Hawker Beechcraft King Air 250
The Beechcraft King Air has been a winning workhorse in the owner-operator, medevac and charter market since it was introduced in 1964. Since then, more than 6,800 King Airs have taken to the skies, and the latest iteration of the twin turboprop, the beautifully appointed King Air 250, beats the predecessor, the King Air 200, by several horse lengths. The new model boasts an 18 percent shorter takeoff run, it climbs to 35,000 feet 15 percent faster, and it’s 8 percent faster than the previous generation King Air to boot. For the operator, these improvements equate to greater versatility, shorter trips and better fuel economy, making the latest 200-series King Air the best King Air yet.
The developers of ForeFlight Mobile, the leading aviation iPad charting, mapping and airport information application, kept very busy in 2011 making their industry-leading product even better. Added capabilities include XM Weather overlay, georeferenced approach charts, airport diagrams and a handy, dandy “binder,” which keeps charts organized on the app for easier access. The “touch planning” feature, which allows pilots to create a route simply by touching the screen, was expanded to include pop-up windows that provide information about special-use airspace. Other new features added in 2011 include winds aloft and the capability to overlay TFRs, sigmets and airmets. ForeFlight also made a noteworthy foray into international coverage when it expanded its service to include charts for Canada. And with its U.S. subscription prices starting at just $75, ForeFlight’s easy-to-get and easy-to-use app is such a great value that pilots no longer have any excuse to fly with outdated charts.
Garmin GTN Series Navigators
Garmin introduced its GTN 650 and GTN 750 navigators earlier this year, and they have been big hits in the marketplace. As replacements for the hugely successful GNS 430/530 GPS/Nav/Comm navigation systems (of which Garmin has sold around 150,000 in all), the GTN series systems have big shoes to fill. And they’ve done it. While the touch-screen capability and new look and feel are truly remarkable innovations, there are other new features that make these systems not replacements but enhancements. These include remote audio panel operation (GTN 750 only), remote transponder control and graphical flight planning. These units have moved beyond the realm of the glass-cockpit-like MFD capabilities such as terrain, traffic, weather and charts, and graphical flight planning, including “rubber band” editing. Best of all, Garmin kept the prices for these two navigators right in pilots’ sweet spots.