How to use lat/lon in aviation apps

Garmin Pilot user waypoint

Even with all of our modern aviation databases, sometimes you just can’t beat a lat/lon coordinate. Maybe you’re visiting a private airport that isn’t in the database, or you want to circle a landmark not on the sectional, or you need to plan a flight around a TFR. Whatever the reason, entering a set of coordinates in your favorite app is easy. But there are a couple of traps you need to avoid, and not everyone reports lat/lon the same way. Let’s review the basics of latitude and longitude and the different types of coordinates.

lat/lon in ForeFlight
ForeFlight accepts many different formats for entering a lat/lon position.

Latitude and longitude have been in use for almost 2000 years, and they’ve stood the test of time because the system is both simple and powerful. Any point on Earth can be described with a few numbers, making lat/lon coordinates the backbone of all GPS navigators and mapping applications. Lines of latitude measure north-south position, with the equator at 0 degrees and the North Pole at 90 degrees North. Lines of longitude measure east-west position, with 0 degrees at Greenwich, England.

When it comes to expressing more specific locations, things get more complicated. There are three main ways to describe a lat/lon coordinate:

  1. Degrees, minutes and seconds (39° 4′ 47.9″ N / 84° 12′ 35.9″ W). This is the traditional format for lat/lon, used for years on paper maps. But it’s pretty difficult to do much math with this format, so newer formats are increasingly popular (see 2 and 3 below).
  2. Degrees and decimal minutes (39° 4.8 / -84° 12.6). Instead of seconds, this format uses minutes with a decimal point, and is most often used with electronic navigation equipment. For example, if you create a new user waypoint on a Garmin hand-held GPS, the location will be stored in this format. Note that the -84° signifies West; +84° would be East.
  3. Degree decimal (39.08, -84.21). This is increasingly common, and is preferred by most computer sources – including Google Maps. Again, the – sign is used for West and South, so you would enter 39.08,-84.21 in Google for the Clermont County Airport in Ohio (I69). This is also the format used in most aviation apps, although as we’ll show below, other formats are also accepted.

The problem we’ve run into is when you mix sources. Say you find the perfect grass strip on Google Earth and copy the coordinates (in degree decimal format). If you then put that in your Garmin 530 (which uses degrees and decimal minutes), it will be off by a good margin. The trick is to know what format each source uses – website, GPS and iPad – and convert if necessary.

The good news is that the iPad makes it at least a little bit easier. For example, ForeFlight  can accept lat/lon coordinates in either the route editor or the search box on the Maps tab. All three formats are supported, with either the N/S/E/W or the +/- symbols. Also note that ForeFlight uses / to separate the coordinates, not a comma as you’ll find online:

  • Degrees, minutes and seconds with N/S/E/W (enter N324455/W0804557 for the coordinate 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W).
  • Degrees, minutes and seconds with +/- sign (324455/-0804557 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
  • Degrees, minutes and seconds with extra decimal point, using +/- sign (3244556/-08045576 for 32°44’55.6”N, 80°45’57.6”W). Note that in all three of these examples where we use degrees, minutes and seconds, a 0 is required before the 804557; entering -804557 will not work. For the examples below, you may omit the 0.
  • Degrees and decimal minutes with N/S/E/W (3244.92N/8045.95W for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
  • Degrees and decimal minutes with +/- sign (3244.92/-8045.95 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
  • Degree decimal with N/S/E/W (32.7N/80.8W for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
  • Degree decimal with +/- sign (32.7/-80.8 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
Garmin Pilot user waypoint
Garmin Pilot also makes it easy to enter lat/lon in different formats, but you do have to choose.

In Garmin Pilot, you can enter a lat/lon coordinate on the Active Flight Plan or the Trip Planning pages. The app will accept all three formats, but you must choose which type you prefer from the Settings menu -> Units page. You can also change the format directly from the Create User Waypoint view – tap on the Format line to choose which one you prefer, then enter the lat/lon below.

In WingX, you can’t enter a lat/lon in the route view, but you can create a user waypoint either by tapping and holding on the map, or by using the Waypoint button from the Route Planning page. It accepts coordinates in the degree decimal format with +/- and each coordinate has its own box (e.g., 39.09 and -84.21).

Many newer portable GPSs allow you to choose which format is used, so if you fly with a Garmin 796 and an iPad, for example, you could use degree decimal for both. Just use the Tools menu from the main menu on the Garmin to adjust the settings.

So latitude and longitude coordinates are both simple and confusing. Take some time to understand what format your main map sources use. Once you know that, entering user waypoints or flying direct to a lat/lon coordinate is really pretty simple.

There are also a number of free websites that help you convert from one format to another. This one is our favorite.

The post How to use lat/lon in aviation apps appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsHow to use lat/lon in aviation apps

FAA issues safety alert on jet fuel contamination

The FAA is continuing to spread the word about dangers of jet-fuel contamination in the aftermath of an incidence of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) being erroneously added to jet fuel instead of an icing-inhibiting solution at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in August. The incident caused service difficulties for several aircraft.

Source: aopaFAA issues safety alert on jet fuel contamination

How to use Stratus 3 with the Aerovie app

Stratus 3 on dashAppareo released the Stratus 3 ADS-B receiver over the summer, building on the success and reliability of previous-generation Stratus receivers. One of the big changes over previous models is that it added support for apps other than ForeFlight allowing it to provide subscription-free ADS-B weather and traffic to apps like FltPlan Go, WingX Pro, FlyQ and Aerovie.

While Stratus 3 works right out of the box with ForeFlight, there are a few additional things you’ll need to do first to get it linked up with one of these apps. Here we’ll show the connection process when using Stratus 3 with Aerovie and how to view the ADS-B traffic and weather layers in the app.

Step 1: Enable Open ADS-B Mode on Stratus 3

Before connecting Stratus 3 to a compatible EFB app other than ForeFlight, you’ll first need to enable the GDL 90 mode on the device. This requires you to download Appareo’s free Stratus Horizon Pro app from the app store to configure the setting. After the app downloads, turn on Stratus 3 and connect your iPad to the Stratus WiFi. Open up the Stratus Horizon app, and tap the Settings button in the lower left corner. You’ll see Stratus Settings on the left side of the screen, with a toggle for Open ADS-B Mode – turn this on. Stratus 3 is now ready to connect to other EFB apps.

Step 2: Connect Aerovie to Stratus 3

After connecting your iPad or iPhone to the Stratus WiFi, open up Aerovie and you’ll see an antenna button appear towards the top left of the Map screen. Tap this to view connection stats, battery status and other data. You can also toggle between using the iPad’s internal GPS (if equipped) or the GPS in Stratus:

Step 3: Displaying ADS-B weather in Aerovie

To display ADS-B weather on the map, tap the Overlays button at the top left of the screen. You can choose to display ADS-B traffic, Pilot Reports, METARs, Radar, AIRMETs/SIGMETs and the location of ADS-B towers:

When the radar overlay is selected, Aerovie will display two additional buttons next to the ADS-B status indicator to provide additional control:

The radar settings button on the right allows you to toggle between local radar and national radar. Local radar, often referred to as regional radar, displays higher-resolution radar imagery within 250NM of your current position. National radar will show precipitation returns for the entire country, but at a lower resolution than what’s displayed for regional radar. The left-hand button that resembles a play symbol allows you to animate the radar imagery.

ADS-B METARs are depicted with color-coded symbols (VFR/MVFR/IFR) and show the ceiling height for each report. Tap on one to view the full report:

The traffic layer displays the location of nearby aircraft and shows the relative height above or below you based on your current altitude, along with climb or descent rate:

The integrated AHRS in Stratus 3 can also be used to drive a real-time attitude display in Aerovie, which features a synthetic vision option:

Stratus 3 is available now for a $699 introductory price. Read our full review on it here.

Aerovie can be downloaded from the app store and includes a free trial period.

The post How to use Stratus 3 with the Aerovie app appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsHow to use Stratus 3 with the Aerovie app

FAA Wants You To Pack Safely This Holiday Season

Millions of travelers will take to the skies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to help you make it to your destination safely. You can help with that by paying close attention to whats in your bag.

Some common toiletries that passengers pack could be hazardous. Check your bags for the following items: aerosol cans that may contain hair spray, deodorant, tanning spray or animal repellant, nail polish, artist paints and glues.

Wondering what to do with those e-cigarettes? Passengers should know that e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and spare lithium batteries are not authorized to be packed in checked luggage. Spare lithium batteries the kind that are found in personal electronic devices and back-up charging devices can only travel in carry-on baggage.

Electronic devices powered by lithium batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or have exposed electrical terminals. If devices start to smoke or catch fire, they are much easier to extinguish if they are in the cabin area rather than the cargo hold. The FAA recommends that passengers keep cell phones and other devices nearby in the cabin to quickly access them if necessary.

Spare lithium batteries must be placed in carry-on baggage and protected from damage or short-circuiting. Batteries should be packed so that they are not touching or bumping something that could potentially cause them to spark. If batteries are not sealed in manufacturer packaging, the battery terminals should be protected by covering them with tape and placing them in separate bags to prevent short circuits.

For more detailed information about materials that should not fly, check out our Pack Safe: When in Doubt, Leave it Out video, the FAA’s PackSafe website, and the FAAs Hazardous Materials Safety website.

To be on the safe side, when in doubt, just leave it out!

Source: FAAFAA Wants You To Pack Safely This Holiday Season

More than 50,000 LAANC Applications processed

The Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) nationwide deployment of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has exceeded all of the programs original objectives.

Since the program began with a prototype system in November 2017, LAANC has processed more than 50,000 applications from drone operators for authorization to fly in controlled airspace. The system now covers almost 300 air traffic facilities serving approximately 500 airports, providing near-instantaneous approvals and allowing operators to quickly plan their flights. View a list of the participating facilities.

LAANC helps support the safe integration of drones into the nations airspace. The system uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107, the small drone rule for commercial and public agency operators.

The FAA has approved 14 LAANC service suppliers. Instructions on how to apply are provided by each supplier:

Drone operators also may file for airspace authorizations using the FAADroneZone, including for areas not covered by LAANC or when the operator holds a Part 107 waiver.

Source: FAAMore than 50,000 LAANC Applications processed

New PBN Routes Improve Flights to Florida, Caribbean

Flights between the Northeast and the major international airports in Florida and the Caribbean are more direct, more efficient, and safer since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented 55 new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) routes on November 8.

Satellite-equipped aircraft now can fly new routes that begin at the North Carolina/South Carolina border and flow south toward Florida and the Caribbean. The new routes will augment the existing structure of conventional jet routes. The Agency also updated 11 existing PBN routes. It previously added two PBN routes to the system

Implementing 55 new satellite-based routes on one day is a significant milestone in our work to modernize the air traffic control system, said Dan Elwell, Acting FAA Administrator. We are providing better access to busy airspace along the southern part of the East Coast, to the major international airports in Florida and beyond.

The Agency also is designing high-altitude PBN routes from the northeast to join the new routes that began today. When the new route structure is completed, equipped aircraft will seamlessly fly on satellite-based routes along the East Coast to South Florida and the Caribbean.

The project is part of the FAAs South-Central Florida Metroplex initiative. The Metroplex team designed the new routes, 39 are over water and 16 are over land. This brings the total number of PBN routes over the United States to 316. Get more facts about the South-Central Florida Metroplex on our website.

These new routes, along with other PBN procedures and new technologies are part of the FAAs Next Generation Air Transportation System. NextGen is moving the National Airspace System from ground-based radar to satellite-based navigation, from voice to digital communication, and from point-to-point data to a fully integrated information management system. These initiatives change how we see, navigate, and communicate in our nations skies.

Source: FAANew PBN Routes Improve Flights to Florida, Caribbean