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Flying with Stratus 3 and the FltPlan Go app

Stratus 3 on dash

Appareo released the Stratus 3 ADS-B receiver last month, 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 and FlyQ.

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 FltPlan Go 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 FltPlan Go to Stratus 3

When you first launch FltPlan Go and go to the ADS-B section of the Maps screen, you’ll see a message instructing you to connect your ADS-B unit:

Tap the “External” button on the left side of the screen, and you’ll see a list of compatible ADS-B receivers. Select Stratus 3, and you’ll instantly see connection stats, Stratus 3 details and ADS-B status.

Step 3: Displaying ADS-B weather in FltPlan Go

To display ADS-B weather on the map, you’ll use the layer options under the ADS-B tab, not the internet-based METAR, SIGMETs and Weather buttons across the middle of the screen. After selecting ADS-B, you’ll see weather layer options on the left side of the screen:

Tap the circle next to each layer name to enable the respective weather type. Regional radar features the highest resolution and will be displayed within 250 NM of your present location. It’s not quite as crisp as you’ll find in other apps, but that’s really not a limitation since ADS-B datalink radar shouldn’t be used tight navigation around convective weather:

ADS-B METARs are depicted with square symbols, and not the small circles you’re used to seeing when connected to the internet. Tap one to get the full text report:

You can also view METARs and TAFs in flight on the Airports screen:

PIREPs are shown with a small cartoon pilot symbol on the map and can be tapped to show the full report:

The traffic layer will display nearby aircraft, and the inner-circle is color-coded based on proximity to your current altitude:

Tap one of the targets for additional information:

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

FltPlan Go is completely free and can be downloaded from the app store.

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Source: Ipad appsFlying with Stratus 3 and the FltPlan Go app

A systematic approach to planning a trip in ForeFlight

While in-flight features like terrain alerts and ADS-B weather get a lot of attention, it’s the preflight where apps like ForeFlight can really save time. They make it easy to evaluate airports, find the best route, calculate weight and balance, review weather, and so much more. But with all these features comes a certain amount of complexity.

How do you plan a flight – from the Maps page, the Flights page or somewhere else? In this post, we’ll walk through a procedure for planning a flight and considering all the important information. It’s certainly not the only way to plan a flight in ForeFlight, but it should get you thinking.

Enter departure and destination on the Maps page

First, start by entering your departure and destination airports on the Maps page. This can be done using the search box at the top right or the FPL box (tap the FPL button, then Edit). This will draw your course line on the map and give you a quick overview of the route, including airspace and weather.

Choose your airplane

Next, tap the N-number button to the left of the Edit box and choose the correct airplane profile. This is critical for getting accurate performance calculations and for helping to find the correct route. If you haven’t set up an aircraft profile yet, go to the More page, then Aircraft.

Choose a route

Tap on the Routes button to the right of the Edit box and you’ll see a list of routes that Air Traffic Control recently used between your departure and destination. This is a huge time-saver for IFR pilots, since you can file the correct route without hours of research.

Choose an altitude

The last step on the Maps page is to pick the right altitude. For this, tap on the altitude button on the left side of the Edit box. Your aircraft’s default altitude will automatically be selected, but you can choose another to minimize time or fuel burn. Note that an internet connection is required to get updated winds aloft data.

Send to Flights

Now you have a good idea of what your flight will look like, including the route, altitude, time en route, and fuel burn. The next step is to use the Flights page to finalize details, but there’s an easy way to save time and eliminate the need to re-enter data. From the Edit box, tap the up arrow at the bottom right corner. Using the Send To menu, you can send your route, altitude and airplane to the Flights tab.

Request a formal briefing

At the top of the Flights page, tap the Briefing button to request an official preflight weather briefing. This will include all the essential information you need to make a smart go/no-go decision, including the synopsis, AIRMETs/SIGMETs, METARs, NOTAMs, and more.

Review fuel, weight and balance

Further down the Flights page, you’ll see your route and altitude (and you can change them here if you need to, based on your briefing), but you’ll also see information about fuel planning and weight and balance. Some of these features require a Performance Plus subscription, but they are a great check of your math. Will you land with enough fuel? Will you be under maximum gross weight for takeoff? This page is a quick check and also allows you to experiment with different range/payload scenarios.

Pack your databases

ForeFlight makes it easy to download all your chart databases for a specific flight, with its Pack feature. This can be done on the Maps page, but there’s also a button for it at the bottom of the Flights page that is very convenient. After you verify your route and altitude, tap the Pack option and download everything for the flight.

File your flight plan

At the bottom of the page, tap the Proceed to File button to file your flight plan with ATC. You’ll receive an acknowledgement almost immediately and later on you’ll receive an expected route from ATC.

Review your navlog

While not required, many pilots like to have an old school navlog for longer flights, listing each and every waypoint along the way. ForeFlight makes it easy to create one, by tapping the Navlog button at the top of the Flights page.

Of course there are plenty of other steps you might want to take while planning a flight: reviewing airport information from the Airports page, creating a binder on the Plates page, or consulting the weather forecast charts on the Imagery page. But by following this path, you’re guaranteed to check off the most essential preflight planning tasks.

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Source: Ipad appsA systematic approach to planning a trip in ForeFlight

ADS-B Update: equipping for 2020 and reviewing portables

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, is a hot topic among pilots right now. With the January 1, 2020 deadline to equip with ADS-B Out coming up fast, the time to make a decision about a panel upgrade is here. In addition, a new group of portable ADS-B receivers have been introduced this year, making it a great time to add in-flight weather to your favorite EFB app. In this fast-paced webinar recording, you’ll learn all about ADS-B In, ADS-B Out, the options for equipment, and some operating tips.

Shop all ADS-B In and ADS-B Out avionics.

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Source: Ipad appsADS-B Update: equipping for 2020 and reviewing portables

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh recap for iPad pilots (it was a big year)

We just returned from a busy and exciting week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, where we saw general aviation firing on all cylinders. There were over 600,000 people in attendance and 10,000 airplanes on the grounds, and lots of new product announcements. Here’s a quick recap of what we found at the event for iPad pilots.

New ADS-B receivers

Portable ADS-B receivers have been on the market for over 6 years now and continue to add new features.

Stratus 3 on dash

Stratus 3 – Appareo released a new portable ADS-B receiver last week, building on the proven technology found in previous Stratus models. In addition to offering tight integration with ForeFlight, Stratus 3 also works with other apps, like Fltplan Go, WingX, FlyQ, iFly GPS, and others. It adds intelligent features like auto-shutoff, Smart WiFi and WiFi security. Best of all the price was lowered to $699.

Learn more: Appareo introduces Stratus 3 with more features, lower price

ForeFlight Sentry – One year after releasing Scout, a tiny ADS-B receiver manufactured by uAvionix, ForeFlight unveiled the follow-on product at EAA AirVenture. Sentry is larger than Scout but also packs in a lot more features. Priced at $499, it includes weather, dual-band traffic, GPS and AHRS. It also includes a carbon monoxide detector, that will alert you with an audible alarm and alert in ForeFlight.

Learn more: ForeFlight Sentry combines ADS-B receiver and CO monitor

Dynon DRX – Dynon released a low-cost ADS-B receiver as well, which offers ADS-B weather, traffic and GPS in a small package (it does not have an AHRS). It’s compatible with most apps, including ForeFlight, FlyQ and others, and retails for $395.

Learn more: Dynon DRX portable ADS-B receiver

New iPad gadgets

In addition to ADS-B receivers, there were lots of new iPad-friendly gadgets to check out at AirVenture too.

Levil BOM – The Broadcasting Outer Module, or BOM as Levil calls, is designed to be remotely mounted under a wing. The small pod powers itself (no wiring required) and sends GPS, AHRS, ADS-B in, AOA, OAT, and air data information to the cockpit wirelessly over WiFi. Works with WingX, FlyQ, Xavion, FltPlan Go, and more.

Learn more: Levil Broadcasting Outer Module

AirText LT

AirText LT – The AirText LT is half the price of the original AirText, and is designed to be carried onto the airplane instead of installed. It can connect to up to 6 devices in the airplane (phone or tablet) and provides the ability to send/receive text messages in flight. Simply plug into the cigarette lighter and place the small Iridium antenna on the dash or by a side window.

Learn more:  AirText introduces lower cost option

Garmin D2 Delta PX Aviator Watch – Garmin’s new flagship watch for pilots features a Pulse Ox sensor and integrated GPS. When paired with Garmin Pilot, you can display heart rate and blood oxygen levels on the navigation bar on the map page or the Connext Dashboard screen. And as with previous Garmin aviator watches, you can use GPS data from the watch in Garmin Pilot, and remote control VIRB action cameras.

Learn more: Garmin D2 Delta PX Aviator Watch

Flight Gear Battery Pack – This new streamlined battery pack was designed by pilots, for pilots and is ideal for the cockpit. It offers 20,000 mAh of power and features 4 high-amp USB charging ports, allowing you to charge 2 iPads and a Stratus simultaneously. You can recharge the unit using a micro-USB, lighting or USB-C cable, so there’s no need to carry a proprietary charging cable.

Learn more: New Flight Gear Battery Pack is the best charging option yet

App updates

It’s been over 8 years now since the iPad was introduced, and there are no signs of slowing from the main aviation app developers.

Garmin Pilot – Version 9.4 adds a new document viewer and integration with Garmin TXi and G1000 NXi to display engine instruments and monitor operating trends. It also adds new weather products, like text MOS forecasts, Area Forecast Discussions, PIREPs in the flight profile view and the option to display base radar reflectivity on the map.

Learn more: Garmin Pilot app adds engine monitoring and document viewer

ForeFlight – Version 10.2 adds new Day/Night app themes with automatic switching at sunset/sunrise, synthetic vision glance mode, 3D traffic in synthetic vision, jet currency tracking in the logbook and daily oceanic flight tracks on the map.

Learn more: Pilot’s guide to the new features in ForeFlight 10.2

FltPlan Go – Version 4.7.10 adds support for the new Stratus 3 ADS-B receiver, improved NavLog download speed and Oceanic NavLog format for flights in oceanic airspace.

Learn more: FltPlan Go in the App Store

Stratus Horizon Pro – Appareo released a new companion app alongside Stratus 3 that all Stratus pilots should check out. It includes a backup glass cockpit display driven by Stratus, making it a practical option to turn your iPhone into a small backup attitude indicator. The Horizon app also includes a feature called Radio Playback, which allows you to connect your iPad to your audio panel using the Stratus Audio Cable to capture ATC communications for quick ATC playback. The app also provides Stratus device management, allowing you to switch your Stratus 3 to “Open ADS-B Mode” and connect to additional apps.

Learn more: Stratus Horizon Pro app

Sporty’s Pilot Training App – Sporty’s added two new courses to its Pilot Training app last week, Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC). These courses are perfect for pilots looking to get current again, and the Flight Review course includes a ground training endorsement after successful course completion.

Learn more: Flight Review and IPC added to Pilot Training app

Review iPad Proficiency Check seminar slides

The editors of iPad Pilot News presented several seminars at AirVenture week on the topic of iPad Proficiency Check. Review the slides here:

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Source: Ipad appsEAA AirVenture Oshkosh recap for iPad pilots (it was a big year)

Garmin Pilot app adds engine monitoring and document viewer

Oshkosh is always a busy week with new aviation product announcements, and Garmin is at the forefront again with lots to talk about. In addition to upgrades to their panel-mount avionics, Garmin released a significant update to their Pilot application for both iOS and Android with a wealth of new features.

Engine Information System Integration

Pilots flying with either an EIS-capable TXi flight display or G1000 NXi integrated flight deck now have the ability to display real-time engine information in Garmin Pilot. This includes cylinder head temps (CHT), exhaust gas temps (EGT) and turbine inlet temps (TIT) for turbocharged engines.

To view this information in flight, select EIS from the home screen main menu. It can also be viewed in the split-screen configuration alongside the moving-map display. Upon landing, the flight data log is wirelessly uploaded to the flyGarmin website and is stored securely within the app and on flyGarmin. Within the flyGarmin website, pilots can access detailed information related to any flight, play back the flight and download data logs. Pilot-configurable exceedances can also be set within the flyGarmin website and be automatically notified when an excellence occurs. This provides a great way for pilots to take an in-depth look at engine performance and trend data and more easily troubleshoot and identify potential issues.

Document Viewer

One of the less glamorous functions of the iPad centers around it’s ability to serve as an electronic document organizer and viewer. This can help reduce the bulkiness of books and paperwork needed in flight, by allowing you to store items like flight manuals, checklists, FAA handbooks, NOTAMs and much more as digital PDFs.

To access the Document Viewer, select the new Documents button from the main menu. Tap the Catalog button at the top right of the screen to quickly download and add commonly used resources, like FAA documents, chart legends and more. You’ll have access to Garmin’s library of avionics pilot and cockpit reference guides. You can interact with the documents using annotations and bookmarks, or perform a quick keyword search.

In addition, Garmin Pilot subscribers with the Premium version of the app can connect to third-party cloud apps, like DropBox, Google Drive and iCloud, to quickly add documents in PDF, JPG or PNG formats. To connect to one of these services, go to the main Settings section in Garmin Pilot, select Documents, and login to the desired cloud storage provider with your credentials.

New weather data

There are a selection of new weather features in the latest update that pilots have long-requested in the Garmin Pilot app:

  • The flight profile view within the app displays Pilot Reports (PIREPs) alongside airspace, terrain, obstacles, TFRs and weather.

  • You can view the Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) within Garmin Pilot, which is a plain-English narrative developed by meteorologists at the National Weather Service.

  • Model Output Statistics (MOS) are accessible within the app, which displays a forecast similar in format to the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). The MOS is updated hourly and the forecast extends 72 hours into the future.

  • Within the U.S. and Europe, pilots can view base reflectivity radar, which utilizes the lowest elevation scan to display precipitation falling from the clouds better than other radar scans and can be more useful when flying at low altitudes.

Save User Preferences

Garmin Pilot will automatically back-up and save user preferences, including downloads an settings, in the cloud. When upgrading to a new device or reinstalling the application, Garmin Pilot will give the option to restore a previous back-up.

D2 Delta PX Aviator Watch

Garmin recently announced the D2 Delta PX aviator watch for pilots, which features a Pulse Ox sensor and integrated GPS. When paired with Garmin Pilot, you can display heart rate and blood oxygen levels on the navigation bar on the map page or the Connext Dashboard screen. And as with previous Garmin aviator watches, you can use GPS data from the watch in Garmin Pilot, and remote control VIRB action cameras.

Android

Garmin Pilot for Android was also updated with the following new features:

  • The app incorporates weight and balance calculations into a flight plan or a saved trip, taking into account fuel burn and more for quick and accurate CG calculations.
  • Storm cell movement displays the projected path of a storm. An orange circle paired with a line that extends from the strongest storm cells shows its potential path in 15, 30, 45 and 60-minute intervals. If hail or tornadic activity is present, a corresponding icon will also be displayed alongside the particular storm cell line.
  • Pilots can also view the Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) that is disseminated in a plain-English narrative within the app.
  • The new D2 Delta PX aviator watch and Garmin Pilot connect to display Pulse Oximeter1 and heart rate data in the navigation bar and within the Connext menu. Wireless fight plan transfer to the watch is also supported by the app.

Download the Garmin Pilot app for iPhone/iPad

Download the Garmin Pilot app for Android

 

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Source: Ipad appsGarmin Pilot app adds engine monitoring and document viewer

FAA Hits 100K Remote Pilot Certificates Issued

Drones have really taken off! As of today, more than 100,000 enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational (not qualifying as model aircraft) use since the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) small drone rule went into effect on August 29, 2016.

Under Part 107, the person actually flying a drone formally an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. The majority of drone pilots get certified by studying online materials and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center. You should have no trouble if you study the exam success rate is 92 percent.

If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, and have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, you have the option to take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA to obtain your certificate.

Its important to remember that a Remote Pilot Certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned their certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing. You can find all the information you need to renew your certificate on our website.

Source: FAAFAA Hits 100K Remote Pilot Certificates Issued

FAA Accepting Controller Applications Nationwide

The Federal Aviation Administration is accepting applications nationwide beginning July 27 from people interested in becoming air traffic controllers. The job announcement may close prior to the listed closing date of July 31 if a sufficient applicant pool has been reached to meet the needs of the FAA.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, speak English clearly and be no older than 30 years of age (with limited exceptions). They must have a combination of three years of education and/or work experience. They are also required to pass a medical examination, security investigation and FAA air traffic pre-employment tests. Agency staffing needs will determine facility assignment, and applicants must be willing to work anywhere in the U.S.

Accepted applicants will be trained at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Active duty military members must provide documentation certifying that they expect to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after the date the documentation is signed.

Interested applicants should visit https://faa.usajobs.gov/to start building their applications orwww.faa.gov/Jobsfor more information about air traffic controllers.

Source: FAAFAA Accepting Controller Applications Nationwide

ForeFlight Sentry combines ADS-B receiver and CO detector

One year after releasing Scout, a tiny ADS-B receiver manufactured by uAvionix, ForeFlight unveiled the follow-on product at EAA AirVenture this week. Sentry is larger than Scout but also packs in a lot more features, including GPS, AHRS, and even carbon monoxide monitoring. At $499, it’s a compelling package.

Weather and traffic

ForeFlight Sentry
Sentry mounts to a side window with an included suction cup mount.

It seems like table stakes these days, but the subscription-free weather and traffic available with Sentry is still the most important feature. Just like a Stratus or GDL 50, there’s nothing more to do than mount it and turn it on. Sentry connects to your iPad via WiFi, and accommodates up to five devices. Simply open ForeFlight and you’ll start receiving the full list of ADS-B products, from radar to METARs to PIREPs.

Reception seemed good in our test flights – we had weather at about 500 ft. AGL around Sporty’s, and updates came in reliably. With the full ADS-B network built out now, details about reception are less important than they once were. In fact, ForeFlight no longer reports the number of towers you’re receiving, only the overall quality.

We also tried the new Glance feature in ForeFlight synthetic vision to locate nearby traffic. It’s pretty slick.

GPS and AHRS

Two important features Sentry has that were missing from Scout are GPS and AHRS. The addition of these two – plus a built-in 12-hour battery – makes Sentry a complete iPad accessory, driving moving map screens, terrain alerts, and a full synthetic vision display. ForeFlight shows a handy setup screen the first time you connect, which ensures you get it mounted properly:

Tapping the SETUP SENTRY button brings up a second page, which offers three choices for mounting location: left window, dash, or right window. Then there’s a button to zero pitch and roll on the attitude display.

Carbon Monoxide

Sentry is the first ADS-B receiver to include a carbon monoxide detector. This will be most helpful for piston airplane pilots in the winter, since many cabin heating systems are susceptible to exhaust leaks and potentially serious CO poisoning problems. The middle light on Sentry is for CO – it’s green when normal, yellow when CO is above 35ppm and red when CO is above 50ppm. There’s also an audio alarm and a pop-up alert in the app.

Sentry menu ForeFlight
Complete status information, including CO level, is available in ForeFlight.

We tested this using a car exhaust system and it works. The alarm is loud enough that you would probably hear it in the cockpit, and the app alert is also quite noticeable. We didn’t see the CO value change in ForeFlight until it alarmed (it stayed at 0 in our testing until going straight to 1000), but after a few minutes the light on Sentry did turn red and warn us. That’s what counts, and we think this is a nice addition.

Details

Sentry is designed to work with ForeFlight, so complete status information is available in the app, including battery life, GPS status, and various settings. Firmware updates are also easy to do directly in the app.

Sentry is now available for $499. It includes a charging cable (no wall plug), carrying case, and a suction cup mount. The mount has a quick-release mechanism so you can connect Sentry to the mount in about a second. It’s intuitive and easy to do. There are no options for external antennas, so you’ll need to mount it on a side window. Sentry charges using a USB-C cable, which is a rugged and increasingly common choice.

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Source: Ipad appsForeFlight Sentry combines ADS-B receiver and CO detector

New Flight Gear battery pack is the best charging option yet

Keeping all your portable devices charged in the cockpit isn’t easy. Most pilots fly with an iPad, a smartphone, and a GPS or ADS-B receiver. Some carry much more, like a backup iPad or an Iridium communicator. There are hundreds of options for keeping all those batteries charged, from cheap to very expensive (and we’ve flown with many of them), but a new option from Flight Gear is our favorite one yet.

Flight Gear battery pack
The new Flight Gear battery pack can charge two iPads and a Stratus at the same time.

The Flight Gear battery pack is a sleek white brick, about 8″ long and less than half an inch thick, but it packs 20,000 mAh of power. That’s enough to charge an iPad multiple times, but that’s not what makes it unique. The reason we’ve made it a permanent addition to our flight bag is because it’s ideal for the cockpit.

Our number one complaint about most backup batteries is the proprietary cables that are used to keep them charged. When you need to charge your battery before a big trip, there’s usually a mad scramble to find some odd-shaped plug buried in a kitchen drawer. With the Flight Gear battery pack, you have plenty of options. It will charge with a micro-USB cable (common on thousands of devices, including many Android smartphones), a USB-C cable (found on Stratus ADS-B receivers and MacBooks), or a Lightning cable (which works with iPads and iPhones). That means you’ll almost always have the right cable to keep this battery pack charged, because you already own one.

Flight Gear battery ports
There are plenty of charging ports on the battery pack, all of them 2+ amps.

Another frustration with cheaper battery packs is that they lack the high amp ports that pilots need. While 1 amp is enough for a phone, iPads, ADS-B receivers and other sophisticated devices need 2.1 or 2.4 amps. This battery pack has plenty of those:

  • One 3 amp USB port
  • One 2.4 amp USB port
  • One 2 amp USB port
  • One 3 amp USB-C port

While the battery pack will eventually max out if you plug too many devices in, we have successfully charged two iPads and a Stratus (all of which require 2+ amps) at the same time. You can also charge the battery pack while you charge another device, and a four-light status indicator on the side lets you know how much power is left.

Flight Gear battery pack info
The back includes helpful aviation reference information.

The Flight Gear battery pack is at home in the cockpit. We’ve flown many flights with it in a variety of aircraft and have had no radio interference, a common problem with some battery packs (although the charging cable is usually the weak link). It’s also white so it stays cool in the sun. There’s even some helpful reference information printed on the back.

Safety is another concern in the tight confines of a general aviation airplane, and this battery has a lot of built in monitoring features. It is continually protecting against:

  • Temperature fluctuation
  • Over-charge
  • Over-discharge
  • Over-voltage
  • Over-current
  • Short-circuit protection
Flight Gear charging kit
The complete three piece kit is available for $99.95.

The Flight Gear battery pack is available now for $79.95, which is a pretty good deal compared to some higher end battery packs we’ve tested at over $200. It’s essential equipment in the cockpit, but it’s also very useful other places too. We’ve used it in the car, on camping trips (it would be great at Oshkosh), and around the house.

There’s also a Flight Gear cigarette lighter charger and a Flight Gear wall charger, both with dual 2.4 amp charging ports. The best option is to buy all three – the battery pack, cigarette charger, and wall plug – as a kit for $99.95. That would guarantee you always have 2 amp charging ports, whether you’re at home, in the airplane or completely off the grid.

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Source: Ipad appsNew Flight Gear battery pack is the best charging option yet

Appareo introduces Stratus 3 with more app support, lower price

Stratus 3 with ForeFlight

The Stratus line of ADS-B receivers has been one of the most popular iPad accessories for pilots since the first one was introduced in 2012. We’ve seen them flying in everything from antique taildraggers to V-22 Ospreys, as the mix of subscription-free weather, traffic, GPS, and backup attitude on ForeFlight found a lot of fans. Now there’s a new top-of-the-line Stratus, with some interesting new features, more app options, and a low introductory price.

Stratus 3 with ForeFlight
Stratus 3 works seamlessly with ForeFlight.

That price is the first thing that most pilots will notice. At $699, Stratus 3 is $200 less than the Stratus 2S model it replaces, but without any reduction in features. It still features FIS-B weather reception, dual band ADS-B traffic, WAAS GPS, built-in AHRS, pressure altitude sensor, and flight data recording. The battery life remains 8 hours, and in our testing the ADS-B reception was still excellent.

Smart features

One mistake we’ve made more than once is leaving Stratus on after a flight. In the busy time after shutting down the engine, it’s easy to forget to push the power button, but that leads to a dead Stratus battery. Stratus 3 will now turn itself off after it senses your flight is over, preventing this mistake. It’s smart enough to stay on during touch and goes or a long taxi, so we haven’t had any issues with it turning off when we didn’t want it to. This option can be selected in the Stratus Status menu, which is accessed from the settings symbol at the top of the Maps page.

Auto shutoff Stratus 3
Auto shutoff is a setting in the Stratus Status menu.

Another new feature is called Smart WiFi, which gives pilots with LTE-enabled iPads some extra flexibility. Usually when the iPad senses a WiFi connection it will disable the LTE radio, since it assumes there is a WiFi internet connection. That’s not true with Stratus – the WiFi connection is only a short range data connection, not an internet connection – so the disabled LTE radio isn’t always desirable. With Stratus 3, pilots can connect to Stratus on the ground but still use their LTE connection to send an email or check a weather website. Some additional options may come to EFB apps down the road – perhaps filing an updated flight plan in ForeFlight while the app still looks to Stratus for traffic and weather.

Other updates include an improved WiFi security setting that allows pilots to hide the WiFi network or add a password. Stratus 3 also works with ForeFlight’s new synthetic vision traffic feature and the FAA’s new FIS-B weather products like lightning and cloud tops (coming later this year).

GDL 90 support

The other big change with Stratus 3 is support for additional apps. Stratus has always worked with ForeFlight at a very deep level (Appareo and ForeFlight developed the product together), and that’s still true. Pilots can monitor the status of the Stratus battery, adjust the brightness of the indicator lights on Stratus, and perform firmware updates right in the app. There’s also a handy Stratus Replay feature that allows you to turn off your iPad screen, then receive all the weather data you missed when you turn it back on.

Open ADS-B
To enable GDL 90, open the Stratus Horizon Pro app and turn on Open ADS-B Mode.

Now there’s another option. Stratus 3 also supports the GDL 90 protocol, an industry standard format for sharing weather, traffic, GPS, and attitude with EFB apps. That means the new model will work with a wide variety of apps, including Fltplan Go, WingX, FlyQ, iFly GPS, and others. Some higher end features like flight data recording and Stratus Replay are not available over GDL 90, but the essential features like weather and traffic are there.

To use Stratus 3 in GDL 90 mode, first download the new Stratus Horizon Pro app from Appareo. It’s a free app that includes backup attitude and settings. There are also some audio recording and playback features, with more coming in this area (stay tuned for a PIREP on this new app). Turn on Stratus, connect it to your iPad, and open the app. From the settings menu, select Open ADS-B Mode. Then you can open your favorite EFB app and use Stratus 3 in flight.

Details

Stratus 3 on dash
Stratus 3 now comes standard with a dash mount.

Appareo retained the same case shape and dimensions, so Stratus 2S mounts will still work with Stratus 3. Likewise, the power, GPS, and ADS-B ports are identical, so any existing wiring can be maintained for current Stratus 2S owners. That’s especially nice for pilots who have installed a Stratus ESG transponder and connected their Stratus to it – it’s an easy swap with no wiring changes.

Stratus 3 is available now for a $699 introductory price. That includes the dash mount, charging cable, and wall plug. The change to the dash mount from a suction cup mount is welcome in our opinion. The suction cup mount kept the unit out of sight, but it had a tendency to fail after heavy use. Stratus 3 also has a longer, 2-year warranty, the best in the industry.

Trade-in program

For existing Stratus 2S owners, Appareo is offering a $200 trade-in value towards the purchase of Stratus 3. Simply send in your Stratus 2S, the completed upgrade form, and your Stratus 3 receipt to receive credit.

Watch our video review below:

You can compare ADS-B receivers below in our updated Buyer’s Guide. We’ll have a PIREP on Sentry next week.

The post Appareo introduces Stratus 3 with more app support, lower price appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsAppareo introduces Stratus 3 with more app support, lower price