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Portables becoming essential to safe flight planning

March 16, 2011, 01:57 pm

The use of portable GPS to provide in-cockpit weather reporting has become more essential to pilots, particularly those planning cross-country flights, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

"The cheapest, easiest, and best way to get cockpit weather is with a portable. You can get a great portable GPS with a fantastic weather display for half of what it costs to add a weather receiver to a panel-mount GPS," Stein Bruch, president and CEO of SteinAir, told the AOPA.

The systems are becoming more popular, the group says. One Avionics dealer reported that 75 percent of the portable GPS units his store cells has weather capability, while air traffic controllers estimate that nearly 50 percent of pilots use the service, the AOPA said.

In addition to saving money, the on-board systems are important safety aids. Up-to-date weather-related information is essential for pilots in order to help them avoid flying into unsafe meteorological conditions.

Though weather is sometimes a major contributor to aviation accidents, there are a number of other hazards that may lead to fatal accidents. Pilot life insurance is an important investment for frequent aviators, as it can help provide for their family in the event that they die as a result of a plane crash.

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