Not exactly a FRED post, but I thought I’d share this nonetheless.
As I gather materials and parts for my project I am always on the lookout for instruments and equipment appropriate to my future FRED. In doing so, I am amazed at how quickly the avionics world has started to change, with moving maps and highway-in-the-sky navigation coming down in price to the point where they are affordable even for a modest homebuilt project.
Still, complex panels and multifunction LCD displays aren’t exactly in keeping with FRED’s low-and-slow, open-cockpit style. What’s really needed is a little fairy on your shoulder, complete with flying helmet and goggles, to whisper in your ear where you are, where your destination is and where to land in an emergency.
Well, fairies are hard to come by, but I did come across a product that seems almost as good. The Gipsi voice-based GPS is a little yellow box with a joystick, a couple of LEDs, a USB port and a audio jack. There are no other buttons except the on-off switch, and no screen whatsoever. Inside the Gipsi are a GPS receiver, voice synthesis software and the U.S. NACO airport database (just the USA for now, unfortunately).
Like that fictional fairy, the Gipsi reads off your speed, altitude, and heading as well as the bearing and distance to the waypoints you’ve programmed in advance, the logpoints you’ve stored along the way or the nearest airport. Instead of having your head down looking at maps and screens, Gipsi allows you to keep your head up flying the plane, watching for traffic and enjoying the view.
Gipsi is made by Gipsi Navigation, a small company in Menlo Park, California owned by John Benedict. See the Gipsi site for some very convincing videos and a neat PowerPoint presentation. Call or write with questions, like I did, and John Benedict himself replies. That’s the kind of personal service that’s hard to come by today. I have no connection with the company but I wish him much success with this great little tool.
Gipsi seems like a perfect match for FRED. I don’t have one yet, but I am tempted.
Photo: Simplicity keeps the Gipsi small and light. Courtesy of John Benedict.