Sunday, February 24, 2013

Upgrades and Hangars


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...


Chris said...

I think having had a hangar the whole time has made my ownership experience a lot more pleasant. Best wishes for getting into something nice and affordable, Gary!

Gary said...

With a chance after runway completion of having a GPS approach I would move there. Besides, I'm so tired of the plane having to be detailed/cleaned and every pre-heat laying out 300' of extension cords. I'm getting to old for that crap! :)

Frank Van Haste said...

Gary --

When I had '31S's avionics upgraded back in 2005 I went with a PS Eng'g audio panel, the 330 xpdr and the 530W.

Never had any 2nd thoughts about the PS Eng'g panel. It just sits there and works.

Getting the W upgrade to the 530 is just outstanding for IFR. Access to the LPV and LNAV+V approaches can save oyur bacon some night; and it's fun to sit in the hold and watch the unit steer the airplane 'round the racetrack.

Finally, the Mode S xpdr gives you TIS traffic in many approach control airspaces (don't think the 327 will do that). This gives you cued see-and-avoid and is a very good thing. I know that the FAA's "upgrade" to their ASR systems deletes TIS since they expect us all to get ADS-B in, but I haven't seen it happen yet.

Finally, take a good look at getting GPSS. Really cool!


Chris said...

I'll add my two cents to Frank's comments on the PS Engineering audio panel. I have the 7000B, so a little less fancy as what you're looking at. It works great. The ability to patch entertainment audio to backseat passengers made family trips WAY easier. My avionics guy prefers PS.E. to Garmin because the PS.E. stuff is, in his words, "bulletproof".

Geoff Nelson said...

We put in the PS Engineering 8000BT. It's awesome!!!!!!!

Gary said...

I'll make it a point to check out the PS Engineering units. I guess I don't need blue tooth since I have it with my Zulu headset and Mary and I listen to Xm radio.

I'm still on the fence with the transponder. I want the 330 but I think I'll go with the 327 and keep the Zaon unit coupled to the garmin 496. It will save some cash and help me get the WAAS upgrade in the fall.

I'll know more tomorrow after meeting with the folks at Red Eagle.

Rob Schaffer said...

What color 'chaulk' did you get for the front? I prefer yellow chocks myself, may hold up in the rain better and are more visible. :-) Just kidding with you, that plane serves you well and I hope that the hangar works out for you.

Steve said...

Ahh, more airplane gadgets! I like the idea of the new avionics. As a renter at a usually-NORDO grass strip, the radios available to me are, uh, not the newest. I'd kill to have a nice transponder and intercom!

Hope the new airport/hangar situation works itself out in due time, too. Seems like it would really enhance your ownership experience.

Gary said...

Frank, getting a price worked up for each unit. They asked what my plan B was if no used 327 or 330 is available in the shop. I told them they could watch a grown man tear up and fork over what I have to for a new transponder.

Rob, fixed that brain fart. That looks much better ;)

Steve, Still no word from New Garden, so we sit and wait. Airplane gadgets! I live gadgets too! Just hate paying for them.

Automated Test @ AvionTEq said...

Can you please give us more details about the featured avionics here on your post? It’s nice that you had enough time searching for hangar spaces.