QrefAll of today’s high tech equipment comes with a user manual and the more complicated a piece of equipment is the thicker the manual.  And the fewer people that will actually read that… As a result most people will not know how to properly work with their equipment —  even if their lives depended on it. And when it comes, for instance, to vital navigational equipment in an aircraft lack of knowledge can be fatal!

Today we are looking at a reference manual that addresses this problem.

Enter Qref, a company that specializes in making high quality reference material for the aviation and maritime sectors.

Today we will look at the Quick Reference for the Garmin GNS 430, arguably the most popular avionics set.

Qref is a new company but with a long history when it comes to making checklists for the aviation industry.  I first met Jason Clemens when he was heading Zaonflight (traceable back to SureCheck), the company that makes portable collision avoidance systems.  We had the pleasure of reviewing a few of these safety devices (see for instance here and here).

These units came with the most outstanding manuals —  the handiwork of Jason.  This time around he partnered with a number of NAFI Master CFIs (in particular Bridgette Doremire) to write these quick reference manuals and the result is an outstanding and indispensable cockpit aid.

Let’s have a quick look at this so called “Roam in the Know” product.  It’s about the size of a kneeboard (4.5″ (114mm) wide and 8″ (203mm) tall), with a non metallic spiral binding that holds together the indestructible laminates.  All the essentials about the Garmin 430 with all the variants, you will find in these three dozen pages.  They are easy to read even in bright sunlight because of the matt finish but more importantly, they are also easy to read because they are written well.

Topics include everything you need to know to get you from A to B, in other words: the essentials but also more tricky and complicated subjects such as:

    * Flight Plan
    * Moving Maps
    * Terrain
    * XM Weather
    * Traffic
    * COM
    * VOR
    * GPS Approach
    * STAR & DP
    * Holding Patterns

The tabbed index pages explain some of the basics about GPS navigation and the guide is complete with a Tips & Tricks section and a Glossary of Terms.

Garmin GNS 430The instructions are unambiguous and very simple.  For example, if talks about turning the Little Knob or Big Knob.  It a bit like showing young kids how to tell the time…
And with a touch of humour reading through the manual is a breeze.  A quick read is essential to familiarise yourself with the sections and layout and to pick up any hints that you will remember straight away.

Garmin GNS 430If you fly on a daily basis and use the equipment regularly in all sorts of situations you probably won’t need this manual as much as the guy who doesn’t fly his own airplane and is not as current as he would like to be.  I am probably somewhere in between but I often have trouble navigating to the right screen quickly.

For just under 30 bucks you have some terrific insurance against not being able to find your way in the sky and around the Garmin screens.

Highly recommended to have a browse around on the Qref.com website as most likely they have already catered for the equipment that you own, whether portable or built in.