Garmin Unveils Its Latest Gadget: The Portable GPSMAP 496 | Aero-News Network
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Wed, Jul 19, 2006

Garmin Unveils Its Latest Gadget: The Portable GPSMAP 496

Includes SafeTaxi, Smart Airspace, And AOPA Airport Directory

We promised our readers some BIG avionics news today... and seldom does it get bigger than this.

Garmin International told Aero-News FIRST Thursday (we love saying that...) about its latest cool and useful gadget -- the GPSMAP 496, a full-color, portable aviation device that expands on the GPSMAP 396's features by incorporating Garmin's SafeTaxi airport diagrams, Garmin's Smart Airspace, AOPA's Airport Directory data, enhanced high-resolution terrain database, aviation database with private airports and heliports, accelerated GPS update rate, and pre-loaded automotive maps of North America or Europe.

These features are in addition to the real-time XM WX Satellite Weather, that puts weather information where it's needed most -- in the cockpit, at the pilot's fingertips.

"With more power and information than any other portable handheld on today's market, the GPSMAP 496 is an essential piece of equipment for any pilot," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's vice president of marketing. "The information on this mini-MFD helps increase safety and situational awareness during all phases of flight - from taxiing to navigating around terrain and weather. And thanks to the pre-loaded street maps, it also gives pilots the ability to navigate unfamiliar roadways with the same ease that they navigate the airways."

The Garmin SafeTaxi airport diagrams help pilots navigate unfamiliar airports with confidence. Over 650 U.S. airport diagrams come pre-loaded on the unit. The charts identify runways, taxiways, and hangars, as well as the aircraft's exact location on the field. Garmin anticipates offering SafeTaxi updates regularly. International airport diagrams will also be available in the future.

When in the air, Garmin's new Smart Airspace feature makes it easier than ever to identify what airspace lies ahead. Smart Airspace automatically highlights airspace close to the pilot's current altitude and de-emphasizes airspace away from the current altitude, which gives pilots increased situational awareness.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Airport Directory data are also available in electronic format on the GPSMAP 496. Recognized throughout the industry as one of the most comprehensive sources of airport information, the AOPA's Airport Directory includes information for over 5,300 public-use airports and more than 7,000 FBOs, such as pilot services, ground transportation, lodging, restaurants, and local attractions. In addition, Garmin's version of the AOPA's Airport Directory highlights airports where pilots can save on fuel by using self-service fueling locations.

In addition, the GPSMAP 496 has an enhanced, higher resolution terrain database that has over ten times as much data as the GPSMAP 396's terrain database. The new database lets pilots see vivid depictions of proximity hazards that require their attention. Pilots can customize their own minimum clearance limits to receive terrain cautions, which pop up as digital thumbnail images.

Pilots will also appreciate the unit's increased GPS update rate, which is five times faster than any other handheld on today's market. This impressive new attribute results in near-real-time updates of the aircraft's analog indicators, such as the HSI and turn rate indicator. Viewing the GPSMAP 496's display in any light is easy, thanks to the device's 256-color, high-resolution (480x320-pixels) TFT display. The unit also features a USB interface and rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack.

As with the GPSMAP 396, the GPSMAP 496 will continue to offer optional XM WX Satellite Weather (US only) that features Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD), Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METARs), Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs), Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), Lightning and Winds Aloft, and several other important weather products to help pilots make informed navigational decisions. The weather data may be laid directly over the unit's Jeppesen and topographic map databases. Weather information is delivered to the unit through Garmin's new GXM 30A smart antenna, which is included with the GPSMAP 496.

On the road, the 496 serves as a premium in-car navigation system with automatic route calculation to any destination and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions along the way. The GPSMAP 496 is Garmin's first aviation handheld to include pre-loaded City Navigator® NT maps of North America or Europe. These detailed street maps include a huge points of interest database - including hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and attractions. Map data are provided by NAVTEQ - a world leader in premium-quality mapping.

When traveling by water, the GPSMAP 496 is compatible with Garmin's new BlueChart g2 technology. These optional data cards turn the GPSMAP 496 into a color chartplotter that displays integrated marine maps with shaded depth contours, port plans, inter-tidal zones, spot soundings, wrecks, navaids, restricted areas, cable areas, and anchorages.

Garmin reports tThe GPSMAP 496 will be available for purchase at EAA AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, WI. The expected street price is $2,795, which includes a GXM 30A XM smart antenna, yoke mount, cigarette-lighter adapter, AC adapter cable, USB-to-PC interface cable, low-profile remote GPS antenna, carrying case, free Jeppesen update certificate, City Navigator North America software, owner's manual and quick-reference guide.

For those unable to attend EAA AirVenture or those who want to try and win a GPSMAP 496, Garmin is also giving one away on its blog. All entries must be received from July 20 through August 4, 2006.

For customers in Europe, Garmin also offers a GPSMAP 496 Atlantic version that will be available shortly after the GPSMAP 496 North America model is available. The GPSMAP 496 Atlantic will include pre-loaded City Navigator Europe street maps, as well as VFR Reporting Points (VRPs), private airports, and obstacles. The GPSMAP 496 Atlantic does not include XM support, AOPA's Airport Directory, or SafeTaxi diagrams.

XM WX Satellite Weather data and audio are provided by XM Satellite Radio.

FMI: www.garmin.com

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