My Garmin Android Pilot
Took a VFR flight recently with my 32GB Nexus 7 (2nd Gen) tablet loaded with Garmin Pilot along with a couple other pilots using their iPads, Foreflight and the Stratus 2. I am always pleased with my android tablet and the built in GPS along with cellular modem for 4G reception. Only one piece of modest priced equipment at $349, as opposed to two with a 32GB iPad mini WiFi at $459 + the Stratus 2 at $899. The iPad mini with cellular modem and GPS is about $599. If you wish the addition of active weather and traffic for your android, the Garmin GDL 39 sells for $899 like the Stratus. I know it’s not always about money when you are a GA flyer, but then I’m a bit of an Android fan. Okay, yes, I know the iPad/Stratus 2/Foreflight combo has ADS-B traffic plus WAAS GPS and my single android setup doesn’t, but for VFR, the Garmin Pilot+Android tablet has become quite capable for what I needed on the flight.
To Compare Specs:
Garmin Pilot – https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-go/apps/garmin-pilot-/prod115856.html
Garmin GDL 39 – https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-go/apps/garmin-pilot-/prod115856.html
Foreflight – https://www.foreflight.com/ipad/
Stratus 2 – https://www.foreflight.com/ipad/
So, back to the flight. Besides the charts and course info, I would hear “I can get fuel price information and I have airport information”, but then so could I. Now we get to the ADS-B addition that I didn’t have on my android. Certainly was helpful with the active information until we got to a high traffic airport.
ADS-B receiver only – Displays only ADS-B Out equipped aircraft (Not a lot of GA aircraft in that category “yet”).
**HOWEVER, if a nearby ADS-B Out aircraft is connected to a ground station, it will be receiving a traffic picture in a cylindrical shape with a 30 mile diameter and ±3500ft high around that aircraft. This traffic picture is “specific” to their location. If you are located somewhere within that 30 mile cylinder, your receiver will show the same picture of both ADS-B traffic “and” any Mode C traffic within that cylinder. Fine if you are in the center, but not so if located on the outer portion.
So here’s a problem. If you are approaching a busy airport area for landing, like the Oshkosh AirVenture, and there is and ADS-B Out aircraft nearby connected to a ground station, you get all the active ADS-B & Mode C traffic within a ±3500ft altitude. So far sounds good, but then one of my pilot passengers began to get “Information Overload” from his tablet displaying many traffic targets all around us. Problem is, that in spite of all the displayed targets, the tablet will still not display traffic that could be passing right in front of you if that traffic not ADS-B Out or Mode C equipped.
I feel that the tablets with all the aviation information are great, but sometimes no substitute for simply looking out the windscreen and flying the airplane. My comment in the airport traffic area was to please look outside and help me spot “all” the close traffic.
Okay, so bottom line. Do I like the iPad combo? Definitely yes, but then my Android Tablet is perfectly acceptable with loads of information for VFR flying and at a modest price.
Some ADS-B detailed tutorial links:
*Under current FCC regulations, the use cellular devices is prohibited while airborne. BUT, there are some changes in the wind… stay tuned.