Monday, June 30, 2008

My First Flight with my Garmin GPSMAP 496

GARMIN GPSMAP 496My First Trip with my Garmin GPSMAP 496

I recently got a Garmin GPSMAP 496 and had the opportunity to really work it out on my first trip cross country.

I was flying from Troy, MI (KVLL) to Tauton, MA (KTAN) to see my good friend Dave Moura. The trip was uneventful until I got to Rhode Island and realized that my destination airport, which was about 50 miles away, was painted all RED, severe thunderstorms. The Providence based air traffic controller asked me if I had weather radar and I replied affirmative. He strongly suggested that I deviate my flight plan to North Central State Airport (KSFZ), which I did to wait out the storm for an hour or two. When I finally got to KTAN they told me that there had been half inch hail and huge thunderstorms, thank god for the Garmin GPSMAP 496.

I had difficulty getting home on Friday and Saturday because of the wicked, SE Mass adjective, thunderstorms. Thus, I waited until Sunday to come home and left early hoping to get home before the afternoon buildups. The trip was uneventful, but as the day wore on the thunderstorms started building again. I missed any major adverse weather because I was home before 1:30 PM, but I did use the NEXRAD Radar option to deviate around 3 or 4 major cloud buildups.

I am now a member of the converted. Flying without my Garmin GPSMAP 496 would feel like flying in the blind at this point.

Purchasing the Garmin GPSMAP 496

Buying the Garming GPSMAP 496 was not an easy decision, the typical average price of the units is $2,395 plus $50+/month for subscriptions for weather and maps, etc.

I was trying to find a novel way to acquire the unit and called my old friend Howard Van Bortel. Leave it to Howard, the great aviation marketer, he created a program where I could rent the unit for roughly $45 / month plus whatever monthly subscriptions.

The cash flow implications of Howard's rental program were fantastic for me, 44 month breakeven renting vs. buying the unit without considering the time value of money. I can return the unit at anytime and rent it as long as I wish. Howard was happy with the deal and I was happy to rent the unit, so I can easily upgrade as soon as Garmin comes up with a newer version.

Anyone considering a Garmin 296, Garmin 396 or Garmin 496 should call Howard Van Bortel's team at 866.287.8506 or or

Nice work, per usual Howard ! ! !

1 comment:

  1. I have been having issues with the battery charger on my Garmin 496 and called Garmin Support @ 800.800.1020 and found that there is a firmware update for a software glitch in the charging module. I am going to download it tonite, upload it on the Garmin and then need to have the battery discharge through 2 cycles.