ForeFlight introduces Sentry Mini ADS-B Receiver

Portable weather receivers, especially those that pick up the free ADS-B broadcasts, have exploded in popularity over the past five years and we think that’s great news. In fact, we believe that every pilot who flies beyond the traffic pattern should have datalink weather in the cockpit. That’s not just a matter of convenience or having the latest technology – a recent study by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association showed that pilots flying with ADS-B In had a 50% lower accident rate and a 90% lower fatal accident rate.

Sentry Mini weighs less than two ounces.

Now there’s an affordable and easy-to-use option for flying with this safety-enhancing technology. Sentry Mini, introduced this week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, is an incredibly small, lightweight ADS-B receiver that’s specifically made for ForeFlight. It delivers subscription-free datalink weather, including radar, lightning, METARs, TAFs, and TFRs, plus dual band ADS-B traffic and WAAS GPS position. All these features are packed into a case that weighs less than two ounces and is smaller than a deck of cards. Trust us – it’s tiny! Perhaps best of all, it’s priced at just $299 – a good investment for almost any pilot.

Flight test

We’ve had the chance to go flying with Sentry Mini flying on numerous flights recently, and it has performed flawlessly. Just mount it on the side window (using the included RAM suction cup mount) and plug it in to a power source. There’s no power button so as soon as it’s plugged in it will start up.

Sentry Mini on suction cup
Sentry Mini includes a RAM suction cup mount.

Reception was solid, as we picked up an ADS-B tower just 200 feet off the ground at Sporty’s airport and had continuous coverage throughout two cross countries. The full suite of weather products came in, from NEXRAD to cloud tops, and two green lights on the front confirm you are receiving both ADS-B and GPS. That GPS receiver is a nice addition here – the Scout, also from ForeFlight, is just $199 but the lack of a GPS is a significant limitation for us. The Sentry Mini is a more complete product.

Another easily overlooked feature is weather replay. This means you can turn off your iPad screen to save battery life, then turn it back on and get an update from the Sentry Mini with all the weather information you missed. This can extend your iPad’s battery life by hours, and it all works automatically. Once you’ve flown with this feature, it’s hard to live without.

On a recent trip in a Cirrus, Sentry Mini was invaluable for finding a path around some summertime storms. We used radar (especially animated radar) plus METARs and PIREPs to stay safe.

Power and mount options

Sentry Mini with Pilot Pocket
The Pilot Pocket XL and the Flight Gear Backup Battery are great accessories for Sentry Mini.

Sentry Mini does not have a battery (one reason it’s so small), so you’ll need either a cigarette lighter plug, a panel-installed USB plug, or a portable battery pack. We’ve used all three options and they work just fine – a sturdy, braided USB-C charging cable is included with Sentry Mini and it’s long enough to reach across the cockpit in most airplanes.

The Flight Gear Backup Battery Pack in particular is a great combination – it ran Sentry Mini for four long flights without recharging. The original 20,000 mAh size should power Sentry Mini for over 75 hours, good enough for months of flying in most airplanes. The new 10,000 mAh size is a more convenient size but should still provide enough juice for multiple flights.

The included suction cup mount is the same as the one included with the full size Sentry, and it works well. Just twist the Sentry Mini onto the RAM suction cup and mount it on a side window. Sentry Mini is so small and lightweight, though, that there are plenty of other options for mounting it. We used the new Pilot Pocket XL on a few flights and liked it a lot – the Sentry Mini and the Flight Gear Battery Pack both fit, complete with charging cable, but left room for storing sunglasses or a stylus.

Because there is no AHRS in Sentry Mini, it’s less particular about where in the airplane it’s mounted. A side window is best for ADS-B reception, but we also got it to work in the center console of a Cirrus and even in a side pocket in a Cessna.

A family of Sentry receivers

Of course if you’re looking for top-of-the-line features, the Sentry Mini’s big brother is a great option and it’s not going anywhere. It adds a 12-hour battery for completely wireless operation, plus an AHRS to drive a backup attitude display and synthetic vision. There’s even a built-in carbon monoxide monitor to alert you of dangerous cockpit conditions from an exhaust leak. This makes Sentry a complete in-cockpit safety tool, but it’s still quite small and totally portable. It would be at home in almost any type of aircraft, from taildraggers to helicopters to jets.

Sentry Mini is available for $299, and includes the suction cup mount, charging cable, and quick start guide. Sentry is available for $499, and includes the same accessories. Either one is a good value and an important safety tool for any pilot.

The post ForeFlight introduces Sentry Mini ADS-B Receiver appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsForeFlight introduces Sentry Mini ADS-B Receiver

iOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.4

Apple recently released iOS 12.4, which introduces a new iPhone migration option to directly transfer data from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, and it introduces enhancements to Apple News+. As with any iOS release, we recommend holding off on updating until your app or accessory developer has had time to fully test compatibility with the new software.

 

View the previous iOS 12.3.1 green light status here.

iOS 12.4 introduces iPhone migration to directly transfer data from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, includes enhancements to Apple News+ and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad. This update:

iPhone migration
– Introduces the ability to wirelessly transfer data and migrate directly from an old iPhone to a new iPhone during setup

Apple News
– Makes downloaded issues accessible in the My Magazines section, both offline and online
– Adds all publications in Apple News+, including newspapers, to the catalog at the top of the News+ feed
– Adds the ability to clear downloaded magazine issues by selecting History > Clear > Clear All

Other improvements and fixes
– Includes a security fix for the Walkie-Talkie app on Apple Watch and re-enables Walkie-Talkie functionality

This release also includes support for HomePod in Japan and Taiwan.

The post iOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.4 appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsiOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.4

Flying with the Garmin G1000, Connext and your iPad

Adding wireless connectivity to your instrument panel is easier now than ever, thanks to Garmin’s growing line of affordable avionics upgrades. Garmin’s system, collectively known as “Connext”, offers solutions for just about every airplane type from single-engine experimental to brand new midsize jets.

Garmin Flight Stream 510Connext allows you to wirelessly connect your iPad using Bluetooth to the Garmin avionics in your panel, and sends ADS-B weather and traffic, GPS position data, flight plan information, AHRS and more right to the ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot apps.

Not all of the Garmin Connext hardware configurations support all of these features, which can lead to a little confusion when first exploring the options. Here’s a quick review of the most popular Connext-capable avionics from past iPad Pilot News articles and the functions they support:

Garmin GTX 335/345 ADS-B Transponders – send GPS position data, ADS-B traffic/weather and AHRS to your iPad

Garmin Flight Stream 210 – two-way flight plan transfer between iPad and Garmin panel-mount GPS receivers; send GPS position data, ADS-B traffic/weather and AHRS to your iPad

Garmin Flight Stream 510 – two-way flight plan transfer between iPad and GTN GPS receivers; send GPS position data, ADS-B traffic/weather and AHRS to your iPad; wireless database updates for GTN receivers

Most of the new Garmin glass-panel systems installed in new aircraft support the full suite of Connext functions as well, like the G1000 NXi system found in new Cessna single-engine airplanes, and the Garmin Perspective+ glass cockpit installed in new Cirrus SR20/22 models.

Outside of Garmin’s retrofit and new OEM market, the next biggest segment of Garmin-equipped airplanes are those with the original G1000 system (referred to as legacy now) installed in thousands of single-engine Cessna, Beech, Piper and Diamond airplanes. To keep these airplanes flying after the 2020 ADS-B out deadline, Garmin developed the GTX 345R transponder as the sole solution for ADS-B compliance.

About the GTX 345R Transponder

Garmin’s G1000 remote-mount ADS-B transponder includes wireless Connext functionality.

The GTX 345R is a remote version of the popular panel-mount GTX 345 1090Mhz ADS-B In/Out transponder and is controlled by the same G1000 transponder softkeys on the PFD.

In addition to ADS-B Out regulatory compliance, the GTX 345R includes ADS-B in and several Garmin Connext features, significantly expanding the capabilities of the legacy G1000 avionics.

The compromise with this system is that the ADS-B weather products available for display on the G1000 are limited to the 250NM FIS-B regional radar and text METARs and TAFs on the airport information pages. You’ll see a gray bounding box on the MFD weather screen showing the limits of the radar display centered on your current position.

To view all the ADS-B weather products, like the nationwide radar picture, PIREPs, AIRMETs, TFRs and more, connect your iPad, iPhone or Android device to the system and open up ForeFlight or the Garmin Pilot app. In addition to the FIS-B weather, the system also sends GPS position data, ADS-B traffic and AHRS (pitch/bank) information to a connected mobile device. The only feature really missing when compared to other Flight Stream products is two-way flight plan transfers and wireless database updates.

iPad setup and pairing

Garmin’s Connext system relies on Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and take just a few seconds to set up. Unlike other Garmin Connext systems that require you to enable pairing from a menu on the MFD or panel-mount GPS, all that’s required is selecting the GTX345 from the list of Bluetooth options on your iPad. You can connect up to two devices (iPad, iPhone or Android) simultaneously to the system.

If you’re flying with ForeFlight, head over to the More tab and select Devices. This will show full connection details, weather/traffic update stats and settings.

The Garmin Pilot shows similar data in the Connext section of the app.

Weather and Traffic

Once connected and in-range of an ADS-B ground station signal, both ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot will display weather and traffic in the apps the same as if you were connected to any other ADS-B receiver, like Stratus, Sentry or a GDL 50.

One thing to remember in Garmin Pilot is that you’ll need to select the FIS-B option for several of the weather overlays, like Radar, Clouds and Icing, to differentiate the source from the internet or SiriusXM. Garmin’s dedicated traffic display is excellent, especially when used in the split-screen mode. Intelligent features like TargetTrend show a more realistic view of where the traffic is going relative to your aircraft, using green vector lines.

AHRS and Attitude Display

The final piece of information sent over from the GTX 345R is pitch and bank data. The transponder includes an independent solid-state AHRS that will drive the attitude and synthetic vision displays in ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot. This serves as a third source of attitude information in the legacy-G1000 airplanes, adding to the G1000’s primary AHRS and vacuum-driven mechanical attitude indicator.

We found that the system does not always self-level after power-up, so you may need to use the AHRS calibration function in your app to zero-out the pitch and bank when getting started.

The GTX 345R brings new life to the thousands of airplanes equipped with the legacy G1000 glass cockpit and may lead many owners to transition away from the SiriusXM on the panel and start relying on the subscription-free ADS-B weather feed. The combination of radar imagery on the MFD and Connext features on iPad is tough to beat, especially when you consider this system first hit the market nearly 20 years ago.

The post Flying with the Garmin G1000, Connext and your iPad appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsFlying with the Garmin G1000, Connext and your iPad

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