Thursday, July 16, 2009

A little radio goes a long way

A lot of pilots equate size with performance.
The Soviet era radios in the back of the Mi-2 are plenty big (and heavy), but they don't give us the performance or full range of channels we need to communicate in US airspace. Although the Mi-2 is big by most standards, the range of options for easily putting radios within useful reach of the pilot is frustratingly limited. Fortunately we came across a very small but powerful radio that we are evaluating for the Mi-2 at the Cold War Air Museum.

The MGL Avionics, V10 mounts in a standard 3 1/8" instrument cutout and takes up only about 2 inches of depth behind the panel. The entire radio, not just the control head, is shown in the picture above. With modern technology, this small box should equal the range and performance of older boxes many times its size.

The radio essentially "dropped-in" to the panel in place of the inop radar altimeter directly in front of the pilot's station.

The radio specs are very promising and hangar tests of the radio and its built-in intercom showed good performance. This weekend we hope to get a chance to do an in-flight evaluation of the unit (and its built-in intercom) in a real-life, noisy, operating environment. Radio troubles are often caused by poor installation of the radio or antenna, so we will be paying special attention to identifying and correcting any problems in those areas as well. Tune in later for updates.

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