Jeppesen Releases New VFR+GPS Charts

Jeppesen, Inc., the company that brings you instrument charts, announced today the release of a VFR+GPS chart series for navigation in North America.

“The new charts were designed by pilots for pilots,” said Christopher Dean, product manager at Jeppesen. Customer feedback, he explains, drove the company's desire to design a series of Visual Flight Rules (VFR) charts that are easier to use than NOAA Sectional Charts, because the Jeppesen charts are built around actual flight paths used most by VFR pilots. The new Jeppesen VFR charts aggregate aviation data with the latest cultural and terrain data in a way that uses color and contrast to make a VFR chart easier to read and interpret. Terrain data from the Space Shuttle radar missions provides a realistic depiction of the earth below.

The new VFR+GPS chart coverage areas will initially include en route and area charts stretching from Miami to Atlanta with expansion to other areas across the U.S. in 2009. The latest en route chart offered for July includes Wisconsin and Illinois, and is featured as a Special Oshkosh Commemorative Chart during EAA's 2008 AirVenture show. Get yours at the Jeppesen exhibit booth just west of the new Wittman Field tower during the show. For additional information visit Jeppesen or call 800/621-5377.

Lycoming Introduces New Engine Models, Electronic Engine Controls

Lycoming's 10 a.m. press conference today centered on several new projects for the manufacturer. Of note for Experimental fans are two things: Fully electronic engine controls—a FADEC—that includes a knock sensor for detonation control that will be certified but launched into the Experimental market, and the Thunderbolt Signature turbonormalized version of the IO-360 engine.

The new TIO-360 is a turbonormalized, intercooled version of the parallel-valve, 180-horsepower 360 packaged to fit as closely as possible into the footprint of the non-turbo version. According to Lycoming, the TIO-360 will be approved to run on 100LL as well as "aviation grade" 91/96UL fuel.

The electronic engine control system, dubbed iE2, uses electronic fuel injection and ignition, an integrated electronic knock sensor and a "holistic" approach to engine management, which implies individual control of each cylinder. A single-lever power control will be part of the deal.

Lycoming did not provide images at the 10 a.m. press conference, but we'll heading to the Lycoming booth shortly to grab a few shots of the new engines.

In other Lycoming news, the IO-390, a large-bore variant of the longstanding IO-360, 200-hp engine, will be cerfified this year and offered through a new program called Eschelon to develop Supplemental Type Certificate approval for installation of the 390 in certified aircraft currently carrying the angle-valve IO-360. The first candidate is a Cessna Cardinal RG; the Piper Arrow and Mooney 201 are other logical recipients of the engine.

For Light Sport fans comes news of the IO-233, a version of the O-235 that's been put on an aggressive diet. It features an electronic throttle-body injection system, and will be rated from 100 to 116 hp when it is certified this year. First steps are to meet the ASTM specifications for Light Sport in 2008, followed by FAA FAR Part 33 certification in 2009 if the market demands it. Lycoming has not had a dog in the LSA fight because the O-235 is considerably heavier than the Rotax 912 and the Continental O-200, the leading engines in the field. Weight for the 233 was not announced at the press conference, but we'll hound a few PR people for some numbers today.

Products: Bendix/King Introduces New Handhelds

In a strong suggestion that Honeywell is serious about Bendix/King's return to form in general aviation, the company introduced three new handhelds at a press function last night. In addition to reminding us that its KSN 770, a WAAS-LPV-capable GPS/nav/com panel-mount in the general format of the Garmin GPS 530, will be available in the first quarter of 2009, Honeywell execs trotted out a new line of product called AV8OR.

Two of these are aimed at the high end: The AV8OR Horizon 3D and the Vision 3D, are large, tabled-based cockpit-information systems that act as backup flight instruments in addition to electronic flight bag products. The Horizon starts at $4995, with the top-line version of the Vision running $7999.

But the product to wow the crowd was the base AV8OR, which is a touch-screen portable GPS, designed for the car and airplane, selling for just $749. It features extensive Bluetooth compatibility; it can receive WX Worx XM weather through the Bluetooth connection, and it can be set up with a GPS antenna repeater in the cockpit—in case you want to use the AV8OR where it cannot get a good view of the sky—also through Bluetooth.

The AV8OR has a 4.3-inch-diagonal LCD screen, a full navigational and land-based points-of-interest database, and can play movies, audio books and MP3 music files. Supposedly, Bendix/King will have the units for sale through retailers today at the show, but it's early yet and we haven't confirmed that promise.

For more information, visit Bendix/King.

Terrafugia's Transition Files Folding Wing Patents

Anna Mracek Dietrich, COO of roadable vehicle developer Terrafugia, has exciting news for this show. Just before the start of the 2008 EAA AirVenture she finished filing the paperwork for two patents on the electronic folding wing technology that is key to the usefulness and marketability of the company's Transition roadable aircraft (just don't call it a flying car!).

"There are a couple things that we've incorporated into this design that we have not seen before. One of the big things is the flush lock in the midspan and the root of the wing. It is a t-shaped lock. It is very easy to preflight. You can see it, you can touch it. Being a very tactile preflighter myself, I like that. Of course there are electronic sensors that show in the cockpit, too."

The root lock is an over dead center lock that pivots around itself but never comes apart into two pieces, and when it is flush, it is locked. You do not have to get out of the vehicle to fold or unfold the wing. "Not having to take a wrench to the wings of your airplane in order to fold and unfold the wings is a big plus. You don't have to wonder, did I remember to put that bolt back in," Dietrich explains. "And one of the items on the patent is that the outer wing is moved by the inner wing's motion. There is only one actuator, which means that it is elegantly simple, and also safe. You'll never run a wing into the ground, and it takes a lot less volume of space around the aircraft in order to safely fold or unfold the wings. We think we can meet pilots' needs in terms of both convenience and safety."

The proof of concept vehicle is here for the very first time. It came back from the paint shop just last week, and will be displayed today from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in AeroShell Square. The company is not currently planning to offer a kit version of this LSA aircraft, however, Dietrich is quick to note that she has learned to never say never.

"The opportunity to display our vehicle on AeroShell Square changed the way we handled our design and building the last six months. We really wanted to have a complete proof-of-concept vehicle ready to display on time," she explains.

The company has accepted an undisclosed number of deposits from what Dietrich describes as very patient buyers. It is looking for a production facility in the Boston area, near its Woburn, Massachussetts product development shop is located now. She estimates that the company is 18 months from delivering its first production Transition roadable aircraft to a buyer. "There's a lot of work to do between now and then but it is certainly doable."

For those of you who want to sample how a Transition might fly, you can download an X-Plane module and try it yourself on your PC or Mac X-Plane virtual flight simulator. For more information go to Terrafugia.

Spot Personal Messenger and Locator Tracker

"This product truly evolved by a coincidence," explains Marcel Sibitz, marketing manager for Spot, the personal locator tracker device that has grabbed EAA member's attention at the EAA AirVenture 2008 show. "We are part of a satellite phone company that tracks and containers. The vice president of development, Bob Bennett had an idea to put the technologies together and come up with a personal locator tracker. But it was Greg Wilkenson, our sales manager, who is a pilot, who put the aviation connection together," Sibitz says.

Spot, originally developed for backpackers and back country skiers, is a natural in the airplane. "The first thing I did with it was throw it in my Cherokee 140," says Wilkenson. "It worked. When I pressed the OK button it sent a message, via text and email, to let people on my list know the lat/long of my departure and that I was OK. There's also a link to a private Google Maps page where they can track me. Hold that button down again, watch for flashing lights, and I know it has gone to tracking mode," he says. "Then it issues updates every 10 minutes or so, with my lat/long. When I reach my destination, I hit the OK button once more and it sends a message so people know I've landed safely. But that's just the tracking mode. What makes this little device great are the HELP and 911 buttons. Push HELP and you'll send out a non-emergency, 'you need to come get me' notice. It's very popular with glider pilots who might land out. Push 911 and we will activate search-and-rescue in your vicinity immediately," he says. "No wonder aviation is our fourth biggest market behind general outdoor stuff and marine boating."

The unit is powered by two lithium AA penlight batteries. In standby the batteries are good for a year, and in normal use should last a couple of months.

EAA members at the show can get a free unit (value $169.95) at the show just by subscribing for one year of unlimited Spot service and tracking, which costs $157.48 (including tax).

The Spot unit works just about anywhere in the world (exceptions are S. Africa and India, but they are working on that). Spot is located at Booths 325-326 on the South side of AeroShell Square. Look for the orange banners. For more information visit Spot.

Products: PS Engineering Introduces New PMA8000B-MP3

The internal MP3 player functions of the Experimental-aircraft-only PMA9000EX have been so popular that PS Engineering has embedded the same technology into the TSO'd PMA8000B audio panel/intercom to create the PMA8000B-MP3.

Using the same chassis and front-panel layout as the popular 8000B, the new MP3 version adds a 1-gigabyte chip to hold the music contents. The front-panel jack now also acts as a USB portal for uploading the music; a converter cable is provided. Unlike the 9000EX, which has an LCD panel to denote the various modes, the 8000 relies upon a clever menu system using the existing keys. PS Engineering debuted a voice-responder mode system in the 8000B; change modes by the front panel keys and a voice tells you what you've done. That system remains and is expanded in the MP3, which retains all the base functions of the 8000B, including six-place stereo intercom with IntelliVox, various switched and unswitched audio inputs, support for two nav/coms plus other ancillary inputs (DME, ADF) and, finally, the ability to split the comm functions between pilot and copilot. The entertainment channels have SoftMute technology and can be switched on for a sing-along mode. (Woe for the teenager in the back seat.)

Naturally, the 8000-MP3 is a slide-in replacement for the 8000B but also for the Garmin GMA 340. Price is $1849. For more information, visit PS Engineering's web site, or visit the company at Oshkosh this week.