The Garmin GPSMap 696 is the biggest, full-featured, handheld aviation GPS available. The 696 appears just like another person pulled a glass cockpit MFD out of a panel and squashed it into a skinny notebook. The same as an MFD, the 696 has softkeys that switch purpose as you alter settings or pages. Moreover, it has a joystick control that executes numerous functions depending on the circumstance. Terrain is a fundamental and important aspect of the GPSMAP 696. The unit has a high-resolution terrain page to show dangers relative to your altitude and a vertical profile of terrain along your path. The terrain repository by Jeppesen is built-in, and it includes a terrain database of the Americas, Atlantic or Pacific. An obstacles collection for the U. S. or European union is also integrated. With all this information, the 696 displays your flight path using contoured terrain maps. The 696 shows and tracks your present position in relation to bordering terrain to supply warnings. While navigating through unfamiliar airspace, the terrain and obstacles database is essential. Terrain presentations on the 696 are bright and apparent. Yellow means caution and it a very good idea to get some altitude in advance of nearing a yellow region. Red is dead - this straightforward rule will keep you from flying into anything large and solid. If the colorings don't inform you, then the insistent voice in your headset absolutely will. When your 696 says pull up, do it. Oftentimes, the terrain view appears to be a hopeless situation. You've got red in front of you and on the right with no opening. Should you turn left? First attempt zooming out your display while using joystick. Oops, more red on the left. Better to ascend and possibly circle until you can find the easiest way out. To keep pilots cognizant of unique airspace activity, around 683 parachute drop zones are described in the Americas navigation repository. You can even personalize your own personal minimum clearance levels to receive terrain cautions. The 696 also has a realistic 'view from space' satellite imagery basemap. One truly handy characteristic is the potential to lay out a flight path and look at the landscape all along the route, before you ever depart the ground. This single preparation activity could keep you right out the boxed in circumstance above. Insert two or three legs into the flight path and take a brief detour around any terrain your plane can't climb over. When in the air, Garmin's new Smart Airspace feature makes it simpler than ever before to spot exactly what airspace lies ahead. Smart Airspace automatically highlights airspace near to your current altitude and de-emphasizes airspace away from the present altitude, which gives you greater situational awareness. On the ground, the Garmin 696 includes the Safe Taxi database plus detailed taxiway diagrams and location data for more than 950 U. S. airfields. Installed on the device, this information helps you get around different airfields with confidence and indicates your aircraft's precise location on the field. And with the AOPA Airport Directory and the Private Airports and Heliports database, you'll always understand what to expect whenever you land at your travel destination. Ray Franklin has been sharing useful and interesting information with others since 1970. Any subject is fair game and he has covered topics ranging from Ecuadorian rainforests to LP turntable repairs. Each topic is an opportunity for in-depth exploration with curiosity and humor. Recent works include Garmin GPSMap 696 and Garmin GPSMAP 696 Aviation Portable GPS.