Fred Scott, Jr.
(434) 295-4188

1980 Beech Baron -- Model 95-B55, Serial TC-2307
Avidyne FlightMax EX500

NOTE: This article was first written in 2003. In January 2010, Avidyne shipped us the very first EX600. Click here and see how it works in the King Air.

On Sunday April 6, 2003 we took a young Angel Flight patient to Charleston SC. This Baron B-55 is a well-equipped, nearly all-weather aircraft. The Avidyne EX500 was set up to read the KLN-94 GPS flight plan from Lynchburg D-> KCHS. As soon as we were airborne off KLYH, the EX500 datalink pulled down the NEXRAD weather from the ORBCOMM satellite and showed a line of moderate to heavy rain just prior to Charleston, with big gaps in the line.

The EX500 resolution is excellent, so we could clearly see the gaps several hundred miles ahead, even as we were climbing out in Virginia,.

About 100 miles out of Charleston, we asked for a ten degree left heading for a big gap in the NEXRAD line (note that the data was 23 minutes old). As you can see, we probably did not really need to deviate, but we had a very sick boy in the back and were looking for (and found) a smooth ride through the big hole.

Switching back to our excellent on-board RDR-160 radar with the 12" dish and the radar-transparent Norton radome -- the combination gives a good return on cells at 100 miles -- we confirmed the line and that the gaps about where the NEXRAD indicated.

At 60 Miles out our on-board radar was showing nothing but smooth ground clutter and no rain directly ahead, and we had previously confirmed the NEXRAD line was accurate, so the deviation was working fine.


On the way back to Virginia, we crossed the line of cells again, using on-board radar at first, and being quite comfortable doing so. While deviating around a contouring cell, we flipped back to the NEXRAD image (on top) and I will confess to being quite startled at first, because the presentation was so much more of a "Be careful!" than the radar was.

But, after really looking carefully, it became apparent that both radars were saying exactly the same thing, down to the details. (...sorry about the camera shake.. it was a bit rough...).

Do I like it? You bet. It's a really nice piece of avionics.

Click here for a review of the latest XM WX and CMAX (JeppView) electronic charts on the EX 500.

Any questions? just give me a call, or click on the e-mail link below.

While you are here, have a look at our horse teams, and carriages, or take a tour of our farm in central Virginia.

Any questions?
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