Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sully- ADS-B IN-IPAD-WingX




I was very fortunate to have received a gift card to the Apple Store. Owning an IPad1, which has the slowest processor of the 3 IPad’s, I was not able to take advantage all the features that WingX offered. I purchased an IPad3 with 32G and wifi only.

The IPad3 has the fastest processor, and it has the best screen resolution of any of the IPad’s, however it is no brighter in the cockpit than any of the earlier units. A screen protector is not recommended as it will distort the retina display. Do not wear polarized sun glasses as you will not be able to see the IPad screen in the vertical position. I would recommend that you have a full charge and use a charger on any trip over 4 hours as the IPad3 uses battery more quickly than the previous models. The IPad3 is narrower and shorter than the IPad1 so I placed a furniture pad in my Ram mount to make up for the difference.

I purchased WingxPro7 and started using it intuitively having used ForeFlight the year before. I was having some problems and found 3 videos on WingX’s web site. These videos were informative, and now I do most of my flight planning from the moving map page.

In addition to WingX I bought geo referenced approach plates and synthetic vision. When using ForeFlight last year I also purchased the geo referenced approach plates. I didn't think I would order these again but changed my mind after I was flying IMC into Fullerton, CA. It was my first time to Fullerton, and I was vectored away from the ILS that I expected due to airline traffic in the area and given the VOR A approach. It makes life a lot easier on an approach having situational awareness. For $75 a year I’ll take that every time.

A recent feature of WingX is synthetic vision. I decided to try this for a year at a cost of $75.00. If you don’t buy the AHARS unit, you will not have attitude or turn and bank. You will see the terrain that you are flying towards along with ground speed and GPS altitude. You may correct GPS altitude with indicated altitude on the settings page of the moving map. I don’t think I’ll buy synthetic vision again as I have terrain avoidance on the moving map. On a VFR flight I look primarily outside and in IMC at my instruments and the moving map. Not having an autopilot, too much is going on with the synthetic vision for me. One of the biggest advantages of WingX is that you can split the screen showing 2 different features. My wife and I travelled to the Grand Canyon and back using a split screen of synthetic vision and sectional chart. I have flown to the Canyon many times over the years and know the short trip well. I am used to looking outside the cockpit in VMC and forgot to really study synthetic vision. I will be flying to Palo Alto, CA in June and will have a better chance to study how this works and applies to light GA aircraft.

I also purchased Sky Radar ADSB-IN to work with the IPad and WingXPro. I’m disappointed that Sky Radar works for WingXPro (and several other APPS) and not ForeFlight. If you have Foreflight you have to buy a different ADS-B unit, Stratus, which is designed to work only with ForeFlight. You will not be able to change APPS and have the Stratus work. ADS-B In equipment should work on any APP.

Sky Radar has lowered their price on each unit by $150, the difference in the units being that the dual band receiver will denote traffic better at the flight levels. Shipping on the Sky Radar is $30, and I feel that this is excessive. Sky Radar should pay for itself in less than 11/2 years versus spending $55 a month for XM Weather.

Sky Radar does not ship with a WAAS GPS. There is no need for WAAS as you can’t legally fly a WAAS approach with the IPad. The thing I don’t like is the announcement on the bottom left of the screen on WingX that states “NO WAAS”. Sky Radar did send me a WAAS GPS to compare accuracy versus the non WAAS GPS. I will be comparing it to my Garmin 396 which has WAAS. Be careful with both GPS’s as they both have a magnet in them. I didn’t know this when I installed it until I saw my compass spin. Sky Radar should have this on their web site and instructions. Garmin 396/496 have magnets in their XM antennas. The new Garmin Aera GPS’s do not have magnets in their XM antennas.

My first trip to with everything was to the Grand Canyon. There was no weather other than on the northeast coast. I pinched the map smaller on the IPad and was able to see rain at different intensities with NEXRAD along the east coast.

For other weather information I just pressed the METAR circle around any airport in route and received textual information including winds aloft, metars, airmets pilot reports and TFR’s. I found that for the synthetic vision to be truly helpful I needed to have an AHARS unit on board. With so much going on in a relatively short flight I am looking forward to my 4 hour trip to Northern California.


When I started writing this column there were 2 ADS-B IN units to choose from starting at $800. That has all changed today. Sky Radar has again reduced their prices. The unit I purchased for $900 30 days ago is now $679 (originally $1200), and they have a new unit similar to the Stratus for $600.

Sagetech is another company that is introducing ADS-B In. They will have 4 units called Clarity. The really big news is that for $1000 you can buy a single band unit with AHARS and for $100 more a dual band unit. These prices would make it worth it to take the AHARS option from WingX.

Things just keep getting more exciting in Aviation with the the IPad and accessories.


In my previous column I wrote how Sully was wrong to demand that all FO’s should have 1500 hours of flight and an ATP. Below is one of several emails I received all in disagreement with the 1500 hour rule. This is from a retired military and Airline Pilot for one of the Majors.

Great column, especially the piece about training. Couldn't agree more. The sim is a fantastic training tool......I hate it because it makes me look like an idiot most of the time, but it shows me where my weaknesses are and what I need to work on. The absolute best training I ever had was in a C-130 sim in the Air Force. We had a five day sim class of 4 hours a day with "no jeopardy", in other words you could screw up and not be grounded. That fact made us want to do every thing they could throw at us until we got it right. In a normal sim setting where you will be evaluated all you want to do is the minimum to pass and get out of there with your ticket. I used to tell my co-pilots, when the instructor says the check ride is over, do you want to see anything else, you better say no, let's get the hell out of here.

He agreed that hours are important but proper training is much more important. Unfortunately the airlines do not reinforce the training over and above what is required without a penalty. Maybe the airlines should adopt the way the military trains.