Best of the Web

GMap for X-Plane (Mac Version) Released. Aviation News has noted that FSWidgets has released a Mac Version of its freeware moving map system powered by Google Maps. GMap is now available to X-Plane users who are running Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) with 10.5 (Leopard).

Free Panel Planner Software. In addition, General Aviation News has noted that Aircraft Spruce has released its Panel Planner software for those placing avionics or instrument orders. The software allows users to design and build instruments panels by simply dragging full-color instruments, avionics, and cockpit controls into place on an aircraft panel template. The program is free with any avionics or instrument order over US$7,500 if you place an order through the Aircraft Spruce panel builder website.   

Pilot Fatigue Documentary. On a different note, “Aluwings,” the blogger behind the Wings Stayed On blog, has noted an excellent CBC documentary about pilot fatigue and part 3 is posted here (with links to the other parts). Aluwings then commented about how the airline industry has become “Walmartize” and that as flyers we “ultimately get what we’re willing to pay for” – a valid point (especially for anyone who flies on Ryanair.

California Flying Trip. Meanwhile, Brian from Brian’s Flying Blog has posted a great trip report complete with pictures of his yearly spring break trek to California from Colorado. Brian writes at the end of the post that once again the “Colorado to Southern California trip is a winner.”

Aerial Shots of Europe. In addition, Vincent has posted some fantastic aerial shots of Geneva and various parts of Europe that he has flown over. In addition, he has posted a link to additional photo galleries.

Commuting in a Piper. Meanwhile, fans of winter flying and Alaska will always find something interesting on the Alaska Dispatch’s Bush Pilot blog, including a recent post by Max Vockner who has the option (given that his heavy construction job takes him all over the state) of commuting by Piper. In fact, commuting by plane for him is great because he noted that he “could fly as fast as my little Piper could go without fear of getting pulled over!”

New Altitude Record Set in a Cessna 172. On an interesting note, Vincent has noted on Plastic Pilot that a pilot of a modified Cessna 172 has set a new altitude record for this type of aircraft type – reaching flight level 6600 on April 1, 2010. The pilot / engineer had modified the aircraft’s systems to make it compatible with space flight and the initial goal was to achieve flight level 6000. However and when everything proved to be in working order, the ground crew gave the go ahead for a further climb to flight level 6600.

Flying Over a Volcano. And finally, Luke Lysen has reported on the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) blog about his recent trip to ferry a Cirrus SR20 from Las Vegas to Rabat and then Marrakech, Morocco. The route took him across the the Atlantic Ocean from Goose Bay, Canada to Narsarsuaq, Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland and then to Wick, Scotland. However and while he was in Greenland, he saw a SIGMET for a volcanic eruption – a very rare issuance indeed. Hence and after finding a safe route, Luke took this spectacular footage of the volcano erupting:

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