>>> Emerging Lifesaving Technologies ELT406GPS
LIST PRICE: $1,595
You may as well admit it: Your old 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitter is junk. The international search-and-rescue organization, COSPAS-SARSAT, doesn’t even monitor this frequency anymore. You know you should upgrade to a 406 MHz ELT unit that broadcasts distress signals to overhead satellites, and eventually we’ll all probably be forced to by regulation. But what if your ELT could also automatically broadcast your exact location to rescuers using GPS? That would make your chances of being found quickly even better, wouldn’t it?
Emerging Lifesaving Technologies has developed just such a product. Its ELT406GPS unit is an emergency locator transmitter with an internal GPS receiver that is claimed to be the first of its type approved for general aviation use. Along with the ability to broadcast over the new standard 406 MHz emergency signal, the COSPAS-SARSAT satellites will also read your current GPS position. In flight, the GPS unit automatically updates your present position every 15 seconds. Upon activation, a 5-watt signal bursts every 50 seconds, broadcasting your location to within a few yards of your position and transmitting a distress signal immediately.
The ELT406GPS mounts like most standard ELTs. The transmitter and the panel-mounted remote switch/indicator can usually make use of existing hardware and cutouts from your old ELT, the manufacturer says. And because the GPS receiver is built in, there’s no need to interface the unit to an external GPS receiver. Maintenance is also easy with an owner/operator-replaceable five-year battery. The ELT406GPS also comes with an integrated 406 MHz broadcast and GPS passive antenna combined in a single blade configuration for ease of installation.
>>> Avidyne DFC90 Digital Autopilot
LIST PRICE: $9,995
Besides being a heck of a nice autopilot and a vast improvement over the S-Tec 55 series, Avidyne’s DFC90 digital automatic flight control system also incorporates various cutting-edge technologies — like envelope protection and a “straight & level” button — that make this product an instant winner. The DFC90 autopilot works by interfacing with Avidyne’s EXP5000 or Aspen Avionics’ EFD1000 Pro PFD as the attitude source. Because it’s an attitude-based unit, pilots who are used to rate-based S-Tec autopilots will instantly notice greatly improved stability, smoother level-offs and more precise tracking on ILS approaches, even in gusty conditions.
Another plus is that the DFC90 incorporates many of the standard vertical and lateral modes of operation of turbine-class autopilot systems, including flight director (FD), altitude hold (ALT), airspeed hold (IAS), vertical speed hold (VS), heading (HDG) and navigation (NAV, APPR, GS, GPSS). The system’s enhanced flight director capability is vastly improved and greatly enhances the ability to hand-fly approaches. Another nice feature is the synchronized heading bug that lets you command the autopilot to, say, make a right-hand 270-degree turn if you spin the heading knob right 270 degrees.