July 2012 Issue

In this month’s Issue:

Scilly Fly-in Invite

From David Websdale’s Archive: Cranfield Rally 1995

Budget GPS by Richard Griffiths

Scilly Fly-in Invite

David Scott has had an invitation to a fly-in on the weekend 15-16th September.

This year at St Mary’s we are celebrating 75 years of commercial aviation to the Isles of Scilly. This means that a lot of people are interested in making the fly-in a bigger event this year. There was a meeting regarding this last night and we are expecting, Skybus, BIH, local emergency services, Rotary, RN, and are asking operators of some of the original aircraft that operated from here, aero commander, Rapide, BN2, C337 to come along as well.

It will all happen (weather permitting) over the weekend of 15/16th September. Camping will be available locally again, Sunday departures, and entertainment and activities over the weekend as well. We haven’t worked out the exact details yet but the posters and flyers will be out as soon as we do.

Make it a Strut fly-out? I’ve booked my group C172 for the weekend. Now all I need is a tent. 🙂 Ed.

From David Websdale’s Archive: Cranfield Rally 1995

Over the years, several Struts volunteered their services to help out in some way at the annual PFA Rally. The Southern Strut was no exception and for a number of years, our members took on the task of providing all pilots flying in to the rally with a special commemorative medal.

Here are two photograph’s showing Don Lord and Mick Welch stamping out the medals at the Cranfield Rally in 1995.

Budget GPS

You might have heard that there is a big corporate event involving a bit of running and throwing things happening up in London ̶ and that we are not invited! The bouncers will be flying Tornados armed with missiles, so you might want to give it a miss. Maybe you are thinking of getting a GPS?

How about getting one that comes complete with regular worldwide map and airspace updates, flight planning software and the ability to automatically create and send flight plans (necessary if you fly in the Olympic restricted zone). Sounds expensive? I got mine for about £224 all in.

It uses SkyDemon software, £179 inc VAT bought online from http://www.skydemon.aero/ and running on (and here’s the real budget bit) a generic car GPS bought from eBay for about £45.

SkyDemon is a relative newcomer to the aviation GPS market. It represents a fresh start at producing software for the private GA sector, incorporating masses of functionality but sold at a bargain basement price. Annual subscription for regular updates is £89 inc VAT (first year included in purchase price). [Prices correct June 2012]

You load it on your PC to flight-plan. The screen-grab below shows how it looks. Note the ‘virtual radar’ strip at the bottom giving a clear indication of vertical navigation. The trip from Shoreham to Headcorn is planned at 3,000 feet, infringing the London TMA. See the warning at the bottom right of the screen. Note also that NOTAMS and TAFs are shown on the chart (can be switched off).

When you are ready to go, plug in your GPS and download the updated map and route. Simples!

I checked recently for availability of generic GPS’s that would run SkyDemon. Every back-street Asian manufacturer is knocking them out by the truck load. Here are a couple of random examples:

How does it work? Brilliantly! Obviously buying a cheap unit has some limitations, including battery life (so plug it in to the aircraft’s power socket) and brightness of the screen. This last point may be a real issue in a bubble canopy, but in the Pipers and Cessnas I fly, with the GPS attached to my kneeboard it is readable even on a sunny day.
One last tip, stick a bit of sticky tape over the memory card socket in the GPS. I dropped mine and the card got lost – no big deal; I just got another one for £6 and I was good to go again.

You can even try it out for free with a trial version available. The planning functionality is also available for free online at http://www.skydemonlight.com/

And I’m not on commission from SkyDemon. 🙂

Richard Griffiths

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