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PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:48 pm
by JimP
My wife is a bit of a nervous passenger. She was a bit overwhelmed by hearing all the planes near the airport without being able to see where they were... Or at least know whether they were a "factor" to us or not. So after reading everything I could find on the subject, I decided to purchase a Zaon XRX for the airplane.

First impressions (the "out of the box" experience) were quite positive. Excellent packaging, including a nicely padded plastic case to carry to/from the airplane, good "quick reference cards" (provide 95% of the "need to know" info), a very complete manual (for the other 5%), and the device itself looks great.

At the airport, small issue with deciding how to set it up in my airplane. It comes with two different thickness non-slip "feet" so you can set it in front of you on the glare shield, making allowance for slope. It also comes with some velcro "dots" you can use instead of one of more of the feet. My glare shield is old and a bit worn (cloth), so not very "grippy". I tried the velcro, but it allows the XRX to "rock" a bit on my somewhat rounded glare shield, so that wasn't very satisfactory to me. I chose to use 2 different sizes of the feet and set the unit on a non-skid "mat" (freebie given away at a conference I attended). This is one of those "sticky" rubber pads that is intended to allow your phone / gps / iPod to lay on your dashboard without sliding. Works great to keep PCAS devices from sliding also. :-)

Just after takeoff, the unit recognized another airplane that was a "threat" and issued both aural and visual alerts to me, showing direction and relative altitude (9 o'clock, 500' feet above). I looked over there, and sure enough, someone was in the traffic pattern but not talking on CTAF. (My home airport is within the Mode C veil for DFW, so his transponder was evidently on and working.) Throughout the flight, the Zaon consistently pointed out traffic that I had not otherwise observed. It also helped (a lot) in finding traffic pointed out to me by ATC. (You'd think an AirBus A380 would be easy to spot, but on a slightly hazy day, when it's a little below you, it's amazing how something that big can blend in with the ground clutter...)

I realize that having the Zaon is absolutely NOT a substitute for having your head on a swivel and keeping up a good scan outside the airplane, because there could still be the occasional J3 or Champ out there with no electrical system (so no transponder), and therefore invisible to the Zaon. But all in all, the device appears to work as advertised, and to work quite well. It truly does help with airspace awareness, and provides another set of "electronic eyes" that never get bloodshot or tired...

It even alerted me to an airplane taxiing nearby, hidden behind a row of hangars, and coming towards me.

All in all, I'm liking this device a lot. It's a keeper.

Re: PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:42 pm
by jackhodgson
Very interesting. Thanks.

Re: PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:05 am
by mbuto
Would it work in a club/rental plane? (and by work, I mean not a lot of fidgeting to get it in place)


Re: PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:04 pm
by JimP
Yes, it would. Lots of flying clubs use these and move them from plane to plane all the time. All you need is access to the aux power plug (aka - cigarette lighter socket) and access to the headphone jacks. Takes about 60 seconds to connect, and sits on top of the glareshield.

PS - It may have saved my bacon today - alerted me to an airplane not talking on CTAF that was climbing out directly in my path. I "might" have seen him otherwise, but the XRX alert definitely caused me to look more intensely than I might have otherwise. I saw him slightly below me, and was able to alter my flight path to avoid him. Obviously, he never saw me...

Re: PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:35 pm
by PilotBillFromTexas
Just make sure that the cigar lighter actually has power. There is an AD calling for the installation of an in-line 15amp fuse. Some people are just disconnecting it.

Re: PIREP: Zaon XRX Portable/Passive Collision Avoidance System

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:11 pm
by AZAir
The nice thing with the ZAON is that you also have several options to display traffic on other devices.. for example on the iPad running WingX ( you need a $100 wifi module that plugs into the Zaon), or on BK AV8OR units via either bluetooth or serial cable, some Garmin GPS units via serial cable.

I will never fly without the Zaon in the aircraft, I have it interfacing with both the WingX/iPad and the AV8OR unit concurrently using a "Y" cable from the rear of the XRX unit.