bi-wing hang glider with a small two-stroke engine mounted on the back.

Moody's demonstrations of launching a powered hang glider from level ground--using only his feet for landing gear--both stopped the crowds and started a movement that continues to evolve. Oh, yeah, he's still flying an Easy Riser with retractable, uh, feet.

Paradise City: The Few, The Proud, The Very Light

Ahhh, yesss! Paradise City as it used to be, as it should be. Thanks to days of drier weather, smooth winds, blue skies and more planes, the action picked up Thursday. The queue taxiing for the Runway 9 operation started forming the instant the main-side airshow ended, and when the green flag went up to signal the opening of the evening flight window, well, it's a combination of sights, sounds and smells that even the best photo can't completely portray.

But maybe you can get a sense of what it's like if you sit back, zoom the photo up large and make a strong buzzing sound...brrrrrhhuuummmmm.

Avemco Offers Hull/Liability Insurance for Part-time CFIs

Avemco’s Jim Lauerman was honestly happy announcing the insurance company’s newest product for flight instructors Friday morning at Sun 'n Fun. The program is designed specifically for CFIs who own their own airplanes and want to give occasional instruction (such as someone with a kit aircraft who might want to do some transition training work with other builders). The program will allow the flight instructor to simply call Avemco to add the student pilot as a named insured on the airplane’s policy, without forcing the CFI/owner into a commercial policy that costs four or five times what a typical leisure/business policy costs.

Lauerman was quick to point out that the program is not designed for the active CFI with several concurrent students, and that the company will recommend another policy to CFIs who are trying to use it under those conditions. Still, the new program does offer an affordable solution for part-time flight instructors/aircraft owners who would like to teach a couple students each year.

For more information, visit Avemco.

National Association of Flight Instructors Helps Kit Builders Become Safe Fliers

The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) held its Master Flight Instructor Breakfast Friday morning at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, and one Master CFI, Ron Galbraith, of Odenton, Maryland, took time to speak with KITPLANES about his own work as a Lancair ES builder, an A&P;, and a test pilot and checkout pilot for other Lancair builders around the country.

“Skysmith Insurance knows me now as the guy who checks out people in Lancairs,” explains Galbraith. “What’s nice is that because I’m building my own, I know what to look for on the projects before they fly. And I’ve flown a lot of Lancairs now, so I know how they are supposed to fly." Once he’s helped an owner tweak the airplane so that it handles properly, he’ll transition the owner/builder into the machine.

“Sometimes it takes just a few hours, and sometimes I have to come back,” he said. “It varies. But one thing is always true. Builders have a lot of emotional attachment to their high-performance, complex projects, and it really isn’t a good idea for them to test-fly them unless they are qualified and have already done a transition training course. It just makes sense, from a safety standpoint.”

Galbraith points out that at NAFI you can find a listing of Master Flight Instructors and their specialties. It is a great place to begin looking for the right instructor to transition you into your prize machine. With the right training you’ll be ready to handle anything your project throws at you—and ready to safely reap the benefits of your hard work for years to come.