Imagine this. You're at a surprise party waiting for someone to walk into the room so you can yell, "Surprise!" If the person is really and truly surprised, it's a great moment. It makes you smile. And today, we're having a similar moment with the aviation community. So, for all of our pilot friends -- Surprise! We now have two new aviation portables, the GPSMAP 695 and 696. We know this news may come as a shock because we historically announce aviation handhelds in the summer; however, the 695 and 696 are so amazing that we want pilots to be able to add them to their '08 holiday wish list or even trick-or-treat list.
The GPSMAP 695 and 696 are clean-sheet devices that take aviation portables to the next level. They have a gigantic, 7-inch portrait screen where you can display information like airways, electronic charts and weather. One of the many new features is an IFR map mode that displays a chart similar to standard enroute charts. The IFR map mode shows all the important features -- such as victor airways, jet routes, MEAs and leg distances -- and we've gone the extra mile by adding major visual reference points like rivers, state boundards, highways and railroad tracks. Another key feature is Garmin FliteCharts that lets you see an entire approach plate on the 696's display. FliteCharts will tempt you to reduce the amount of paper in the cockpit, which is OK if you use the charts in accordance with AC91-78 since the 696 has Class I/Class II Electronic Flight Bag capability.
There's much more we could say about the 696, but we're going to save it for future posts. For now, we're going to leave you with some pictures of what you'll see when you get your 696 and unbox it for the first time. It's full of lots of goodies. The 696 is shipping today, so call your dealer ASAP. If you want to see one before you buy it, come visit us at AOPA Expo next week in San Jose. We'll have them on display and you'll be amazed at what this powerful GPS can do.