GPS vs Tablet PC

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Mike
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Re: GPS vs Tablet PC

Postby Mike » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:23 am

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. Here is what I have done over the past several months and where I’m at now.
I purchased a Fujitsu Lifebook U810 with built in blue tooth and a 5 inch touch screen (it is a very cool little computer). I picked up a great little Bluetooth GPS, and a copy of Seattle Avionics Voyager 4 at the AOPA expo in San Jose.
As I’m still a student pilot so I have not played it with that much in the airplane.
My instructor and I flew from VGT (North Las Vegas NV) to WJF (near Palmdale CA) so I could look at a Jeep, and it worked great.
I love the Voyager software for flight planning.
In the spring I started flying solo from VGT to 0L7 (Jean NV) to do touch and goes. The trip requires navigating around LAS ( McCarran’s) busy class B airspace. After I had done it a few times and felt comfortable with the flight (Student pilot) I decided to bring my Lifebook along. It worked well on the way there, but on the way back the computer crashed. Good thing it was a secondary navigation aid and after I landed I rebooted it and it worked fine. I never went over 6k MSL but it was Las Vegas in late spring so the DA was near 10k.
I plan on putting a solid state drive in it and maybe even XM WX.

I have been looking at anywhere map Anywhere Travel Companion. It packs a lot of punch at a very nice price, and is upgradable to XM WX as well.

I stumbled upon SkyCharts for my iPhone. The last couple of times I have flown to 0L7 and back I have used it on a Ram mount. It works really well as a secondary nav aide.
SkyCharts lets you download sectionals so it still works if you lose cell service.
I even liked it better than my Lifebook.
Since then Foreflight has released their Charts software, which has a nicer look/feel,(will show terminal charts on zoom in) and lets you put flight plans, and GPH info in (great for quickie flight planning on the go)
. The downside is that Charts doesn’t let you download the sectionals like SkyCharts does so if you lose cell service it quits working.
With Foreflight Mobile bringing live radar weather into play this past week, maybe it is just a matter of time before I can get all the nav aide and weather I need right on my iPhone.
Now if we can get past the FCC reg about using a cell phone while flying, and maybe tying XM WX (if they don’t go away) into the phone so you can get weather when you are out of cell service…
Just my $.02
Mike
Twitter: Mike_Flys
Mytransponder: MJD
Http://www.mjd2.com

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champguy
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Re: GPS vs Tablet PC

Postby champguy » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:25 am

For those of you who understand this stuff, why not get one of those new G3 USB gizmos and go streight to the internet. Bypass all those little foofoo propriatary devices.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.
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Mike
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Re: GPS vs Tablet PC

Postby Mike » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:45 pm

Don’t get me wrong I use a paper chart as my primary means of Navigation. But have been taught to use all resources available to me.

I’m learning that Personal Computers are a bit too clumsy to operate for me as an additional Nav-aide.

My iPhone is already on the 3G network, easy to Navigate and it’s GPS works without Cell (or 3G) service.

I don’t think the 3G (digital cell phone) network is as good as GPS for Navigating.
3G service is more limited than cell service. We have a lot of wide open spaces here to fly in without any type of service.

Mike
Twitter: Mike_Flys
Mytransponder: MJD
Http://www.mjd2.com

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denverpilot
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Re: GPS vs Tablet PC

Postby denverpilot » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:44 am

The AV8OR is definitely interesting, but as my favorite pilot/chef Alton Brown (of "Good Eats' fame on the Food Network) would say, "It's a uni-tasker." It's also at least 2x the price tag of my self-built "eBay special", including the cost of buying ChartCase Pro at a discount during a sale in June/July, and a 12VDC power cord/adapter. (They may still be offering the discount, I haven't looked. But you had to call them to get it, it was just a text blurb on their website. And nyah, nyah, nyah to you guys with 24V electrical systems! 12 VDC may suck at cold-cranking amps in the winter, but finding the right plugs n' stuff to power things from the a/c sure is easy! GRIN!)

I can take the ToughBook into most FBO's, or not too far "down the road" if no bandwidth at the FBO, hop on their WiFi, and e-mail folks, check weather without having to muss with whatever satellite-based FBO weather terminal they might have in the pilot's lounge, get directions to the hotel, download an episode of UCAP to listen to... etc etc etc. Heck, I can even use it to post on the UCAP forums! :-)

Of course, I'm also an iPhone fan-boy, and can do many of those things on the phone now too... but it never hurts to have backup hardware along! (GRIN!) If AT&T *ever* gets around to offering a real data-tethering plan, the iPhone can provide Internet access to the ChartCase laptop... I dinked with the hacks to do it, and it worked, but I went ahead and upgraded to the 3.1 iPhone firmware that "fought back" against the evil hackers (doing what every other GSM smartphone can ALREADY do... c'mon AT&T!) and lost the "feature" again, which I was fine with. (Was just experimenting.)

So, I say... "No uni-taskers allowed... except fire extinguishers!", just like AB would say! :-)

One of our "partners" in our plane recently had his first in-flight trouble with his Tablet PC while he was working on a mountain checkout and took along his PC/tablet for the flight w/"our" instructor, and experienced an honest to goodness hard drive "head crash" due to a high-altitude bump at 11,500' MSL that caused a blue-screen, however.

We're all thinking an upgrade to solid-state hard drives is in our future, for the three of us flying with ChartCase Pro on a variety of PC/tablet hardware. I've had the Panasonic up to 10,500' unpressurized without incident, and previously the other guy had his tablet up to 13,500' without a glitch... so... take with a grain of salt. But thin air and hard drives *someday* will bite... whenever "someday" is, for you. If you have to do a lot of unpressurized, high flying... spinning platters with air molecules holding the heads millimeters off of them, probably isn't the best way to go.

Flights to Leadville, CO for that special "I landed at the highest public-use airport in the U.S." Certificate, mixed with regular ol' hard drives... not so good, probably. :-)

Too bad my wife and I couldn't quite roll out of bed at 0-dark-thirty, and launch toward Oklahoma from KAPA last weekend... or I could'a shown you guys the ToughBook rig in person! Here's hoping you guys had a great pancake breakfast in Ponca City!

Jack thought I was nuts when I Twittered that we might launch the next morning to come on out... he said "3 hours" flight time was a "long way"... thing is, there's no big cities out here for hundreds of miles... Dave knows. KDEN to Wichita is just about that far in a light aircraft, and other than restaurants in KCOS and KPUB, and a flight to Cabella's at KSNY... your butt's in the airplane for 3 hours or more to go ANYWHERE out here in the West! (GRIN!)

Would have been fun. Guess I'll have to settle for a trip to Dead Cow one of these days... just to see the place!

Fly safe, enjoy whatever electronics gadgetry y'all like the best and makes you a safer/better pilot. And carry those paper charts for the inevitable crash of the electronic toys!

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denverpilot
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Re: GPS vs Tablet PC

Postby denverpilot » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:54 am

Forgot my most important comment: If I could get ANYTHING close to ChartCase Pro on a Mac-based Tablet (all a pipe-dream at this point, the hardware doesn't even exist) that looked as worked as well as LogTen Pro for logging (I completely DUMPED LogBook Pro for LogTen after ten minutes of playing with the free demo version and importing my logs)... I'd pay serious cold hard cash for it. Doing this stuff (like setting up the Bluetooth GPS) in Windows is "quaint"... LogTen Pro has the right idea... now to get tablet Mac hardware (C'mon Apple!) and navigation software that's done as well...

(Huge kudos to Noah at LogTen also for answering a support question e-mail WAY after business hours, and explaining how to properly do the import from LogBook Pro. Just the customer service alone was worth the price of admission!)


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