Since it was to crappy to fly yesterday I decided to check on 08Romeo. I needed to replace the front chocks but other than that covers and tie downs were good to go. My plan also included making a stop at Red Eagle to discuss some avionics work. The plan is to get on the early March schedule so I can upgrade to a Garmin GTX 327 or 330 (pipe dream) transponder, have my mic cord replaced and get my clock rewired to come alive when the master is on.
Some of the GTX 327's biggest features are the easiest to see. Among them, the easy-reading DSTN Liquid Crystal Display which reverses the numbers out of black for optimal viewing. The numeric keypad makes entering a squawk code a snap, and a dedicated VFR button allows for quick-and-easy 1200/VFR squawking. The GTX 327 also offers important timing and display functions such as flight time and count-up and count-down timers, as well as current pressure altitude.
I'm also kicking around an audio panel upgrade. I have two in mind, the Garmin 340 and the PS Engineering PMA8000BT.
The GMA 340 features innovative LED-illuminated push button controls that allow audio selection of both NAV and Comm audio. Large buttons activate the Comm microphone and audios for up to three Comm transceivers to simplify cockpit workload. Another feature of the GMA 340 is the Split Comm, which allows the pilot to transmit/receive on Comm 1 and the co-pilot to transmit/receive on Comm 2.
Speaker selection is available to monitor the aircraft radios or to make PA announcements. There are two inputs for telephone ringers, altitude alert warnings, or other warning tones. In addition, the GMA 340 includes a six-place VOX intercom with three selectable modes of isolation, dual stereo music inputs, and independent pilot, co-pilot, and passenger volume control.
Each microphone input has a dedicated VOX circuit to ensure that only the active microphone is heard when squelch is broken. Also standard is the three-light Marker Beacon Receiver/Indicator with high/low sensitivity selection and SmartMute™ marker audio muting.
The PMA8000BT, featuring Bluetooth capability offers pilots with smart phones, like iPhone, BlackBerry, or Palm Pilot and others, to connect wirelessly with the audio panel. This capability allows the music in the Smartphone to stream into the audio panel for distribution to the aircraft occupants. In addition, it allows the pilot, and anybody on the intercom, to connect to the cellular telephone from the audio panel.
Operation of the Bluetooth link is as simple as using the Smartphone to discover the PMA8000BT and establish a link. From there, either place a call and press the TEL button, or begin streaming music. Four muting modes and music distribution capability allow the pilot and passengers to decide how the music is treated.
In addition to the new Bluetooth technologies, the PMA8000BT continues to offer all the category-leading features of the PMA8000B, including six-place intercom with IntelliVox®, dual-channel entertainment inputs through hard wire connections, fully featured audio panel functions with the new Monitor Mode, digital aircraft recorder and pilot selectable audio panel configurations.
The last on my list of upgrades is getting the Garmin 530 WAAS update. This item may have to wait until the play money account survives the CPR that will need to be administered after the above mentioned goodies find a home in the Sundowner panel.
I also took advantage of yesterdays wx to investigate Hangar space. No, not at Wilmington, I can't afford the $525 a month and put fuel in the plane. Instead I visited N57-New Garden located just 18 miles North West of our home, 11.8 as the crow flys in Toughkenamon, PA .
New Garden is growing, it's the home of the Brandywine Soaring Club, EAA Chapter 240 and Matt Chapman,aerobatic pilot. New Gardens recent taxiway construction is complete and is now open for use. The next major project will be hangar construction in the spring and runway reconstruction in 2014,pending State funding. Hangars I am told are running @ $275 so it's a good possibility we may be moving out of KILG. More info to follow...