Avionics News February 2013 - 21
Aviation suppliers offer their audiences a
broad variety of handheld electronics.
Today’s assortment of VHF communications and navigation units can do everything
a panel-mounted nav/comm offers – voice
communications, navigation by VHF omnidirectional radio range signals, even, in at least
one case, a full instrument landing system
Then, there’s the plethora of high-tech
navigators using GPS for position reference – complete with advanced color moving maps and the accuracy of the wide-area
augmentation system, or WAAS.
Many of these GPS navigators also offer
added capabilities – particularly the ability
to display weather delivered via satelliteor ground-based broadcasts of datalink
weather. A familiar function, the attractions range from the graphical-based Digital Doppler weather radar images to text
and graphical METAR and terminal aerodrome forecast reports, lightning strikes
and satellite images of cloud cover.
These two types of portable devices
serve many pilots as the entire avionics
package for their ultralight, light-sport,
vintage, homebuilt and older general aviation aircraft.
For other pilots, they work as adjunct
avionics – accessories that augment the
Still, others carry them solely for their
piece of mind as standby or backup gear
available in the event of panel-gear failure.
Although they are portable, these powerhouses can
provide an opportunity for sales and installation work for
avionics dealers, shops and technicians.
Radio Check, Please...
VHF Nav/Comm Receivers To Go
These days, flying without a communications transceiver invites risks.
Pop-up temporary flight restrictions, notices to airmen
with short lead time, and airport traffic reports and air
traffic control needs make the ability to talk and hear
more important than ever.
Today, pilots and aircraft owners enjoy
more excellent options in the realm of VHF
aviation transceivers than ever before.
They appeal as standby equipment to
pilots flying behind full stacks, as well as
to those aviators flying aircraft lacking
These miracles of modern engineering
serve a primary role for many pilots of
sailplanes and balloons, ultralights and
antique aircraft – aircraft generally lacking
electrical systems or even a battery.
Many experimental builders find the
handheld VHF unit a suitable solution for
Myriad options exist for pilots to choose
– some exclusively communications handhelds, some nav/comm combinations with
Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s SP-400
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