WINGXPRO7 BEATS FOREFLIGHT HANDS DOWN
My last column for Plane and Pilot News was on the flying with the IPad with Foreflight and WingXPro. I have flown with both extensively this summer and would like to provide an update. It’s been very hot everywhere except on the West Coast, and that is where I have spent most of my summer. It has been 115 in Scottsdale and lows in the 90’s with numerous dust storms. I picked a good summer to leave town. We traveled to Colorado Springs, Laguna Beach, Palo Alto and several trips to San Diego to avoid the heat. I also flew the airlines to Atlanta to celebrate my Mother’s 90th birthday. We were lucky to have good weather in Atlanta.
After many experiments I found the best place to mount the IPad was on the yoke arm of my Bonanza. I mounted my 396 on the yoke. By placing the IPad on the yoke arm I have a good view of the IPad in my scan flying both VFR and IFR. I do not like to keep my eyes down when flying VFR and can quickly check the IPad while continuing to look outside the cockpit.
I have 2 APPS to fly with on the IPad, Foreflight and WingXPro7. They both offer many of the same things but WingXpro offers more. Flight planning is easy on both. WingX offers better weather information with a plain English weather briefing. They both supply TFR’s, Foreflight under the notams and WingX under TFR’s, but with WingX TFR’s are also displayed on the charts. If one needs more information on a TFR on WingX, just press the TFR red circle and all the information pops up in flight. WingX also offers static weather on their charts.
The charts, both VFR and IFR, have been enhanced on WingX and are more readable than Foreflight. Having been rerouted numerous times in the Los Angeles basin this is much appreciated. When being rerouted by ATC I just push the next waypoint(s) on either program and add it to my flight plan.
WingX has an option to show terrain on the charts. It shows yellow when you are within 1000 feet of a conflict and red when you aren't going to clear the next obstacle. Foreflight does not have terrain avoidance.
Another major feature of WingX is the split screen. I can have my taxiway diagram with geo referencing on one side and the scratch pad with the ATIS on the other side. Flying enroute I use one screen. When I am arriving at an airport I have the enroute chart on one screen and the approach on the other. When I see the airplane icon on the approach plate I just switch to full screen to the approach. With Foreflight I have to leave the enroute page and load up the approach waiting for the icon to show on my approach plate.
Both programs now can tether to weather in route, although each went in different directions. Foreflight uses the Baron to receive XM weather. A subscription to XM is required and the 396/496 will not work with the Baron. One has to also buy a XM weather receiver that will plug into the Baron. The Baron cost $199, and I don’t know how much a XM unit cost. WingX uses SkyRadar ADS-B in to show ADS-B weather. This is also very expensive as the SkyRadar unit cost $1500. There isn’t a subscription fee for ADS-B but it doesn’t show as many wether features as XM. I use my 396 for XM weather.
Foreflight was the originator of IPad APP for flying but they have let WingX leave them in the dust. When I bought Foreflight, WingX didn’t even have sectional charts. They do now and much more information than Foreflight. Cost for Foreflight is $150 a year and WingXPro is $175 a year including geo referenced approach plates on both. I thought at renewal that I wouldn’t buy the geo referenced approaches again but have changed my mind. This is a great situational awareness feature that I don’t want to be without. On my last flight I was rerouted and the approach changed. I haven’t flown a full IFR approach in years and am vectored to pick up the approach. With geo referencing I can see exactly where I am.
WingX has also introduced synthetic vision for $99 a year. I wasn’t impressed with their demo. If one flies the approach correctly in IMC this should not be needed. It’s another safety factor but too expensive for the type of flying I do. I will have to see this in person to make a better decision. I hope that WingX will be at NBAA in Las Vegas this October so I can make a more informed decision.
In summary WingX is a MUCH better product. They have jumped to the forefront and never looked back. I have not encountered any problems with the IPad concerning heat or altitude. I have landed in 112 degree temperature and flown at 13,000 feet. The key is to keep direct sunlight off the IPad or it will shut down. Also I recommend buying an external WASS GPS. With the IPad built in GPS you can loose signal and it is not as accurate as an external GPS. I fly with the Bad Elf, $99, as I do not want a bluetooth GPS that had to be recharged. I also recommend carrying paper print outs of approach plates for your destination and alternate along with paper charts for back up.
I feel that the IPad and aviation APPS available are the greatest enhancement to flight safety since the invention of GPS.
I submitted this column to Plane and Pilot News, but they would not run it as they are negotiating with Foreflight for advertising for their paper. This is the conundrum for Aviation Publications. If you make your vendor mad they will pull their advertising which helps pay for the publication.