Rating: 4 of 5
"Almost paperless ACE"
8/19/2009 by David in California
I purchased the Aviator ACE at Oshkosh 2009. I used it to fly home from WI to San Jose, CA. My dream has long been having a true paperless system for the airplane. The fact that the ACE has "geo-referenced" IFR charts and aproach plates made quite an impression so I purchased the unit as well as the WXWorx blue tooth unit. The unit is pretty straight forward and I was able to do most things with it without referencing the manual. You can either set up a flight plan or use the "direct" button which brings up virtual keyboard to enter the indentifier. The unit claims that you can enter either the identifier or name of the airport or way point, but I found it lacking on a couple names I tried. Once your destination is set, simply keep the "predicted course line" (dotted line that projects from the front of your airplane on the screen) pointed along your route and you will arrive at the destination. Arriving at the destination, tap the airport icon on the screen to bring up the airport information. It has frequencies, runways and the like but, OOPS, what´s the traffic pattern? Well, here´s where the paperless claim falls apart. You have to carry something else with you to let you know the traffic pattern because the ACE will not tell you. On to the weather feature. Bue tooth is a cute idea, but I find that the connection needs to be "reset" too often. In my thinking, once you´ve established the connection, the ACE should automatically seek out the WXWorx box by itself after that. If you´re flying with XM weather on a box like the 496, then you may find, like I did, that the ACE is short on features. You have to go to a special page to display NEXRAD pictures as they wil not overlay on the topo display. ALso, you can no get the NEXRAD to animate. You´re limited to a single snapshot. THis is rather limiting if you´e trying to figure out what that storm cell is doing out there 100 miles away. One other thing, if you got XM radio with your subscrition and are used to bopping along listening to the RAP channel, forget it. The ACE has no way to tune the XM radio feature. All in all, the ACE is a nice box, but it´s still the first release and needs a few more features to win the moniker of "paperless".