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Life in an FAA Repair Station During the COVID-19 Pandemic

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 1, 2020 9:39:00 AM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Avionics, FAA, Aircraft Maintenance, Auto-pilot

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This year has been weird.  Just weird.  For the past 3-4 years it’s been all that we can do at Sparkchasers to keep up with the demand of continually learning new products that are being released and the demands of our customers wanting ADS-B installations.  It’s felt like a lap in the car with Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, and then all of the sudden it all grinds to a sudden stop.  I’ve honestly never seen such as change from one extreme to another in business.

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Avidyne's Digital Autopilot- The DFC 90.

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 20, 2020 11:25:28 AM / by Sparkchasers posted in DFC 90, S-TEC, avidyne, IFD 550, IFD 540, IFD 440

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The Avidyne DFC90  is a great upgrade for Cirrus owners who have the STEC- 55X system in their airplane. It adds the precision and safety of an digital autopilot. On all of our flights in the Cirrus ranging from 100$ hamburgers to heading out to Oshkosh, the DFC-90 is easy to use/ control and is a smooth ride!  Some key features of the autopilot are:

 
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Good pilots are always learning.

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 20, 2019 2:37:00 PM / by Sparkchasers posted in Garmin, blog

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How many of you have heard the  saying “There are Old pilots and Bold Pilots but there are no Old, Bold pilots” and wondered exactly what that means?  In my opinion, it means that the “Old” pilot has been in certain situations in their flying career and has learned from those times. Flying and learning go hand in hand. Smart pilots don’t just get their pilots license and stop learning. Good pilots get their license and are always learning.

 

Flying any aircraft requires a ton of skill but it also requires a ton of knowledge. Flying is very dynamic  and  you can’t know everything because things are always changing from airspace's, to obstacles, to the weight in your plane, as well as, the technology in the cockpit and how it can benefit you when your flying.  This is why getting time with a flight instructor from time to time is so important and it's why pilots should attend industry events like Oshkosh, Sun n' Fun, and other regional events that offer training.

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New Garmin Software Improves Situational Awareness!

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 19, 2019 8:54:13 AM / by Sparkchasers posted in ADS-B, Transponders, Garmin

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If you are getting ready for a summer trip to Michigan or gearing up for your annual pilgrimage to OshKosh AirVenture, I'm about to talk about something you will probably be interested in!  For a long time aircraft owners have been paying significant fees for SiriusXM weather products and some have continued to pay those fees even after the FAA started providing ADS-In free to equipped aircraft.  Why did aircraft owners continue to pay you might ask?  Two primary reasons: One (1) They wanted weather products that ADS-B did not provide such as icing levels, cloud tops, lighting, etc. Two (2) they wanted to be able to see the weather products while still on the ground.  Guess what?  The FAA has resolved item #1 and is now providing these weather products and Garmin has already released the new software so you can take advantage of these free products so run to your avionics partner and get a situational awareness upgrade in your Garmin equipped aircraft.

Situational Awareness means different things to different pilots based on their mission they fly, and where they fly.  For Sparkchasers,  situational awareness is anything that heightens the pilots awareness in critical situations. Garmin's new GTN Software does just that. It provides more information and heightens the pilots awareness of weather in the area. What information is being provided is what this blog post is all about. Software version 6.62 for your GTN series navigator provides new information that can make a difference in long flights, or get vertical guidance when flying LNAV approraches.   Below I will highlight some of the upgrades you can thank Garmin and the FAA for providing:

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Airborne Vlog: The GNX 375

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 22, 2019 3:38:00 PM / by Sparkchasers posted in ADS-B, Avionics, Transponders, Sparkchasers, vlog, Garmin

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In this airborne VLOG, We go on a flight to Harnett Regional Airport and have a quick conversation on the GNX 375 and where it fits in the General Aviation market today.  We highlight some of the key feature's this piece of equipment has.  The small GPS navigators are great and economical as well! If your looking for the benefits of WaaS GPS such as being able to go 200' below minimums then this may be the answer for you! Check out our VLOG on the GNX 375 and let us know what you thing about these WaaS GPS Navigators! Stay Safe!

 

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$500 ADS-B Rebate

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 4, 2019 12:31:14 PM / by Kristian Butler posted in ADS-B, Avionics, Transponders, Sparkchasers, FIS-B, TIS-B, Garmin, blog, avidyne, stratus

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The FAA has reinstated the ADS-B Rebate, but the rebates are limited and time is running out as the program ends on October 11, 2019.  Are you eligible to receive it? There are several requirements that need to be met for you to receive your free $500 ADS-B Rebate.

We get question all the time on the Rebate.. "how do I do it?" "Does Sparkchasers handle it?" so I hope this helps you aviators out!
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11 Months... ADS-B Deadline

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 28, 2019 11:52:06 AM / by Kristian Butler posted in ADS-B, Avionics, Transponders, FIS-B, TIS-B, Garmin, avidyne, stratus

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11 months left till this “ADS-B” mandate is mandatory. So what should you do? There are multiple options to become ADS-B Compliant but I believe as you look to become compliant you should ask yourself some of these questions.

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Missed Opportunities By Aircraft Owners

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 19, 2018 9:57:25 AM / by Ron Oetjen posted in Garmin

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I’ve blogged before about the effects of the Part 23 rewrite on the general aviation industry and how technology advances in this industry have increased in the past couple years under the new rules.  All of the manufacturers are bringing certified products to the market at a faster pace and aircraft owners have the opportunity to make significant improvements to their aircraft with these new products.  The things that we pilots used to sit around and complain about are now finally approved and we have a chance to bring more situational awareness and automation to an aging aircraft with technology similar to that of a modern automobile instead of the technology of a World War II Sherman tank. 

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What are People Buying at Sparkchasers?

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 9, 2018 6:58:55 PM / by Ron Oetjen posted in ADS-B, Avionics, Transponders, Auto-pilot, Garmin, blog

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have been training another Sparkchasers employee, Kristian Butler, so he can begin a transition from a technician in operations into a sales role.  Many people would ask the question why he would ever want to do that, but that’s another discussion for another day. Kristian is outgoing with an awesome personality and he will interact well with customers, and I’m excited to have the additional help in sales.

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Most Exciting Development from Osh 18

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 30, 2018 9:38:13 AM / by Ron Oetjen posted in ADS-B, Avionics, blog

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In late July of every year pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation enthusiasts make an annual pilgrimage to Oshkosh, WI for the EAA AirVenture Airshow.  It is a time to connect with old friends, see absolutely crazy air shows daily, and to see the most recent product developments for aircraft.  A half of a million people come to this small Wisconsin town every year for an “everything aviation” experience and it’s something I really look forward to every year.

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