If you are an experienced air traffic controller who would like to join the FAAs ranks, the agency is now accepting applications nationwide beginning Dec. 3 through Dec. 9, 2018.
Following are qualifications for experienced controllers:
United States citizenship
No older than 35 years of age (with special exceptions)
The announcement is open to candidates who have maintained at least 52 consecutive weeks of air traffic control experience involving the full-time active separation of air traffic. The candidate must have an air traffic control certification or facility ratingwithin five yearsof application while serving at any of the following:
an FAA air traffic control facility
a civilian or military air traffic control facility of the Department of Defense
a tower operating under contract with the FAA under section 47124
Applicants must be willing to work at any FAA air traffic facility, and may be required to attend specialized training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.
Active-duty service members will receive tentative veterans preference if they submit a document from the armed forces certifying that within 120 days they are expected to be discharged or released from active-duty service under honorable conditions and their application shows that they have the required service. They must provide to the Servicing Human Resource Management Office a DD Form 214 documenting discharge/release and showing that the service was honorable or general. Veterans on terminal leave must provide documentation certifying authorized terminal leave.
Whether you’re a pilot shopping for another aviation enthusiast or you’re a non-pilot desperately trying to figure out what to buy the (slightly weird?) aviator on your list, iPad apps and accessories are a good bet. Eight years into the tablet revolution, pilots are still snapping up this gear at a tremendous rate. Here’s our list of the top 10 things any iPad pilot would like this Christmas.
10. Screen protector – Screen protectors are one of the most useful accessories for the iPad, and the latest generation has some significant enhancements over earlier designs. We particularly like the MyGoFlight ArmorGlas, which is made of tempered glass so it goes on quickly and easily. It reduces glare (although it doesn’t completely eliminate it) and prevents scratches and broken screens. It’s an essential item for almost any pilot. Shop Now
9. Flight bag – The iPad has fundamentally changed what most pilots carry: a single tablet has replaced stacks of paper charts, paper manuals and so much more. That means your old flight bag is probably outdated (and most likely too big). Fortunately, a new crop of flight bags is tailored to iPad pilots, with slimmer sizes and lots of iPad-specific pockets. Two of our current favorites are the Flight Gear HP iPad Bag and the Flight Outfitters Lift Bag.
8. Mount – A mount is a must-have accessory for many pilots and they are available in several sizes and configurations. The most popular options are the Yoke Mount and Suction Cup Mount, both of which are available for the Mini and iPad/Air/Pro. For the ultimate in flexibility, check out the MyGoFlight universal mounts that allow you to quickly secure your iPad without removing your case. Shop Now
7. Kneeboard – If you don’t like a mount the other option is a kneeboard, and there are plenty to choose from, ranging from under $20 to over $170. Roughly, there are two main styles: basic leg strap and bi-fold kneeboard. Both are excellent for keeping your iPad stable on your leg; it’s mostly a matter of deciding how much more you want the kneeboard to do. For example, do you like to write on paper? Some bi-fold kneeboards include a clipboard for paper and pen. Do you fly an airplane with a center stick? A basic leg strap is probably all you have room for. Shop Now
6. Apps – Yes, you can send an app as a gift. It may not be as beautiful as a perfectly wrapped box under the tree, but apps do make excellent gifts – especially if you know of one that a friend or family member would really enjoy. For the beginning pilot, there are a number of training apps that can be both inspirational and helpful during training. For a more experienced pilot, consider an app that helps them master their favorite Electronic Flight Bag app, or send them a ForeFlight gift certificate. Any app in the App Store can be sent as a gift – here’s how to do it
5. Deluxe iPad GPS – iPad GPSs have been a top accessory for a while now and are a must-have for iPad pilots. Both the Bad Elf Pro Plus and the Dual Electronics XGPS160 SkyPro allow you to connect up to 5 devices to the same GPS, ideal for two pilot cockpits or for using your phone and iPad. Both also include data loggers, and the Bad Elf even has a built-in screen for basic GPS performance data. These are outstanding GPSs, and our first choice for a reliable iPad moving map. Shop Now
4. Backup battery – This slim battery pack is our nominee for most under-appreciated iPad accessory, allowing you to carry a “get out of jail free” card with you at all times. Simply charge it up (using USB-C, Lightning, or micro-USB) and then plug in up to four devices simultaneously–it more than doubles the battery life of your iPad, and does not require a cigarette lighter or a wall plug. You’ll find dozens of uses for this, and not just in the cockpit. For the ultimate peace of mind, there’s a three piece kit that also includes a cigarette lighter charger and a dual 2.4 amp wall plug. Shop Now
3. SiriusXM Aviation Weather Receiver – These portable weather receivers connect to an iPad via Bluetooth and deliver SiriusXM weather and GPS position to ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot – anywhere in the U.S. This includes radar (base and composite reflectivity), lightning, storm tracks, METARs, TAFs, TFRs, PIREPs and more. They even allow you to listen to SiriusXM audio entertainment in the air. Shop Now
2. Smartwatch – The smartwatch continues to be one of the hottest trends right now, and it’s not limited to aviation use. Connect one of these to your smartphone and you can get push notifications, activity tracking, GPS directions and even some handy in-flight features. It’s not a replacement for an iPad, but it is a nice accessory for the gadget geek who has it all. The latest model from Garmin even includes a pulse oximeter to track your oxygen level and pulse. The two best options right now are the Garmin D2 Delta or the Apple Watch.
1. ADS-B Receiver – Portable ADS-B receivers are still the most popular iPad accessory among pilots. Part of the reason for their success is that they’ve grown into more than just weather receivers (although that’s still the most valuable feature). Many of these now offer traffic and backup attitude as well, so that synthetic vision display in your favorite app really comes alive. Some, like the new Stratus 3, even include flight data recorders to help you log your flights. Shop Now
Sporty’s and iPad Pilot News will be hosting a free webinar this Thursday, November 29, covering a wide range of practical topics on flying with the iPad & the ForeFlight Mobile app. The webinar will be presented by Bret Koebbe, a flight instructor at Sporty’s Pilot Shop and editor of iPad Pilot News. This info-packed presentation will explore topics applicable to pilots of all iPad experience levels, including:
What’s new with iOS 12 and iPad Pro 11″ and 12.9″ flying report
Fly like a pro pilot with your iPad: developing your own standard operating procedures
How ForeFlight can improve your preflight planning
How to take advantage of automated iPad features and use it as a Digital Copilot
In-flight weather on the iPad (ADS-B & SiriusXM)
How to use the new ADS-B weather products
Must have iPad accessories for the cockpit
The presentation will take place on Thursday, October 13 at 8pm ET and last for about an hour. You can tune in to view the webinar on a PC, Mac or iPad with internet connection. And as with all the iPad Pilot News webinars, you’ll be able to ask questions throughout the presentation.
ForeFlight released version 10.5 today, adding a few highly sought after features. Most notably, this update brings synthetic vision to the iPhone, allowing pilots to use one of the most popular iPad features in ForeFlight on the smaller screen.
Since we first started flying with the iPad, we’ve highly recommended the use of an iPhone as a reliable backup for charts and navigation data. Now, as the iPhone screen size continues to grow, it makes even more sense to keep an iPhone in the cockpit as not only a backup device, but as a tool to supplement flight data. In fact, with the aging iPad mini, many pilots with smaller cockpits have turned to the iPhone as their go-to device for charts and moving maps in the cockpit.
ForeFlight version 10.5 now supports the same synthetic vision we’ve come to love on the iPad. We’ve heard many requests from pilots for this feature so they can run a backup attitude on their iPhone while saving valuable real estate on their tablet screen for aviation maps, approach charts, and critical flight planning information.
As with the synthetic vision on the iPad, once paired with an AHRS-capable ADS-B receiver like Stratus, dynamic pitch and bank visualization becomes available. 3D traffic targets will also be visible when connected to a compatible ADS-B receiver. (Read our buyer’s guide for details on portable ADS-B equipment.) The iPhone also supports Glance Mode, allowing you to swipe within Synthetic Vision to view terrain and traffic in any direction.
Unlike synthetic vision on the iPad, there is no split-screen option. This makes sense though, as you’d really only want to use this feature in full screen. It requires at least an iPhone 6 or newer, so no support for smaller phones like the iPhone 5, 5s or SE. Another limitation on the iPhone is that there are no airspeed or altitude tapes, but you can still overlay the instrument readouts at the bottom of the screen if desired. Synthetic vision on iPad or iPhone requires a Pro Plus subscription or higher.
In addition to synthetic vision on iPhone, ForeFlight slipped in a few other features. Logbook entries now display your flight route on an interactive map. The route is drawn on the Aeronautical Map layer and even zooming down to view taxi movements on the airport diagram is displayed. When the logbook entry is associated with a TrackLog, ForeFlight will depict the actual route; otherwise, the planned route will be shown.
ForeFlight also added the ability to share navlog and flight plan information as a PDF using the “send-to” option from the Flights tab. The update adds a new step climb feature that will let you know when a step climb is required to reach a planned flight’s final cruise altitude, by adding indicators in the Route Advisor, Altitude Advisor, and the flight plan filing form. Lastly, ForeFlight now supports full native resolution of the new 11″ and 12.9″ iPad Pro.
Even with all of our modern aviation databases, sometimes you just can’t beat a lat/lon coordinate. Maybe you’re visiting a private airport that isn’t in the database, or you want to circle a landmark not on the sectional, or you need to plan a flight around a TFR. Whatever the reason, entering a set of coordinates in your favorite app is easy. But there are a couple of traps you need to avoid, and not everyone reports lat/lon the same way. Let’s review the basics of latitude and longitude and the different types of coordinates.
Latitude and longitude have been in use for almost 2000 years, and they’ve stood the test of time because the system is both simple and powerful. Any point on Earth can be described with a few numbers, making lat/lon coordinates the backbone of all GPS navigators and mapping applications. Lines of latitude measure north-south position, with the equator at 0 degrees and the North Pole at 90 degrees North. Lines of longitude measure east-west position, with 0 degrees at Greenwich, England.
When it comes to expressing more specific locations, things get more complicated. There are three main ways to describe a lat/lon coordinate:
Degrees, minutes and seconds (39° 4′ 47.9″ N / 84° 12′ 35.9″ W). This is the traditional format for lat/lon, used for years on paper maps. But it’s pretty difficult to do much math with this format, so newer formats are increasingly popular (see 2 and 3 below).
Degrees and decimal minutes (39° 4.8 / -84° 12.6). Instead of seconds, this format uses minutes with a decimal point, and is most often used with electronic navigation equipment. For example, if you create a new user waypoint on a Garmin hand-held GPS, the location will be stored in this format. Note that the -84° signifies West; +84° would be East.
Degree decimal (39.08, -84.21). This is increasingly common, and is preferred by most computer sources – including Google Maps. Again, the – sign is used for West and South, so you would enter 39.08,-84.21 in Google for the Clermont County Airport in Ohio (I69). This is also the format used in most aviation apps, although as we’ll show below, other formats are also accepted.
The problem we’ve run into is when you mix sources. Say you find the perfect grass strip on Google Earth and copy the coordinates (in degree decimal format). If you then put that in your Garmin 530 (which uses degrees and decimal minutes), it will be off by a good margin. The trick is to know what format each source uses – website, GPS and iPad – and convert if necessary.
The good news is that the iPad makes it at least a little bit easier. For example, ForeFlight can accept lat/lon coordinates in either the route editor or the search box on the Maps tab. All three formats are supported, with either the N/S/E/W or the +/- symbols. Also note that ForeFlight uses / to separate the coordinates, not a comma as you’ll find online:
Degrees, minutes and seconds with N/S/E/W (enter N324455/W0804557 for the coordinate 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W).
Degrees, minutes and seconds with +/- sign (324455/-0804557 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
Degrees, minutes and seconds with extra decimal point, using +/- sign (3244556/-08045576 for 32°44’55.6”N, 80°45’57.6”W). Note that in all three of these examples where we use degrees, minutes and seconds, a 0 is required before the 804557; entering -804557 will not work. For the examples below, you may omit the 0.
Degrees and decimal minutes with N/S/E/W (3244.92N/8045.95W for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
Degrees and decimal minutes with +/- sign (3244.92/-8045.95 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
Degree decimal with N/S/E/W (32.7N/80.8W for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
Degree decimal with +/- sign (32.7/-80.8 for 32°44’55”N, 80°45’57”W)
In Garmin Pilot, you can enter a lat/lon coordinate on the Active Flight Plan or the Trip Planning pages. The app will accept all three formats, but you must choose which type you prefer from the Settings menu -> Units page. You can also change the format directly from the Create User Waypoint view – tap on the Format line to choose which one you prefer, then enter the lat/lon below.
In WingX, you can’t enter a lat/lon in the route view, but you can create a user waypoint either by tapping and holding on the map, or by using the Waypoint button from the Route Planning page. It accepts coordinates in the degree decimal format with +/- and each coordinate has its own box (e.g., 39.09 and -84.21).
Many newer portable GPSs allow you to choose which format is used, so if you fly with a Garmin 796 and an iPad, for example, you could use degree decimal for both. Just use the Tools menu from the main menu on the Garmin to adjust the settings.
So latitude and longitude coordinates are both simple and confusing. Take some time to understand what format your main map sources use. Once you know that, entering user waypoints or flying direct to a lat/lon coordinate is really pretty simple.
There are also a number of free websites that help you convert from one format to another. This one is our favorite.
Appareo released the Stratus 3 ADS-B receiver over the summer, building on the success and reliability of previous-generation Stratus receivers. One of the big changes over previous models is that it added support for apps other than ForeFlight allowing it to provide subscription-free ADS-B weather and traffic to apps like FltPlan Go, WingX Pro, FlyQ and Aerovie.
While Stratus 3 works right out of the box with ForeFlight, there are a few additional things you’ll need to do first to get it linked up with one of these apps. Here we’ll show the connection process when using Stratus 3 with Aerovie and how to view the ADS-B traffic and weather layers in the app.
Step 1: Enable Open ADS-B Mode on Stratus 3
Before connecting Stratus 3 to a compatible EFB app other than ForeFlight, you’ll first need to enable the GDL 90 mode on the device. This requires you to download Appareo’s free Stratus Horizon Pro app from the app store to configure the setting. After the app downloads, turn on Stratus 3 and connect your iPad to the Stratus WiFi. Open up the Stratus Horizon app, and tap the Settings button in the lower left corner. You’ll see Stratus Settings on the left side of the screen, with a toggle for Open ADS-B Mode – turn this on. Stratus 3 is now ready to connect to other EFB apps.
Step 2: Connect Aerovie to Stratus 3
After connecting your iPad or iPhone to the Stratus WiFi, open up Aerovie and you’ll see an antenna button appear towards the top left of the Map screen. Tap this to view connection stats, battery status and other data. You can also toggle between using the iPad’s internal GPS (if equipped) or the GPS in Stratus:
Step 3: Displaying ADS-B weather in Aerovie
To display ADS-B weather on the map, tap the Overlays button at the top left of the screen. You can choose to display ADS-B traffic, Pilot Reports, METARs, Radar, AIRMETs/SIGMETs and the location of ADS-B towers:
When the radar overlay is selected, Aerovie will display two additional buttons next to the ADS-B status indicator to provide additional control:
The radar settings button on the right allows you to toggle between local radar and national radar. Local radar, often referred to as regional radar, displays higher-resolution radar imagery within 250NM of your current position. National radar will show precipitation returns for the entire country, but at a lower resolution than what’s displayed for regional radar. The left-hand button that resembles a play symbol allows you to animate the radar imagery.
ADS-B METARs are depicted with color-coded symbols (VFR/MVFR/IFR) and show the ceiling height for each report. Tap on one to view the full report:
The traffic layer displays the location of nearby aircraft and shows the relative height above or below you based on your current altitude, along with climb or descent rate:
The integrated AHRS in Stratus 3 can also be used to drive a real-time attitude display in Aerovie, which features a synthetic vision option:
Millions of travelers will take to the skies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to help you make it to your destination safely. You can help with that by paying close attention to whats in your bag.
Some common toiletries that passengers pack could be hazardous. Check your bags for the following items: aerosol cans that may contain hair spray, deodorant, tanning spray or animal repellant, nail polish, artist paints and glues.
Wondering what to do with those e-cigarettes? Passengers should know that e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and spare lithium batteries are not authorized to be packed in checked luggage. Spare lithium batteries the kind that are found in personal electronic devices and back-up charging devices can only travel in carry-on baggage.
Electronic devices powered by lithium batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or have exposed electrical terminals. If devices start to smoke or catch fire, they are much easier to extinguish if they are in the cabin area rather than the cargo hold. The FAA recommends that passengers keep cell phones and other devices nearby in the cabin to quickly access them if necessary.
Spare lithium batteries must be placed in carry-on baggage and protected from damage or short-circuiting. Batteries should be packed so that they are not touching or bumping something that could potentially cause them to spark. If batteries are not sealed in manufacturer packaging, the battery terminals should be protected by covering them with tape and placing them in separate bags to prevent short circuits.
The Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) nationwide deployment of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has exceeded all of the programs original objectives.
Since the program began with a prototype system in November 2017, LAANC has processed more than 50,000 applications from drone operators for authorization to fly in controlled airspace. The system now covers almost 300 air traffic facilities serving approximately 500 airports, providing near-instantaneous approvals and allowing operators to quickly plan their flights. View a list of the participating facilities.
LAANC helps support the safe integration of drones into the nations airspace. The system uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107, the small drone rule for commercial and public agency operators.
The FAA has approved 14 LAANC service suppliers. Instructions on how to apply are provided by each supplier:
Flights between the Northeast and the major international airports in Florida and the Caribbean are more direct, more efficient, and safer since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented 55 new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) routes on November 8.
Satellite-equipped aircraft now can fly new routes that begin at the North Carolina/South Carolina border and flow south toward Florida and the Caribbean. The new routes will augment the existing structure of conventional jet routes. The Agency also updated 11 existing PBN routes. It previously added two PBN routes to the system
Implementing 55 new satellite-based routes on one day is a significant milestone in our work to modernize the air traffic control system, said Dan Elwell, Acting FAA Administrator. We are providing better access to busy airspace along the southern part of the East Coast, to the major international airports in Florida and beyond.
The Agency also is designing high-altitude PBN routes from the northeast to join the new routes that began today. When the new route structure is completed, equipped aircraft will seamlessly fly on satellite-based routes along the East Coast to South Florida and the Caribbean.
The project is part of the FAAs South-Central Florida Metroplex initiative. The Metroplex team designed the new routes, 39 are over water and 16 are over land. This brings the total number of PBN routes over the United States to 316. Get more facts about the South-Central Florida Metroplex on our website.
These new routes, along with other PBN procedures and new technologies are part of the FAAs Next Generation Air Transportation System. NextGen is moving the National Airspace System from ground-based radar to satellite-based navigation, from voice to digital communication, and from point-to-point data to a fully integrated information management system. These initiatives change how we see, navigate, and communicate in our nations skies.