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Using Stratus to record and play back flights

The Stratus line of ADS-B receivers are well-known as weather receivers, providing subscription-free radar, METARs, and PIREPs in flight. Many pilots also use them for traffic alerts or to drive a backup attitude display in ForeFlight. While these are undoubtedly the most important features, there’s another option that many pilots don’t use as often: flight data recording.

By default, Stratus 2, 2S, and 3 are always recording during flight, logging position, speed, altitude, and AHRS-driven attitude – up to 20 hours at a time. This recording is automatic, so there’s no need to hit start and stop on every flight, a real convenience for busy flight instructors or professional pilots. Once the flights are logged, though, there are a variety of options for playing back a flight. Let’s review the options.

Why use flight data recording?

The term “flight data recorder” may evoke visions of airplane crashes and NTSB investigations, but with Stratus it’s much more about making your flying safer and more fun. A track log itself is just a data file; the value is unlocked when it’s applied towards specific goals. The best place to start is to consider what type of flying you do and what your flying goals are

While the potential uses for these detailed track logs are almost endless, in our experience there are four main applications:

  • Flight training: A motivated student or a forward-thinking instructor can get a lot of value out of reviewing slow flight, S-turns, or short field landings on an iPad – after a lesson. Instead of trying to explain complicated concepts in the less-than-ideal classroom of a general aviation cockpit, a data-driven debrief can focus on specifics. Apps like CloudAhoy (see below) make it easy to identify specific maneuvers, so you can grade that rectangular course or steep against the precise ACS standards. In particular, the AHRS data from Stratus adds valuable pitch and bank data.
  • Instrument proficiency: How well did you fly that ILS approach? Was your holding pattern entry precise? It’s often hard to answer such questions under the hood (or in the clouds). With a 3D track log, though, it’s simple to find out how good your instrument skills are. Our favorite use is to overlay a track log on an instrument approach chart to see exactly how stabilized your approach was.
  • Interactive logbook: A simple text entry is sufficient for your logbook to be legal, but many pilots enjoy saving more details about each flight. In addition to pictures and notes, a track log is a great way to relive a flight months or years later. It’s also helpful for watching your skills evolve over time: is your airspeed control better now than it was two years ago?
  • Fun flying and sharing: Track logs aren’t just for pilots. They can also be a great way to share your aerial adventures with friends, family, and other pilots. We like to use either Google Earth (see below) or CloudAhoy’s 3D cockpit view to help other pilots understand what it’s really like to fly a particular flight.

How to find Stratus track logs

To access Stratus track logs, turn on Stratus and connect it to your iPad via WiFi. Then open ForeFlight -> tap More -> Devices -> then Stratus. At the bottom of the Stratus Status menu, tap on the line that says Track Logs to view all your recent flights.

From here, you can choose a specific flight and tap the download symbol at the right to transfer the track log from Stratus memory to ForeFlight.

Sharing track logs

Once you’ve transferred a flight to ForeFlight, it will appear in the Track Logs page (also accessed from the More button). This will probably show a combination of track logs recorded by your iPad (GPS only) and by Stratus (which includes more data, like attitude). Tap on a track log to view details, then tap the arrow at the top right corner to share the track log. Standard options include Facebook, Twitter, and email – easy for sharing your flight with friends. The Logbook option will start a new logbook entry in ForeFlight, populated with all the relevant flight details.


The “Open KML In…” and “ForeFlight.com” options are where smart pilots can really unlock the value of track logs. These allow you to export your track log to another program and debrief your flight in great detail. Three in particular are worth exploring: ForeFlight.com, CloudAhoy, and Google Earth.

Viewing track logs on ForeFlight.com

The fastest and easiest option is to choose ForeFlight.com from the share menu shown above. This allows you to view any track log on ForeFlight’s website for a nice summary of the flight, complete with an interactive map. Tap the layers button at the top left to choose from a variety of basemap options, then scroll down to read trip statistics.



For the most detailed post-flight debrief, we like the CloudAhoy app. To share a flight from ForeFlight to CloudAhoy, tap the same arrow button at the top right of ForeFlight, then choose Open KML in… then select CloudAhoy from the list of available apps (make sure the app is installed on your device).

Once the track log is open in CloudAhoy, you can play back the entire flight, from GPS track to pitch and bank. There are powerful options for overlaying your flight on aviation charts, satellite images, and even a glass cockpit view. The app will also auto-detect flight segments for you, perfect for approaches or landings. In the screenshot below, you’ll see a graph on the left side for airspeed and altitude, then a 3D glass cockpit view next to a sectional chart, and finally an expanded speed/altitude graph below.

Stratus track log in CloudAhoyCloudAhoy does require a subscription, but you can download the app for free and try it for 30 days. This video gives a great overview of how CloudAhoy works:

Google Earth

The last option is Google Earth, a free app for iPad. From the same Share menu in ForeFlight choose Google Earth (again, make sure it’s installed on your device). There aren’t nearly as many options as CloudAhoy, but the app is free, easy to use, and you can review your flight path overlaid on a satellite image anywhere in the world. One nice option is to turn on the 3D mode on the left side of the screen and visualize your climbs and descents. Below is an example of an airplane entering the pattern and landing.

Stratus track log Google Earth

For more information about Stratus, visit sportys.com/stratus

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All the gestures pilots need to know – iPad Pro operation without a home button

App view iOS 12

You can do almost everything on your iPad without touching a button – in fact, the new iPhone and iPad Pro models don’t even have a home button. Whether it’s closing an app, switching apps, opening the control center, or searching for something, iOS has multiple gestures that can save time or unlock additional features. Once you get proficient with them, they can really save time in the cockpit.

If you’ve been flying with an older iPad (like an iPad Air or Pro 9.7″), the new iPad Pro models may be confusing at first. They do require some new gestures, but once you get used to them, it’s quite intuitive. Let’s review all the options.

App tray
The app tray is accessed by swiping up slightly from the bottom of the screen

Swipe up (a little) for the app tray – From any app, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen about an inch to display the tray of favorite apps. The ones on the left are set by you; the ones on the right are auto-filled by the iPad based on popular or recently used apps. This is a fast way to change apps, and it’s also how you set up a split screen (see below).

Swipe up (a lot) to close the current app – This is the home button replacement. Swipe up to about the middle of the screen and you’ll close the current app and display the home screen. If you’re on one of the secondary home screens, doing this will return you to the first page of apps.

control center
The control center is accessed from the top right corner.

Swipe down from the top right corner for Control Center – The Control Center provides quick access to some of the most commonly-used settings, including Airplane Mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, and screen brightness. It’s also where you turn on the flashlight feature, so this is a frequently-used menu. Make sure you’re swiping down from the top right corner.

Swipe down from top middle for notifications and today – Did you get an alert and want to review it? Swipe down from the top of the screen (in the middle) to see a list of all your notifications, whether it’s a new email or an expected route from ForeFlight. After swiping down, you can also swipe from left to right to display the Today view. This is helpful because this view includes widgets, the little apps that run in self-contained boxes here.

Search iOS 11-12
Search for apps by swiping down from the top.

Swipe down from middle for search – Most people learn this one by accident, but it can be useful if your iPad has a lot of apps. Swipe down from the middle of the screen and you’ll see a gray screen with a search box at the top. You can use this to find an app that’s hidden in another folder, a contact, or even search the internet. Tap cancel at the top to return to your home screen.

Drag an app from the tray to get split screen – This is only available on newer iPad models running iOS 11 or later, but it’s a powerful feature. While an app is open, swipe from the bottom of the screen to display the tray with favorite and recent apps. Then, tap and drag an app icon to overlay it on the app that’s already open. This is a great way to use a checklist app or an E6B app without closing your favorite EFB app. Some apps go a step further and allow a full split-screen view, with two apps side by side. To view this, first drag an app icon out of the tray to display a second app, then drag it to the right side of the screen. You should see your original app resize and both apps will be active at the same time. You can even go from an 80/20 split to a 50/50 split by then dragging the new window from the left edge.

Multitasking gesture
Multitasking gestures use four or five fingers to switch between apps or close them.

Besides these shortcuts, there are a number of gestures that require four or five fingers – Apple calls them Multitasking Gestures. To activate this functionality, go to Settings -> General -> Multitasking & Dock. The first setting will enable the multiple app option mentioned above. The third one (Gestures) enables the following shortcuts:

Pinch to the home screen – Use this instead of pressing the home button to access the home screen from within any app. Place four or five fingers spread out on the screen, and pinch together.

Swipe up and hold to see open apps – Use this instead of pressing the home button twice (or the single finger swipe from the bottom) to access the multitasking view. Place four or five fingers spread out on the screen, and move your hand upward and pause for a second.

App view iOS 12
Swipe up and hold for a view of recently-used apps.

Swipe up from App Switcher to close multiple apps – Once you’ve opened the App Switcher (what Apple calls this screen you get after doing the above gesture), you can close apps that are running in the background by swiping up. This doesn’t delete the app, it simply closes it down completely. However, you can close multiple apps at the same time by swiping up with multiple fingers. This is handy if you want to close a lot of open apps, which is useful if you’re trying to troubleshoot.

Swipe left or right between apps – This allows quick movement between applications that are currently running. With an app running, place four or five fingers spread out on the screen. Now, move your hand to the left to switch to the last opened app. With the same motion, move your hand back to the right to switch back to the previous app.

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FAA: Make Sure Laser-Light Displays Aren't Aimed at the Sky

With the holiday season upon us, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)wants to make sure your laser-light displays are aimed at your house and not into the sky.

Each year we receive reports from pilots who are distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays. You might not realize this, but a well-meaning attempt to spread holiday cheer has the potential to create a serious safety risk to pilots and their passengers flying overhead.

So please make sure all laser lights are directed at your house and not into the sky. The extremely concentrated beams of laser lights reach much farther than you might realize.

If we become aware that your laser-light display affects pilots, well ask you to adjust them or turn them off. If your laser-light display continues to affect pilots, despite our warnings, you could face a civil penalty.

Laser strikes against aircraft continue to increase each year. Last year we received 6,754 reports of laser strikes against aircraft, a 250 percent increase since we started tracking laser strikes in 2010.

Intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations and may be carrying hundreds of passengers.

We work with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against individuals who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. We may impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Civil penalties of up to $30,800 have been imposed by the FAA against individuals for multiple laser incidents.

Source: FAAFAA: Make Sure Laser-Light Displays Aren't Aimed at the Sky

Save the Date-The UAS Symposium is Coming!

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will co-host the 4th Annual FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium on February 12-14, 2019 at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD.

This years Symposium is all about getting down to business. Come learn how the FAA is partnering with industry stakeholders to find the balance between safety and innovation in order to advance UAS integration. Attendees will hear directly from senior FAA officials, government agencies, industry and academia on how UAS challenges are being tackled today and what to expect in the future.

Back by popular demand, the FAA will provide an on-site resource center to answer your questions, including inquiries about airspace authorizations, waivers, the small UAS rule, and other policies and regulations.

Advanced UAS operations, including beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), package delivery, and urban air mobility are the future. Dont miss the opportunity to learn about the latest developments that will help you take full advantage of the almost limitless opportunities the UAS world offers. Interest in the Symposium will be greater than ever, so register now!

Source: FAASave the Date-The UAS Symposium is Coming!

ForeFlight vs. Garmin Pilot: Which mobile app is best for you?

Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of Flying Magazine, written by iPad Pilot News editor and Flying Magazine contributing editor Bret Koebbe.

Stop by your favorite general aviation airport on any Saturday and you’re likely to find pilots in a spirited discussion, defending the merits of a low-wing vs. high-wing airplanes, or north-up vs. track-up on a moving map display. It didn’t take long after the Wright Brothers’ first flight for pilots to form strong opinions in aviation, and today you won’t find a more debated topic than which iPad app is best for pilots: ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot.

Aviation app developers have come and gone since the iPad was released in 2010, and there are just a handful of single-solution apps used by pilots today, with ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot at the top of that list. The mission of both apps has also grown from electronic chart display to an integrated avionics system, and now they can do more than most certified avionics.

When you break it down though, the real question you should be asking is which app is best for me. Both apps have all the features and capabilities to feel right at home in the cockpit of a student pilot learning to fly, while simultaneously meeting the needs of professional pilots flying turbine airplanes. They’ve also grown to offer international chart and trip support thanks to partnerships with Jeppesen and Eurocontrol.

The Rise of the iPad

Prior to the iPad’s introduction in 2010, pilots primarily relied on handheld GPS receivers to provide supplemental airport data and a moving map in the cockpit. Garmin dominated this segment with a variety hardware options and screen sizes, selling for as much as $2,500. These portable GPS systems were a nice-to-have accessory in the cockpit, but didn’t replace paper charts or provide much in the way of preflight weather or trip planning. It also took some work and expense to keep the databases current.

Then, when the iPad was announced in 2010, pilots instantly recognized it as the long-awaited consumer product that could transform how data was managed and consumed in the cockpit. It was almost too good to be true: a slim tablet with a bright, responsive, 10” color touchscreen and a battery life that would outlast a 4-hour flight. And on the software side, ForeFlight was just as responsive and released a single-solution iPad app, building on the popularity of its iPhone version of the app. The paperless cockpit era had officially begun.

While they didn’t get the early jump like ForeFlight, Garmin debuted their full-featured Pilot app for iPad, iPhone and Android two years later in the spring of 2012. Garmin may have been the largest general aviation avionics company at that time, but they found themselves in the position of playing catch up in the mobile app market.

Garmin responded with a steady-stream of innovative feature additions over the past six years, which has allowed it to meet, and on some fronts exceed, the capabilities of every other aviation iPad app available today. Combined with its extensive portable and certified avionics connectivity options, Garmin is making the decision tougher than ever when deciding on the best app for your needs.

More similar than different

While the layout and user interface of these apps couldn’t be more different, you’ll quickly find that after spending some time with both apps they offer the same core capabilities:

  • Trip planning– airport/FBO data, preflight weather briefing, aircraft performance profiles, electronic navlog, flight service weather briefing, weather imagery, ICAO flight plan support
  • Charts– FAA VFR Sectionals and TACs, IFR high and low altitude enroute charts, terminal procedures, worldwide Jeppesen VFR/IFR enroute and terminal procedures
  • In-Flight Navigation– digital flight instruments, synthetic vision, GPS-driven moving maps with geo-referenced charts and terrain awareness
  • Connectivity– ADS-B weather, SiriusXM satellite weather and entertainment, integration with Garmin panel-mount avionics
  • Digital assistant– weight & balance, logbook, aircraft checklists, track logging and scratchpad

What you’ll find after using either app is that they really are a one-stop shop for everything you need to both prepare for and execute a flight. The next step is to dig deeper into each app’s core capabilities and see which provider will deliver an edge for you based on what, where, and how you fly.


ForeFlight’s design incorporates many of Apple’s standard iOS interface conventions, menus and controls, which eases the learning curve. It takes just a few taps to get to any location in the app which you’ll appreciate when you need to access information quickly, like finding an instrument approach chart or airspace information. ForeFlight uses the familiar iOS tab bar menu at the bottom of the screen to quickly switch between screens with one tap. Alternatively, the universal search function, accessible at the top of the Maps, Airports and Plates sections of the app, allows you to search for any type of data (airport info, chart, route, etc.) and jump to its location in the app.

After spending some time with ForeFlight, you’ll find many thoughtful features designed to make life easier for the GA pilot flying single-pilot. The app excels at taking routine data that we’ve been using for years and presenting it in a much more meaningful way. For example, when viewing an instrument approach chart or airport diagram, ForeFlight displays a shortcut on the screen to view all applicable NOTAMs about that procedure. And when an airport has a NOTAM for a closed runway, the app presents a bold red banner across the center of the airport info screen to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked. An automated chart pack option is available when planning a flight, allowing you to press one button to download all the VFR/IFR charts needed for the trip. Then, when new charts become available for download every 28 days, ForeFlight will automatically download them when you open the app, reducing the likelihood you’ll ever get stuck with old charts in flight.

When it comes time to plan a flight, the Flights section of the app guides you through each step of the process, eliminating the need to bounce around to gather and enter data. For IFR pilots, ForeFlight offers a Recommended Route feature to help choose the optimum IFR route. This routing engine analyzes thousands of possible options based on your detailed aircraft performance profile and time/fuel savings, while also accounting for your aircraft ceiling, preferred routes, and trending ATC cleared routes.

There are just as many tools available in-flight when automation can really help. ForeFlight’s contextual alerts play the role of the digital copilot, and will alert you on the ground with both a visual and aural message as you approach and enter active runways. In the air, they’ll notify when approaching a TFR or the Washington, D.C. SFRA. From a flight safety standpoint, the app will alert you to cabin altitude concerns, nearby terrain/obstacles, high sink rates, descent through 500’ AGL, and nearby traffic when coupled with an ADS-B receiver. There are also convenience alerts like displaying the ATIS frequency for the destination airport during the arrival, or displaying the nearby altimeter setting when descending through FL180.

Another standout ForeFlight feature is its dedication to providing a high-quality weather briefing experience. It includes all the essentials like text weather reports, forecasts and basic weather imagery, but then goes beyond with the inclusion of lesser-known forecast products. For example, on the airport weather screen, you’ll see a computer-generated text MOS Forecast next to the TAF that is available for over 2,000 airports in the U.S. and includes a 72 hour forecast period. You’ll also see a Forecast Discussion option that includes plain language notes from the forecaster who created the TAF describing the weather factors and confidence level that were considered.

ForeFlight includes a dedicated Weather Imagery section in the app that features a variety of forecast graphics and is by far the most comprehensive of any aviation app on the market. It aggregates data from a variety of sources, including the National Weather Service, Aviation Weather Center, Storm Prediction Center and Aviation Digital Data Service in one well-organized location. Here you can track long-range precipitation, thunderstorm, visibility and cloud coverage forecasts with easy-to-read graphics. If you don’t mind leaving your comfort zone and learning some new weather products, you’ll be rewarded with a better understanding of the weather before each flight.

For those who prefer the standard Flight Service weather briefing, ForeFlight is the only app to offer a graphical weather briefing option in the Flights section of the app, similar to what you’d find at 1800WXBRIEF.com, full of useful color graphics and images. This is a significant upgrade to traditional Flight Service briefings which were commonly referred to as the “wall of text” – useful information, but time-consuming to put into context.

ForeFlight’s latest push has been into the turbine and professional pilot segment, offering an additional level of capability designed for the needs of high-performance operations. It includes custom aircraft performance profiles for hundreds of airplanes, ranging from piston-engine trainers to Citations and Boeing 737s, which makes long-range flight planning nearly effortless. These profiles were created using data collected directly the manufacturer’s performance tables, providing highly accurate ETE and fuel calculations when planning a flight. The app will monitor your structural weight limits for each phase of flight, and offers various fuel policy options to assist with fuel planning. And since JetFuelX is a ForeFlight company, this free fuel card management program is nicely integrated into the app, allowing you to view contract fuel prices and request fuel releases directly from the Airports section.

Garmin Pilot

Compared to ForeFlight’s start as a weather app, Garmin’s roots have always been in GPS navigation, and that’s where this app really excels. Pilots familiar with other Garmin navigation products, including the GTN 650/750 navigators, Aera portables and G1000 integrated flight deck, will feel right at home using Garmin’s data-driven moving map.

The app has a custom feel to it and doesn’t rely much on Apple’s standard iOS conventions and design. The icon-based main menu looks very similar to the home screen of the GTN 750 and FMS controllers used in Garmin’s OEM installations, again bringing an additional level of familiarity to those with previous Garmin experience. Similar to what you’d find on other Garmin navigation systems, there are nearly endless customization options for the moving map display, providing a high degree of control. The downside of this design is that it can lead you to overlook some key features and settings when first using the app, but nothing that can’t be sorted out with a little extra armchair flying.

The first major difference you’ll find on the map screen is the ability to launch a split screen view with 11 different options to display alongside the map. Garmin’s implementation of these options is very well done, and allows you to keep an eye on your position on the chart graphically while simultaneously showing important items like taxiway diagrams, instrument approach charts, a flight plan screen, dedicated traffic display or terrain.

Flight instruments can either be displayed with the modern glass-cockpit layout, or using Garmin’s unique round instrument display. The synthetic vision display is visually appealing and uses the same graphics as their certified PFDs.

Similar to their panel-mount navigation systems, the Garmin Pilot app offers dedicated Direct-To and Nearest functions, which are always in view in the top menu bar. Pilots have learned to love the dedicated Direct-To button on just about every other aviation GPS device, so it only makes sense that it should be front and center in the app too.

The Nearest function highlights the nearby airports on the moving map that meet your preset criteria for runway surface type and length. It will also display a list of the nearest airports across the top of the screen – tap one of the symbols, press the Direct-To key and follow the magenta line to that airport.

Then there’s Garmin Pilot’s Emergency Mode, which is arguably the most useful in flight when things go south. When you need to take action quickly (engine failure, instrument failure, medical issue), tapping this button will activate a modified version of the Nearest function, highlighting all the airports on the map within gliding distance of your current position. It also activates the split screen view and displays the emergency checklist for your airplane. Well done, Garmin.

Pilots flying with ADS-B receivers will really appreciate the dedicated traffic screen, either in the full or split screen view. This helps to keep the moving map screen decluttered and allows you to better identify nearby traffic when in busy airspace. This uses Garmin’s signature TargetTrend technology to show you where the aircraft will be in a user-configurable amount of time (say 2 minutes), depicted with a green trend line. You can easily filter targets based on relative altitude, and you can tap one to view its ground track, climb/descent rate, groundspeed and rate of closure.

Garmin Pilot has its share of smart features too, which provide contextual alerts. While these may not be as obvious as ForeFlight’s large pop-up displays and audio warnings, they can be very helpful once you know where to look for them. Start off with preflight planning – the app will constantly compare the weather reports for your planned departure and destination airports to the personal minimums you set in the app (maximum surface wind, minimum visibility and ceiling) and display a yellow triangle next to an airport ID on the Trip Planning screen when these will be exceeded, based on nearest TAF.

For IFR flights, it will display a similar caution symbol in the same location when the weather dictates an alternate airport is needed, and display a helpful Alternate Airport Selection Guide to help you find an option that meets the requirements of FAR 91.169. You will also be notified when your selected altitude is too low for terrain, when incomplete aircraft data is entered for filing a flight plan, and on the moving map when approaching controlled or special-use airspace.


Stratus 3 on dashAn important element to consider when choosing an app is connectivity. On the most basic level, you’ll want some type of GPS position source, and both apps are fully compatible with the internal GPS found on iPad models with the cellular data option and third-party GPS accessories from Bad Elf and Dual.

The next upgrade is adding a portable ADS-B receiver, which provides subscription-free weather and traffic. Both apps are only compatible with a few select ADS-B receivers which guarantees a reliable user experience and tight hardware/software integration. The Garmin GDL 50 (ADS-B only) and GDL 52 (ADS-B and SiriusXM) receivers work with both Garmin Pilot and ForeFlight, while the Scout, Sentry and Stratus receivers will only work with ForeFlight. The key takeaway here is to choose your app first, and then buy the compatible ADS-B receiver since they all offer excellent performance.

Both apps are also compatible with the same SiriusXM satellite weather options, which offers improved coverage over the ground-based ADS-B network. The Garmin GDL 51 is a dedicated SiriusXM receiver, while the Garmin GDL 52 is a hybrid device that delivers both ADS-B weather/traffic and SiriusXM weather from the same portable device. Both the GDL 51 and 52 work equally well with ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot.

The big advancement in recent years has been in connecting the iPad to the avionics in the panel, providing two-way flight plan transfers and an installed source of GPS, weather, AHRS and more. Garmin’s connected-panel system is called Connext and was initially designed to work exclusively with Garmin Pilot, but is now compatible with the ForeFlight app as well. Garmin avionics that offer this connectivity include the Flight Stream 110/210, GTX 345 ADS-B transponder, G3X experimental flight display and most of the new Garmin glass-cockpit systems installed in new aircraft.

There are a few Garmin connected-cockpit features that work exclusively with the Garmin Pilot app. First, you can only send SiriusXM satellite weather to Garmin Pilot using the Flight Stream system and an installed GDL 69 SiriusXM receiver (Flight Stream will send ADS-B weather to ForeFlight though). There’s also a time-saving feature, Database Concierge, that allows you to wirelessly update the databases on the GTN navigators from your iPad using the FlightStream 510. This can only be done with the Garmin Pilot app.

Garmin Pilot also interfaces with the Aera 660 portable GPS, D2 smartwatch collection, VIRB camera, inReach messenger and GSR 56 Iridium datalink for satellite calls and messaging. ForeFlight users, on the other hand, have the option to connect to additional avionics including the Avidyne 550/540/440 navigator, Dynon SkyView panel, and ADS-B transponders from L3, FreeFlight and uAvonix.

Making a decision

When choosing an app there’s more to consider than just how it looks and works on your iPad. Both apps include access to a version specifically designed for the iPhone’s smaller screen, which often serves a completely different purpose than the iPad. Many pilots prefer to use the iPhone version when away from the airport to look up airport and FBO info, weather and for route planning, so spend time with this version while evaluating. It’s a great backup for charts in the cockpit too.

You may prefer an Android phone, but use an iPad in the airplane – Garmin has you covered since it works on Android and a subscription provides access to three separate devices. An additional consideration is whether you prefer to use a web browser on a computer for preflight planning. ForeFlight is unique in that it offers a full-featured web interface to view charts, weather, and plan a flight. This information syncs with the app on your iPhone and iPad.

You can’t go wrong with either app since both provide the core functionality to say goodbye to paper charts, but there are enough differences that it’s worth personally evaluating both applications to see which is a better fit for your preferences and type of flying. There is no risk in making the wrong choice, since you can try out both apps free for 30 days. Annual subscriptions start at less than $100 – which is the same amount you’d spend on paper charts for a 200 mile IFR cross-country flight.

Try both apps and you’ll likely find that one will ultimately feel right to you. Yes, you need to compare features, connectivity and pricing for premium features, but also spend some time thinking about which app you’ll feel comfortable with on your lap while flying a low-ILS approach in turbulence and driving rain. That’s what really matters.


ForeFlight offers several levels of performance, based on features and your type of flying:

Basic Plus: Flight planning, weather, VFR/IFR charts, weight and balance, logbook. $99/yr

Pro Plus: Everything in Basic Plus, plus geo-referenced approach charts, hazard advisor, synthetic vision, icing/turbulence/surface analysis weather layers. $199/yr

Performance Plus: Everything in Pro Plus, plus aircraft performance profiles, advanced planning engine, AviationCloud routes, fuel policies/safety checks, JetFuelX prices. $299/yr

You can also add additional database and charts for Canada or Europe for an extra $100/yr., or Jeppesen worldwide charts.

Click here for a complete comparison of ForeFlight subscription options.

Purchase a ForeFlight subscription here.

Garmin Pilot offers two packages:

U.S Standard: Flight planning, weather, VFR/IFR charts and terrain. 74.99/yr

U.S Premium: Everything in the standard package, plus geo-referenced approach charts, icing forecasts, Garmin FliteCharts, terrain/obstacle alerts, synthetic vision and SafeTaxi airport diagrams. $149/yr

You can also add additional international regions and Jeppesen charts to Garmin Pilot for an additional subscription fee.

Purchase a Garmin Pilot subscription here.

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Source: Ipad appsForeFlight vs. Garmin Pilot: Which mobile app is best for you?

FAA Starting Outreach for Metroplex Project in Florida

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing new flight paths for aircraft flying over Central and South Florida. The project is called South-Central Florida Metroplex and the Agency will ask the public for input as it develops the new air traffic control procedures.

We will involve the public as we design the new procedures, and conduct the required environmental review, said Michael OHarra, Regional Administrator for the FAA Southern Region. Early next year we will hold public meetings across Central and South Florida. We encourage the public to attend the workshops to talk with experts, learn how proposed changes could affect their communities and provide comments that we will consider as we finalize the new procedures.

The South-Central Florida Metroplex proposes to replace dozens of existing air traffic procedures with more direct and efficient satellite-based routes into and out of major airports, enhancing safety and efficiency. The new satellite-based procedures are a key component of the FAAs Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Metroplex initiatives are complete or are underway in 11 metropolitan areas across the country.

TheNational Environmental Policy Act of 1969(NEPA) requires the FAA to identify and publicly disclose any potential environmental impacts of the proposed procedures. The Agency plans to begin the environmental review in spring 2019. We will offer the public the opportunity to comment on the proposal during the environmental review.

As we confirm locations, dates and times of the meetings, we will post them on our Community Involvement webpage. We also will publicize the meetings through news media and the FAAs social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedInFederal Aviation Administration; Twitter@FAANews.

Source: FAAFAA Starting Outreach for Metroplex Project in Florida

Super Bowl LIII Flight Requirements for GA Pilots

General Aviation pilots who want to fly around Atlanta between Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, 2019, will want to check out the FAAs Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for air traffic procedures for the area. Super Bowl LIII is Sunday, Feb. 3, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Game time will be at 6:30 p.m. EST. The FAA has published a webpage with information for Atlanta-area airspace and airports. The Agency will update the webpage as additional information becomes available.

As a designated National Security Special Event, additional unmanned aircraft restrictions will be in place before, during and after the Super Bowl. Learn more here: Super Bowl LIII is a No Drone Zone.

A reservation program to facilitate ground services at the following participating Atlanta metropolitan airports will be in effect from January 29 through February 5. Pilots should contact the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at their destination to obtain reservations and additional information.

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK)
  • Fulton County Airport-Brown Field (FTY)
  • Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field (RYY)
  • Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field (LZU)
  • Newnan Coweta County Airport (CCO)
  • Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport (PUJ
  • Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field (FFC)
  • Henry County Airport (HMP)
  • Griffin-Spalding County Airport (6A2)
  • Covington Municipal Airport (CVC)
  • Cartersville Airport (VPC)
  • West Georgia Regional Airport-O V Gray Field (CTJ)
  • Cherokee County Regional Airport (CNI)
  • Athens-Ben Epps Airport (AHN)
  • Barrow County Airport (WDR)
  • Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (GVL)
  • Jackson County Airport (JCA)
  • Thomaston-Upson County Airport (OPN)
  • Lagrange-Callaway Airport (LGC)
  • Harris County Airport (PIM)
  • Columbus Airport (CSG)
  • Auburn University Regional Airport (AUO)
  • Polk County Airport Cornelius Moore Field (4A4)

Special air traffic procedures to minimize air traffic delays and enhance safety will be in effect for the following airports:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK)
  • Fulton County Airport-Brown Field (FTY)
  • Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field (RYY)
  • Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field (LZU)
  • Newnan Coweta County Airport (CCO)
  • Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport (PUJ)
  • Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field (FFC)
  • Henry County Airport (HMP)
  • Griffin-Spalding County Airport (6A2)
  • Covington Municipal Airport (CVC)

Arrival and Departure Route Requirements: Jan. 29 12 p.m. (1700z) through Feb. 5 12 p.m. (1700z)

The NOTAM includes specific arrival and departure route requirements for jet and turboprop aircraft.

FAA ATC Air Traffic Management Initiatives

Air traffic management initiatives may be implemented may include:

  • Ground Delay Programs (GDP)
  • Airspace Flow Programs (AFP)
  • Time Based Metering
  • Miles in Trail
  • Airborne Holding
  • Ground Stops

Special Event TFR for Super Bowl Sunday February 3, 2019

The FAA will publish a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for Super Bowl LIII centered on Mercedes-Benz Stadium. At this time, we expect the TFR will be active from 4 p.m. EST (2100z) until 11:59 p.m. EST (0459z) on Sunday, February 3. The TFR will have a 10-nautical- mile inner core and a 30-nautical-mile outer ring.

The TFR will not affect regularly scheduled commercial flights flying in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Emergency medical, public safety and military aircraft may enter the TFR in coordination with air traffic control.

The FAA will post the full text and graphic depiction of the Super Bowl LIII TFR in January.

Source: FAASuper Bowl LIII Flight Requirements for GA Pilots

iOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.1.1

Apple released iOS 12.1.1 this week, adding new FaceTime features, a haptic touch feature when viewing notifications on iPhone XR, support for ECG feature included in the watchOS 5.1.2 update for Apple Watch Series 4 models and bug fixes. 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 12.1 green light status here.


The post iOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.1.1 appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsiOS Update Green Light program: iOS 12.1.1

Follow Buzzy the Drone!

Getting a drone for the holidays? The Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) Buzzy the Drone will help you learn the dos and don’ts of being a responsible drone operator and flying your new purchase safely.

Too many times, we at the FAA hear sad stories about what happens when inexperienced flyers take their drone out for its first flight. Sometimes a nasty tree will jump right into your flight path. All too often, the drone gets scared and flies away if you let it out of your sight. And upset neighbors may knock on your door if you fly over their backyard while theyre outside.

Buzzy, a whimsical four-rotor drone, can help you avoid being that guy or girl. Buzzy uses simple but effective rhymes to convey important safety tips, such as:

When Buzzy Goes Out for a Flight, the Number One Rule Is Keep Buzzy in Sight.

You can follow Buzzys adventures on FAA social media such as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Buzzys messages are the latest in the FAAs continuing efforts to make sure everyone follows the rules for safe drone operations. You can find details on the Agencys extensive unmanned aircraft website.

Buzzy and all the other drones say thanks in advance for keeping them safe, sound, and above the ground!

Source: FAAFollow Buzzy the Drone!

Rocket Launch Today

December 3-Today, Space Exploration (SpaceX) Technologies Corp.s launch, licensed by the FAA, broke new ground in the reusability of space vehicles and contained literally a number of firsts.

It represents the largest single rideshare mission from a U.S.-based launch vehicle to date. In addition, for the first time SpaceX launched the same refurbished booster for a third time.

Dubbed Spaceflight Small Sat Express, the mission delivered 64 payloads known as cube communication satellites to low earth orbit.

The launch took place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This is new record-setting year for commercial space transportation with a total 29 FAA-licensed launches.

Source: FAARocket Launch Today