Dynon announced their 6.0 software a month or so ago, and finally released it last night (well, last night was the first time I noticed on their site, at least). I took about 20 minutes this morning before work to do the upgrade from 5.0 on my system. Just had to see what it looked like. As usual, it was quick and painless. Download the .duc file, copy it to a flash drive, pop the flash drive in the Skyview, and pick “Upgrade to 6.0” from the software menu. Took ten or fifteen minutes to upgrade the brain and each of the components on the network (EMS, ADHARS, autopilot servos), and when it was done, it booted back up into 6.0. Looks very familiar (which is a good thing). I turned on the advanced autopilot features just to play with them, and they seem to work as I expected (from reading the docs last night). There’s also something in there about testing your backup battery that wasn’t there before (I missed that in the docs). Gotta put that on the To Do list.
I also love the new “Level” feature in the autopilot that immediately returns the plane to straight and level flight. I love even more that you can wire it to an external button. Mine is going to be attached to a big red button on the passenger side of the panel. Already bought the button when I read the press release that announced this as a new feature. My wife sometimes worries that if anything ever happened to me, she’d have to get us on the ground. This is a big step towards solving that problem. While it’s not quite as good as an “undo” button on a computer, it should go a long ways towards giving non-pilots in an emergency situation the confidence to try to land versus just screaming all the way to the ground. I can also see value in being able to push it and have the autopilot take over for a minute while I read the chart.
I’m hoping someday they’ll add a “set my radio to the tower freq of the nearest airport and line me up on their biggest runway on short final” button. That would give even a complete non-pilot who has never taken a “pinch hitter” course a better than average chance of getting the plane on the ground alive. All you’d have to do is work the throttle and do the flare. Neither task is trivial, but even with the most rudimentary instruction on the radio, I would think most anyone could put the plane on the ground in a condition you could walk away from if the plane would fly itself down to within a hundred feet or so of the runway. Alas, the lawyers will probably get involved and decide that somebody will sue them out of existence if they do this and somebody does something idiotic. So we’ll probably never get it. But it would save lives, I expect. And help a lot of non-flying spouses feel safer.
Only one disappointment. I was hoping they’d finally added an option to make the map zoom knob work correctly (it’s backwards – it zooms in when you try to zoom out, and out when you try to zoom in). I couldn’t find it in the docs or in the menus. I’ll have to keep pestering. I’m not asking them to change the default, as somebody at Dynon clearly likes it that way. But how about a menu option for the rest of us so it works the way you’d expect it to? It’s frustrating to have to turn the knob twice each time you want to use it (once to zoom where you want, then a second time, because yet again, you forgot it’s backwards and you have to undo what you just did and zoom it to where you wanted originally). I know people can adapt. It’s like shooting a Glock. If all you ever shoot is a Glock, you don’t know anything is wrong, because you learned it their way to begin with. But if you mostly shoot other handguns and then switch to a Glock, every time you point one, it’s pointed a few feet above the target and you have to consciously tilt your wrist down a bit extra to be on-target. It’s non-intuitive, it takes extra time, and it fails to work with muscle memory. Yes, I know Mr. Glock did medical research and figured out that the grip angle of his gun is more “anatomically correct” (or whatever), but the fact is, it’s different. And different matters when seconds count, because you have to stop and think. Personally, I think the ability to do things under pressure without having to think first, like zooming a map or firing a handgun, is far more important than whether or not they’re “correct”. But that’s just me. Anyway, please add a menu item to reverse the map zoom. Pretty please? Then we can both be happy.