Pilot Gear: September 2003

 - August 12, 2008, 4:57 AM

Calculate your bizjet budget. The Interactive Aircraft Budget Analyzer from Airpower Software is a computer program designed to calculate accurate operating costs of 175 business and personal aircraft. This comprehensive software package includes jets, turboprops, pistons and helicopters. The program allows users to create an instant budget by manipulating any of the preloaded information to change particular usage amounts or costs. These changes can be made to an individual preloaded figure or across the entire layout as needed. In addition to the preloaded database of 175 aircraft, the budget analyzer also allows users to create their own individualized budget by inputting operating numbers for any aircraft. Anyone who flies, buys, sells, finances or uses aircraft will find the Interactive Aircraft Budget Analyzer an invaluable software tool. Airpower Software; (702) 947-8202; www.airpowersoftware.com; for Windows 98 and above; $199.95.

Guard against dehydration. Pilots often consume coffee, tea, and caffeinated soda while traveling, which can exacerbate dehydration. And dehydration can lead to electrolyte depletion, dizziness, fatigue, jet lag, inattention and possibly even pilot error. Studies have shown that lightly flavored non-caffeinated beverages encourage rehydration, and LJB Piper has introduced a five-calorie, fizzy lemon-lime electrolyte drink tablet that can be dissolved in water, teas or juices. Dubbed electroBlast Fizz-Tabs, the effervescent tablets are naturally flavored, don’t contain any artificial sweeteners and can be easily slipped into the neck of most water bottles. In July the National Health & Wellness Club gave its seal of approval for the Fizz-Tabs, which cost about 62 cents per tablet. LJB Piper; (888) 217-7233; www.electroblast.com; $4.99 for an eight-tablet box, $14.97 for a 24-tablet box.

Safety big picture for fractional and charter operations. Business aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla., recently published the Fractional/ Charter Thumbnail Guide, which provides a safety snapshot of the charter and fractional industries so that prospective customers can make an informed decision. The handbook contains four sections: an executive summary; what to look for in an operation; business jet accident statistics by operator category; and worldwide business jet and turboprop accident involvement. While tailored for the so-called “concept buyer,” the guide’s statistics are also useful to current users of business aircraft. For example, the report’s statistics show that the Hawker 1000 and Citation X, as well as several late-model business jets, have a flawless safety record. On the other side of the equation, the Learjet 23 and Jet Commander have the highest accident rates of any of the business jets. In fact, nearly 53 percent–eight times higher than the worldwide business jet fleet average–of the Learjet 23 fleet has been involved in an accident. Robert E. Breiling Associates, 765 N.E. 35th Street, Suite B, Boca Raton, FL 33431; (561) 338-6900; www.breilinginc.com; $250.

This is music to your passengers’ ears. Avionics Innovations recently introduced the DMP100 MP3 player and the Sirius Satellite Radio receiver (AI-SSR) for aircraft cabins. The DMP100 is a self-contained unit that stores and replays pre-recorded MP3 audio files from a removable CompactFlash memory card. Each memory card can hold up to 255 audio tracks for playback over the cabin audio or cockpit intercom system. Audio tracks are selected via a single pushbutton on the front panel, though GPS input can be used to trigger audio files based on geographical position, if desired. Avionics Innovations’ satellite radio receiver, which was certified by the FAA in July and is specifically customized for the aviation environment, will receive Sirius’ 100-plus streams of coast-to-coast digital entertainment, including 60 channels of commercial-free music and more than 40 channels of news, sports and entertainment. Features of the AI-SSR include seek tuning, preset memory mode and scrolling text display. The AI-SSR integrates into any aircraft’s intercom or cabin-entertainment system. Avionics Innovations; (760) 788-2602; www. avionicsinnovations.com; DMP100, $2,995 (uninstalled); AI-SSR, $2,995 (uninstalled).

Give your airplane the boot. Tronair’s new aircraft theft-deterrent system securely locks either the nose or main landing-gear wheel. Dubbed the Ramplok, the 12-pound wheel chock is made of high-strength, lightweight alloys and is secured by a hardened steel lock with customized keys. According to the company, the Ramplok helps operators meet the two-lock rule mandated by New Jersey. Tronair; (800) 426-6301 or (419) 866-6301; www.tronair.com; $449