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New GA Products

 Aviation Weather Center Media Release…New Aviation Weather Site

Technical Implementation Notice 14-07
National Weather Service Headquarters Washington DC

750 AM EST Mon Feb 3 2014

TO: Subscribers: Family of Services
-NOAA Weather Wire Service
-Emergency Managers Weather Information Network
-NOAAPort
Other NWS Partners and Employees

FROM:      Cyndie Abelman
Chief, Aviation Services Branch

SUBJECT:   www.AviationWeather.gov Design Refresh

Effective Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 1800 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the NWS Aviation Weather Center will implement newly designed webpages to the www.aviationweather.gov and
www.aviationweather.gov/adds These design improvements will affect the look and feel of the website, but will not change the content. Users can examine the changes before March 25, 2014 at new.aviationweather.gov/ and new.aviationweather.gov/adds

These changes are being implemented to bring the layout of the website up to the standard set by www.weather.gov,  released fall of 2012.  The new website will streamline the user access to the site and provide a common look and feel for the web pages. The new web pages still use the ADDS database and products. The GIS maps introduced in the fall of 2013 are now the primary displays of data replacing the Java applets. The design provides the same functionality on a tablet as it does on the desktop.

The legacy web pages will remain on the web site until March 25, 2015 to allow users to transition on their own and not break bookmarks.

You can find a tutorial on the changes to these awc pages at: new.aviationweather.gov/help/tutorial

If you have any questions about this change, please contact:
Dan Vietor
Aviation Weather Center
Kansas City, MO 64153
Phone: 816-584-7211

National NWS Technical Implementation Notices are online at: https://www.weather.gov/os/notif.htm

ForeFlight iOS vs Garmin Pilot Android

Background…
Was on a recent flight to Oshkosh for the airshow and I had my trusty Google Nexus7 tablet with the Garmin Pilot app. My friend had his ever faithful iPad with the ForeFlight app. The iPad was WiFi only, so needed an external GPS for moving map and ADS-B device for weather etc. The GPS/ADS-B was the Stratus One. My android tablet was WiFi plus 3/4G cellular and it’s own built-in GPS, so I was able to load up all the latest information during taxi. I believe even WiFi only androids typically have a built in  GPS. Why is this important? The moving map displays require active GPS information. The ADS-B device gave the added traffic information to the iPad which I did not have on my Android tablet.

What happened?
So now for the showdown! Well truth be told, they really have similar features. One could pretty much do everything the other could. The really big difference was that the Stratus would loose signal more often that I expected and the data it provided either wouldn’t display or not be current. The android tablet had a fairly current display. We tried placing the Stratus in multiple locations with only marginal change.

Thoughts…
The aircraft itself could be an issue with signal interference, so the Stratus may well have preformed better in another plane. There is also a smaller Stratus 2 out for around $899 with better ADS-B reception. Yes, I am an android devotee and probably a bit prejudiced, but the bottom line is that I was pleased with my Garmin Pilot app on the Nexus7 android and it provided most everything I needed for around $300. True there was no traffic on my tablet, but it was severe clear and there is always the old “look out the window” technique.

If you have some different experiences, I welcome your comments…

Below is a table comparing the 2 apps using mostly the descriptions taken from the manufacturer….

ForeFlight Mobile ( iOS )Garmin Pilot ( iOS or Android )
ForeFlight Mobile is the critically acclaimed flight planning, flight support, and electronic flight bag (“EFB”) app for pilots. Navigation charts, Internet and in-flight weather, airport facility directory information, moving map, hazard and terrain awareness, aviation documents, and much more.Garmin Pilot is the most comprehensive suite of tools for Android designed specifically for general aviation and corporate pilots. Flight planning, DUAT(S) filing, charts, interactive maps, weather briefing resources and navigation capabilities; it’s all included. The app’s intuitive interface mirrors those on the newest Garmin touchscreen avionics so you can go seamlessly from preflight to inflight. Plan, file, fly with Garmin Pilot.
ForeFlight service requires a subscription, available via in-app purchase. $74.99 annual.30 Day Free Trial! $9.99 Monthly Subscription Required or $74.99 annual.
AIRPORT AND FACILITY DIRECTORYAIRPORT AND FACILITY DIRECTORY
ForeFlight’s A/FD provides information about US and major international airports. Data is provided by government authorities, the AOPA, and Universal Weather and Aviation. Critical airport information is displayed elegantly and additionally provides METARs, TAFs, winds aloft, and NOTAMS.View detailed information for more than 5,300 U.S. airports with included AOPA Airport Directory data. Flight rules, Nearby Airports, NOTAMs and Safe Taxi.
PLATES & CHARTSPLATES & CHARTS
ForeFlight provides access to US VFR and Terminal Area (TAC) charts; US and Canadian VNC/IFR en-route charts; area and gulf helicopter charts, and 15,000 US and 2,000 Canadian instrument procedures. En-route charts and over 12,000 terminal procedures are geo-referenced.Charts: VFR Sectionals, VFR WACs, TAC’s, low and high IFR en-route, airport diagrams and approach procedures.
WEATHERWEATHER
CForeFlight’s weather is best-in-class. 10 weather Slip Maps(TM) with route overlay, pinch and zoom support, and touch planning support deliver information about conditions along your route quickly and visually. In-flight weather is possible via Stratus ADS-B or XM.Weather Maps: Animated radar, AIRMETs/SIGMETs, Lightning, PIREPs, METARs/TAFs, Winds Aloft, TFRs, Infrared and Visible Satellite. Receive and display subscription-free ADS-B weather and datalink traffic with a GDL 39 receiver. Use the unique NavTrack feature to preview changing weather conditions along your flight route. In-Flight WX does not require ADS-B with 3G or 4G data.
HD NEXRAD composite radarNEXRAD radar
Visible and IR satelliteVisible and infrared cloud imagery
Flight rules – Visibility- Sky coverage- Wind conditions- Temp and dew-point spreadGarmin Pilot, weather data can be displayed over a VFR sectional or an IFR low or high en-route chart to visualize the weather for your route.
LightningLightning data
Global winds aloftWinds and temperature aloft
TOUCH PLANNING & MOVING MAPTOUCH PLANNING & MOVING MAP
Plan flights by touch to draw a route of flight, bend a route around weather, and add or drop waypoints. ‘Direct To’ functions get you where you want quickly.Create and graphically edit flight plans. Easily modify your route by dragging your finger across the screen or add waypoints with just a few taps. Also Direct To entry.
Engage the moving map and see your ship’s position on top of en-route charts; use the customizable dashboard to display groundspeed and altitude, track, GPS accuracy, or one of 15 different instruments. Only the +Cellular model iPads contain the GPS chip that can be used to activate the moving map capabilities of ForeFlight Mobile. However, the WiFi model can be paired with an external GPS to provide location fixes in flight.Gain valuable GPS-derived situational awareness with appropriate hardware. The app offers a graphical HSI directional display, as well as indicators for groundspeed, altitude, rate of turn and vertical speed. Most WiFi Android tablets include GPS for location, speed etc. to provide moving map
Optional geo-referenced plates and diagrams.Optional geo-reference Garmin FliteCharts® and Garmin SafeTaxi® show aircraft position on approach charts and taxiways
AIRWAYS/SIDS/STARSAIRWAYS/SIDS/STARS
ForeFlight supports airways, SIDS, STARS, and providers cleared ATC routes. Use multi-runway SIDS, airway entrances/exits, intersections, airway identifiers, and even the most complex STARS.Electronic approach plates and terminal procedures for more than 3,000 U.S. airports.
FUEL PRICESFUEL PRICES
ForeFlight provides fuel price information, visually color coded by price, for 2,300+ FBOs in Canada and the US. Pilots can also submit fuel price updates in-app.Look up fuel prices along your route to calculate the most cost-effective flights possible. Can overlay on map display.
FLIGHT PLAN FILINGFLIGHT PLAN FILING
File flight plans from your iPhone or iPad and get confirmation in seconds. Copies are stored on our servers for safe-keeping; email confirmations and briefings are sent automatically.Flight plan filing via DUAT(S) With Garmin Pilot, users can easily enter a flight plan. Pre-loaded forms make it quick to save and reuse data for frequently flown routes. And when the flight plan is ready, Garmin Pilot makes it simple to file, cancel or close the flight plan via DTC DUAT or CSC DUATS.
DOWNLOAD MANAGERDOWNLOAD MANAGER
Select the regions and information you need. Download one area or the whole country from our highly reliable delivery network. Plate and chart volumes install in seconds.Select the regions and information you need. Download one area or the whole country.
COMMENTSCOMMENTS
Submit comments directly from device, wherever you may be, and read comments from other pilots. You may just find a great place for fried pickles.
CREDITSCREDITS

Canadian radar coverage is provided by Environment Canada.
International A/FD provided by Universal Weather and Aviation.

Comprehensive weather data direct from the National Weather Service and Environment Canada.

Garmin Pilot Android Review

Everyone talks about the iPad and iPad mini for the aviation apps for navigation and I decided to see what would be comparable on the android platform. I purchased a Nexus 7 tablet and decided that the best app for android to compete with the WingX Pro or Foreflight apps for iPads would be the Garmin Pilot. I have tested and used the WingX for android, but it really is mostly a weather app with some airport charts and a couple aviation functions that is nothing like the maps, etc for the iPad platform. To compare the iPad mini and Nexus 7, here is some basic information:

Ipad Mini 32Gb Wifi+Cellular $559.00 – Google Nexus 7 32Gb Wifi+Cellular $299.00
The Google Nexus 7 offers the 1.2GHz quad core processor, while the A5 dual-core processor of the iPad Mini is the one from the iPad 2. Geekbench tests put the Google Nexus 7 in front of the iPad Mini with twice the speed. You should get great battery life with either of the tablets. The Google Nexus 7 comes with around 8.5 hours, while with the iPad Mini you may be able to get 10 hours.

Ok, so some difference, but both very capable. Anyway, here is what I was quickly able to do with the Nexus 7 and the Garmin Pilot…

The main menu screen shows Map, Active Flight Plan, Trip Planning, Airport Info, Charts (like Approach Plates, STARS, SIDS), Downloads for maps etc, and settings.

 

Choosing the map screen from the Home/main menu, we can then select which basemap we want displayed.

Click Maps then Basemap
MainMenu
Icon Selection Choices
MapChoices

 

Here are the VFR Sectionals and IFR Low (or High) Altitude Charts for Basemaps. These can/should be downloaded so they are available when you have no wifi or cellular connections.

VFR Sectional
Vfr Sectional
IFR Low
Ifr Low

 

On top of the basemaps, we can overlay several other important pieces of information such as Radar, Airport weather, TFR’s, Winds Aloft, Fuel Price and others.

Click Overlay Icon
Vfr Sectional
Overlays Selection
Ifr Low

 

Here are some overlay screens:

Radar Overlay
Radar
Upper Winds 6000ft
UpperWinds

Airport Weather Overlay
AirportWx
Fuel Prices Overlay
FuelPrice

 

Clicking on an Airport on the basemap, brings up another menu where you can select it as a Direct to, Airport Information, Navaids, Flight Plan or sets a Waypoint.

Airport Info Menu
AirportInfo
Runway Info
RunwayInfo

 

Selecting Airport Info or Charts on the Home Screen Menu:

 

For Flight Planning, you can select Direct To, The Active Flight Plan icon on Home/Menu or do them directly on the screen with tap and rubberbanding a course. You can now also select the new Track UP feature for the Moving Map from the Main Menu -> Settings.

Home Menu
HomeMenu
Direct To
DirectTo

Active Flight Plan
FltPlan
Rubber Banding
RubberBand

 

With Garmin Pilot, users can easily enter a flight plan. Pre-loaded forms make it quick to save and reuse data for frequently flown routes. And when the flight plan is ready, Garmin Pilot makes it simple to file, cancel or close the flight plan via DTC DUAT or CSC DUATS

Split Moving Map & ApproachPlate
SplitScreen
Split Moving Map & NavPanel
Split2

 

Some other features include:
Optional geo-reference Garmin FliteCharts® and Garmin SafeTaxi® show aircraft position on approach charts and taxiways.

Add the Garmin GDL 39 receive-only data link radio with on-board GPS, 978 MHz (Universal Access Transceiver frequency band), and 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090 ES) receivers. It is designed to receive, process, and output traffic (ADS-B air-to-air, and TIS-B traffic information), and weather (Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B)) information to Garmin Pilot through Bluetooth.

All in all, I am very pleased with the new features and how well it performs on my Nexus 7 tablet. The 7 inch size works quite well in the cockpit either on a Ram Mount or kneeboard. There are a couple features some of the other tablet apps provide such as terrain maps/avoidance and synthetic vision, but not sure all that is really necessary. Plus you can only fit so much on a 7 inch tablet. I have to admit that having flown many years with the Garmin 430’s/530’s, I am a Garmin fan. There is not much else to need or want for general vfr or ifr flying and a reasonable price. For one year of Garmin updates I paid $74.99 + the $299.00 for the Nexus7.

 

New FlyQ

Categories: Apps, New Products
Comments: No

AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association)  has just introduced the new FlyQ Pocket for your Apple or Android smartphone. It’s a free app for AOPA members (if you aren’t a member and you fly, you really should look into all their member benefits) and can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play. I have put it on my Razr Maxx and find that it has a lot of good information when you don’t have your tablet handy. A very nice member benefit.
Some of the key features of FlyQ are:

  • Uses Geo-Location to Display Nearest Airports and Weather FlyQ Pocket
  • AOPA Airports Directory Provides Essential Airport Information at a Glance
  • Runway Diagrams and Satellite Images
  • Aviation Wx includes METARs, TAFs, Radar and Satellite Charts and more
  • Flight Planning with Smart Auto-Routing Capability

AOPA has developed this app in conjunction with Seattle Avionics  who provide ChartData(tm) geo-referenced aviation data for all major iPad apps, certified panel-mounted systems, and handheld GPS units.

Learn more about the FlyQ Pocket

Members also have a free FlyQ flight planner for your computer. Planner Link

EFB
And, there is the FlyQ EFB for your iPad that incorporates 3D Mapping and Synthetic Vision, Charts and Approach plates. Requires a subscription much like the other major EFB products, but has a Free 30 Day Trial period. FlyQ EFB

COMPARISON ADS-B

Categories: New Products
Comments: No

Every time you look at anything flying, you are seeing ads for the ADS-B receivers for your tablets and/or phones.

Just what is all this ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) stuff anyway?

This is an informational video aimed at providing GA pilots information about the benefits of ADS-B Broadcast Services.

Here is a comparison of some of the main receivers trying to list some of the differences:

GARMIN GDL 39 DUAL XGPS170 CLARITY DUAL STRATUS
NEXRAD radar, METARs, TAFs, PIREPs, TFRs, NOTAMs, SIGMETs, AIRMETs, Winds & Temps Aloft YES YES YES YES
WAAS GPS YES YES YES YES
ADS-B TRAFFIC 978 UAT & 1090 ES 978 UAT & 1090 ES 978 UAT 978 UAT
CONNECTION BLUETOOTH BLUETOOTH WIFI WIFI
COMPATIBLE DEVICES Garmin Pilot App – Apple & Android, G3X, Aera 500, Aera 795/96, GPSMAP 695/96, (396/495-96 Traffic only) WingX Pro7, EFB, i1000 Flight System, Digital Sectional WingX Pro7, PC Avionics / Mountain Scope, i1000 Flight System, Global Nav Source / iPad EFB, SkyVision Extreme / Xtreme Vision 3D Apple – ForeFlight
LISTED BATTERY DURATION Opt. L-ion 4hrs. Built-in 5hrs. Built-in 9hrs. Built-in 8hrs.
SPECIAL FEATURES Plots Traffic Trend – Traffic Voice Alerts Works with most GPS driven apps AHRS Synthetic Vision & 1090ES Traffic  in upper models Internal Antenna
SIZE 3.5″ x 1.9″ x 6.0″ 4¼” x ¾” x 2 ⅝” 2.5” x 2.5” x 1.24″ 4.25” x 1″ x 5.75”
WEIGHT 7.68 oz 5.3 oz 5.0 oz 11.4 oz
BASE PRICE $  799.00 $  799.00 SALE $699-$1117.00 $  799.00
AVAILIBILITY NOW Nov 2012 Mar 2013 NOW
PRODUCT
WEB SITES GARMIN XGPS CLARITY STRATUS

 

ADS-B New kid on the Block…

Clarity Ads-B Receivers by Sagetech will begin shipping end of March 2013. These tiny receivers (2.5×2.5×1.24″/5oz) include WAAS GPS, WiFi and Free Inflight NEXRAD Radar, Weather and NOTAM’s etc. (FIS-B) and some ADS-B Out Traffic. Depending on particular unit you can also get full ADS-B Out Traffic and  Synthetic Vision AHRS to enable your 3D Synthetic Vision app. The units are compatible with WingX Pro7, PC Avionics / Mountain Scope, i1000 Flight System, Global Nav Source / iPad EFB, SkyVision Extreme / Xtreme Vision 3D. Sale pricing starting at $699.99  https://sagetechcorp.com/

I know there are a number of pilots out there using the WingX app and is always nice to have alternatives available. Should also mention that I am not endorsing any particular products, but sure am enthusiastic about some of the sweet new technology coming out for GA and just passing them on.

ADS-B Stratus

Categories: Apps, New Products
Comments: No

STRATUS ADS-B Stratus

I have a good flying friend that recently purchased the $799.00 Stratus portable ADS-B weather receiver for ForeFlight Mobile. Since he uses his iPad regularly, he naturally figured the Stratus would be an excellent addition and could soon pay for itself by discontinuing some other subscription services. On a first trial flight, IFR from Minneapolis area to Kansas City, the Stratus lost signal from the ground stations a number of times.(*Turns out that the particular unit appears to have a defect as a different unit had no issues on a similar flight.)
So, with a bit of research, there were a few possibilities. First is the Coverage Areas. Not all the U.S. is covered with the ADS-B system and the route appears to have some gaps in coverage.

coverage

Second, there could be an issue with the antenna/aircraft as well. In the PR for the product I noted the following:

“Most pilots will not require an external antenna and can thus operate completely “wire-free”. Stratus includes a specially tuned, high-performance internal antenna that will get good reception in many aircraft. Some aircraft, however, may require an external antenna due to signal attenuation caused by the aircraft.”

Third, there could be a problem with the particular unit. As it turns out, a different unit was tried and had no problems. The faulty unit was replaced promptly and all is well.

Would be wise to plan on taking a new unit out on a few mini test flights to make certain all works well and proper operation is understood.  Then check your route against the current ADS-B tower locations so there are no surprises should any coverage areas be limited. The test flights will also help assess the possible need for an external antenna. Finally, consider the Stratus as an excellent backup source that confirms graphically all the detailed information you received in your complete standard briefing from Flight Service and your detailed planning prior to flight.

The PR on the product:  Stratus, a new high-performance, battery powered, portable, wire-free ADS-B weather receiver designed to work hand in glove with ForeFlight Mobile. Stratus is the result of a collaboration between Appareo Systems, ForeFlight, and Sporty’s. Stratus receives and transmits to ForeFlight Mobile CONUS NEXRAD, regional high-resolution NEXRAD, METARs, TAFs, TFRs, AIRMETs, SIGMETs, NOTAMs, pilot reports, and winds/temperature aloft. Each product is nicely integrated with ForeFlight Mobile’s Airports and Maps features. Looks pretty good to me…

 

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