Commentary

February 2019 Issue




Letters From Readers: February 2019

The End of Auracle Engine Monitors

I heard rumors that the AuRacle line of digital engine monitoring systems has been retired. This is of huge concern to me because I invested in this expensive system for my Baron, based on favorable recommendations from Aviation Consumer years ago.

If the company has indeed gone away, any idea where I might get support for this now orphaned system?

FUEL

Rick Phillips
via email

It's not a rumor. In a letter sent to customers in late December 2018, Edwarda C. Lloyd, the Repair Service Coordinator for Ultra Electronics, said Ultra Electronics Flightline Systems (known as Flightline) decided to exit the digital engine display market with regard to the AuRacle product. Effective immediately, he said Flightline will no longer produce, repair, service or develop the AuRacle product and will be surrendering all of its regulatory certificates to the FAA.

If there's a bright side it might be that some AuRacle installations use engine probes and sensors sourced from JP Instruments, and a lot of the wiring is cross-compatible.

Avidyne and Foreflight

There may not be a large number of people who are flying with an Avidyne IFD-series navigator whilst using the popular ForeFlight tablet app, but I bet the majority of those who do are irritated by the fact that ForeFlight still doesn't support ADS-B streaming with the IFD navigator family. ForeFlight can display ownship position and exchange flight plan data from the IFD, which was great news when the capability was first introduced.

A number of other EFB products are able to consume IFD-originated ADS-B data (FlyQ is one, which gets little recognition), and ForeFlight is able to display data from a variety of other hardware sources.

From what I read on the Avidyne support forum, it's promising to stay in touch with ForeFlight to ensure access to whatever equipment they need to get this working. Given that ForeFlight can already display the standardized GDL90 format data, and that the IFDs are outputting GDL90 data, this seems like a pretty simple problem to fix by rewriting some code.

Perhaps in future reviews you can make clear note of which EFB products work with in-panel navigators and which don't-and I'll buy you a bottle of Huntsville's finest bourbon, Irons One, if you're able to get ForeFlight off the hold-short line and actually fix this problem sometime before my medical expires.

Paul Robichaux
via email

Never, ever ones to pass on the chance for free premium southern bourbon, we got in touch with both ForeFlight and Avidyne. On the record, ForeFlight said, "We are actively supporting Avidyne as they implement our published GDL90 specification and perform testing. The display of ADS-B weather and traffic on ForeFlight will be supported in a future Avidyne update." According to Avidyne, "We have shared our ICD with ForeFlight and we currently can do two-way exchange of flight plan data. We expect that ForeFlight will implement the decoding and display of ADS-B weather and traffic from our IFD Wi-Fi data stream in a future release."

Keep that bourbon on ice.

Uavionix Strobe Lights

You guys have been all over the uAvionix budget ADS-B skyBeacon and tailBeacon products and it's a huge resource for penny pinchers like me who have been waiting for a cheap ADS-B and lighting upgrade for my Grumman. But in one of your reports you said the uAvionix tailBeacon has a built-in LED strobe light. My shop told me I need a dedicated strobe system because the tail-mounted system from uAvionix only has ADS-B. Who is right?

Bill Arnold
Manchester, New Hampshire

Your shop is right. The uAvionix tailBeacon has a position light, but no strobes.

Cessna 195 Ownership

The used Cessna 195 coverage in the December 2018 Aviation Consumer is likely the most resourceful article I've seen on this classic Cessna. Still, I think you underestimated the costs associated with keeping these airplanes in top condition. It's not a cheap airplane to own.

Phil Williams
via email

Maybe so, but we still think it's one of the most affordable classics.