Remote air strips: three reasons why your airplane should carry a GPU
In the United States there are tens of thousands of places to land light aircraft. No matter whether the flying machine of your choice is an airplane or helicopter, from the frozen reaches of Alaska down to the warm waters of Key West and every place in between, the possibilities are endless.
And we’re not talking about all singing all dancing airports here. We’re not even talking about smaller airfields with basic facilities, the best of which is a coffee machine. What if you’re a pilot who’s looking for something a little off the beaten track? As you’re probably well aware, in the U.S., not only is there an abundance of farm strips where flying visitors are actively welcomed, but – if you’ve honed your soft field landing skills – it’s also possible to touch down in a multitude of undiscovered sites.
Depending on why you’re up in the air in the first place, your destination may be a place that you just want to fly into and out of. Alternatively, your aim might be to stay a while and explore. Whatever the purpose of your visit, one thing’s for sure; you definitely want to be able to get home again. And on your own terms.
That’s where a ground power unit – or a GPU to use its acronym – comes in handy. We believe that it should be one of your essential supplies; in fact, we’d argue that it’s just as important as your flight plan and your fuel.
Portable GPUs give you peace of Mind
If you have a GPU on board your aircraft, then there is absolutely no chance of getting stuck somewhere remote if your battery runs flat, or, if it’s very cold and your battery goes flat before the engine starts.
Picture the scene: You’re stranded with a flat battery on rough ground and need help with a jump start. First, you’ll have to call the farmer on whose airstrip you’ve landed, or maybe anyone else who’s available with a heavy duty piece of machinery. Then, you’ll end up having to wait for them to arrive at your location.
Worst case scenario: Maybe you’ve landed somewhere so remote and out of the way that there is no one to call.
None of these situations need be a concern if you have a portable, lightweight GPU with you; simply plug it in and power up. Most GPUs are capable of providing numerous jump starts before they need to be recharged themselves, so one small battery pack equates to an enormous amount of backup power.
Battery Powered GPUs Offer Self-Sufficiency
A portable GPU can get your aircraft’s engine up and running and you back on your way in no time, lowering your operating costs and avoiding downtime. You don’t have to wait for a third party to get to you, or worry about them manoeuvring their vehicle into a position to reach your aircraft. Highly portable, many of these battery packs come with their own trolleys to make them even easier to use, even if you’re on your own. StartPac’s patented Quick Change design means that on many of our models, the unit’s batteries can be switched easily in a matter of seconds without tools or training.
GPUs are Convenient
It might be that your engine starts just fine. Perhaps you’re waiting in your aircraft and it’s your passengers who are doing the exploring and the hiking. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy air-conditioning without running your engine’s costly batteries down? It’s a no brainer and a GPU with a combination power supply for avionics and a battery bank makes it a reality. Designed for use in remote locations, battery capacity alone means that many GPUs can provide extended time for cockpit maintenance checks even when you are 1000 miles away from an AC source.
The Beauty of Electrical Engineering in Portable GPUs
Strictly speaking, the beauty of electrical engineering isn’t really a reason to own a GPU, but it does deserve a mention. It’s practically a crime not to admire a product that has been designed to offer so much clean, environmentally friendly power in a matter of seconds.
Using a ground power unit that is specifically designed to work with your aircraft, will mean that there is no unnecessary depletion of the aircraft’s battery; it will also entail cooler engine starts meaning far less stress on the starter and other engine components. Straightforward to use and environmentally friendly, owning a GPU means getting your engine started won’t ever be the most complicated part of your trip.
Of course, if you’re planning to land at a remote farm strip, it might be an idea to call the farmer or the landowner and see whether they own a GPU themselves. However, having a GPU on board your own aircraft means one less phone call and one less thing to worry about. The kind of ground power unit you get depends on the type of aircraft you have.
Likewise, if you are the lucky owner of your own farm strip, you might want to consider a GPU as an item of airfield equipment. Rest assured a pilot with an aircraft, a flat battery and no personal GPU will consider you an angel in disguise.
Here at START PAC, we are passionate about the world of portable power supplies almost as much as we are about your safety, comfort and well-being. We are extremely happy to listen carefully to your needs and provide you with well-informed product recommendations. Ours is a family run business and we look forward to welcoming you to that family. Let our experience help you make the best choice for your aircraft so that you can fly untroubled and optimistically into the deep blue yonder and, to paraphrase John Gillespie Magee, slip those surly bonds of Earth.