Studying new material triggered some student instinct deep within me and I made Kraft Dinner for lunch. I had forgotten how orange it is. Canadians eat more KD per capita than any other nation. It's the national food of poverty, like ramen noodles in the States. I think it's also how we dispose of the radioactive waste from CANDU reactors. But enough about what fuels my studying. Here are some leftovers from the rest of the manual.
- We can put up to nine 30-item checklists in the unit, but I don't think I will be using it for checklists. Sometimes the checklist item involves checking something on the nav setup and I don't want to be swapping windows when I don't have to.
- The INTEG flag means the unit is communicating with insufficient satellites to obtain a position. Even worse, "Searching the Sky" could take ten minutes. It means that the unit doesn't know where it is, probably from repositioning with the unit turned off or not flying for over a month. Both are possibilities for our operation, so note to self: turn on GPS at start up, even if it isn't needed, and when rejoining the airplane after it has taken a long break, turn on the GPS before the walkaround and make sure it has a position so clients aren't waiting for me.
- The unit can be linked to traffic alerting hardware and XM [?] weather inputs for even more screens of data.
- Standard abbreviations: WPT: destination waypoint, DIS: distance to waypoint, DTK: desired track.
- The "nearest" function provides information on facilities within 200 nm. I guess it sucks to be in Animal Waterbody where the nearest published facility is 201 nm away. I think that feature should have some flexibility and show from one to five screens of "nearests." It's not like you're going to use the nearest key and page down through twenty screens when you want to find an airport two hundred miles from KJFK.
- Airspace said to be "ahead" is within 10 nm.
- Through a feature called crossfill, you can transfer direct-to data from another Garmin unit. I guess you can be flying on one while working what-if scenarios on the other. Unlikely.
- "To use the vertical navigation features, ground speed must be greater than 35 knots." Heh. I picture some poor pilot in a tricked out Cessna Commuter struggling against a strong wind and losing VNAV capability.
- A track given as a result of a direct-to input is by the great circle route, not a rhumb line.
Here's some communications radio-specific stuff that I hadn't guessed.
- The comm can be operated with 8.33 kHz spacing for Europe, but is in American 25 kHz spacing by default.
- Press the com volume button to disable/enable automatic squelch.
- Under some circumstances if the COM system loses communication with the main system, the radio will automatically tune to 121.500 MHz for transmit and receive, regardless of the displayed frequency. That's probably a consequence of the insta-121.5 feature.
- The unit has stuck mike protection If you transmit continuously for more than 35 seconds, the radio stops transmitting and the words "Push to talk key stuck" are displayed as a message. These guys really sat down and made a list of every annoying thing that can happen in an airplane and set out to fix them.
You can choose an absolute altitude or an altitude above a waypoint and have the unit guide your descent profile to put you on target. I doubt it's much better at it than a pilot with a grasp of basic arithmetic, and seeing as the pilot takes into account the reduction in airspeed from engine output due to stage cooling, the winds aloft and the reported winds at the airport, the pilot might do it more efficiently. Still, cool for the arithmetically challenged or the too busy to think.
Direct-to is probably the most used feature of aviation GPSes. It even has a standard symbol, a D with an arrow pointing right. (I guess that's not in Unicode, eh?) Instead of drawing up a flight plan you just press the button and tell it where you want to go, then it shows you the way. This unit unit knows pilots like that, so on any page that displays only one waypoint, you can fly direct to it by pressing the direct-to key, then enter and enter again. If the page shows more than one waypoint you have to first select it by activating the cursor and using the right scroll wheel to highlight the desired waypoint. You can cancel a direct-to and return to the flight plan you were on before with menu then cancel I like that. It's common if a pilot is tracking direct-to a waypoint and they have wandered off track a bit to just hit direct-to again and generate a new track, direct from the current location. The manual points out that if you are on the approach you are direct to the MAP, but if you recentre the CDI with this trick, you will cancel the approach. Obvious, really, because the approach is direct to the MAP along a specified track, so as soon as you specify another you aren't on the approach. But worth saying, I suppose.
And we're back after a Firefox restart. Apparently having tabs open for Blogger, three Garmin manuals, the CARs, a Google search for html footnotes, Kraft Dinner, Gmail, a video on the iPhone app for the GNS430, and CANDU is too much for Firefox to deal with you try to switch between tabs at the same time as Eudora polls for mail.
Also it irritates me that when I use the Blogger buttons to insert formatting, the window jumps back to the top so I have to scroll down to continue blogging.