Friday, January 30, 2015


I have flown with an IPad and ForeFlight (FF) or WingXPro (WX) since their inception. I started with FF switched to WX for the past 4 years and I am now flying with FF today.
I feel qualified to tell you today what I think of each program so you can make a qualified decision on your purchase. This is a more important decision than ever as ADS-B In has come into the picture and Stratus 2 does not work with WX, as the several other units that work with WX do not work with FF. You are looking at making a $900 investment and need to be right the first time or it gets expensive. I had a Sky Radar unit for WX and had to purchase a Stratus 2 for FF so I have $1,700 invested in ADS-B IN equipment.

I feel strongly that if you are not flying an airplane with a glass panel, that the IPad with these programs are the most important item you can have in the cockpit. I will go into this below. Even corporate jets are flying now with IPad’s and some sort of aviation app. I call the IPad the poor mans glass cockpit.


There is a wealth of weather information available to pilots today. In the OLD days before personal computers and IPad’s weather briefings were coded to cut down on information. In the age of computers there is no reason to have coded weather briefings any longer. FF weather briefings are still coded and WX is plain english. 
Winner WX

Airmets and sigmets are outlined on the moving map on FF. Just touch it and all the information comes up on a dialog box. WX does not have this feature. 
Winner FF

Weather radar or NxtRad can be shown on the map page with ADS-B IN in flight. With WX you see both radar and terrain hazardous to flight, and with FF you have to toggle back and forth to terrain hazards to your flight and radar. I want to make sure I am clear of any obstructions when flying. The charts tell me this, but terrain avoidance is much easier on the brain. 
Winner WX


When I purchased FF I paid an extra $25 for synthetic vision (SV). I really wanted the HSI feature more than SV but did not realize I could have had this without an additional charge. I do not think I will purchase SV next year as in my flying I do not need it. One big plus is that SV does give you obstacle terrain hazards. Green if you are not in any conflict, yellow 100 to 1000 foot clearance and red if you are going to fly into something. The graphics are seamless and more professional than WX. Flying mostly VFR I try to keep my eyes out the window. I think SV detracts from this in VFR flight. Flying an older plane the HSI gives me an excellent back up. 
Winner FF


FF overlays the approach over your IFR chart, you can have just the approach plate displayed or split screen between the HSI and the approach plate. You keep your HUD which gives you airspeed distances and time to waypoints. WX will not let you overlay the approach chart but you can use a full screen for the approach and loose all HUD data or split the screen between IFR chart and the approach plate and still see HUD information.

Both FF and WX offer geo referencing  on the approach plates for an extra charge which I will discuss later. 
Winner FF


To my eyes the charts look crisper and more defined on FF. I do not like that I have to toggle between items on FF that are standard on WX. The profile view on FF is excellent and better than WX.
Winner Slightly to FF


WX clearly gives you more bang for the buck. For $75 for one year you get everything on WX that you would get on FF that would cost $175 a year except geo reference approach plates.

I am paying the extra money to FF for terrain warnings, profile view, SV and height above ground to name a few. If FF offered this on their basic package, as does WX, I would only buy the basic as I can fly an approach that is not geo referenced. 
Winner WX


Here is the rub. I left WX because of their lack of quality control. Weather did not work when I needed to do a briefing on multiple occasions, taxiway and runway warnings did not work until I was taking off on from a runway and a plethora of other issues.

I really depend on my IPad with an aviation app and could no longer depend on WX. That being said I still use my Garmin 396 as a backup, always on and running.


Are any of these apps perfect for aviation....NO! However from where we have come with nothing in the cockpit but paper charts, I am thrilled with what we have today. 

Bang for your buck go with WX and hope it works. I am flying with FF now for a reason.

Saturday, January 24, 2015



This is a followup to the column I wrote earlier this week about the problems with the military issuing a NOTAM on GPS degradation of signal during Super Bowl and the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament this week in Phoenix.

Since my last column I called Nellis Air Force Base right outside of Las Vegas where the NOTAM originated.They did not know anything about it. I also talked to the FAA and AOPA. The FAA told me if there were any problems they could shut down the GPS testing and are prepared to do so. AOPA met with their military liaison, and they came to an agreement to not do any testing the day before, the day of and the day after the Super Bowl. I guess something is better than nothing. The military did not take into account the large number of Net Jet flights coming into Scottsdale Monday and Tuesday for the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament this week. We also have a large contingent of corporate jets scheduled to arrive Thursday for the Super Bowl.

I could never find out who wrote the NOTAM to the FAA from the military. This is really stupid to perform these test when there will be over 1000 corporate jets flying into the Valley this week. We have put up with GPS testing by the military for years out of Las Vegas. Don’t you think by now they could get it right. I do not understand why this program goes on in perpetuity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



In 11 days the Valley of the Sun will be hosting the Super Bowl again.

I served on the Aviation Committee for Super Bowl 42, and even though we thought we had everything covered, ATC turned out to be a disaster. Due to weather, planes at Scottsdale, SDL, had to depart southbound into Phoenix Sky Harbor, PHX, traffic. In addition only one plane was allowed to depart at a time from Phoenix Deer Valley, DVT, and SDL as they both used the same IFR departure. It also did not help that there was a major thunderstorm that closed the airports at noon. Departures the Monday after the Super Bowl were running 6-8 hours wait time. Albuquerque Center would not provide squak codes to those waiting to depart. It was a mess.

This year high five’s go to the FAA. We were able to create new departures so that DVT and SDL now have a different departure. These departure stay out of conflict with PHX. So everything should be great, that is until yesterday.

I received a NOTAM from the FAA issued by the military outside of Las Vegas that they decided to degrade GPS signals during the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament and the Super Bowl. This covers Southern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. We expect over 600 private aircraft for these events, and the airlines have added numerous flights. In todays world these airplanes navigate primarily with GPS. Their signal can go out completely or be so degraded that GPS is not usable.

I emailed AOPA, called the local NBAA rep and have not had a response yet. I then called Senator John McCain’s office who was rude and blew me off. Next call was to Senator Jeff Flake’s office who was receptive, took all the information and will meet with their military liaison.

I do not know what the military was thinking when they issued this NOTAM. I can only hope that someone can get the ball rolling to rescind this test period.