AOPA Pilot Magazine - July 2013 - 71
WHAT HAPPENS IF …?
AN ASPEN multifunction display (left) shows
just one of the many ways the unit can
be configured. The main view shows the
XM weather winds aloft page—one of up
to eight possible weather views. The two
smaller, upper views are the focus views,
showing traffic and synthetic vision. The
blue box around the synthetic vision view
indicates that it can be changed to show
another view. An XM weather datalink radar
view on an Aspen MFD (below) shows
that precip has moved off the Mid-Atlantic
coast, along with flight plan waypoints.
There’s yet another page that stores and
As for leaning of the fuel/air mixture,
selecting modes for rich- or lean-of-peak
exhaust gas temperature (EGT) settings
is both simple and intuitive. Highlight the
mode you want, push the MVP’s knob,
and you’re ready to lean. You know you’re
at peak EGT when the top of the vertical bar associated with the first cylinder
to peak shows a white line. After that, it’s
just a matter of leaning or enriching—and
The Debonair is an all-electric airplane. Its vacuum pump and flight
instruments were chucked out months ago. So it’s natural to wonder
what would happen if it lost its 70-amp alternator. Not to worry. There
should be plenty of time to notify ATC and land at a suitable airport.
The first line of defense is the ship’s battery. This should power the
avionics for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how much electrical load
you shed. But let’s say you deplete that battery. Now what?
You’ll still have the Aspen PFD, which has its own battery, and
which will run for another 30 minutes. Now we’re up to approximately
one hour’s flying time with a full set of flight instruments. But when
the PFD’s battery dies, what next?
Then the Aspen’s MFD battery kicks in. You’d hit the MFD’s red
“REV” button and all the PFD’s displays would appear on the screen.
This battery is designed to last 90 minutes. Now we’re up to two and
a half hours of flying time after the alternator gave out. This should be
more than enough to let you fly to a safe landing.
But let’s say things are really desperate, and the Aspens have
somehow failed. You still have an out. The R.C. Allen standby attitude
indicator’s integral battery will provide power for one to two hours—
so you should still be able to keep the airplane upright and land. —TAH
watching the EGT drop by the desired temperature value. There’s another MVP-50P
feature that the sweepstakes winner is sure
to appreciate: a page for plotting the airplane’s center of gravity (CG). There’s even
a graphic that shows the airplane’s CG, so
you can quickly see where you stand when
planning various loading situations.
MORE ESSENTIALS. The Debonair panel
is equally impressive in other areas. R.C.
Allen Instruments’ standby attitude indicator is aboard, and comes with
its own battery. Alpha Systems’
angle-of-attack indicator provides glareshield-mounted
visual cues for more accurate, safer pitch control during
takeoffs and landings. There’s
also an ACK Technologies
406-MHz Emergency Locator
Transmitter (ELT) that gives
precise guidance to rescue
personnel by broadcasting the
airplane’s latitude and longitude coordinates. So when it
comes to safety, the Debonair
is a standout.
Let’s not forget some other
units that also boost safety by
reducing workload. There’s the
Cobham/S-Tec System Fifty
autopilot, and PS Engineering’s
PMA 8000BT audio panel. We
all know how autopilots help
prevent fatigue, free you up for strategic and tactical decision-making, and
make approaches easier and safer at the
end of a long flight. But the PMA 8000BT
helps, too. Pilot and co-pilot can conduct
separate, simultaneous communications
when arriving in busy terminal areas.
Any recently missed or confusing radio
calls can be replayed using the PMA
8000BT’s playback feature. Equally helpful is the unit’s Bluetooth connectivity
that lets you make brief telephone calls
via a smartphone.
Last but certainly not least is CO
Guardian’s Aero 553. This warns of carbon
monoxide as soon as it’s present, and it also
shows both local and Zulu time, has a stopwatch function, a flight timer that begins
counting as you begin the takeoff run,
and an alert that sounds when you reach
And just think: all of the above in a
50-year-old airplane. Back in 1963, no one
would have believed that such advances
could have been made in general aviation.
Today, Santa Fe Aero Services has made
this unique Debonair a true time traveler,
and now AOPA gives you a chance to win
this state-of-art panel—and a classic, fullyrestored airframe to go with it.
AOPA members are automatically
entered to win the AOPA Debonair
Sweepstakes (www.aopa.org/sweeps). AOPA
www.aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 71