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NAV/COM issues


ekisbey

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Still researching here.

 

I'm currently investigating radios and such. I was hoping someone could point me towards a decent radio setup, NAV/COM, transponder, intercom, etc. I'm not completely comfortable right now with the thought of used or overhauled setups, so I'll probably end up forking out the loot for a new system. I'm leaning right now towards the NARCO MK 12D w/slope, and the AT 150 xponder. That's gonna bunch great big holes in my wallet and I was wondering if there's something better for the same cost or less.

 

I haven't investigated GPS setups yet as I'm still debating whether I'll even want it. Eventually I'll likley go after the Blue Mountain EFIS but in the meantime I'm planning for a (very) basic VFR setup that I can upgrade to IFR should I want it.

 

Also, I'm hearing talk of Mode-S transponders. Are these likely to become a requirement for VFR aircraft in the US in the forseeable future?

Evan Kisbey

Cozy Mk IV plans # 1114

"There may not be any stupid questions, but I've seen LOTS of curious idiots..."

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Evan,

I'm in a similar situation. I taped out an area in the middle of panel for the Blue Mtn EFIS. Step one is to get airborne VFR. The avionics industry is changing fast enough that advance research is of little use. I hope to be flying within the next few months so I have to make some decisions.

 

So far my panel consists of the six basic T flight instruments, reconditioned by Howard Francis, with vacuum powered giro and attitude. A panel mount compass from Falcon completes the left side. On the right I have a transponder (bought off ebay) and encoder (bought used from another builder) and a Hobbs. I plan to add an ICOM com only radio and use handheld radio as backup.

 

A microair doesnt fit because of the way I layed out the panel.

A handheld GPS will give me the VFR nav I need short term. Much less functionality than a Narco 12D and a AT150, but it'll get me airborne for less than the cost of just a 12D.

 

Right now I'm trying to decide which engine instruments to get and where to get them.

I can be reached on the "other" forum http://canardaviationforum.dmt.net

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I have my own pet project... I am developing a moving map, GPS based application for navigation that I can run on a removeable laptop computer. I'm concerned about expensive electronics being left behind in the plane at the remote home airport (or those I will fly to), and if I can create them myself without buying expensive pieces, even better. If I carry a laptop and just plug it in, it will leave with me when I park the plane, and the internal battery will give me instant battery backup in case of a power failure. The size requirement was a concern, but the new tablet PC's can fold themselves up behind the display, so no more room will be required in the plane other than the size of the display itself.

 

Bonus! My GPS antenna just arrived by mail. Its a 12 channel and only the size of a Match Box. It only has one cable that plugs into the USB port. Once I get my nav charts scanned in and scaled for Lat/Long, my application should be able to do what I want. I know what I'll be working on while the bosses are out for the Holidays!

This ain't rocket surgery!

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I've considered the handhelds as well. I'll probably get at least a handheld transciever with a limited nav capability. I really haven't been able to make up my mind about a GPS. A full blown GPS system for the aircraft will cost a significant wad of cash I could put towards an EFIS, and the GPS functionality is one of the big selling points of the EFIS in the first place. Not much sense in doubling up, unless I intended install a setup capable of flying a GPS approach, which I don't.

 

A Handheld GPS would tend to be GA specific, including maps, and hence not much use in the future if I wanted to use it for other applications once I aquire an EFIS. Additionally, to my way of thinking, keeping the handheld GPS as a backup doesn't make much sense. I'll have other things to worry about if the EFIS fails mid-flight. That's what charts are for.

 

I do like the PC GPS idea. It's not a dedicated tool with a single function. In fact, I'm suddenly getting all kinds of ideas of things I could do with a laptop that interfaces with the aircraft.

 

Anyone have any opinions on radios with an integrated CDI display, as opposed to a traditional seperate panel-mounted CDI? There's several NAV/COM setups I've looked at which seem functionally identical save for this feature and the price.

Evan Kisbey

Cozy Mk IV plans # 1114

"There may not be any stupid questions, but I've seen LOTS of curious idiots..."

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I haven't seen a pc based radio / nav unit. That would be nice... anyone have any links to examples? If all of the systems could be tied into a laptop, the large display could be easily designed to present the information in a user friendly manner. (I really like the way that the Blue Mountain EFIS system displays everything.) I just like the idea of removing the expensive looking pieces out of the plane when I leave. It would be like the old system of removing the faceplate from the radio in your car to keep theives from stealing it.

This ain't rocket surgery!

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Evan asks about VFR --> IFR setups:

 

I have a UPSAT SL-40 COM purchased new (~$1300). I also have a used Narco AT-50A transponder purchased used (yellow tagged) off EBAY for ~$500. They both work great, and along with my Garmin 195 handheld GPS (also purchased used on EBAY for ~$600), I have all the VFR avionics I need. The SL-40 has a standby frequency that can be monitored while on primary, so it's like having 1.5 radios. I also have a ICOM-22 handheld as a backup radio/NAV (it has VOR/CDI built in). I wouldn't go NEAR Narco for new equipment - both UPSAT and Garmin have advanced substantially past Narco's capabilities and size. You do NOT need Mode-S, and (hopefully) it'll be a LONG time before it's mandated, if ever.

 

If I ever want to go IFR, I'll install a Garmin 430, and I'm good to go.

 

With respect to MT's laptop setup:

 

There are many moving map applications that already exist - unless you're somehow going to advance the art, you can buy one for well under $200. Also, the laptop is hardly the "expensive" part of your aircraft - the radio/Nav/Transponder stack and Gyros will be much more. General purpose laptops screens are nowhere NEAR bright enough to use in bright daylight without a hood - that's one of the reasons that outdoor readable LCD's are so expensive. I'm also unwilling (after 10 years of using NT/2000) to stake my life on a Microsoft product, and I'm not sure about Linux either.

 

Evan, if you only want a VFR setup to start, a handheld GPS such as the Garmin 195/196 is MORE than adequate - you don't need a panel mount, and they're less than $1K. They also have good resale value if you do ever put in the EFIS, but I'd keep it as a backup - it's got a lot more functionality than just a sectional if the EFIS fails.

 

With respect to the integrated CDI's (such as on the UPSAT SL-30), that only works for the internal NAV, and is only good for VFR navigation - they're not approved for IFR (and obviously have no GS).

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You are right about the PC not being the expensive part of the console... the idea is to use a PC to replace some of the expensive items on the console and then take the PC with you.

 

You are also right about existing systems. Screens are dim and Microsoft products in the past are not stable. The system I had in mind is one of the new Tablet PC. I saw a few at the Microsoft Preview in Atlanta that were designed for use outdoors. I also like how some have finger touch screens and fold over on themselves so they occupy no more room than the display. As far as system stability, the new XP OS is more stable. I've been deliberately crashing the system to test how fast I can bring it back up with the GPS receiver... 45 seconds easy. Not a major amount of time for a one button in flight reboot. ILS or using it IFR could be a problem on approach during a system crash. If you don't have visual on the runway then call NO JOY, go around and use the backup.

 

There are several Moving Map applications available, but the one I like the best is part of the EFIS system from Blue Mountain. At $12,500 I'll be waiting a while for that one... if I ever get comfortable with the idea of leaving it behind in the plane.

 

;)

This ain't rocket surgery!

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I agree with Marc. Trying to 'adapt' a system to an aircraft application results in a non-optimal solution. I have a Garmin 196 and it does one task perfectly... providing a pilot information he really needs in a quick, ergonomically sensible approach.

 

 

After three serious in flight emergencies, I don’t want to fiddle with screens or reboots or whatever. I want a device with is specifically designed for its intended purpose (3 of my 9 lives down, 6 to go).

 

Besides, you want to get your airplane in the air quickly. Trying to adapt system requires lots of R and D time. Personally, I would rather be flying.

Regards, Nick

___________________________________

Charleston, SC LongEZ, N29TM, 2400 hrs

http://www.canardzone.com/members/nickugolini/

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