As stated in the final rule published with industry input in May 2010, all aircraft flying in designated controlled airspace generally the same busy airspace where transponders are currently required must be equipped with ADS-B Out avionics by Jan. 1, 2020. Only aircraft that fly in uncontrolled airspace, and aircraft without electrical systems, such as balloons and gliders, are exempt from the mandate.
Those who have already equipped understand that ADS-B is transforming the nations airspace by providing more precision and reliability than the current radar system, enhancing safety and increasing situational awareness.
Time is running out. There are only 21 months left until the deadline. If you have any questions about equipage whether you need to or not, what equipment to get, etc. please see the FAAs Equip ADS-B website. For information about the transformational technology, visit the ADS-B website.
In October 2017, the FAA deployed LAANC (pronounced LANCE) at several air traffic facilities to evaluate how well the prototype system functioned for drone operators who want to fly in controlled airspace and for the facilities themselves.
The FAA is now considering agreements with additional entities to provide LAANC services. The period for new entities to apply will run from April 16 to May 16, 2018. Interested parties can find information on the application process here. This is not a standard government acquisition; there is no Screening Information Request (SIR) or Request for Proposal (RFP) related to this effort.
We want to enable technology and remove barriers so thats why were simplifying the authorization process, said FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. If youre in the drone business, this is a great opportunity for you.
The agency is also planning a nationwide beta test that will roll out from April to September of this year, which will incrementally activate LAANC at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering almost 500 airports.
LAANC uses airspace data includingUAS facility maps that show the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may automatically authorize operations under Part 107. LAANC gives drone operators the ability to interact with industry developed applications and obtain near real-time authorization from the FAA. LAANC is a foundation for developing theUnmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM).
The FAA expects LAANC will ultimately provide near real-time processing of airspace authorization and notification requests for Part 107 drone operators nationwide. The system is designed to automatically approve most requests to operate in specific areas of airspace below designated altitudes.
Wireless software updates have become the norm these days, allowing you to effortlessly update the digital sectionals on your iPad, or to update your car’s firmware to the latest version while in the garage. It often takes just a single button press and the data is automatically downloaded and installed to your device (or car). Pilots flying with Garmin’s FlightStream system have been able to also use this technology for a while now too in the airplane, to send monthly database updates from the Garmin Pilot app to the Garmin avionics in their aircraft.
The reality though is that most of the avionics we fly with today rely on the old-fashioned method for database updates. This process requires you to remove the memory card from the panel, take it to a computer with a card reader, download the update from a website, and then head back to the hangar to replace the updated card. Rinse and repeat every 28 days.
Fortunately, a new option recently became available thanks to a partnership between Jeppesen and Bad Elf, which allows you to wirelessly update your avionics’ database cards right from the cockpit.
The first part of the equation is the new Jeppesen JDM mobile app for iPhone and iPad, which you’ll use to download the latest database update during each cycle. Then, you’ll connect your iPhone or iPad to Bad Elf’s new Wombat accessory using the Wombat’s WiFi network.
The Wombat is essentially a media transfer device that features an internal rechargeable battery and includes both USB and SD/MicroSD card ports to support the most common media types used by both legacy and newer avionics. Insert your avionics database card into the Wombat, tap the Transfer button in the Jeppesen JDM App and the updates are sent right to the card. Remove the updated cards from the Wombat, insert into your avionics and go fly – easy as that.
The JDM Mobile app and Bad Elf Wombat solution are currently compatible with the most popular general aviation avionics from Garmin and Avidyne, though they plan to add additional support for Aspen, Dynon, Advanced Flight Systems, Genesys Aerosystems, Grand Rapids Technologies and MGL Avionics. There is also a Wombat Turbine Edition that can be used to update avionics found in larger aircraft from Honeywell and Rockwell Collins.
The Wombat also features some in-flight functionality as well, allowing you to charge your iPhone or iPad using its internal 9,800 mAh battery. After a flight, you can use the Wombat to copy logs from the SD/USB media from compatible avionics to your iPhone or iPad, and then open and share the logs using CloudAhoy, Savvy Analysis and Cirrus Reports.
During a primarily education-focused event in Chicago earlier this week, Apple announced the release of their newest tablet. During the event, CEO Tim Cook and his executive team detailed Apple’s “creative new ideas for teachers and students.” Unfortunately there was no specific mention of ideas for pilots and flight instructors.
Beyond the educational focus of the event, an updated iPad based on the lowest end iPad in Apple’s line-up was revealed for the price of $329. That’s the same price as the previous version. You can order the new iPad now and inventory is now showing up in Apple retail locations and at Best Buy.
This new 9.7″ iPad shares the same body as previous version and is available in silver, space gray and a new, gold finish. It also sports Apple’s new A10 Fusion chip with a claimed 40% faster processor for graphics performance.
The biggest feature addition is compatibility with Apple’s Pencil which previously was only available on the “Pro” line of iPad tablets. The Apple pencil is a $100 accessory that we have found very useful for writing down clearances, and making annotations on approach charts and taxi diagrams in the Plates section of the app.No word on a refreshed or updated version of the iPad many. Speculation suggests that Apple may no longer develop the smaller iPad especially with the success of their larger plus size iPhone.
Pilots currently considering purchasing an iPad for flying may appreciate the lower entry price of this new iPad combined with the Pencil capability. If you already use an iPad in the cockpit and are happy with it, we believe at this time it’s not necessary to consider this latest device.
If you’re seriously shopping for a cockpit tablet, we still think the iPad Pro may be a better value for most pilots. While nearly twice the price, device already supports the Pencil, has twice the storage capacity and the screen size is 20% larger. Additionally the iPad Pro screen has a custom-designed anti-reflective coating reflects just 1.8% of light. The Pro also includes the ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate display. One of the biggest hurdles for pilots flying with the iPad is screen readability especially in direct sunlight and we believe the iPad Pro improves that experience exponentially.
ADS-B receivers continue to be the most popular iPad accessory on the market. These all-in-one devices stream GPS, subscription-free weather, traffic and optional backup attitude information to your iPad, changing it from a static chart viewer to an interactive in-flight tool. Some even include SiriusXM weather and entertainment features.
They are also the source of a common question we get at iPad Pilot News: “which ADS-B receiver should I buy?” With all the options (over a dozen at last count), it’s easy to get confused. Here, we’ll try to offer a practical guide to choosing the right ADS-B receiver. We will focus on the most popular models.
One important note here – these ADS-B IN receivers are portable, non-certified units designed solely for the purpose of providing in-flight data to iPads, iPhones and other portable displays in the cockpit. They do not provide ADS-B OUT data and will not help you to meet the 2020 ADS-B mandate.
Choose the app first
The first tip is easy: choose the app you prefer first, then choose an ADS-B receiver that works with that app. Some pilots get this backwards, chasing hardware around and switching between apps. That just leads to confusion and frustration.
As a pilot, you have to live with your aviation app on every flight (and in between them) whether you use an ADS-B receiver or not. Make sure your app is one you understand and feel comfortable using. Whether it’s ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, WingX, FlyQ or something else doesn’t matter–the right app is the one that works for you and your flying. Try them all (they offer free trials so you can couch fly them) and become truly proficient with the one you select. After picking your app, then it’s easier to choose the right ADS-B option. Because of the deep integration required between app and accessory, many ADS-B receivers are app-specific:
Don’t misunderstand us: there are differences between the various ADS-B receivers. But these differences pale in comparison to the apps. You have to start here.
Using a Garmin portable GPS?
If you fly with a Garmin 796, 696, aera 660 or aera 500 series GPS, there is an additional consideration. The GDL 50 and 52 can both feed information to a portable GPS, in addition to your iPad. This is a nice way to get extra utility out of an older GPS or to have a full-featured backup navigator in the cockpit.
For the 796 and aera 660, this connection is wireless via Bluetooth. For the other models, it requires an adapter cable. Also note the Garmin 796/795 and aera 660 allow you to display full pitch and roll information from the GDL 50/52’s built-in Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS). This makes these truly no-compromise display units for the GDLs.
If you don’t have one of these devices, this feature won’t matter. If you have a Garmin GPS but you use another app, is it worth switching to take advantage of this? Only you can answer that question, but ask yourself which device would be primary: iPad or Garmin?
Once you’ve settled on an app and considered the Garmin option, it’s time to choose a specific ADS-B receiver. This is where it makes sense to compare specs, but it’s worth noting that every receiver on the market offers the two key features: GPS and subscription-free weather. These are the things you’ll use most often, and almost every unit includes them. That means there isn’t really a bad option.
Beyond these basics, there are three other features to consider: traffic, attitude and SiriusXM. While all portable ADS-B receivers are limited in terms of how much traffic they display (see this article to learn why), dual band ADS-B receivers generally pick up more traffic. So if traffic is an important feature, consider a dual band receiver. One more note on traffic: if you’ve already equipped with ADS-B Out in your panel, single band is all you need.
Another feature to consider is built-in AHRS to deliver backup attitude information or synthetic vision to your iPad. This is not even close to a primary instrument, but in a worst case scenario, we would not hesitate to use it. For a VFR pilot, it may be overkill and you can save a lot of money by choosing a non-AHRS model, but we still think there’s value in it for situational awareness. For an IFR pilot, it’s a great insurance policy.
Battery life is another feature to think about. For a homebuilder wiring in an ADS-B receiver, or for a pilot who plans to keep his receiver plugged into the cigarette lighter, a built-in battery may not be necessary. For a renter or a pilot who prefers fewer wires, a built-in battery is an essential feature. We also think it has great value as a backup.
There are also some additional features beyond the basic ADS-B/weather/GPS/traffic/attitude set. Some models, like the Stratus 2S, include automatic flight data recorders so you can store your flights and replay them in apps like CloudAhoy or Google Earth. The Garmin GDL 52, on the other hand, includes a SiriusXM weather receiver for expanded signal coverage in and around the U.S. This also delivers additional weather features and satellite radio entertainment.
Finally, while most pilots spend a lot of time debating single vs. dual band or AHRS vs. no AHRS, we think too little time is spent on “softer” features. These include ease of use, reliability and customer support. Such features aren’t easily compared in a chart, but they impact your flying in a significant way. Consider how well-integrated the receiver is with the app, how easy to use the entire system is and what customers are saying about support. You can learn a lot reading customer reviews online.
One feature that doesn’t matter much is reception. Every ADS-B receiver we’ve flown with has perfectly good reception for normal operations, and with the ADS-B network now complete, this is less of a problem than ever. Remember, one tower is enough in most cases–we usually see 3-10 towers at cruise altitude.
To help you compare features side-by-side, we’ve compiled this chart to show most of the popular options. Click on the image for a larger image.
Build it yourself
There is another option for pilots who enjoy a little bit of electronics work. Stratux is an open-source software project that turns commercially available parts into full-featured ADS-B receivers. For about $150 in parts and a few hours of assembly, you can have a dual band receiver, and there are plenty of options to add GPS and AHRS. There are even some pre-built kits available, although not all include a battery so read the parts list carefully.
Don’t make this decision harder than it needs to be. In its most basic form, we suggest a two step process. First choose your app, then choose whether you want “VFR features” or “IFR features.” The big difference between VFR and IFR would include a built-in AHRS. In most cases, you will have a decision after answering those questions.
Today, Apple released version 11.3 of its mobile operating system. As with all changes to the iOS software, we encourage pilots who rely on these devices for flight operations to refrain from updating until developers have ample time to test their app’s stability in this new environment.
Today’s update primarily address the operating system’s ability to automatically throttle device processor to conserve battery, especially in older devices. iOS 11.3 will now allow users to disable or enable the “power management feature” that limits maximum power output to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
We will continue to update and give you the Green Light as we get confirmation from developers, so check back often.
Garmin has introduced multiple portable weather receivers over the last six months, including the GDL 51 SiriusXM receiver and the combination GDL 52 SiriusXM/ADS-B receiver. Now the GDL family is complete, with the introduction of the GDL 50 – an ADS-B, GPS, AHRS unit with an 8-hour battery. That means you can now choose ADS-B weather, SiriusXM weather, or both, depending on your needs.
The GDL 50 has the same look and feel as the GDL 52, with a compact footprint that measures 4.75″ w x 3.25″d x 1.25″h. There’s a small flip-up antenna on the back for ADS-B, and our flight testing showed that it works well – we got excellent reception in southern Ohio, even at very low altitudes. It’s a dual band receiver, so you’ll see all the FIS-B weather products on 978 MHz (radar, METARs, TAFs, PIREPs, TFRs) plus ADS-B traffic on both 978 and 1090 MHz.
Traffic can be displayed on the main moving map page, or on a dedicated traffic screen (which can also be a split-screen option). Garmin has lots of sophisticated software to project the track of potential threats, making for the clearest traffic display we’ve seen. As a reminder though, ADS-B traffic is limited unless your airplane has an ADS-B Out transponder installed.
In addition to ADS-B, the GDL 50 includes a built-in GPS receiver to deliver precise moving map location, plus an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) to drive a synthetic vision display. The eight hour battery is a nice upgrade over older Garmin portables, and means you can fly wire-free for a whole day – this is an all-in-one box. There’s also some on-board storage, which allows the receiver to continually download the latest weather and traffic information, then transmit it to your tablet when the screen is turned on. That’s a small thing, but can really extend the battery life on your tablet.
To display all this information, the GDL 50 can wirelessly connect via Bluetooth to two devices at a time running the Garmin Pilot app. This means a pilot and co-pilot could view weather on two tablets at the same time, or a pilot could view it on tablet and a portable GPS for backup. The full list of compatible devices includes any iOS and Android device running Garmin Pilot, plus aera 795/796 and aera 660 GPSs. Older GPS models can be connected with a wire, available separately.
In a separate announcement, Garmin also introduced support for Fltplan.com and their Fltplan Go app with certain avionics. First, pilots flying with a Flight Stream 110/210/510 can wirelessly transfer flight plans from the FltPlan Go app to their Garmin panel-mount avionics, including the GTN 650/750 and GNS 430W/530W. Pilots can also transfer flight plans from the FltPlan Go app to the Garmin Pilot app. This is a nice time-saver, especially for complicated IFR routes.
Secondly, FltPlan Go can now display ADS-B weather and traffic from multiple Garmin receivers, including the GTX 345, GDL 88/84, GDL 69, and GDL 52. This is limited for now (the GDL 50 isn’t officially supported, for example, and SiriusXM satellite weather isn’t available), but we expect the list of features and supported avionics to grow over time. It marks the expansion of Garmin’s Connext program, which added some ForeFlight support two years ago.
These new features are only available in the iOS version of the FltPlan Go app, although support in the Android version is expected at some point.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will host public scoping meetings next month for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Charlotte Douglas International Airports (CLT) proposed fourth parallel runway and other projects. The meetings will help residents learn about the Airports proposed projects, and help define the purpose and scope of the study. Charlottes Airport Capacity Enhancement Plan (ACEP) recommended that the airport complete a 12,000-foot-long runway by 2023, along with other airfield and terminal improvements to accommodate future aviation demand
The public scoping meetings will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at Embassy Suites, 4800 S. Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28217; and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2018, at the West Mecklenburg High School Cafeteria, 7400 Tuckaseegee Rd, Charlotte, NC 28214.
The meetings will include an open house where residents can view displays covering environmental topics that the study will cover and a presentation on the Airports proposed projects.Attendees also may make private comments to a stenographer, complete and submit a comment card, or enter a comment on a computer terminal during the meetings. Residents also may mail a comment card or submit an email to CLTEIS@faa.gov or via Regulations.gov. The comment period is open until May 7, 2018. However, we will continue to accept comments throughout the EIS process and we will respond to all comments in the Draft EIS.
The FAA is conducting the EIS, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and scoping is a required part of the process. The CLT EIS will evaluate the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts that may result from the Airports proposed projects. The projects include a 12,000-foot-long fourth parallel Runway 1/19 between existing Runway 18/36 Center and Runway 18 Right/36 Left, associated taxiways including a partial north End Around Taxiway, full south End Around Taxiway, parallel, high-speed exit and connector taxiways. Construction of the new runway along with terminal and ramp expansion projects would require the decommissioning of Runway 5/23 and relocation of West Boulevard.
The EIS will consider a range of reasonable alternatives that could potentially meet the purpose and need for the proposed projects and it will evaluate a No Action Alternative. The FAA expects to complete the EIS in 2020.
The FAAs most recent Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) projects that the number of flights at CLT will grow at an average rate of 1.85 percent annually from more than 545,000 operations in 2016 to 745,000 operations in 2033. In 2016, the Airport served more than 21.7 million passengers, which the FAA expects to grow to more than 31.5 million by 2033.
March 22Today the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published an emergency order regarding doors off and “open-door” operations.This order formalizes the FAAs prior communications on these operations.
This order is issued to all operators and pilots of flights for compensation or hire with the doors open or removed in the United States or using aircraft registered in the United States for doors off flights.
It prohibits the use of supplemental passenger restraint systems that cannot be released quickly in an emergency in doors off flight operations. This order also prohibits passenger-carrying doors off flight operations unless the passengers are at all times properly secured using FAA approved restraints.
The order is effective March 22, 2018 and available for inspection on the Federal Register.
Our latest video tip provides an in-depth look at how to incorporate the weather products in ForeFlight’s Imagery section of the app into your preflight briefing. Here you’ll find a well-organized collection of forecast maps useful for both short and long-range planning.
This video is a part of Sporty’s Flying with ForeFlight course, which was recently updated to cover the latest features in version 9.6 of the app. It includes over 100 minutes of video and is available as both an iPad/iPhone app and streaming online course.