We first reviewed the X-Naut Cooling Case in 2016, finding it to be a thoughtfully-designed solution to a persistent problem: overheating tablets in the cockpit. While the original two models accomodate the iPad Pro 9.7″, iPad Air, and iPad Mini, there was no option for our preferred iPad model in the cockpit – the iPad Pro 10.5″. Now the company has introduced a solution made just for that.
The new Active Cooling Mount for iPad Pro 10.5″ is specifically sized for Apple’s latest 10″ class tablet. The iPad slides into the mount quite easily, with a simple latch at the top. It is a custom fit, so an iPad in a case won’t work – but then again, a case will increase the chances of overheating anyway.
Like the model for the iPad Pro 9.7″ it features four fans stacked along the left side of the iPad, which targets the hottest part of the tablet. These fans are powered by either 8 AA batteries or by plugging the mount into a micro USB cable. The batteries last between 10 and 15 hours, and the status can be checked by pushing a small button on the right side of the mount. It measures 10.1″ x 7″ x 1.5″ and weighs under 10 ounces, and the fans are surprisingly quiet (X-Naut says 26 dB).
While the X-Naut is not a miracle cure (you can still get an iPad to shut down if it gets hot enough), our experience has been very positive. In almost all normal conditions – high wing/low wing, direct sun/indirect sun – it prevents overheating. Two years of customer reviews generally agree, with high marks for cooling performance. Here’s a representative quote:
“I flew with a friend from Torrance (KTOA) to San Bernardino (KSBD) and back, in a low-wing plane with a clear green house canopy. The sun was shining brightly and it was a hot day. I used my X-Naut with my iPad Pro 9.7, and it worked perfectly for the entire 2-hour flight. My friend used his iPad mini, without an X-Naut, and his iPad overheated and shut down about mid-way through the outbound leg.”
The X-Naut itself includes the case with the fans. There are various mounting options, including a kneeboard kit to strap it to your leg, and adapters for RAM Mounts and MyGoFlight.
The test message will appear on consumers phones and read, THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed. Phones will display this national test using the header Presidential Alert. These nationwide alerts, established pursuant to the WARN Act of 2006, are meant for use in a national emergency and are the only type of alert that can be sent simultaneously nationwide by FEMA.
Last month ForeFlight quietly released version 10.3, which primarily focused on improving speed, battery life, and overall app performance. This month’s release, version 10.4, is all about new features, and brings several new ADS-B weather layers to the app. Here’s a look at all of the new features and how to use them.
New ADS-B Products
The FAA has been new teasing new FIS-B weather products for years now, and they’re finally available in ForeFlight when connected to a compatible ADS-B receiver. This includes portable systems like Stratus, Sentry and Scout, and best of all it just works – no firmware updates required to your hardware.
When connected to one of these ADS-B receivers, you’ll have access to four new weather layers in flight: turbulence, cloud tops, lightning and Center Weather Advisories.
Turbulence– this is a forecast product originating from the National Weather Service Graphical Turbulence Guidance Model, and estimates the maximum level of turbulence from 2,000′ MSL to 24,000′ MSL. Like with other weather layers, you’ll use the slider on the right side of the screen to change the altitude of the turbulence level displayed. This product is updated every 15 minutes.
Cloud Tops – this is also a forecast product that displays the location of cloud tops at the selected altitude, from 1,500′ MSL to 24,000′ MSL. Could tops are also updated every 15 minutes.
Lightning – the new lightning layer displays strikes detected by Vaisala’s U.S. National Lightning Detection Network. This layer is updated every 5 minutes and can help pilots assess the severity of a convective system when viewed in combination with the radar imagery.
Center Weather Advisories – these unscheduled bulletins depict areas where active weather systems are developing and may soon reach Airmet or Sigmet criteria. You often hear ATC announce their locations over the radio, but seeing their location visually in flight makes them much more useful. This layer is updated every 10 minutes and is accessible from the AIR/SIGMET/CWA layer.
Easy SID/STAR chart access
When flying in busy terminal areas and assigned a departure or arrival procedure from ATC, the first step is to enter the procedure in your active flight plan using the Procedure Advisor. Once entered in the flight plan, the SID or STAR coding is displayed in a green bubble in the route editor. In this latest update, ForeFlight added the ability to quickly view the associated plate in the Plates section of the app. If you have a Jepp subscription and the SID or STAR is geo-referenced, it will automatically be added to the map.
Maps in Track Logs
There’s a new addition to the Track Logs section of the app that adds additional context to the flight. At the top of each entry, you’ll now see a map showing the flight track across the ground, saving you the hassle of having to send the log to ForeFlight web to view this information. You can only view the ground track on the aeronautical map layer, so if you want to view the track log with a sectional or IFR chart, you’ll need to send it to ForeFlight.com, using the Send To button at the top right of the screen.
New Aircraft Markers
ForeFlight added dozens of new aircraft markers in this update, allowing you to further customize how your aircraft’s location is depicted on the moving map. To change this, go to More > Settings > Current Location Marker.
What else is new in ForeFlight 10.4
There are a handful of other new features to check out in this update:
Pre-Departure Clearance and digital ATIS – ForeFlight added the ability for Performance Plus and Business Plus customers to retrieve IFR clearances electronically when flying at one of 70 of the largest airports in the U.S., eliminating the need to call clearance delivery before taxi. In addition to sending this information via email and text, you can also view it directly in the app. We’ll have a full PIREP coming soon on how to use this new feature.
New European Charts and VFR autorouting – In addition to fast EUROCONTROL-validated IFR routing, ForeFlight now supports VFR autorouting throughout Europe. The auto-generated routes comply with standard AIP guidelines for VFR flights, such as keeping leg times below 30 minutes and placing waypoints on or near FIR boundaries to simplify border crossings. The update also includes expanded IFR and VFR chart coverage for France and Switzerland is available now
Low battery alert for portable devices – ForeFlight will display a pop-up alert when your connected portable receiver’s battery drops below 20%, giving you time to put it on the charger before the battery gives out. The alert is currently provided for Sentry, Stratus, all supported Garmin portables, and SiriusXM’s SXAR1.
Most Recent aircraft – When tapping on your aircraft N# in the route advisor, you’ll now see your most recent aircraft displayed in a separate grouping at the top of the list, providing quick access to the aircraft you fly most often. This is really for flight students who may have a large number of airplanes stored with various profiles.
In accepting the award, Andrews credited the influence of her family on her character, in particular her mother Capt. Electa Andrews, a retired law enforcement officer. Andrews said, “I am humbled to receive this honor because the Hall of Fame isnt about the inductee. It is really to honor those people who have paved the path to our success.”
Andrews is a graduate of Savannah State University in Georgia with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. She also holds various advanced degrees from other institutions. Prior to coming to the FAA in 2015, Andrews served in the US Navy for 32 years. During her distinguished career, she received numerous decorations and awards, retiring at the rank of rear admiral. She holds the distinction of being the third African-American female to achieve that rank in the 243-year history of the US Navy.
According to the National Black College Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. website, The Foundation is dedicated to sustaining and growing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through alumni recognition, scholarships, training and technical assistance and programs to promote humanitarian involvement.
The hall of fame began in 1986. Other inductees to the hall of fame in the Government and Law Category included some of the nations top legal, political and public-service figures.
Under Andrews leadership, the FAA Office Human Resource Management supports a dynamic, world-class organization committed to providing the worlds safest and most efficient aerospace system.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced nine new partners to its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative, an innovative collaboration between the FAA and the drone industry that provides near real-time processing of airspace authorizations for Part 107 drone operators nationwide who fly in controlled airspace.
Following the FAAs successful prototype, the initiative was simultaneously opened to additional air traffic control facilities and to new industry partners. The five-month onboarding process that began in April resulted in nine new LAANC partners Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, DJI, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unifly. The nine join five companies AirMap, Harris Corp., Project Wing, Skyward and Thales Group that have already met the technical and legal requirements to provide LAANC Services.
LAANC uses airspace data, includingUAS facility maps, which shows the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107 in controlled airspace. The program gives drone operators the ability to interact with industry developed applications and obtain near real-time authorization from the FAA. LAANC, a foundation for developing theUnmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM),is now available at nearly 300 FAA air traffic facilities across the country, covering approximately 500 airports.
The FAA next year will accept applications from parties interested in becoming LAANC service providers from January 7 to February 8 and from July 8 to August 9. This is not a standard government acquisition; there is no Screening Information Request (SIR) or Request for Proposal (RFP) related to this effort. Interested parties can find information on the application process here.
The FAA, NASA and others from the aviation industry today celebrated the transfer of a technology developed by NASA that will be used by the FAA and airlines.
The new technology, called Flight Deck Interval Management (FIM), integrates with another technology called Terminal Spacing and Sequencing (TSAS) to improve the use of performance-based procedures to make it more efficient to land in congested terminal airspace.
FIM will provide air traffic controllers more precise information as they work to space aircraft coming in on approach. Controllers receive visual aids on their screens that help them execute clearances and conform to sequencing schedules to help aircraft arrive on time. The controller informs the pilot of the aircrafts trajectory and the pilot enters the information into the FIM system.
The information is processed for the pilot through a satellite based navigation tool called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). With this information, the pilot assesses what speed to fly to enable them to do a performance based procedure into the airport.
The combined FIM and TSAS tools will provide numerous benefits.
Using performance-based operations, aircraft will spend less time in the air burning fuel and emissions. When aircraft burn less fuel, it saves money for the airlines. Passengers benefit because theres a better chance their flights will arrive on time.
The FAA, NASA and industry are working together under a project called Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration 1 or ATD-1 to bring new technologies to market that are designed to improve arrival times. FIM is one of the technologies that stems from that partnership. Boeing, Honeywell and United Airlines participated in the FIM development and flight test which involved two aircraft from Honeywells flight test fleet as well as a United 737.
Pilots of unmanned aircraft (drones) who interfere with fighting wildfires, law enforcement efforts, or other first responders, such as medical flights, now are more likely to face serious civil penalties, even for first-time offenses.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided guidance for agency personnel who handle possible drone violations to refer all cases involving interference with first responders to the FAA Chief Counsels office for possible enforcement action.
In July 2016, Congress authorized the FAA to impose a civil penalty of not more than $20,000 for anyone who operates a drone and deliberately or recklessly interferes with wildfire suppression, law enforcement, or emergency response efforts.
Under FAA guidance, inspectors generally use non-enforcement methods, including education, for correcting unintentional violations that arise from factors such as flawed systems, simple mistakes, or lack of understanding. However, given the potential for direct and immediate interference with potentially life-saving operations where minutes matter, offenders will immediately be considered for enforcement actions. Enforcement actions can include revocation or suspension of a pilot certificate, and up to a $20,000 civil penalty per violation.
Deterring interference with first responders is critical, particularly as drone use expands exponentially. Firefighting aircraft trying to contain a wildfire have to suspend flights when a drone enters the area to avoid a possible mid-air collision. A drone flying over a crime scene or accident site can hamper police or medical aircraft operations. Ultimately, interference by a drone can cost lives.
The FAAs rules for flying unmanned aircraft are clear. Pilots can save themselves and others serious problems by following them to the letter. Dont let your decision to fly cause someone else to die.
The iPad is now standard equipment for most pilots’ flying, whether as a primary reference for digital charts or as a performance calculator. Something that important demands a quick pre-flight check, just like the airplane and the pilot. You wouldn’t take off without checking how much fuel you have on board – why would you take off without making sure your iPad is airworthy?
That doesn’t mean the iPad is unreliable; on the contrary, in our experience, it’s been the exact opposite. But you still want to find out about any issues with your iPad while you’re on the ground (and have an internet connection). This shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
You’ll want to create a checklist that works for your apps, accessories and your airplane. Customize it so that you’ll actually use it before every flight. With that in mind, though, here’s a basic checklist to consider that applies to most apps:
Battery charged on iPad. It’s a good habit to always take off with a full charge (it takes 4-6 hours to charge a drained battery). Just because you have a cigarette lighter doesn’t mean it always works. Here are some tips for charging your iPad.
Battery charged on accessories. If you fly with an external GPS or ADS-B weather receiver, these devices should also start out with 100% battery life. Most of them have about the same life as iPad, so the easiest plan is to simply charge your wireless accessories alongside your iPad.
Backup power plan in place. While your battery should be 100%, it’s always smart to have a plan B. A dead battery (usually pilot-induced) is the most likely failure scenario. Backup battery packs or charging cables are cheap insurance. Make sure they are available and accessible.
Run the application once. Especially if you’ve updated the app, check to make sure it won’t crash or lock up on initial start-up. This is rare, but it has happened in the past. You might even consider turning off automatic app updates in the Settings app.
Load routes, plate binders and favorite airports. Using these features is a big time-saver in flight, but only if you take the time to do this on the ground. You should know your expected route before engine start, so enter that and adjust any other route settings in your navigation app so you are ready to go when you get to the airplane.
Databases installed and current. Almost every pilot makes this mistake once. Just because you were looking at the charts at home with the benefit of an internet connection does not mean they will be saved for offline use in the cockpit. Make sure your chart coverage areas are appropriate for your route and double check by using the app without an internet connection (see this tip). ForeFlight’s “Pack” feature is another way to verify your charts are downloaded.
Turn off wireless functions that aren’t needed. Every iPad has Bluetooth and WiFi, and some models have LTE cellular radios as well. But unless you’ll need them in flight, we strongly recommend you turn these wireless radios off, as they drain the battery and lead to interference. Only leave on the feature that you need for any accessories (e.g., Bluetooth for a remote GPS).
Clean the screen and adjust the screen brightness. The screen backlight is the #1 user of battery power on the iPad, so set the brightness level to less than 100% if conditions permit. Lowering the screen even to 70 – 80% can add an extra hour or more of battery life. Having a clean screen, as simple as it sounds, can allow you to use a lower brightness setting.
Once you get used to your iPad checklist, you’ll find that this process takes just a few minutes. Customize it to your own flying, but make sure you’re doing some type of regular pre-flight before you blast off on your next flight.
Smartwatches continue to be a big hit with pilots as they’ve become more and more useful in the cockpit. There’s no question that Apple generated a lot of interest in wearable technology with the Apple Watch, but support for this model from aviation app developers has been somewhat lacking. Garmin has been hard at work as well on its line of smartwatches, and is the only company to offer a dedicated smartwatch designed for pilots.
The Garmin D2 Delta is a fourth generation device building on the popularity of the original D2 aviation watch series. There are three versions of the D2 Delta available, including a new sleeker model for women. They all feature a variety of aviation sensors, including GPS, altimeter, 3-axis compass, along with dedicated Direct-to and Nearest buttons. The premium D2 Delta PX even includes a pulse oximeter for monitoring your in-flight oxygen levels.
All three D2 models include wireless connectivity with Garmin avionics, including the Garmin Pilot app and GTN 650/750 panel-mount navigators, so you can transfer flight plans and receive GPS position, airspeed, and more. You can even use the D2 Delta as a GPS position source for the Garmin Pilot app. Outside the cockpit, the D2 Delta is packed with everyday features, including Garmin Pay contactless payments, music storage, and multi-sport training mode.
Here we’re going to show how you can use the D2 Delta with the Garmin Connect app to get the most out of it as an everyday smartwatch.
Pairing the D2 with the Garmin Connect app
Because it was built specifically for the needs of pilots, the D2 Delta doesn’t need to be tethered to a phone or iPad in the airplane to provide full navigation and flight performance data, making it an excellent backup navigation tool. For everyday use on the ground though, you’ll want to pair it up to your iPhone or Android device to deliver internet connectivity to the watch, along with the full array of smartwatch features (just like with the Apple Watch).
To get started, download the Garmin Connect app to your iPhone (Android version here). There are a couple key things to remember–the Garmin Connect app is a completely separate app from the Garmin Pilot app, and is only built for phones and not iPads/tablets (again just like the Apple Watch concept).
Next, follow these steps to pair the D2 Delta to your phone:
Enter Pairing Mode on the D2–hold the UP button on the D2 for a few seconds, go to Settings-> Phone -> Pair Phone.
Turn on Bluetooth on your phone–go to your phone’s Settings app and turn on Bluetooth. The important takeaway here is that you cannot pair the watch like you normally would in the Bluetooth settings page. Rather it’s done directly in the Garmin Connect app.
Pair with Garmin Connect app–open the Garmin Connect app on your phone, go to More tab and scroll down to Garmin Devices. Tap the blue “Add Device” button at the bottom of the screen and follow the pairing instructions. You’ll next enter your personal information and preferences (used primarily for fitness tracking features), and follow the prompts to finalize the pairing.
You’ll only need to complete this pairing process once, as the watch will automatically connect again when your phone is nearby.
Using the D2 Delta connected features
The D2 Delta relies on a system of “Widgets” to display small bits of useful information from both its internal sensors and your phone. By default, you’ll see widgets displaying sensor data and flight instruments from the compass, altimeter and activity tracker. But when connected to your phone you’ll see internet-driven data, like the current METAR for the nearest airport (or any airport you select) and general weather forecasts.
iPhone users will also see all the standard iOS notifications in a dedicated widget, which are loaded from all the apps on your phone and not just those from Garmin. Best of all you can add third-party Widgets to the D2 from Garmin’s Connect IQ Store.
When on any screen, you’ll also see pop-up notifications and feel a vibration when you receive an incoming call, text message, email, etc. It also constantly monitors your activity and displays all your stats in the Garmin Connect app. This feature makes it a great fitness tracker too, useful for running, biking, skiing or any other workout activity. The Connect app does a nice job of collecting and organizing this data for easy review on your iPhone’s larger screen.
Flying with the D2 Delta PX
Like the previous-generation Garmin aviation watches, the D2 Delta has a dedicated Direct-To button at the top right for quick waypoint input – press and hold it to enter this mode. You can also tap this button once to quickly enter the “Fly” mode, which allows you to view navigation details, flight instruments, color moving map and more.
When connected to a device running the Garmin Pilot app, you can quickly send the active flight plan to the watch by pressing the blue Connext symbol at the top of the screen, and then the Send-To button.
The D2 Delta PX device has a wrist-based pulse oximeter to gauge the saturation of oxygen in your blood (SpO2). Knowing your oxygen saturation can help you determine how your body is adjusting to high altitudes. As your altitude increases, the level of oxygen in your blood can decrease. When you view the pulse oximeter widget while you are not moving, your device analyzes your oxygen saturation and your elevation. During a flight, the device automatically takes pulse oximeter readings more frequently, so you can monitor your SpO2 percentage.
You can view this information on one of the D2’s default widgets on the watch, or set one of the navigation fields in the Garmin Pilot app to continuously display hear rate and %SpO2.
Garmin Pilot will display an alert if your oxygen level drops below a preset % value, which you can customize from the Connext section of the app.
The D2 Delta can also help you track altitudes, fuel tanks, and more. Configurable pressure altitude notifications provide a series of vibrations when arriving at a selected altitude. A fuel tank timer vibrates at configurable intervals to help remind pilots to switch fuel tanks while in-flight. Finally, a cross track error notification triggers a vibrating alert when pilots deviate from an active flight plan.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signed separate agreements with Brazils Agncia Nacional de Aviao Civil (ANAC) and Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) that will make it easier to approve each countrys aircraft and aviation products for their growing aviation markets.
For many years, the FAA and Brazils ANAC have been cooperating to enhance aviation safety, security, and other areas. Brazil is a member of the quadrilateral Certification Management Team (CMT). They have responsibility for Embraer, the preeminent Brazilian aircraft manufacturer.
The first FAA-ANAC Implementation Procedures Agreement (IPA) was signed in September 2006, with two amendments thereafter, most recently in February 2016. The revision signed today expands the IPA to include Part 23 (General Aviation Aircraft) and provides risk based decision criteria for the U.S. and Brazil to validate each others aviation products.
The latest revision maximizes reliance on each countrys certification authorities and reduces redundant validation activities and resources. It also more closely aligns the IPA with the bilateral agreements of the other CMT partners (the European Union and Canada). The ANAC IPA revision has a 3-month implementation period, which provides much-needed time to familiarize all stakeholders with its content.
The FAA and TCCA also continued their long tradition of cooperation. The two agencies signed a Shared Surveillance Management Plan that defines the process by which they recognize each others surveillance of manufacturers and their suppliers in the United States and Canada.
The Plan ensures manufacturers, certificate holders, production approval holders and suppliers are complying with the responsible countries applicable regulatory requirements. The plan requires manufacturers to comply with an approved quality system and ensure their subcontractors and suppliers also meet the applicable requirements and adhere to quality standards
The result will be less need for FAA and TCCA aviation inspectors to travel to each others facilities to do surveillance. Previously this was done on a case-by-case basis.