Our group was overwhelmingly instrument-rated pilots, not a flock of fresh students taking basic flight classes. Here were many experienced pilots paying rapt attention to a delivery by Kirk Kleinholz as he launched a series of classes covering the operation of the Dynon SkyView. *** In a few days, Kirk will repeat this several times via twice-daily classes offered at the Sebring Expo. Sebring sessions are free, though later classes may carry some tuition. *** Kirk needed to be highly knowledgeable with the Spruce Creek Fly-in group, and he is. A CFI-Instrument, he’s an expert on Dynon’s glass screens and matching SkyView to the mission. *** SkyView is a computerized EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System) offered in 7- or 10-inch sizes that display synthetic vision, moving map, and engine info.*** Kirk’s two-overhead-screen projection system allowed us to see his points while also viewing the effect of adjustments on a master SkyView unit that was linked to Dynon’s modestly-priced autopilot servos ($750 each). To better establish skills, attendees shared four functioning SkyView units. Three units ran a simulator mode that allowed the rest of us to fiddle with knobs and try to keep up. *** Keeping up will be its own challenge. As airplane instruments go the way of the information revolution (as in computers and, increasingly, biology), SkyView is hardware combined with software. Regularly throughout his talk, Kirk noted that some new feature or refined adjustment was coming in a new software release. Most of these updates are offered free of charge, but you’ll have to learn new techniques. Sound familiar? *** Ah, SkyView proves it’s a long, long way since the analog instruments of… well, just a few years ago. The rush of technology in the cockpit is equally as amazing as that rush affecting us everywhere: laptops, smartphones, tablets, and innumerable other gizmos. Everything seems to come with a manual nowadays except that the manual is probably on an iPad. Some lament the loss of our beloved “steam gauges.” I understand. We knew those instruments so well. *** After three and a half hours of intense Dynon education, I still feel I need a few hours of hands-on use to be adequately proficient. It will take even longer to be totally fluent with SkyView and related Dynon gear such as their autopilot. That learning curve is one important reason Dynon is working to educate pilots. They realize pilots will be safer if they know and understand — and are not distracted by — their digital avionics. Another reason is to help owners get all they want out of these marvelous devices. As I reflect on what I had to learn to determine location by triangulating vectors with a VOR or flying a back course ILS approach, I realize these SkyViews aren’t so hard. And after some point of learning, I realize my situational awareness will be vastly better than with the old round dials. Embrace your digital future! Thanks for the class, Dynon and Kirk!
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